Diana Buttu–A Palestinian Negotiator

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Diana Buttu spoke last March, but your reporter is only writing it up the second week of September because of the urgency of the upcoming bid for Palestinian Statehood at the U.N. (United Nations) in New York City (N.Y.C.) soon.

Diana Buttu is a Palestinian-Canadian lawyer and a former spokeswoman for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). She is best known for her work as a legal adviser and a negotiator in the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Dr. Buttu was born in Canada to Palestinian parents. She received her B.A. in Middle East and Islamic Studies, an LL.M. from the University of Toronto, a JD from Queen’s University Faculty of Law, a J.S.M. from Stanford Law School and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.

Diana was born and raised in Canada yet her parents were Palestinian citizens of Israel. Still, they hardly ever discussed their Palestinian identity at home, for the prejudices and injustices against them in the Zionist sphere forced them to exit their natal territory. They moved out of the Middle East to protect their children from the disrespect and the day-to-day bodily dangers there.

She only returned as a visitor in 1987 — shortly before the outbreak of the Second Intifada — and “Seeing the images, and asking people about them created this personal awakening,” within me. She explains. “I realized I was Palestinian and a part of this big nation.” She, then, accepted a position with the Negotiations Support Unit (N.S.U.) – the only female advisor to the Palestinian Authority (PA) — of the Muslim-dominated but bi-sectarian PLO. She found her work to be “…like negotiating with a gun to your head; where the people under occupation have to negotiate their own release!” Thus, the power over the weak became such that everything that Ramallah was willing to concede to their Jewish counterparts, was never acceptable to the latter. Further, the U.S. refused to recognize that transposing a populace out of their birthright illegally is illegitimate.

Buttu, finally, decided to explain the Palestinian story to the media. This aspect of her service angered her Israeli supporters, and cost her the NSU job. She has, also, lived in Gaza City testifying to the lack of drinkable water and electricity for the Strip to even fulfill its basic humanitarian needs.

Ms. Buttu, Esq. considers herself to be an unremarkable woman (Sic!); the only thing in which she considers to have partially failed is the negotiations in which she took part. As her introduction from Barbara Lubin the director of the sponsor, The Middle Eastern Children’s Association (or MECA), of the event stated that she is a real woman fighting against (real) repression. Why the PLO achieved legitimacy seventeen years ago and is now going for full international recognition at this moment at the U.N. headquarters on the Hudson is similar to the current unfolding events of the Arab “Spring.” At the same time, curiously, Palestina began that “Spring!”

In the (former Mandate/Province of) Palestine, the Levant was a tri-sectarian majority-Arab nationality. After the Partition (1948), European Settler Colonialism influenced one religio-ethnic group, an ad hoc pseudo-nationality, to supplant the primordial nationality from its territory.

Israelis have been dividing Arabic territory within the Biblical State in order to dominate Palestine. Israel also attempted to divide the continental European powers by inaccurately describing herself as a negotiator. There are benefits with negotiation, and that is diplomatic recognition; and therefore international rehabilitation, and more US cash.

During this period the Settlers multiplied; filling the valleys of Palestine with an alien people. Israel’s initial goal for negotiations was to legitimize herself in the eyes of the world — while displacing a place’s people. A Bantuization, a South African word that alludes to the separation of peoples during the Apartheid period, within the Holy Land developed. The Palestinians lost their identification of themselves and by others of being a distinct people since the 1948 end of the (already defunct) League of Nations’ Mandate.

The current upheavals in North Africa and West Asia are tsunamis, revolts against the division of the greater Arab nation after the two World Wars into subsequent lesser nation-states. This Revolt began in Palestine, she argues. Buttu believes negotiations will continue to discourage a substantial withdrawal from the Occupied Territories. Thus, the West Bank and Gaza will continue to endure Bantu-like cantonments.

Through its facade of false talks, the Israelis have reversed their strategy of “…carrots instead of sticks” whenever possible. Henceforth, “…we Palestinians must be the ones employing the sticks!” We (the PA and our civil society and the progressive international communes) must not be shy about boycotts (against the Zionist State) to convince the centrist Israeli of the international disapproval of their government.

