Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian National Authority’

Israel / Palästina: Abendrot der alten Garden?

Dienstag, September 27th, 2011

UN Bid Heralds Death Of Palestine’s Old Guard

By Jonathan Cook

26 September, 2011

Amid the enthusiastic applause in New York and the celebrations in Ramallah, it was easy to believe — if only a for minute — that, after decades of obstruction by Israel and the United States, a Palestinian state might finally be pulled out of the United Nations hat. Will the world’s conscience be midwife to a new era ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians?

It seems not.

The Palestinian application, handed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon last week, has now disappeared from view — for weeks, it seems — while the United States and Israel devise a face-saving formula to kill it in the Security Council. Behind the scenes, the pair are strong-arming the Council’s members to block Palestinian statehood without the need for the US to cast its threatened veto.

Whether or not President Barack Obama wields the knife with his own hand, no one is under any illusion that Washington and Israel are responsible for the formal demise of the peace process. In revealing to the world its hypocrisy on the Middle East, the US has ensured both that the Arab publics are infuriated and that the Palestinians will jump ship on the two-state solution.

But there was one significant victory at the UN for Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, even if it was not the one he sought. He will not achieve statehood for his people at the world body, but he has fatally discredited the US as the arbiter of a Middle East peace.

In telling the Palestinians there was “no shortcut” to statehood — after they have already waited more than six decades for justice — the US President revealed his country as incapable of offering moral leadership on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If Obama is this craven to Israel, what better reception can the Palestinians hope to receive from a future US leader?

One guest at the UN had the nerve to politely point this out in his speech. Nicholas Sarkozy, the French president who himself appears to be wavering from his original support for a Palestinian state, warned that US control of the peace process needed to end.

“We must stop believing that a single country, even the largest, or a small group of countries can resolve so complex a problem,” he told the General Assembly. His suggestion was for a more active role for Europe and the Arab states at peace with Israel.

Sarkozy appeared to have overlooked the fact that responsibility for solving the conflict was widened in much this way in 2002 with the creation of the Quartet, comprising the US, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.

The Quartet’s formation was necessary because the US and Israel realised that the Palestinian leadership would not continue playing the peace process game if oversight remained exclusively with Washington, following the Palestinians’ betrayal by President Bill Clinton at Camp David in 2000. The Quartet’s job was to restore Palestinian faith in — and buy a few more years for — the Oslo process.

However, the Quartet quickly discredited itself too, not least because its officials never strayed far from the Israeli-Washington consensus. Last week senior Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath spoke for most Palestinians when he accused the Quartet’s envoy, Tony Blair, of sounding like an “Israeli diplomat” as he sought to dissuade Abbas from applying for statehood.

And true to form, the Quartet responded to the Palestinians’ UN application by limply offering Abbas instead more of the same tired talks that have gone nowhere for two decades.

The Palestinian leadership’s move to the UN, effectively bypassing the Quartet, widens the circle of responsibility for Middle East peace yet further. It also neatly brings the Palestinians’ 63-year plight back to the world body.

But Abbas’ application also exposes the UN’s powerlessness to intervene in an effective way. Statehood depends on a successful referral to the Security Council, which is dominated by the US. The General Assembly may be more sympathetic but it can confer no more than a symbolic upgrading of Palestine’s status, putting it on a par with the Vatican.

So the Palestinian leadership is stuck. Abbas has run out of institutional addresses for helping him to establish a state alongside Israel. And that means there is a third casualty of the statehood bid – the Palestinian Authority. The PA was the fruit of the Oslo process, and will wither without its sustenance.

Instead we are entering a new phase of the conflict in which the US, Europe, and the UN will have only a marginal part to play. The Palestinian old guard are about to be challenged by a new generation that is tired of the formal structures of diplomacy that pander to Israel’s interests only.

The young new Palestinian leaders are familiar with social media, are better equipped to organise a popular mass movement, and refuse to be bound by the borders that encaged their parents and grandparents. Their assessment is that the PA – and even the Palestinians’ unrepresentative supra-body, the PLO – are part of the problem, not the solution.

Till now they have remained largely deferential to their elders, but that trust is fast waning. Educated and alienated, they are looking for new answers to an old problem.

They will not be seeking them from the countries and institutions that have repeatedly confirmed their complicity in sustaining the Palestinian people’s misery. The new leaders will appeal over the heads of the gatekeepers, turning to the court of global public opinion. Polls show that in Europe and the US, ordinary people are far more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than their governments.

