Sep 23, 2011

Kudos Mr. Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas gave a brilliant speech at the United Nations, getting rounds of applause from most of the representatives.  I think it demonstrated clearly and unambiguously that the Palestinian leadership has been "unreasonably reasonable" and has instead seen the hopes of peace and of millions of Palestinians suffering for 63 years dashed on the rock of Israeli expansionist, colonial, and apartheid policies.  He explained that Israel has been taking one unilateral action after another each resulting in more pain and suffering for our people.  Going to the UN, he explained is putting things back where the problems started (he did not use the last two words but I do).  He said a word that I think he should defend strongly that no person or country with an iota of logic or conscience should reject the Palestinian state membership in the UN or its formation in the 22% of historic Palestine that is the West Bank and Gaza.  I think he took a courageous step and gave a good performance.  Now we here on the ground in Palestine hope and will push for additional follow-up steps.  From our own perspective, three things are critical:
1)  That he and his administration now implement quickly the reconciliation agreement signed by all Palestinian factions most notably the one about creating a representative Palestinian National Council. In his speech he said he hopes this will be done in a few weeks.  We hope this  will be done quickly and not any longer than four weeks.
2) That he and his administration act quickly and decisively to really promote popular unarmed resistance throughout Palestine and among Palestinians in exile.  In forming a new government, the ministry that is now in charge of walls and settlements should be either a) dismantled or b) reconfigured.  A new strategy to encourage real nonviolent resistance must be adopted.  We must end the practice of holding a few demonstrative actions that do not disturb the occupation and that are used to enrich a few people.  We must instead allow the kind of popular resistance that have been effective from our history (see my book that details challenges and opportunities learned from this history and available in Arabic and English). He also said he will pursue this.
3) The Palestinian people are waiting to see clear evidence of change; a new Palestinian Spring as Mr. Abbas called it.  This requires seeing visibly what Mr. Abbas talked about: transparency, accountability, democracy, and freedom. 
There were those who worried that going to the UN will raise the expectations of the Palestinian people who then may turn to despair and more if they do not see a change on the ground.  I say a) it is great to raise the expectations, and b) we, the Palestinian people will never turn to despair but we will revolt if we do not see real changes and stronger steps. I share Abu Mazen's hope that the international community steps up to the plate.  But I also hope that we all go back to our people and take those steps that will ensure our freedom.
I also listened to Netanyahu's speech and was just amazed at how many lies can be packed in one speech. It is not even worth detailing except to refer you to this link: http://www.qumsiyeh.org/liesandtruths/
In this occasion, it might be worth comparing Israel and the Palestinians.
                                                 Israel                                    Palestinians
Population----------------5.5 million Jewish---------11 million (7 million refugees or displaced)
Land controlled ----------91.7%----------------------8.3% of historic Palestine
Nature--------------------Occupier/colonizer------Occupied people
Military Personnel------Regular 175,000-----------None
----------------------------Reserves, 500,000     
Irregulars----------------10-50,000------------------3-5,000
---------------------------Armed settlers------------Armed underground forces
Police/other security--- 30,000--------------------50,000
Tanks----------------------3,800----------------------0
Artillery-------------------1500 large----------------0
Submarines---------------6 -------------------------0
Warships-----------------20-30---------------------0
Combat airplanes-------2000----------------------0
Nuclear Weopons------>300----------------------0
GDP----------------------$195 billion--------------$4 billion
Military expenditure---$10 billion---------------Negligible (security services)
Casuaties (63 years)----6000 killed-------------75,000 killed
----------------------------20,000 injured---------300,000 injured
Abducted/jailed----------30---------------------400,000
Homes demolished-------0----------------------50,000
Refugees created---------0---------------------->6 million people
Mr. President, we don’t want a shortcut, we want our freedom by Abir Kopty
http://mondoweiss.net/2011/09/mr-president-we-dont-want-a-shortcut-we-want-our-freedom.html

Palestinians on statehood: 'We want action, not votes at the UN'
Villagers who have often been at the sharp end of Palestinian-Israeli relations are sceptical about the UN route
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/14/palestinian-statehood-action-un

Libya: Mazin Qumsiyeh - "Western powers have interests in Libya,"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro6Fde6kB7g
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD
http://qumsiyeh.org/

2 comments:

  1. The speech was terrific, with one exception. Palestine is not the only occupied state. To make invisible other occupied peoples is sickening.

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