At the time of her speech in this city (above), the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) passed a law to criminalize anyone advocating a boycott. This must be reversed! The international criminal renegade that the Hebrew State has become through her own government must be reversed by her own people and International People of Conscious for the sake of self-agency for the Palestinian entity itself!

Her (Buttu’s) Grandmother returned to Palestine (by then Israel), and latter informed her dear young daughter in Canada, “I had to liberate Palestine on my own!”

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Obama, Erdogan Seek Common Ground on Middle East

September 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Matt Spetalnick and Laura MacInnis

2011-09-20T213040Z_276114503_GM1E79L0FIG01_RTRMADP_3_OBAMA-TURKEY

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan shake hands in New York September 20, 2011. World leaders have gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.  

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

NEW YORK (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan sought common ground on counterterrorism and Middle East policy on Tuesday even as Washington pressed Ankara to ease tensions with close U.S. ally Israel.

Their talks on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly came as a showdown loomed this week over Palestinian statehood at the world body, another source of rising tensions in a region in political upheaval.

Washington has watched with concern as NATO ally Turkey’s once-friendly ties with Israel have deteriorated rapidly over Israel’s 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a Gaza-bound aid convoy. The crisis has underscored Israel’s growing isolation and the new limits of U.S. influence in the Middle East.

“The president underscored his interest in seeing a resolution of that issue between those two countries and encouraged continuing work toward that end,” White House adviser Liz Sherwood-Randall told reporters after the meeting, saying Obama also emphasized the need to calm tensions throughout the region.

White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama would make the same points to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he meets him on Wednesday.

The two leaders also discussed Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s unrelenting crackdown on anti-government protests has alarmed neighboring Turkey and led to U.S. calls he step aside.

Obama and Erdogan agreed on the need to increase pressure on Assad and agreed to consult on possible further steps that “could include sanctions, political pressure, other measures,” Rhodes said.

Obama and Erdogan, in their public comments to reporters, focused on deadly attacks in Turkey on Tuesday that they agreed underscored the need for cooperation on counterterrorism.

“This reminds us that terrorism exists in many parts of the world, and Turkey and the United States are going to be strong partners in preventing terrorism,” Obama said.

An explosion from a suspected car bomb ripped through a street in the Turkish capital, Ankara, near a neighborhood housing government buildings, killing three people.

Also on Tuesday, Kurdish guerrillas attacked a police college in southeastern Turkey, killing four people in a passing vehicle, broadcaster CNN Turk reported on its website.

NEED ‘TO WORK TOGETHER’

Erdogan said the United States and Turkey needed to “work together in planning, use technology so that we can continue to take more steps in trying to fight against terrorism.”

Turkey is in talks with the United States to provide a base for a fleet of U.S. Predator drones now stationed in Iraq. It is reported to want surveillance drones to carry out operations against Kurdish separatist rebels based in northern Iraq.

The Obama administration is seeking to preserve close ties with Turkey, an increasingly assertive economic and military power in the region that has become a champion of democracy movements roiling the Arab world.

Ankara backed efforts that led to the ouster of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and aids U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan, and plays a crucial role in neighboring Iraq.

Obama praised Erdogan for “great leadership” in promoting democracy in the region. But problems remain.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Turkey on Monday not to do anything to worsen its relationship with Israel.

Israeli-Turkish relations have spiraled downward in recent weeks with the release of a U.N. report on the 2010 flotilla raid, in which Israeli commandos raid killed nine Turkish activists, and Israel’s refusal to apologize to Ankara.

Erdogan’s government has expelled Israel’s envoy, frozen military cooperation and warned that the Turkish navy could escort future aid flotillas — raising the prospect of confrontation between Turkey and the Jewish state.

Erdogan has also kept up a stream of harsh rhetoric against Israel, using a tour of Arab states last week to support a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations and chide Israel as a spoiled client of the West.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney)

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From Gaza to Oakland

September 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

2011-09-21T163234Z_783637630_GM1E79M01OR01_RTRMADP_3_BELGIUM

Zena, a 6-year-old Belgian-Palestinian girl, waves a Palestinian flag during a protest in central Brussels September 21, 2011. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans on Friday to submit an application for full U.N. membership for the state of Palestine based in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the coastal Gaza Strip — lands occupied by Israel since 1967.  