The first shoots of this revolution in Palestinian politics were evident in the youth movement that earlier this year frightened Abbas’ Fatah party and Hamas into creating a semblance of unity. These youngsters, now shorn of the distracting illusion of Palestinian statehood, will redirect their energies into an anti-apartheid struggle, using the tools of non-violent resistance and civil disobedience. Their rallying cry will be one person-one vote in the single state Israel rules over.

Global support will be translated into a rapid intensification of the boycott and sanctions movement. Israel’s legitimacy and the credibility of its dubious claim to being a democracy are likely to take yet more of a hammering.

Events at the UN are creating a new clarity for Palestinians, reminding them that there can be no self-determination until they liberate themselves from the legacy of colonialism and the self-serving illusions of the ageing notables who now lead them. The old men in suits have had their day.

Jonathan Cook won the 2011 Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is



Israel: Am Rande des Vulkans

Montag, Februar 28th, 2011

Israel/Palästina und der arabische Aufstand

Von Achim Rohde

Das Verhalten der relevanten Akteure in der aktuellen Umbruchphase lässt in fast zeitlupenhafter Deutlichkeit Rückschlüsse auf ihr politisches Kalkül zu – selten war das ganze Elend der Lage in Israel/Palästina so offenkundig wie in diesen Tagen. Während die israelische Regierung weiter auf Mubarak setzt, reagieren auch die Palästinensische Autonomiebehörde (PA) und die Hamas-Regierung in Gaza gereizt auf die Umbrüche in Tunesien und Ägypten. Hoffnungen auf einen “palästinensischen Frühling” dürften sich so schnell nicht erfüllen.

Während der von Tunesien ausgehende Aufstand weitere arabische Länder erfasste, diskutierten Israelis und PalästinenserInnen über die vom britischen Guardian und dem katarischen Fernsehsender Al-Dschasira veröffentlichten Palestine Papers. Die Enthüllungen über die gescheiterten Verhandlungsrunden zwischen der palästinensischen Autonomiebehörde (PA) und der israelischen Regierung lassen an Deutlichkeit nichts zu wünschen: Die palästinensischen Unterhändler um Muhammad Abbas waren gegenüber dem damaligen Premierminister Olmert zu an Selbstaufgabe grenzenden Zugeständnissen bereit, die Yasir Arafat im Jahr 2000 in Camp David noch abgelehnt hatte. Diese betrafen Kernfragen wie das palästinensische Rückkehrrecht sowie die israelischen Siedlungen im Westjordanland und Ostjerusalem.

In der palästinensischen Bevölkerung dürfte dies kaum für Überraschung gesorgt haben. Denn wer wie die PA in Sicherheitsfragen seit Jahren eng mit Israel kooperiert und sogar gezielte Liquidierungen ausgewählter palästinensischer Aktivisten mit der Besatzungsmacht koordiniert, wer aus kleinmütigem Machtkalkül mit Israel gegen die Hamas-Regierung in Gaza intrigiert, dessen politisches Kapital ist schon lange aufgebraucht. Zählt man noch die sprichwörtliche Korruption der PA und ihren autoritären Regierungsstil dazu, so stellt sich die PA für alle sichtbar als williger Vollstrecker des von Israel seit Oslo etablierten Herrschaftssystems dar, nicht aber als glaubhafte Vertreterin palästinensischer Interessen.

Eher schon dürften Israelis sich angesichts dieser Enthüllungen die Augen gerieben haben. Im Sommer 2000 war der israelische Verhandlungsführer Ehud Barak von den gescheiterten Verhandlungen in Camp David nach Hause zurückgekehrt und hatte vom eigenen Versagen abgelenkt, indem er die seitdem tausendfach wiederholte Mär von dem auf der palästinensischen Seite angeblich fehlenden Partner in die Welt setzte. Israelische KommentatorInnen halten selbst nach Veröffentlichung der Palestine Papersan dieser Version fest, indem sie auf noch nicht im Sinne der israelischen Maximalforderungen geklärte Punkte verweisen.

Israel auf “der falschen Seite der Geschichte”?

