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The last hour’s «Directives»
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
November 2, 2016

The experience has confirmed that there is no practical value to statements made by US presidents on the end of their presidency.

The US administration wants its president to spend the rest of his last presidency away from the « hustle » of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So, it asked Ramallah and Tel Aviv not to do what would disturb the very soon outgoing president.

The details of the order were visible in direct contacts with both sides. As for Netanyahu, he should calm the predominance of the settlement, and for the official Palestinian leadership to move away from the arbitration of the United Nations and its institutions regarding the settlement and other crimes of the occupation.

The new thing, is what was requested by the US administration from Netanyahu, but what was requested from the Palestinian side is a fixed American policy that has worked on fixing the Palestinian negotiator in the corner that it has put him in it since the signing of the Oslo agreement.

For this reason, the severe response to the American demand came by the head of the Israeli government, who considered president Obama as an existential enemy for settlement; although Washington did not intend to take any practical action that could threaten Israel's expansionist policy.

Since the early days of his assuming to the presidency of his first government (2009) Netanyahu presented himself as a protector of the settlement and its continuation to expand in Jerusalem and throughout the occupied Palestinian Bank. He gained electorally from behind his policies and positions towards the ways of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he overran the Zionist right extremists and put them all under his «influence».

When President Obama was at the beginning of his first presidency, Netanyahu faced him since his speech in Cairo in the summer of 2009 in which he talked about the need for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and stressed on the necessity of freezing the settlement.

While Obama was selling promises to the «leaders» of the region so they can depend on them in managing their own governance, Netanyahu was fighting a battle with him from his awareness of the nature of the strategic relationship that binds between Washington and Tel Aviv , so, and since the second half of the year 2010, the manifestation of the American position on the settlement appeared clearly and it turned straight towards the Palestinian negotiator exclusively, and since then , Netanyahu has picked the fruits of these relations in light of the equations that govern the settlement without substantial change. So, If Netanyahu had fought a battle with Obama in the beginning of his presidency, it is normal that he launches a sharp attack on the president, who is arranges his bags to leave the White House, which is an additional chance to win.

However, Netanyahu does not hide his concern that Obama could make an initiative that «does not agree with the interests of Israel», as quoted by the Hebrew newspapers, linking the matter to repeated experiments carried out by the former American presidents on the outskirts of the end of their presidency. From this angle, Netanyahu put his «settlement» team in a state of alert, as he considers that the settlement is in a grave danger in the period between the conduct of US elections and the end of Obama's presidency in the beginning of next year.

Over his previous governments, this tense atmosphere was the dynamic environment in which Netanyahu was moving actively and freely; whatever that means from the repercussions on the Israeli political and partisan scene. Even though this «danger» that he is talking about, is just a scarecrow, but the long-standing experience has not seen any practical embodiment for any statement against Tel Aviv, uttered by any of the outgoing presidents.

The most important, is that many of the indicators do not indicate that Obama will make any initiative at this level, and if that happened, it will be within accurate calculations fearing of harming the Democratic Party’s candidate in the US presidential elections. If Obama's famous speech in Cairo entered the stage of corrosion, from the moment that this speech was over, what Netanyahu afraid from, is just a re-present of himself as a protector of the settlement.

Both Netanyahu and Obama got their positions in the same year (2009), and here is the Israeli prime minister trying to accumulate the factors that can help him to continue in his office to receive the new American president and to complete together the path of confirming the strategic relations between the two sides.

On the Palestinian side, it differs a lot. Since Obama's speech in Cairo, the Palestinian negotiator saw for the first time a President of the United States who calls to freeze the settlement and to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes. For the first time, the Palestinian negotiator says that the necessity of this freezing is an inevitable introduction to return to the negotiations; after about 16 years of negotiations, the settlement was the only that is moving in the settlement process.

So the observers understood from the emphasis of the Palestinian negotiator on freezing settlement that it is a satisfaction by the position of the American President about it. So, when Washington stressed its pressure on him, he joined the direct negotiations at the beginning of the month of September of 2010, even though Netanyahu has not committed to settlements freezing that he announced it nominally for ten months before the start of the approximate negotiations which they did not lead to any result, and that is the condition which was set by the US « sponsor » to move to the« direct » negotiations.

The big failure in this path has led to the «subordination» of the Palestinian negotiator to the Palestinian popular and political consensus pressure, and on that basis the Palestinian endeavor sat off towards the United Nations and succeeded in issuing a resolution from the General Assembly to upgrade the status of Palestine and the recognition of it as a state under occupation, on the borders of June 4th 1967 with its capital East Jerusalem.

When Washington and Tel Aviv failed to prevent Palestine from joining a significant number of the international institutions, particularly the Criminal Court, they increased their pressures on the Palestinian side in order not to judge the occupation for its crimes, including the settlements. Since the year 2012, in which the status of Palestine was upgraded in the international forum, its membership hasn’t been activated in the relevant institutions, for the accountability of the occupation crimes.

Important steps the Palestinians can do at the United Nations, and, if the Security Council fail to take decisions in favor of the Palestinian people's rights, the United Nations General Assembly shall give them serious opportunities to achieve this, among these opportunities, depending on the resolution of the recognition of Palestine across presenting a draft resolution in accordance with the principle of «United for peace» to ensure the recognition of Palestine as a full member in the United Nations, and a draft resolution to protect the land of Palestine and its people and pushing for an international conference under the patronage of the United Nations and the permanent members at the Security Council with the reference of the relevant international legitimacy resolutions.

This is the response to the US pressure and Washington directives to the Palestinians by lay down their available arms while they are in the face of a raging battle … from one side.


Mohammad Al-Sahli is the editor in Chief of Al-Hourriah newspaper, the official speaker of Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine

Translated by: Al-Hourriah English staff


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