Palestinian Authority’s UN “statehood” bid: useful, useless or dangerous?

I gave two interviews in recent days on which focus on the Palestinian Authority’s effort to have Palestinian “statehood” recognized at the UN in September.

One is with The Socialist Worker’s Eric Ruder, and covers the UN bid as well as the Arab uprising, and the growing BDS movement. Here’s an excerpt:

The PA has a history of relying on the good will of the so-called “international community”–but the international community doesn’t have good will when it comes to enforcing Palestinian rights. So PA officials have essentially disempowered themselves as well as the popular movements, and now they again want to throw themselves on the mercy of a UN that has never acted to enforce its decisions when it comes to Palestine.

So yes–there are risks, and we don’t even know the full extent of them. This could be a very dangerous step.

Read the whole interview at The Socialist Worker.

The second interview was with Bettina Marx of the German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle (Umstrittenes Projekt - der Palästinenserstaat):

Viele Palästinenser sehen dieses Vorhaben der Autonomiebehörde jedoch kritisch. Sie bezweifeln, dass die internationale Anerkennung ihnen mehr Rechte bringen wird. Für den palästinensischen Publizisten Ali Abunimah, Gründer der Internetplattform Electronic Intifada, ist der Gang vor die UN nicht mehr als eine leere Geste, die zeige, dass der gesamte Oslo-Friedensprozess vollkommen gescheitert sei. “Das ist ein bedeutungsloser Schritt. Er ändert überhaupt nichts”, sagt der in den USA lebende Journalist.

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Comments

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As I’ve told you repeatedly, the US doesn’t want “smooth…control” of the region. Why would it want stability? Because that’s what US government documents say, or because that’s what the snake-oil peddler Obama says? The US wants instability. Not in Saudi Arabia or the remainder of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Not in Israel proper. And not in Egypt. But elsewhere. Why? Simple. Instability ends up cascading into war. During wars, the price per/barrel of oil rises. The oil-producing states use that oil revenue to buy weapons and invest in US securities, whether bonds that are then recycled into domestic US weapons purchasing or stock purchasing to keep asset prices high. The price at the pump also rises. With the money thus extracted from the Western working class, the petro-carbon companies make the best possible investments: they buy presidents, who have a tendency to…make wars in the Middle East. Of course, wars need two sides, and with Israel in the mix, there will always be another war. Your argument reduces to the notion that somehow the corporations that fund the presidents that are elected on war-mongering platforms don’t know what their interests are. (I'll be polite and avoid spelling out the corollary). What's above is a precis for the bulk of the post-73 US accumulation strategy. You'd rather just blame the Zionists. Do as you wish. But you will continue to be wrong.

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Actually, the argument about oil has been well researched and responded to by Mearsheimer and Walt in their book on the Israel lobby. The oil industry doesn't lobby for war or around foreign policy issues. It prefers stability in the M.E., because that helps keep the price of oil at a reasonably predictable rate, which is what is needed to plan for investment, and that's also what keeps Saudi Arabia, a key oil supplier, from getting involved in any contention. The last thing the oil industry wants is something that causes the Saudis to move in any direction politically, because anything that opens up Saudi Arabia to risk is a potential risk to the oil industry. That said, this doesn't mean that the oil industry cannot benefit from wars, when they occur, but that's rolling the dice in a way that the oil industry prefers not to. Now, what the oil industry does consider a crucial political issue is anything regarding environmentalism. THAT they do pay to have lobbyists strenuously oppose.

If someone, in this case, Ali Abuminah, isn't persuaded by your argument, why not do what he did which is to start a blog of your own? Wouldn't that be more fruitful than banging your head against a wall trying to convince someone who you're not convincing?

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Walt and Mearsheimer's oil "thesis" was responded to here: http://jewssansfrontieres.blog...
suffice to say that they didn't scrape even the most obvious literature on the topic, let alone recent work like Petersen, Richard Nixon, Great Britain and the
Anglo-American Alignment in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula (incidentally hardly a radical, but somewhat more honest than your sources).

As for the rest of your comment: you're right. the oil industry doesn't lobby for war. it simply bankrolls politicians who are elected on war-mongering platforms and installs politicians in the executive who are either former oil executives or who staff their cabinets with oil industry-linked people. you could wonder why that is the case, and why the oil companies don't block a war-mongering agenda. surely they have the power to try to do so, since they want "stability" so badly, and since they had about 900 billion dollars in profits from 2001 - 2009, some portion of which they dumped into Bush's re-election campaign after he destabilized the Middle East in spite of the fact that the oil companies wanted "stability." the contradictions between policy, actions, and your incorrect assumptions about both might lead you to canvass the corporate backgrounds of Rice, Rumsfeld, Bush, Haig, and so on. look into it.

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It's just useless to talk conspiracy. How about taking responsibility for decades of bad decisions by the Palestinian polity? It's what the PA did in their discussions with Israel as revealed in the wikileaks as set out by Al Jazeera. If you are a loser, behave like a loser and get on with it, like Germany and Japan did after World War II. When you do that, you can move ahead and lead the world, unlike the Palestinians, the Serbs, the rest of the Arab world and even the Chinese until the last 15 years. If you don't, you sacrifice generation after generation after generation to a life of futility and diaspora. Scatter the Palestinians fully and what kind of society will exist in 50 years? Not much

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None of the change is very good for the extreme Palestinian negotiating positions and all of it is terrible for your ideas of a one state solution. You are correct on your analysis of the situation there.

At the same time it does quite a bit to reassure the Israelis that the Palestinians are really looking for a two state solution (one Jewish, one Palestinian). Going to the UN effectively commits them to this path. This may in the future lead to negotiations that conclude with a peace treaty.

Some day you will have a Palestinian passport and you will be able to freely travel to and live in a state of Palestine established through a peace agreement with a state of Israel. You should be celebrating.

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.