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Camp Meeker, CA–September 20th–The vote in the U.N. (United Nations) is happening over Palestinian statehood as my readers are consuming this article, but one of most egregious examples of Islamophobia has just happened in the city of Oakland in the East Bay within the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California.

Of your author’s thirty years on this side of the Bay, all but three of them that city was my domicile.  I can only mourn at my own.

On September tenth I received an electronic mailing from the Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) that the show that MECA (Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance) of Berkeley (a smaller twin city to Oakland) had put together with the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland (MOCHA) on child’s art created in the mini-nation of Gaza during the IDF (Israel Defense Force’s) incursion into the Strip at the end of 2008 through the beginning of 2009 had been canceled shortly before its scheduled opening on the 24th of this month.

Your commentator must point out at that the JVP is a Jewish Organization and MECA’s Director and founder, Barbara Lubin, is a Jewish-American who in her youth went to Israel fully adhering to the Zionist myth only to discover the truth of repression there.  When she came back to the States, she founded MECA whose “mission statement” would include the support of children in Gaza, the West Bank, and Iraq.  Probably, her best known project is the funding for the Children’s Hospital in Gaza.  The latest major project of MECA, a multi-sectarian group which actively recruits Muslims, is to improve the drinking water quality within Gaza.  Although the Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance has a strong political vision, its major focus is humanitarian.

The forgoing paragraph is only to emphasize that both the heroes and villains of this story are Jewish-Americans and possibly the “State” of Israel itself.  American Muslims should keep in mind that not all Jews are their enemies, and many are “righteous” and moral towards you and the American body-politick.  It is people like these Jewish-American heroes that have driven the “sin” of anti-Semitism from your columnist’s soul, and I thank them, and commend them for their courage!

MOCHA informed MECA that the show of art work by Gazan children on their reaction to the overly violent Israeli incursion, Operation Cast Lead, wherein approximately 300 0f the over 1400 Palestinian casualties were children, was inappropriate for its depiction of “violence.”   Yet the rescinded exhibition, “A Child’s View from Gaza,” gives agency and a voice to those very young victims.

The reason the board of the Children’s Museum gave to cancel the show so close to its opening, was that the (Zionist) community voiced concern over the violence of the imagery, but the museum has sponsored exhibits in the past of art created in war zones – showing imagery of Iraqi children drawings of the violence of the American aggression and, also, another exposition of Second World War images by child observers.

The Executive Director of MECA, Barbara Lubin, accuses the Board of MOCHA that “…its decision was political…”   Curiously, in the immediate days after the cancelation the Jewish Community Relations Council and Jewish Federation of the East Bay bragged to the regional media of forcing their agenda of an anti-Arab (and, thus, Islamophobic) agenda upon the Museum; and, thus, the museum’s horrendously inhumane decision against the child victims of Gaza.  It was an attack on the children’s right to express their psychological angst upon their loss of their childhood.  A child, Asil, who painted a picture of himself in jail (Sic!) stated “I have a right to live in peace…I have a right to live this life,” and, further, “I have a right to play!”

It was a denial, since the exhibition was in America, of U.S. citizens (including Muslim-American’s) First Amendment Rights being denied by a foreign power.  As an American citizen your writer has the right to view the material to make his own decision about its content, and he resents agents of a foreign government denying  him his natal right as a citizen of this country!

Ziad Abbas, the Associate Director of MECHA, stated that “…By silencing these Palestinian children, the pro-Israeli groups succeeded to stretch the siege from Gaza to Oakland!”

This incident was foreshadowed by a past incident in 2005.  MECA had allied themselves then with the Berkeley Art Center (a city of Berkeley and County of Alameda as well as the private sector supported instituted) and the Graphics Alliance to produce a show in Live Oak Park entitled “Justice Matters:  [14 Palestinian and American] Artists Consider Palestine.”

Viciously, that show was attacked by the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Anti-Defamation League (who were successfully sued during the same period under California law for spying on Muslims and non-Muslims who supported Palestine) and individuals who claimed to represent the “mainstream” (in reality they were speaking for the Zionist faction, a perversion of) Judaism. 

There was even a call by this belligerent fringe element to close the presentation down.   Fortunately, the Mayor of Berkeley, Tom Bates, stood up to this radical pro-Israel faction.  As Ramallah goes to the United Nations, it is easy to perceive the pressure Obama is under with these financially well-endowed vengeful sectarian bigots at his back.

