These worries are not unfounded if one considers the Palestinian politicians preparing the statehood bid: the venal clique surrounding Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority “president” whose term expired almost three years ago. Abbas and his circle are not merely unelected; their party was actually thrown out of office in the last Palestinian elections in 2006.
Shrouded in mystery, their current bid is consistent with the pattern they established during the endless secret negotiations of a two-decade peace process whose only tangible result has been to give them a fleeting taste of power while leading their people deeper and deeper into a morass. Indifferent to the democratic tide sweeping the Arab world, they neither have, nor have they sought, a popular mandate for the gamble they are undertaking. Indeed, many Palestinian observers see the current U.N. gambit as yet another cynical maneuver that has more to do with resuscitating a failed two-state strategy —and Abbas’ own waning political fortunes — than with genuine concern for his people’s inalienable rights.
Interesting that he’s spinning the Arab Spring as a threat to the PLO leadership instead of Israel. Makdisi channels his inner Khaled Abu Toameh, who — for different reasons — also slams Abbas’ mandate to lead.
• How can Tony Karon write this?
It’s notable, actually, that while the Palestinians are represented at the U.N. by aging veterans (and 18-year beneficiaries) of the Oslo process, Israel today is led by younger men who came of age fiercely opposing Oslo, their boundless, uh, confidence honed by their success in stopping it in its tracks, and by their ability to bend the White House to their will. It appears, sometimes, that while the Palestinian leadership is trying in vain to complete a process that stalled a decade ago, the Israelis have moved on, and are dictating the game.
Actually, it was the Palestinians who collapsed Oslo with a deadly intifada. Bibi’s opposition to Oslo was through political means, not violence. And, he honored the agreements signed by his predecessor, Yitzhak Rabin.
• On a different note (pun intended), a bunch of musicians wrote a letter to the Daily Telegraph expressing support for the four members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra recently suspended in a row over the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s disrupted concert. Although the letter claims that it’s common practice for musicians to state their affiliation, none of the signatories bothered to do so.