Borrowing the opening line from Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities:”
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”
He referred to the French Revolution, promising “Liberte, egalite and fraternite.” Inspired by America’s, it began in 1789, ending 1,000 years of monarchal rule, benefitting the privileged only. A republic replaced it.
That was the good news. The bad was the wrong people took power. The moderate Jacobins lost out to extremists, ushering in a “reign of terror.”
Change doesn’t always work out, but when intolerable conditions exist, trying for something better is key. It holds for Palestinians wanting freedom from Israel’s repressive occupation. Statehood and full de jure UN membership is step one toward it, though no guarantee.
Palestinians have many global supporters, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Israeli crimes he opposes drew him closer, and he’s not shy about saying it and more.
On September 13, Turkey’s Today’s Zaman headlined, “Erdogan calls on Arab nations to unite, raise the Palestinian flag,” addressing a Tuesday Arab League meeting in Cairo.
He asked Arab countries and Turkey to close ranks so tightly “even daylight shall not pass between” us.
Calling for solidarity, he continued:
“We are living through a turning point in history, and we are called upon to cooperate more closely than ever. It is time for us to take responsibility for our common future.”
“Storms of applause” interrupted him several times.
He particularly aimed at Israel, saying what few leaders anywhere state publicly:
“While the Israeli administration tries to legitimize itself, it takes steps that shake its legitimacy in the region,” referring to Netanyahu’s refusal to apologize for murdering nine Turkish nationals aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010 as well as Cast Lead.
“The aggression of the Israeli administration has reached levels that threaten the future of the Israeli people,” as well as occupied Palestinians, especially in besieged Gaza.
He called Israeli-Palestinian relations “the heart of the conflict in the region.” Ruling out normalization, he said that won’t change unless Israel apologizes, pays just compensation for its crime, and ends its Gaza siege.
He also stressed that Israel reached a point of no return, calling the status quo “no longer sustainable.” He reiterated his intent to sue for ending Gaza’s siege in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
He asked Arab states for support, saying “let’s all unfurl the Palestinian flag together, and let that flag be the symbol of peace and stability in the region.”
Whether he’s a sometime or permanent Palestinian friend matters less than what he’ll do now to support them. He calls Israel’s mentality an obstacle to peace, adding that Israelis endure their own blockade under Netanyahu and extremists around him – without naming names.
They’re in Washington as well as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Two of them headed back a second time to pressure Abbas - Middle East envoy David Hale and special State Department advisor Dennis Ross (a notorious pro-Israeli hardliner).
Ma’an News said the Obama administration is scrambling to head off a Palestinian plan to seek full UN membership within 1967 borders during next week’s New York session.
Smart money says Abbas already caved despite publicly saying otherwise.
PA presidential office head Muhammad Shtayyeh said:
“We are going to the UN and to the Security Council and we will ask for full membership for a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967. This does not go against any efforts towards serious peace negotiations.”
Offering wiggle room, he added:
“We are open-minded to any proposal. And we are ready to engage with any proposal. But this is not a step to really stop us from going to the (UN). If the whole idea of (an 11th hour US or Israeli) proposal is to engage peacefully, then you don’t really bring it in the last five minutes of the hour.”
Abbas adviser Nabil Abu Rudeihah said:
“Americans failed to provide us or the Israelis with a platform for negotiations. They failed to stop or cease the settlement activities.”
Abbas always was “ready for negotiations on this clear basis, (including) 1967 borders with (agreed land) swaps, with a cessation of settlements. For this, we are ready to come back to negotiations.”
“As long as negotiations are not there,” the UN is the “only option we have to protect our people and our interests. We cannot keep this stalemate any more than this. That is why the UN is the only place that we can assert our rights.”
He added that occupation must finally end, even though statehood won’t assure it. He wants it “built, and we are ready….We are willing and ready to live side by side with an Israeli state.”
Israel and Washington, of course, object, with plenty of financial, political and belligerent muscle for backup.
As a result, neutral observers say it’s unclear what Abbas will propose. As noted above and in previous articles, smart money says he’ll cave.
Criticizing his own government, Haaretz writer Gideon Levy called the bunch “dangerous pyromaniacs without equal.” He scathed Netanyahu whose stubbornness is costing Israel regional allies.
He called Avigdor Lieberman “our thuggish foreign minister.” He should have compared him to Hillary Clinton, matching him blow for blow and then some.
He asked what will Egypt do “now that Turkey has almost entirely severed relations?….What new depths will this lead us into?”
He quoted Yiddish poet/songwriter Mordechai Gebirig (1887 – 1942) saying:
“Our town is burning, brothers, burning. Our whole town burns! And you stand looking on with folded arms and shake your heads. You stand looking on with folded arms, while the fire spreads!”
A Polish national under Nazi occupation, he tried to mobilize Krakow’s resistance before dying on “Bloody Thursday,” June 4, 1942, in its ghetto. He remains the preeminent Yiddish literature and song folk artist.
Israel’s fire today is self-inflicted. Why aren’t Israelis protesting against it along with calls for social justice?
All just causes are inseparable, including for Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Yet Israel treats 20% of its population like fifth column threats, not citizens.
Where’s the righteous indignation? Where’s the national awakening that Palestinians deserve rights like Jews? Where’s the throw the bums out mentality, but not for new ones? When comes understanding that injustice to anyone affects all?
Where’s the spirit to rise up and act – courageously for what’s right over wrong, especially targeting rogue leaders needing to be removed?
It’s high time Palestinians got “Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite,” starting with statehood and full de jure UN membership.
They need supportive Israelis for it as intensively as for social justice, damning Netanyahu and Obama for opposing it.
They need pressure applied to Abbas to deliver in New York, not collaborate with Israel and Washington as now appears likely for an unacceptable alternative.
They need all the friends they can get when the moment of truth arrives.
It’s days away. Will it be Palestinian spring or winter?
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.