Ramallah and bribing Israel. Time to fire Saeb Erekat.

Sami Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah, 20 Nov 2010

Thanks to Mahmoud Abbas and his brilliant negotiating team, they helped Israel turn around the issue of settlements from a source of punishment to a source of rewards. Not so sure if President Mahmoud Abbas whose term expired some times ago, will ever realize that his way and the negotiating team he is relying on will bring nothing but one disaster after another.

It seems that he and his team has not and will not learn from years of consistent failures in managing the negotiations with Israel and irreparable harms he and his team are causing the people inside under the occupation and in the Diaspora.

I am sure Mahmoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat as his chief negotiator does not realize what they are doing and how their reckless incompetent mismanagement of the negotiations is becoming a windfall for Israel and Bin Netanyahu.

For the two month freeze Abbas and his team insisted on as a condition of direct negotiations the US as a bribe, paid Israel one billion for each month of the temporary freeze and once the temporary freeze was over the Israeli government and the Jewish Settlers/Squatters more than double the construction making up for time loss. Perhaps Mahmoud Abbas and his chief negotiator can tell us what they have achieved during these two months when they sat face to face with Israel? We know what Israel got and what the government did, not sure if Mahmoud Abbas and his team can tell us anything, because they got nothing, absolutely nothing in return.

Bibi Netanyahu the smart and conniving man he is knew President Obama does not have the courage or the will to stand up to Israel and is venerable before and after mid-term elections and he knew he can successfully milk the US out of tens of billions in aids and other guarantees for additional periods of “temporary freeze”. Mahmoud Abbas and his brilliant team are solely responsible for making it possible for the US to bribe Israel and handing over aid packages to Israel on golden platter.

Abbas and his team has been negotiating with successive Israeli governments for years, while Israel continued with its settlements policies expanding settlements, continuing with building the Apartheid Wall, continued with systematic expulsions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem and continued with its policies of house demolitions and allowing and providing covers for marauding Jewish Settlers/Squatters to rein terror against unarmed and unprotected Palestinians farmers and villagers. Again, perhaps Mahmoud Abbas and his brilliant chief negotiator can tell us what they achieved all these years, other than continued cooperation between the Israel’s High Commissioner for Judea and Samaria and the Palestinian Security Forces.

It is clear, so far Mahmoud Abbas and his negotiating team did not finish what Arafat set out to do in Oslo, not liberation and ending the Jewish Occupation but the continued management of the Jewish Occupation as one sure way to keep the PLO/Fatah in business. As long as there is a Jewish Occupation, the PLO/Fatah will remain in business. What is surprising is the intensity of and loyal support Ramallah gives to Tel-Aviv in its efforts to blackmail the US. Perhaps Ramallah will be seeking better terms for its management deal with Israel, perhaps its is seeking more and more funding for its Security Forces to be more effective in providing higher level of cooperation with Israel and more intensive security for Israel’s armed forces and its criminal settlers.

So far the US is offering Israel some $20 Billions in bribes and is offering Israel security guarantees and written commitments to offer is ready veto against any efforts to bring the issue of the Jewish Occupation, East Jerusalem, the Apartheid Wall, the Jewish Settlements, and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, not to mention the continued house demolitions before the UN Security Council. All of this is in exchange for 90 days temporary freeze. Again, perhaps Mahmoud Abbas and his brilliant negotiating team can tell us what they will get in return for agreeing to go back to direct negations? If the past is an indications of the future, they will get nothing for the people, perhaps they will succeed in getting some additional VIP passes and allowing senior PLO official to use their private cars as they cross to Jordan.

We can understand the reasons for Arafat not seeking any legal and professional help in negotiating Oslo, but we could not understand why Mahmoud Abbas continue to rely on the same failed team and will not go out of the circle of the incompetent team within the PLO and seek the help of professional from among the Diaspora Palestinians, even seeking the help from international legal and professional experts. Time to fire Saeb Erekat and the entire PLO/Fatah team.

Sami Jadallah

Sami Jamil Jadallah

Born in the Palestinian city of El-Bireh ( presently under Israeli Military Occupation, Armed Jewish thugs and settlers). Immigrated to the US in 62. After graduating from high school in Gary, Indiana was drafted into the US Army ( 66-68) received the Leadership Award from the US 6th Army NCO Academy in Ft. Lewis, Washington. Five of us brothers where in US military service about the same time. Graduated from Indiana University with BA-72, Master of Public Affairs-74 and Juris Doctor-77, and in senior year at IU,was elected Chairman of the Indiana Student Association. Sami Jamil Jadallah is an international legal and business consultant and is the founder and director of Palestine Agency and Palestine Documentation Center www.palestineagency.com and founder and owner of several business in technology and services. Sami also runs an online website (Jefferson Corner)

“It’s like a situation where two people are sitting negotiating over a piece of cheese…”

Mustafa Barghouthi
Palestine Monitor, 4 September 2010

MARK COLVIN: Direct formal Middle East peace talks begin in Washington tomorrow, after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas had separate meetings with Barack Obama at the White House today.