Your researcher is going to suggest something he would not normally do.  That is that you, my target audience, write to Masako Kalbach, the Interim Executive Director of the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland at masako@mocha.org with a cc to Barbara Lubin at the Middle Eastern Children’s Alliance at mecamail@mecaforpeace.org to demonstrate your support for MECA and the victimized children of Gaza and to the Oakland Tribune’s Letters to the Editor where you can cut and paste your comment at http://www.insidebayarea. com /feedback /tribune.  Further, although the Children’s Museum of Oakland is private, it is intimately involved with its host cities, and I would hope residents contact their representative either in the County of Alameda or the city itself or even the Sacramento to ask them to investigate if any there was any infringement of any law or policy.

The current plan is to have the opening display of “A Child’s View of Gaza” in the courtyard of the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland.  (This is termed “plop” art.)   This may be controversial and confrontational, though.

In the long run, this display will need a more stable venue in the (S.F.) Bay Area, and, hopefully the noise of this event will garner enough interest to tour further in North America and Europe.  An Islamic Center in this region taking on this project would be a strong statement!

This incident is only one incident of Zionist and Christian Zionist attempts to silence Palestinian aspirations both politically and culturally.  Caught between these fringe groups, the best course of action at the U.N. is for the U.S. to abstain–which would allow the decision for Palestinian Statehood up to the General Assembly.  As a nation, Ramallah could stand up for their interests in Oakland!

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V. Postscript

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

Medford (Ore.)–As chronicler starts out (June 23rd) from Southern Oregon, the news coming from the Middle East is principally from Libya.   Although the Colonel is maintaining his fasces, the analysis is that Colonel Khadafy’s hold on power is loosening even though the outgoing head of the Arab League has renounced his prior endorsement of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s) intervention while Italy has herself, a participant in the assault and the former Colonial power there, asserted that the Libyan contest should be halted.  On the other hand the Islamist government of Turkey has called (JuJy.3rd) for the Colonel to step down promising material aid to the Benghazi rebels while the Greek, Ankara’s traditional “enemies,“ the Greeks have  refused to permit (on the second of this month) the first relief ship’s for Gaza to exit Hellenic waters.

The IDT (Israeli Defense Force’s )General Sharoni (retired), a supporter of the two-State solution,  rejoined, “We should press for solutions by September [when the Palestinians are going to the United Nations – U.N. – for approval for their Statehood]…we have negotiated previously, and we shouldn’t have to start at stage one again…We should start negotiating [again] because the clock is ticking.”  The Israeli position – and even their Left – is that Palestinian Statehood should be through bi-lateral agreement – with the help of external actors — rather than an international dictate.  (Your author’s opinion is that Tel Aviv has to make just concessions this summer if there would be any hope of mutual agreement; otherwise, it will be Ramallah who will achieve independence solely on their own terms in league with international acclamation!)

Taras Hassan asserted that “… [a] third of [the Jewish] Settlers [in the Occupied Territories] can be brought back] to Israel [itself].”  Hasan believes that “…many Israelis do not support the annexation of the West Bank because they [the Palestinians there] would [receive] protection under Hebrew law, and [would have the right to] vote, and [Tel Aviv would]would  cease to be [the capital of] a Jewish State.”

Sharoni interjected, “…who is the enemy, and who are you [we] defending yourself [ourselves] from?..I am [more] concerned over my nation’s isolation…In order to survive we have to become part of the community of nations!”  (It is very true that Israel has become a pariah in most of the civilized world!)

Hassan adds:  What would happen if the two-State option fails?  Major-General Natan Sharoni replies, we “…can’t have a one-State alternative… [for the General, it] won’t work…because there would be two different peoples living within one State.  (The example of the U.S., Canada et al. would counter this argument) “One side or the other would dominate.”  (Curiously, the progressive Israeli argument – and most recently — it appears that most of their upper military  commanders –  favor a dual-national conclusion, (but the time might  have transpired over peace on those terms.  Your commentator still stands behind this domestic path, but, if a justful compromise is not made soon, such a one-State route must be explored!)

Hassan exclaims:  It would destroy (the ideology of)Israel!