Dennoch gingen in Israel keine Massen auf die Straße, um gegen die Untätigkeit und die dreisten Lügen der Regierung zu protestieren. Kassandrarufe von Haaretz-Journalisten wie Gideon Levy werden routiniert überlesen, die Diskussion dreht sich längst um wichtigere Dinge, wie etwa die von der Regierung Netanjahu gegen geltendes Recht initiierte Überprüfung linker israelischer NGOs durch einen parlamentarischen Untersuchungsausschuss oder die mittlerweile annullierte Nominierung eines neuen Generalstabschefs namens Galant, dem massive Korruption und kriminelle Energie beim Erwerb und Bau eines privaten Luxusanwesens nachgewiesen wurden. Doch auch derlei Enthüllungen sorgen nicht mehr wirklich für Aufregung, seitdem in Ägypten ein Volksaufstand ausgebrochen ist, der dort die alte Ordnung ernsthaft in Gefahr bringt.

Denn die Ereignisse in Tunesien, vor allem aber in Ägypten sind geeignet, in Israel alle Alarmglocken schrillen zu lassen: Wer seit Jahren von einer angestrebten strategischen Allianz so genannter gemäßigter arabischer Staaten mit Israel gegen den bösen Iran und überhaupt gegen alle IslamistInnen dieser Welt fantasiert, der hat tatsächlich Grund zur Sorge, wenn ausgerechnet jene “gemäßigten” Regime von den unter ihrer Knute leidenden Bevölkerungen als korrupte Despoten vom Hof gejagt werden. Die strategische Stärke Israels in der Region beruht neben seiner Allianz mit den USA und seiner hochmodernen Armee vor allem auf dem 1978 geschlossenen Friedensvertrag mit Ägypten sowie auf den im Laufe der Oslo-Jahre geschlossenen Verträgen mit der PA und mit dem jordanischen Königreich.

Sollte in Ägypten eine demokratisch legitimierte und gegenüber Israel deutlich kritischer eingestellte Regierung an die Macht kommen, so bricht ein zentraler Pfeiler der israelischen Außen- und Verteidigungspolitik weg. Das Festhalten an Mubarak und die larmoyanten Warnungen israelischer PolitikerInnen vor einer aus ihrer Sicht vorschnellen Parteinahme westlicher Regierungen für die Aufständischen vom Kairoer Tahrir-Square (“Platz der Befreiung”) sind also einerseits verständlich. Doch sollte sich hier wirklich eine mit 1989 vergleichbare Zeitenwende in der arabischen Region manifestieren, wie optimistische Stimmen behaupten, so könnte sich diese Haltung der israelischen Regierung noch als Bumerang erweisen. Dann könnte Israel sich unwiderruflich auf “der falschen Seite der Geschichte” positionieren, mit negativen Folgen für seine zukünftigen Beziehungen zu den arabischen Nachbarn.

Wird der nordafrikanische Funke auch auf die palästinensischen Gebiete überspringen und zu einem Aufstand sowohl gegen die PA als auch gegen die Hamas-Regierung in Gaza führen? Beide sind korrupt und autoritär, und beide reagieren tatsächlich nervös auf die aus Kairo strömende frische Brise. So wurden Solidaritätsdemos junger PalästinenserInnen in beiden palästinensischen Teilgebieten von den jeweiligen Sicherheitskräften rigoros unterbunden. Gleichzeitig hat die PA überraschend für Juli dieses Jahres Kommunalwahlen angesetzt. Ob sie je stattfinden werden, steht in den Sternen, da die Hamas umgehend mitteilte, derlei Wahlen zu boykottieren.

Doch Hoffnungen auf einen palästinensischen Frühling dürften sich aufgrund der spezifischen Rahmenbedingungen ohnehin so schnell nicht erfüllen. Denn ein Aufstand gegen die PA wäre letztlich auch einer gegen die israelische Besatzung. Auch eine demokratischere Regierung im Gazastreifen würde Israel bedrohen, insofern sie das Embargo gegen die Enklave international zunehmend weniger vermittelbar erscheinen ließe. Wer schon Mubarak gegenüber einer demokratischen ägyptischen Regierung bevorzugt, würde wohl auch eine palästinensische zivilgesellschaftliche Intifada bekämpfen. Die aus den innenpolitischen Machtverhältnissen resultierende Verweigerung einer politischen Lösung des Nahostkonfliktes wird das Land in der Region in Zukunft noch stärker als bisher isolieren. Wie lange wollen Israelis noch am Rande dieses Vulkans leben?”


(Quelle: analyse & kritik.)