President Obama is pushing hard for a return to a real peace process, and the leaders of Jordan and Egypt are also there to push things forward.

But Hamas killed four Israelis in the West Bank as the conference was being prepared, and the history of these processes is not particularly optimistic.

Mustafa Barghouti is an independent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

He finished second to Mahmoud Abbas in the 2005 Palestinian presidential election.

He told me he was still deeply sceptical because of the Israeli refusal to freeze settlements while the negotiations go on.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: It’s like a situation where two people are sitting negotiating over a piece of cheese and while one side is talking the other side, the Israeli side, is eating it.

How can we have products or produce results if one side is taking over the land and the water and the roads and creating a system of apartheid on the ground and refuses even to freeze these processes while we talk?

I think this is just a way of gaining time from their perspective to impose their unilateral outcome which is nothing but an apartheid segregation system that will not create peace but will create more violence and more conflict.

MARK COLVIN: But from the Israeli perspective it’s surely just as unhelpful to have four Israelis killed by Hamas?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Yes. Because Hamas is not part of this process and Hamas could have been part of this process if Israel and the United States did not oppose our efforts to have a national unity government. You see now they have Mr Abbas who is alone; he’s not representing the majority of the Palestinians.

Most Palestinians are against these talks. Most political forces are out of the system and when we said we should be there on a democratic basis, that democratic elections should be respected like they were respected in Israel, nobody listened.

MARK COLVIN: Should Hamas be part of the process even if they don’t sign a piece of paper admitting that Israel has a right to exist?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: Yes. We want to sign a piece of paper where Israel recognises Palestinians and Palestinians recognise Israel. That’s what was done in ’93 but Palestinians recognised Israel and Israel never recognised Palestinian state. Now the Israelis say you have to change your declaration and recognise us as a Jewish state.

So it’s an endless story with the Israelis. We need equality. We need a system, a terms of reference that gives equal rights to equal people. What is happening here is that he Israelis want to say security before peace.

You speak about four Israelis that I feel very sorry that they have been killed, but nobody speaks about the 1,400 Palestinians who were killed in Gaza, including 410 children. Are we equal human beings in this conflict or not? That is the problem and the Israelis insist on treating us in a way of racism; not accepting Palestinians as equal human beings.

MARK COLVIN: But I return to the point that you have to start somewhere; how would you propose to get the Israelis to come to a table and to freeze the settlements?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I think the right way to do it is to apply the road map; a complete freeze of Israeli settlement activities and clear terms of reference would see that this conflict would be resolved on the basis of international law and UN resolutions.

What we want is international legitimacy. What we want as people who have been under occupation for more than 43 years now and who have been dispossessed and deprived of our rights for more than 100 years; all we want is freedom. All we want is that we and the Israelis live in peace and coexistence, respecting each other; respecting each other’s security. This is what we want.

MARK COLVIN: I know that you preach a non-violent approach to all this, but Mr Abbas also does; where are the big differences between you?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: The difference is that Mr Abbas is going into negotiations without any guarantees that they will work or give results. I have myself been before the Madrid process, which was based on international law. The difference is that we say we should struggle peacefully and non-violently; while he doesn’t believe that struggle would make any difference. I believe in people’s power. I believe that people can make a difference. And when I say people I don’t mean only Palestinians, I also mean the Israeli peace activists who come and demonstrate with us every week. I think that the people have a say in this process and this should not be an elitist process. I also believe in democracy. I believe peace cannot be achieved without it being held between two democracies and that means respecting democratic rights of Palestinians and their freedom of choice.

MARK COLVIN: But wouldn’t it be the case that most Palestinians still believe that they can’t get what they want without armed struggle? You’re in a minority in other words.

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: No. This was the case before and I think in the last polls that were conducted in the last few months, 70 per cent of the Palestinians have a belief in non-violent resistance, in non-violent struggle. And I think we could lose that majority as a matter of fact if these talks fail again.

That’s why we warned and said don’t lose this opportunity because this seems to be the last opportunity to have a two-state solution. In my opinion there is a process of destruction of the last potential for a Palestinian state because of settlement activities and because of the building of apartheid wall which is three times the length and twice as high as the Berlin wall used to be.

MARK COLVIN: What you’ve just said though does indicate that you have some small flicker of hope that this could produce something, these talks?

MUSTAFA BARGHOUTI: I never give up hope and I never say we should close doors for good things. If these talks come up with a real Palestinian state and a real peace based on coexistence and mutual recognition and a respect of each other’s right, I would be the first to welcome them.

MARK COLVIN: Mustafa Barghouti, an independent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, on the phone from Ramallah.