Reasoning September: An attempt of an average Palestinian to Reason the UN statehood bid.
Part One: Representational Dilemma
Here comes September. The long-awaited month has finally arrived and brought with it a severe public controversy over the ramifications of the PA’s proposal for statehood at the UN.
The following is just a simple attempt from an average Palestinian to reason the justifications behind the PA’s unreasonable step.
To claim that an average Palestinian is to take the time to think of the political and legal indications of such a move is to be misleading. An average Palestinian might in fact be the least interested whether a state would be declared in September or not, yet he is the one whose life is most profoundly influenced by the sequences of any hasty act of folly by the PA demonstrated by long history of disappointing actions. This is for sure is not an undermining of the Palestinian’s public political awareness for they are the ones who live the sequences of any step or measure suggested or implemented by the PA. Therefore, they definitely have more priorities than to think of the consequences. They would rather be preoccupied with the struggle to survive the consequences of yet other foolish actions that have been long undertaken by their wise political government.
I will not claim to be objective. I do oppose a September state. However, due to the last controversy over the implications of the state, it dawned on me that, “Maybe, this time I was being unjust to the PA, and maybe there’s this little chance that the PA would do something in the interest of the Palestinians. After all, how unjust and foolish could they go?”
I am a refugee. Who is to represent me?
Amongst those public debates whether this bid would endanger the Palestinians in anyway possible was the discussion over representation. Who Would represent the Palestinians? And whom exactly would this state represent?
Are there any threats jeopardizing the rights of more than 9 million Palestinians of whom only less than half the population lives in the Gaza Strip and the West bank, the territories to be declared as the Palestinian state?
If the PLO, the sole legitimate representative of Palestinians at home and in Diaspora, which is not defined by territory but rather by the Palestinians as a people would be replaced with the Palestinian state contained with the borders of 1967, then what is the destiny of millions of Palestinian refugees living outside the borders? Would they be also part of the Palestine state? Would this declaration affect their inalienable right of return?
the PLO has been representing the Palestinian people, internationally and within the United Nations [UN] since 1965 acting in the name of the totality of the Palestinians whether in Palestine or displaced. The PLO, thus, is already recognized as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian People in the UN, confirming all political rights of the Palestinians including that of self-determination and right of return. If that’s so, why is there a need to replace the PLO with another representative whose authority is going to be territorially controlled and who’s not representative of over half the Palestinian population living elsewhere?
According to the recent opinion of Professor Goodwin-Gill, the Palestinian refugees “constitute more than half of the people of Palestine, and if they are ‘disenfranchised’ and lose their representation in the UN, it will not only prejudice their entitlement to equal representation, contrary to the will of the General Assembly, but also their ability to vocalise their views, to participate in matters of national governance, including the formation and political identity of the State, and to exercise the right of return”
Now, let’s go along with the PA’s claimed assumption that the statehood bid would not lead to such a deadlock as Boyle purport in his response to Goodwin’s memorandum.
What would be the destiny of the refugees of 1948 living within the borders of the coming Palestinian state preoccupying over twenty refugee camps dotted along the Gaza strip and the West bank?
Going back home would not be a legitimate option considering the fact that what lies beyond the 1967 would be recognized as another sovereign Jewish state upon which they have no claims of land or ownership. A return to their homes lying within the Jewish state is impossible. Their right of return is consequently dropped.
For those refugees, would the September state offer any compensations? Or would they grant them full citizenship? Their temporary camps turning into neighbourhoods of the new state and their ruthless conditions into a permanent struggle for life is the cost of the quest for a Palestinian state. They have also to endure living in the conditions of poverty after the “UNRWA”, “Relief and Work agency” reduces or even cuts off the aid upon which thousands of refugee families survive.
Who is to represent me? I did not vote for the PA.
For almost two decades, the PA has been assuming its representation of the Palestinian people based on the Oslo Accords.
The PA, however, falls short of the questions of genuine democratic representation.
The last democratic elections took place over five years ago. Ever since, democratic elections have been ignored and suspended after the last ones have led to the severe fragmentation of both Gaza and the West Bank leaving Palestinians with two governments, both not representative of the total interest and will of the Palestinian people. Therefore, it is no wonder that young Palestinians, who did not practice their fundamental democratic right of enfranchisement and who are aware of the follies of the PA, are shouting very fiercely against it or even calling for dissolving it.
This of course delegitimizes any further step the PA takes on behalf of the Palestinian people, for it is not the real representative of the Palestinian people residing in Gaza and the West Bank, let alone the already disenfranchised population of Palestinians who definitely did not vocalize their votes in favour of a Palestinian Authority in any of the few elections held since Oslo.
Proceeded by the non-representative non-accountable PA, the prospective consequences of the bid are not promising but rather risky. Palestinians, of course are not to blame for untrusting their fragmented leadership after a series of unfolding shocking truths of how the Palestinian cause is being dealt with in the negotiation rooms and how much this leadership is ready to offer or concede.
The fact that the new state is offering no reform of the Palestinian leadership tells how unpromising such a move is. One cannot but imagine the forthcoming state as both unchanged and more fragmented. Therefore, A state that offers nothing new, that is led by the same dissent leadership, that imposes any risk no matter how little on the right of the Palestinians sounds like the very definition of insanity.