Jeremy Ben Ami from Washington entered his voice to the call, if  “…the issues aren’t resolved between the parties involved,..[unfortunately for Jewish Jerusalem]…[and] a U.N. understanding is… made before a [bilateral] arrangement is finalized, it will impact Israel as a sectarian State”  negatively, (and the winners demographically would be the Muslims in a one-State solution).

The general stated that “…Common sense should prevail…We have to have a regular [regulated] peace!”   He, further, alleged the Israeli (along with the American) bugaboo over Iran was a mere charade.

Hassan remarked that “It is a very sensitive time for the Arab “Spring”… (In fact, your columnist has uttered the success or failure of that “Spring” depends upon the reaction within the Israeli nation!  That is why your narrator is dedicating so much of his energy looking at the interior “soul” of the Jewish terrain.   Hassan noted, “…American Jews can…influence…opinion in Israel.”  (Your commentator adds that it, also, is important for liberal American Jews and Muslims to establish better communication to solve the dangers within this most dangerous of international theaters.)

“We [the Hebrews] have to be the initiators!”  (This is a very serious issue, though.)  Although the negotiations must not be dominated by one side or the other, here, Ms. Hassan is advocating Israeli dominance without any international diplomatic intervention which  would bolster the weakened Palestinian positions.  This will not work. The negotiations must be between equals, and that is where the international nations – especially the United States because of its history of enablement for the crisis itself – to create an equal “pitch.”  Taras Hassan declaimed that “Otherwise, we [Tel Aviv shall] only be reacting… It is in Israel’s interest to split [divide the land.”  That is, the liberal Jews’ position is a two-State solution to save their State as a Jewish dominated one.  It is very different than the Arab (or even the mainstream politically liberal American) vision of a two-State outcome.

Ben Ami “hits it on the nail’’ when he says, the “Jewish…State cannot be based on permanent occupation!…”  This is a refutation to (former) Prime Minister Sharon’s policy of Permanent War which, incidentally, was picked up by the (last U.S.) President George W. Bush’s Neo-Conservative advisors who gave the American Republic the tragedy of the Iraq War! 

This five-segmented study has become an important one, for it has established a basis for negotiation.  Your investigator has already pointed out this composition to two decision-makers in the American government, and  he hopes to get their aides to look at it, for there are people on both sides of the Middle Eastern conundrum who could seriously talk to each other along with their neutral  international friends in a constructive manner.

Time is running out, and your author has even proposed a Constitutional framework for a one State Solution should it come to that, but he still holds onto a two-State solution — for different reasons than our Israeli colleagues — for the best outcome.

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The Long Overdue Palestinian State

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Mahmoud Abbas

2011-05-09T174509Z_121684304_GM1E75A050I01_RTRMADP_3_PALESTINIANS

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) gestures as he arrives for a meeting of the Fatah Revolutionary Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah May 9, 2011.

REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

Ramallah, West Bank–SIXTY-THREE years ago, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was forced to leave his home in the Galilean city of Safed and flee with his family to Syria. He took up shelter in a canvas tent provided to all the arriving refugees. Though he and his family wished for decades to return to their home and homeland, they were denied that most basic of human rights. That child’s story, like that of so many other Palestinians, is mine.

This month, however, as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe — the Palestinian people have cause for hope: this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, we will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.

Many are questioning what value there is to such recognition while the Israeli occupation continues. Others have accused us of imperiling the peace process. We believe, however, that there is tremendous value for all Palestinians — those living in the homeland, in exile and under occupation.

It is important to note that the last time the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the General Assembly, the question posed to the international community was whether our homeland should be partitioned into two states. In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued. Indeed, it was the descendants of these expelled Palestinians who were shot and wounded by Israeli forces on Sunday as they tried to symbolically exercise their right to return to their families’ homes.

Minutes after the State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948, the United States granted it recognition. Our Palestinian state, however, remains a promise unfulfilled.

Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.

Our quest for recognition as a state should not be seen as a stunt; too many of our men and women have been lost for us to engage in such political theater. We go to the United Nations now to secure the right to live free in the remaining 22 percent of our historic homeland because we have been negotiating with the State of Israel for 20 years without coming any closer to realizing a state of our own. We cannot wait indefinitely while Israel continues to send more settlers to the occupied West Bank and denies Palestinians access to most of our land and holy places, particularly in Jerusalem. Neither political pressure nor promises of rewards by the United States have stopped Israel’s settlement program.