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Palästina: Israel versagt der West Bank das Wasser

Freitag, Juli 16th, 2010

OPT: West Bank water worries

Photo: Shabtai Gold/IRIN
A West Bank woman draws water from a cistern

RAMALLAH, 15 July 2010 (IRIN) – The worst place to be in the West Bank in terms of water and sanitation facilities is an Israeli-controlled stretch of land known as Area C, where the Palestinian Authority (PA) is technically responsible for water services, but simply unable to deliver.

Cara Flowers, an officer with the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Group (EWASH), said the health and livelihoods of communities living in Area C – covering 60 percent of land in the West Bank and home to some 60,000 of the West Bank’s 2.3 million people – were hardest hit as they have a severe lack of access to water and sanitation infrastructure.

“Many vulnerable communities are 40km from the nearest filling point,” said Flowers. “This makes drinking water less accessible and more costly during summer months.”

She said EWASH was struggling to implement emergency humanitarian water projects in Area C as it lacked the necessary permits from the Israeli authorities.

The 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip (also known as Oslo II) categorized land in the West Bank into areas A, B and C.

According to the agreement, Area A is under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Area B under the joint control of Israel and the PA. About 95 percent of the Palestinian population live in these two areas, though they make up only 40 percent of the land area.

Photo: OCHA
A map highlighting Areas A (dark), B (lighter) and C (white) in the West Bank

In Area C, Israel has retained full control over security and while responsibility for the provision of services falls to the PA, according to EWASH.

But the Palestinian Water Authority says it has very limited control over water resources in the West Bank.

Rights body Amnesty International accuses Israel of denying Palestinians the right to access sufficient water supplies in the West Bank by maintaining total control over the shared water resources and preventing the development of adequate water infrastructure there.

The Mountain Aquifer is the only source of water for Palestinians in the West Bank, but one of several for Israel, which also has sole access to water available from the Jordan river.

Limited supplies, inflated prices

“Israel uses more than 80 percent of the water from the Mountain Aquifer, the main source of underground water in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, while restricting Palestinian access to a mere 20 percent,” said Amnesty.

This is no clearer than to the more than 100 Bedouin families living in the water-stressed village of Ras al-Awja near Jericho in Area C. While they are forced to pay inflated prices for tanker water from the nearest filling point some 7km away, nearby unlawful Israeli settlements have irrigated gardens and productive farmland, according to EWASH.

A water filling point that once served the Bedouin community has been welded shut by the Israeli authorities, causing a canal irrigation system to empty and stopping all piped water to Palestinians in the area. Without ample supplies of water, the existence of this livestock and subsistence farming-dependent community is under threat.

Israel says it has responded to the needs of the Palestinians and has increased the quantity of water provided to them far beyond that specified in the Interim Agreement.

Meanwhile, the West Bank’s water crisis is worsening, according to a March 2010 report by EWASH. Only 31 percent of communities in the West Bank are connected to a sewage network, it said.

(Quelle: IRIN News.)


Siehe auch:

Water as Human Right Threatens to Split World Body

Gaza: Abbas Geruch eines Blockade-Befürworters

Dienstag, Juni 15th, 2010

“Did Abbas ask for siege of Gaza to be kept in place?

By Omar Karmi, Foreign Correspondent

RAMALLAH // As Israel promises to ease its blockade on Gaza, intra-Palestinian rivalry again came to the fore on Sunday with a report in an Israeli daily that the Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, had asked the US to ensure that there be no end to the maritime blockade on Gaza lest such a move boost Hamas, Fatah’s Islamist rivals.

Mr Abbas is supposed to have made the comments during his meeting with Barack Obama, the US president, last week.

The Haaretz newspaper report, however, only cited unnamed European officials who had reportedly been briefed by White House officials, and Palestinian officials around Mr Abbas were quick to label the article part of an Israeli ‘disinformation’ campaign.

‘The report is yet another disinformation attempt aimed at distorting facts and deflecting Israel’s responsibility to end the illegal and inhuman siege on Gaza,’ Saeb Erekat, the PLO’s chief negotiator, said in a statement released Sunday.

‘President Abbas had raised the issue of the necessity of lifting the blockade as a matter on a par with the fate of the peace process,’ Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a senior aide to Mr Abbas, told the Palestinian Authority-run WAFA news agency.

Nevertheless, some did take the report seriously. Oraib Rantawi, a Jordanian columnist, wrote yesterday that, ‘we now have the very odd situation whereby most of the world believes that the siege on Gaza is ‘unsustainable’, except the Palestinian Authority and the Egyptian government’.

