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Britain must support Palestinian demand for statehood

Mahmoud Abbas is right to go ahead with his application for Palestinian statehood at the UN later this week. If there were any doubts about it, the facrt that the US and its protege Israel are so frantically trying to block it suggests it must be the right move. The fact that the US is so fanatically and unreasoningly committed to supporting each and every act of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, and that Israel is so uncompromisingly opposed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, really give the Palestinians little choice. Not that it will achieve much except the right to take Israel before the International Criminal Court to put Israel in the dock over the abuses of the occupation and to seek sanctions against both the country and its leaders.

The truth is, the Palestinians are being squeezed mercilessly and the more they succumb to Western pressures, the worse their subjugation becomes. Blair, as representative for the Quartet powers of the US, EU, UN and Russia but in reality more of a US neocon than a serious diplomat, has actually been pressing the Palestinians to accept the expansion of Israeli settlements (so that Israel doesn’t even have to offer land swaps), recognise that Israel is a Jewish state (so that there is no right of return for Palestinian refugees whom israel drove out in the nakba in 1948), and make a clear break with Hamas (which would re-ignite the fighting in Gaza and probably in the West Bank too). Blair, as the Middle East warmonger he proved himself to be, is actually forcing demands on these points down Palestinian throats which even Israeli premiers were partially prepared to make some concessions on.

But the Palestinian position is certainly not without hope. Whilst the ‘peace process’ is nothing more than a charade behind which the pell-mell construction of new settlements continues apace so that Israel can then demand that any future negotiations must recognise the new reality on the ground, a major new front is being opened up by developments in Egypt, Jordan and above all Turkey. Israel’s increasing isolation within the Middle East region, reinforced by its obstinate refusal to apologise for the killing of 9 Turks when its warships intercepted the flotilla bound for Gaza, may well make the cost of its colonial occupation significantly higher, and that is the only factor which may make Israel move. Defying the US threat to veto the UN bid could just be the beginning of a new balance of forces in the region which, whatever the immediate costs, could open up a breakthrough which the previous discredited ‘peace process’ never could.

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