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We versus the United Nations
By: Mohammad Al-Sahli
September 9, 2017

A few weeks to hold the session of UN General Assembly. The leaders of States and their representatives will present their affairs, concerns and interests of others. Of course, the Palestinian issue will be on the agenda of this international forum.

On each session, the leadership of Palestinian Authority announces its intention to take unprecedented "new" steps that place the Israeli occupation under the microscope of international law, by resorting to the international institutions, especially the "International Criminal Court" on the crimes of occupation, including settlements.

With the exception of fall of 2012, the meetings of the General Assembly are adjourned, while the Palestinian presence has turned into a petition against the occupation measures, which is about the violation of the rights of Palestinian people. The "intentions" of prosecuting Israel remain mere signs that are waiting the survival of settlement process from its clinical death.

Trump's administration continues to hint that it is "interested" in launching the settlement process again, but it does not offer the Palestinian negotiator any clear answer to many of his questions about the determinants of American vision for this settlement, and the role that Washington can play toward it. Trump's administration only needs "little" time to clarify its vision as Kouchner, the advisor of US President, says.

On the other hand, this administration does not need enough time to know what the Palestinian Authority should or should not do. In the priority of these prohibitions, is the resorting to United Nations and its institutions due to the crimes that have been committed by the occupation.

According to the United States' vision throughout its administrations, which accompanied the settlement process, it is forbidden to propose any of the key issues of Israeli-Palestinian conflict outside the negotiating table, even if the settlement process is frozen or stopped. But what is new with Trump's administration, is that it completely separates between the «duties» that the PA has to do and the Palestinian rights that would be probably taken into consideration, by US administration when the settlement process and resumption of negotiations are revived.

Over time, Trump's administration continues to reduce the expectations of Palestinian negotiator, and explains to him that many of conflict's issues are based on the material facts that the occupation has applied on the land. These issues are including: settlements, Jerusalem and borders, which are the basic pillars that enable the establishment of a Palestinian state, in case that it is resolved in accordance with the relevant resolutions of international legitimacy.

What has already been presented, assures the congruence of positions of Washington and Tel Aviv, and this is, what has removed the concern which has been expressed by the Israeli governments, whenever the talk about the need to revive the process of settlement and resumption of negotiations is renewed, especially since both the Trump administration and Netanyahu's government are agreed upon the deal of «regional peace» and focusing on the Palestinian subject to improve the standard of living of population in the occupied Palestinian territories by the 1967 aggression.

Therefore, when Washington asks the PA leadership not to talk about the conflict issues before the United Nations, this request does not come as there is a counter-proposal in return, i.e. there is no deal that the PA can wait for. Therefore, the freezing of effort towards the United Nations is a purely concession for free.

In fall of 2012, the General Assembly of United Nations was a battlefield for a political, diplomatic and legal battle which was won by the Palestinians. The Assembly approved, with the majority of its members, to promote the status of Palestine in the international forum, and Palestine has been recognized as a state under occupation with borders of 4 of June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital. In accordance with that, it had a chance to affiliate to dozens of international organizations, including the International Criminal Court, Geneva Accords and their annexes.

This achievement was preceded by American and Israeli pressure and also was accompanied by threats of financial, economic sanctions and others. However, the availability of a unified political will to complete the Palestinian effort, pushed most of the members of General Assembly to stand by the Palestinian side's demand and to vote for it, in the light of "equality" in the counting of votes, where there is no veto. But the leadership of PA was satisfied with this, and it did not respond to the national calls that demanded the completion of Palestinian achievement and then submitting a request to grant Palestine full membership in United Nations, in conjunction with activating the Palestinian membership in the ICC and to file complaints against the crimes of occupation. It was clear, that the Palestinian Authority exceeded its hesitation, when it went towards the United Nations, but it did not exceed the political ceiling that remained without an open battle with the occupation in the field and policy, which was an obstacle in the way of the Palestinian national action.

So far, there are no serious indications, that the PA will probably repeat its experience of exceeding its hesitation as it did in 2012. Thus, its policy of waiting, will stay stable, but this time without declared promises, except for partial steps of an economic nature, without reaching the establishment of the State of Palestine.

Within this equation, there is nothing to make the occupation worry, on the day of holding the General Assembly, as happened years ago. However, Tel Aviv is preparing to attend the meetings of next session, to prevent any steps or proposals which will affect the occupation and its projects, satisfied with the American pressure on the United Nations to prevent the declaration of a "blacklist" of companies linked to settlement and financing it, which is prepared by the UN Human Rights Council.

Despite Tel Aviv's declaration of disregard for the resolutions of United Nations General Assembly, it does not turn its back on what is happening or will probably take place under its ceiling. From now on, and perhaps even earlier, the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government are forming a joint operation room, to prevent any resolution that contradicts with the interests of Jewish state, whether through Palestinians or others. With the visit of the Secretary-General of International Organization, Guterres, to Israel, there are many files that have been opened, most notably is: Tel Aviv's seeking to cancel or freeze the impact of a package of resolutions that were taken in favor of the Palestinian people, especially in the UN Human Rights Council; Tel Aviv also has recorded a number of positions and statements of the Secretary-General, which were made for its favor, including the prevention of publication of the ESCWA report, which describes Israel as an apartheid state, and led to the resignation of Rima Khalaf, Deputy Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for West Asia.

Therefore, if the PA continues to refrain from heading to the United Nations, this international forum will remain a wide field for the occupying state and Washington, to put pressure for delegitimizing the legitimacy resolutions that supported the Palestinians' rights.

If the approach of withdrawing from the battles continues one by one, the door will be widely open for the application of "Netanyahu's economic peace" within the “deal of the century”, or without it.

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: Hassan Barazi
Revised by: Ibrahim Motlaq

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