Negotiations remain our first option, but due to their failure we are now compelled to turn to the international community to assist us in preserving the opportunity for a peaceful and just end to the conflict.

Palestinian national unity is a key step in this regard. Contrary to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel asserts, and can be expected to repeat this week during his visit to Washington, the choice is not between Palestinian unity or peace with Israel; it is between a two-state solution or settlement-colonies.

Despite Israel’s attempt to deny us our long-awaited membership in the community of nations, we have met all prerequisites to statehood listed in the Montevideo Convention, the 1933 treaty that sets out the rights and duties of states. The permanent population of our land is the Palestinian people, whose right to self-determination has been repeatedly recognized by the United Nations, and by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Our territory is recognized as the lands framed by the 1967 border, though it is occupied by Israel.

We have the capacity to enter into relations with other states and have embassies and missions in more than 100 countries. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union have indicated that our institutions are developed to the level where we are now prepared for statehood. Only the occupation of our land hinders us from reaching our full national potential; it does not impede United Nations recognition.

The State of Palestine intends to be a peace-loving nation, committed to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. Once admitted to the United Nations, our state stands ready to negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel.

A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948.

Palestine would be negotiating from the position of one United Nations member whose territory is militarily occupied by another, however, and not as a vanquished people ready to accept whatever terms are put in front of us.

We call on all friendly, peace-loving nations to join us in realizing our national aspirations by recognizing the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and by supporting its admission to the United Nations. Only if the international community keeps the promise it made to us six decades ago, and ensures that a just resolution for Palestinian refugees is put into effect, can there be a future of hope and dignity for our people.

Mahmoud Abbas is the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the president of the Palestinian National Authority.

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Elements of US Peace Plan Revealed

September 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Palestine Center Blog

An elected Palestinian official unveiled details of a US peace plan for a “permanent peaceful solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict” drafted by Pres. Obama, who intends to officially declare it soon, according to Hassan Khraisha, deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament.

Xinhua reported Khraisha said the plan includes:

* Statehood: the establishment of Palestinian statehood first in the West Bank by 2011. Later, the Gaza Strip will be integrated.

* No Authority Over East Jerusalem: “The plan puts parts of East Jerusalem under the full Israeli sovereignty without any actual Palestinian control on it. But the holy sites will be under Arab and Islamic administration,” said Khraisha.

* Palestinian Foreign Policy: It prevents the Palestinian state from making any foreign military alliances in the region, according to Khraisha.

* Limited Refugee Resettlement: Resettling “a limited number of Palestinian refugees in the Jordan valley and other areas in the West Bank” between Nablus and Ramallah, Khraisha said.

* Not Clear on Refugees in Arab World: The “plan did not show what would be the fate of the Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and other Arab and foreign countries.”

* Settlements: the plan talks about keeping big settlements in the West Bank, and to start negotiations on smaller settlements within three months.

* Demilitarization: The Palestinian state would be demilitarized.

* Airspace: Israel exercises control of the airspace above the Palestinian state.

* Factions as Parties: “The new U.S. plan calls for turning the different armed Palestinian factions into political parties which condemn the use of violence against Israel,” said Khraisha.

* Palestinian prisoners: The plan includes an Israeli release of a number of prisoners from its jails as soon as a permanent peace agreement is signed between Israel and the PNA. The prisoners’ release would take three years.

Khraisha, who declined to say from where he got the draft, said that the U.S. administration had finalized the plan with the assistance of some Jewish figures specialized in the Israeli-Palestinian affairs.

Khraisha opposes the U.S. plan, saying “it means to dwarf the Palestinian political project and smashes the legitimate rights of the Palestinians in two basic issues, Jerusalem and the refugees return.”

“The plans and declarations of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to start building up the establishments and the institutions of the future Palestinian statehood might be made in accordance with the U.S. peace plan,” said Khraisha.

He said that the PNA “might deal with the plan, which is very dangerous and it comes in a status of Palestinian weakness due to the current political rift between Hamas and Fatah.”

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