ABU DHABI, 2nd October 2015 (WAM) – Four newspapers commented today voiced dismay at the stalemate situation of the Palestinian-Israeli talks, after President Mahmoud Abbas announced Wednesday that his country would not be bound by the Oslo accords.
Khaleej Times: The Palestine cause is alive, but unwell When Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said his country would not be bound by the Oslo accords on Wednesday, he was venting the helplessness of his people living under Israeli yoke for more than six decades. He appeared a tired man, losing patience with the world that has moved on, trying to quell conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The only consolation for the 80-year-old leader was the raising of his country’s flag at the United Nations in New York. A symbol that the Palestinian cause is alive, but unwell.
What we often forget is the root of modern conflicts, the Palestine issue, is yet to be resolved. It has been stalled, sealed shut by Israeli intransigence even as Tel Aviv continues its expansion into Palestinian territories by building new settlements.
Abbas was also expressing his frustration at diplomatic efforts to take the peace process forward with third-party negotiation. He didn’t say violence was an option, but he knows he would not be able to stop his people from taking that route again because they have had enough talking peace. The yoke is too heavy to bear. The Palestine economy in both the West Bank and Gaza is controlled by Israel, which views security above humanity.
Smoking the peace pipe with different regimes in Israel has been an exercise in futility. Palestinians are clearly weary walking the road to reconciliation. The West tried its hand with the Middle East Peace Quartet helmed by Tony Blair which focused on behind-the-scenes diplomacy but had nothing to show for the efforts.
Israel and the Palestinian Territories have coordinated to maintain security in the area. Even that is under threat. Nonviolent resistance against Israel is an option, but what if the aggressor is unmoved and the West is looking elsewhere to make peace. Should the Palestinians get active at the global diplomatic level to press for sanctions against Israel? How will they do it without Hamas and Fatah coming together first? Abbas and his people are currently stranded in a ‘peaceful conflict zone’, forsaken, with no one looking their way. Israel insists on direct talks, while Palestine officials say the Oslo accords signed in the 1990s, which envisage a two-state solution, should be the basis of any future negotiation.
The Oslo agreements, signed in 1993, were to be implemented in five years but both parties pulled in different directions. The two-state solution has taken a blow. To revive it, both sides should come together. But how? Will a little nudge from the US and the United Nations help? Despite its many failures in the region, the US holds some clout over Israel, at least at the moral level. It’s still the most honest broker – unless it wants to cede space to Russia like it did in Syria.
Gulf News: Abbas should stop cooperation with Israel now Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a confused speech at the United Nations General Assembly in which he gave the appearance of ending the Oslo Accords. But a close reading of his words shows that this “ending” is only threatened, and Abbas’ complicated language hints that it will only happen if the Israelis persist in continuous violations of the agreement, which he is careful to leave undefined, thereby giving himself lots of room to dodge his promise.
This is ridiculous. Israeli outrages continue every day and their latest series of gross infringements on Al Haram Al Sharif only make more obvious their underlying hope to exterminate Palestinian society. The scale of Israeli action against Palestinians should have led to the ending of all relations months ago, but this is something that Abbas failed to do.
Unfortunately, Abbas has made these kinds of threats in the past, but he never carried out his threats. He is well aware that it sounds dramatic when he tells the UN that “the Palestinians are no longer bound by mutual agreements with Israel” and says that there is no reason for the Palestinians to remain faithful to the Oslo Accords as long as the Israelis were not.
But all this is mere bluster unless Abbas steps down and terminates the existence of the Palestinian National Authority. This threat would be a genuine challenge to Israel because it would force the Zionists to take full responsibility for their actions, rather than hiding behind their allies in the Palestinian institutions on the West Bank.
Abbas should only be congratulated when the Palestinian security forces stop cooperating with the Israelis and he actually leaves office.
Until then, he remains in power and the Israelis continue to build their colonies and walk on to Al Aqsa Mosque whenever they want. A Palestinian flag flying in New York outside the UN building will make no difference to the grim reality in the Occupied Territories.
