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From the Hague to «UNESCO»
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
July 20, 2017

The official Palestinian leadership still considers the national achievements as a paper for receiving new negotiating proposals.

A sporadic Palestinian route in resorting to the United Nations and its institutions, from the International Court of Justice in The Hague to UNESCO.

In spite of the fewer times where the international organization has been resorted for judgement since the signing of the Oslo Accords, however, the most of the Palestinian attempts in this regard, have achieved tangible results, in favor of the rights of the Palestinian people, and the most prominent of these successful attempts, was the heading to the International Court of Justice in Hague and issuing its advisory decision regarding the Apartheid Wall in the summer of 2004.

As the issued resolutions by the United Nations confirm the validity of the heading towards it, as the sporadic route in that direction raises serious questions about the abstaining of Palestinian official policy from adopting it as a central pillar, in the Palestinian national action directions, and a major impetus for progressing on the path of embodiment of national rights.

The main US goal of not using the veto against the PLO and opening the door for dialogue with it, was to encircle the major Palestinian uprising that broke out in late 1987, and when the US administration began to hint at the possibility of reaching a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the presence of the PLO, it depended on the official Palestinian leadership's estimations which "sensed" at that time , according to its own calculations, that the Intifada had made a long way in which the Palestinians could harvest their fruits.

At that time, many warned of the dangers of American maneuvering and warned that its goal was to abort the uprising politically, after all attempts by the Israeli occupation failed to destroy it on the ground. It was also proven to all, that these attempts, were fueling the Intifada and widening it rather than extinguishing it. Since the Intifada came as a response on the attempts of marginalizing the Palestinian cause and the removal of the PLO from the forefront of the view, at the hands of regional and international parties, it has become clear since then, that the issue of restoring the recognition of the legitimacy of the PLO representation and its unity, even the readiness of Washington itself to dialogue with it, has encouraged the Palestinian official leadership to interact with the American invitation, and it began to spread an illusion that the enemies of the Palestinian people began to review their accounts toward the Palestinian national rights on the impact of the intifada, and that the harvest season has come!

Significant developments in the world and in the region have contributed In the endorsement of the American role towards various issues, including the Arab-Israeli conflict; these developments include the collapse of the socialist states' system, especially the Soviet Union, the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and the formation of a regional international coalition to end it.

With these major developments, the bettors on the American role tried to spread the warning of the consequences of returning to the marginalization of the PLO and the search for a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict at the expense of the Palestinian cause, and they concluded that "the settlement train" in the region has launched, and those who do not follow it , "will fade on the platform of the station".

Since then, the confusion mistake has begun between the international and regional recognition of the Palestinian leadership and its legitimacy, and between the recognition of the national rights of the Palestinian people. Experience has proved, that there is a wide difference between the two recognitions, at least in the US-Israeli dictionary.

Thus, the Madrid process started, which led the international powers that elaborated it towards the route of secret negotiations between the Palestinian negotiator and the occupation, which resulted the Oslo Accords, which its first (American-Israeli) achievements, was cutting the relationship between the Palestinian cause and the United Nations and its resolutions, in accordance with the rules of settlement that was started after the signing of the Accords.

Therefore, any Palestinian attempt to head toward the UN, it was faced by that it contradicts with what has been agreed upon, according to the adopted settlement rules. Israel dealt with Oslo Accords very seriously, through its adherence to its economic and security mechanisms, but as for the issue of ending occupation and its retreat, and the establishment of Palestinian independent state, it considered them as "maneuver of words" to push the Palestinian negotiator toward them to adhere to them. All that time Washington was protecting the Israeli position through its heavy silence on the Israeli evasion from the entitlements of these Accords, with the end of transitional period in the spring of 1999. Washington also, didn’t interfere in preventing Tel Aviv from implementing its decision to build the Apartheid Wall in 2002, although it contradicts with the Oslo Accords themselves and with the all related international resolutions.

All these factors contributed to head to the International Court of Justice in the Hague to discuss the issue of the Apartheid Wall. With the issuing of advisory decision which condemned its construction and called for its removal and to compensate the Palestinians for the damage that they were exposed to, the Palestinian situation had an available opportunity to complete the road to get benefits, from this decision.

At that time, 10 years have passed since the establishment of PA, the dreams and promises of prosperity that were spread by the makers of Oslo vanished. Yet the illusion of betting on the settlement and the role of Washington haven't ended.

This is because the faulty policies that have paved the way to Oslo have become a sole option for their owners and for the political and economic communities, which associated themselves with this option, especially as the institutions of the PA are increasing inflated with an army of staff whose day-to-day lives depend on donors continuing to pump their conditional aids.

With the escalation of Israeli occupation measures and its repeated attacks, the negotiations course was the only available option, for the Palestinian negotiator and his political reference to "hope" for a soon political solution.

There were stages during the course of settlement, where the Palestinian negotiator realized that he was in the narrow corner, especially after the failure of the negotiations in 2010, and perhaps this what made him submitting to the national consensus and moving towards the United Nations, in order to promote the status of Palestine and recognize it. So, despite of the enormous pressure from Washington and Tel Aviv, the Palestinian endeavor succeeded in achieving the recognition of Palestine, as a state under occupation, with the border of June 4th, 1967 with Jerusalem as its capital, and thus, it has joined dozens of UN institutions.

Thus, the door has become open before the Palestinian situation, to complete this option by activating its membership in UN institutions and to push towards prosecuting Israel for its crimes, but the American red line found a response at the official Palestinian leadership, to prove that it is dealing with the achievements as a bargaining paper, that it would give it up, in the context of attracting better negotiating proposals.

What happened regarding the advisory decision of Hague Court, happened toward all the achievements that have been made in the field and politically since the signing of the Oslo Accords, including the decisions of UNESCO and its various committees which reaffirmed on the Palestinian identity of Jerusalem and on the Ibrahimi Mosque as a Palestinian heritage site, on the World Heritage List.

The dilemma is in honoring these achievements without activating them, and without considering the heading towards the United Nations, as a basic step in resisting the occupation, as is the case, in the field of confrontation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Mohammad Al-Sahli is an Editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Translated by: Rwada Abo Zarqa and Manal Mansour
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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