The latter was mentioned in the Haaretz report as being supportive of Mr Abbas’s position.

Hamas officials said the report did not come as a surprise. Mahmoud Ramahi, a Hamas legislator from the West Bank, said he did not know if the report was accurate, but said the PA and Mr Abbas had proven over time that they are ‘participating’ in the blockade.

‘Amr Musa [the Arab League general secretary] had to ask permission from Mr Abbas to come to Gaza. This shows that the PA is participating in the siege because it doesn’t want the world to deal with the government there and grant legitimacy to Hamas.’

Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, meanwhile said the report only underlined ‘what we have been saying all along: Abbas and Ramallah are part of the siege.’

Fatah and Hamas have for years been locked in a rivalry for political primacy among Palestinians that came to a head after Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006. The international community, which had supported those elections, refused to engage the new Hamas-led government until the latter accepted to abide by certain conditions, including recognising Israel, ending the armed resistance and honouring previously signed agreements between the PLO and Israel.

Hamas rejected, and continues to reject, those stipulations, countering that they are weighted against Palestinians because no similar recognition is sought from Israel for a Palestinian state, Israel does not abide by previous agreements and that resistance is an internationally accepted right for a people under occupation.

Clashes between Hamas and Fatah supporters, meanwhile, grew increasingly violent until Hamas ousted Fatah-affiliated security forces in Gaza in June 2007, but Israel’s war on Gaza in 2008-2009 gave new impetus to reconciliation talks.

These talks have so far proven fruitless and most analysts believe the real sticking point is international unwillingness – both Arab and western – to engage any unity government that includes Hamas, which would almost certainly be the outcome of Palestinian reconciliation.

Mr Abbas is in turn unwilling to risk the foreign funding that keeps the PA afloat and secures the salaries of some 150,000 public sector employees.

This impasse and the struggle for political supremacy partly explains why Palestinians might believe the Haaretz report, said Diana Buttu, aRamallah-based analyst and former legal advisor to the PLO.

Mr Abbas’ failure to clearly denounce the blockade in 2007 and his performance since indicate that there is some ‘indirect support’ for the blockade, according to Ms Buttu.

‘It’s easy for people to believe the report with that in mind,’ she said.

Ultimately, with Hamas and Fatah failing to recognize that on fundamental issues they are closer than they realize, Ms Buttu said the two factions’ positions on the blockade remain caught up in their battle for power.

In the Palestinian context, she added, that amounted to ‘two bald men fighting over a comb’.”


(Quelle: The National .)

Israel: Palästinenser attackieren und töten israelische Polizisten

Montag, Juni 14th, 2010

“14 June ’10: Palestinians kill a police officer and injure three near Hebron

B’Tselem strongly condemns the shooting attack by Palestinians near Hebron today (14 June ’10) in which an Israeli police officer was killed and three others were injured. The police officers were engaged in purely civilian police functions.

Deliberate attacks against civilians are immoral and illegal. Willful killing of civilians is defined as a ‘grave breach’ of international humanitarian law and is a war crime.
Over the past ten years, Palestinian terror attacks perpetrated in Israel and in the Occupied Territories have killed hundreds and injured thousands of Israeli civilians, among them men, women, and children.

Attacks aimed at civilians are immoral, inhuman, and illegal. Intentional killing of civilians is a grave breach of international humanitarian law and is considered a war crime that can never be justified, whatever the circumstances may be.

The main justification raised by Palestinian organizations for attacks on Israeli civilians is that ‘in the struggle to end foreign occupation and achieve independence, all means are legitimate’. This argument is baseless and undermines the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law, which requires that civilians remain outside the sphere of hostilities, and therefore stipulates that a distinction must be made between combatants and civilians and that intentional attacks on civilians are prohibited. These rules are part of international customary law and apply to every state, organization, and person.

The Palestinian organizations must immediately stop attacks on civilians.

Persons who are involved in committing war crimes bear personal criminal responsibility for their acts. Since the attack was carried out by Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority has the obligation to prosecute the persons responsible for planning and carrying it out. Because of the severity of such attacks, and given that they constitute an international crime, all states have the right to prosecute the persons responsible. If the Palestinian Authority or Hamas (which has de facto control of the Gaza Strip) does not prosecute the perpetrators according to appropriate standards, it is the duty of other states to do so.”

(Quelle: B’Tselem.)