Gulf Today: Accords have no meaning for Israel Even as the Palestinians raised their flag at the United Nations for the first time, President Mahmoud Abbas kept his promise to drop a bombshell: He declared that he was no longer bound by agreements signed with Israel.
That’s indeed a sensible way to wake up the international community to the atrocities being committed by Israel, which has repeatedly and unabashedly sabotaged all efforts to find a peaceful two-state solution and got away with its continuing aggression.
Abbas’ call underscores the urgency of the need to rein in Israel before it is too late.
It should be noted that a recent poll found that most Palestinians favour a return to Intifada in the absence of peace talks and unending repression by the occupation forces.
The world should take a serious note of Israel’s refusal to commit to signed agreements. It has time and again snubbed the international community by declining to cease settlement activities.
It is not just that. Israel has refused to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners despite agreeing to do so.
What’s the use of agreements if Israel’s only intention is to continuously violate them? Israel’s frequent, systematic incursions upon Al Aqsa Mosque aims at imposing a new reality and such actions definitely create an explosive situation.
There is need for a more active push to the peace process and in that sense the Middle East Quartet’s decision to consult with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Arab League Secretary-General as part of its contact with key Arab partners to resolve the Palestinian issue is a welcome step.
The group has emphasised the importance of constructive international contributions to advancing a comprehensive peace and it is good that it has vowed to continue its efforts.
The Quartet – the US, EU, Russia and the UN – has also correctly expressed serious concern at continued acts of violence against Palestinians, ongoing settlement activity and the high rate of demolitions of Palestinian structures.
Its observation that such activities dangerously imperil the viability of a two-state solution hits the nail on the head.
The continued occupation of the West Bank, settlement expansion and blockade of the Gaza Strip are all condemnable actions that Israel has managed to get away with for too long.
Palestine, which is an observer state in the United Nations, surely deserves full recognition and full membership.
Until then, as Abbas says, the United Nations should provide international protection for the Palestinian people in accordance with international humanitarian law.
The National: Palestinians need action, not rhetoric Of all the discussions in the United Nations general assembly this year, Palestine hasn’t been top of the agenda. The Palestine conflict paled in comparison to debate about the Syrian civil war and Europe’s refugee crisis. This is understandable given Russia’s latest foray into Syria, but the fact remains that the resolution of the Palestine conflict is still at the heart of any lasting Middle East peace.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas promised a “bombshell” in the days leading up to his remarks in front of the general assembly. What he delivered on Wednesday was a stark warning to the international community that the Palestinians would no longer honour accords with Israel. Referencing the 1994 Oslo Accords, which were designed to be a vehicle for Palestinian statehood that would facilitate an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1999, Mr Abbas said that Israel had violated nearly every facet of the agreement. He is right. Israeli settlement activity has skyrocketed and Tel Aviv’s control over the West Bank has never been as strong as it is today.
Oslo has failed the Palestinians and allowed Israel to entrench its settlement enterprise on the West Bank and create an unjust status quo that prevents the end of the occupation. As such, the Palestinians must jolt the international community into changing the complexion of the conflict.
The Palestinian issue remains at the heart of a regional peace and, as such, the international community can ill afford to let it enter into a new cycle of bloodletting. Israel’s belligerent behaviour against the Palestinians lays the groundwork for renewed and sustained fighting that could exceed that of the Second Intifada, which broke out in 2000.
The difficult work begins now for Mr Abbas and the rest of the Palestinian leadership. Since Tel Aviv benefits tremendously by having PA security forces control Palestinians on the West Bank at its behest, Ramallah must think hard about a unilateral dissolution of the PA’s security cooperation with Israel. Reforming the PA – itself a creation of the Oslo Accords – is another matter requiring debate and action in the near term.
World leaders might be consumed by Syria at the moment but that doesn’t mean that global civil society has forgotten about Palestine. Debate about the conflict is raging, initiatives to boycott Israel as a means of applying pressure on Tel Aviv are growing and the flag of Palestine has been raised at the United Nations. It is time now for Mr Abbas to make good on his threats and force change in the conflict for the better. The region depends on it.