RAMALLAH, September 18 (JMCC) - Academic Henry Siegman writes in a scathing editorial
for Foreign Policy
that Washington must know that, given Israel's right-wing leadership, Palestinians and Israelis will never reach a peace agreement if left to their own devices.
Charging Washington with a lack of political courage, Siegman goes on to blame it for coming insecurity.
The Palestinian crime-- turning to the U.N. for relief from one of the longest military occupations in modern history, in part to deter those within its own ranks who have lost all hope from resort to violence -- that has elicited so draconian an American response might in fact be seen as an act of statesmanship, to be encouraged and rewarded. But stealing the Palestinian people's territorial patrimony -- which is how the U.N. Partition Resolution of 1947 defined not only the West Bank but territory twice its size -- is a crime in international law, as is the transfer of Israel's citizens to those territories. Yet these crimes have never drawn more than empty American reproaches, invariably followed by solemn reaffirmations of the immutability of America's bonds with Israel.
The contrast between America's reaction to Israeli and Palestinian transgressions dramatically illustrates the futility of relying on the U.S. to present the parties with a fair and balanced framework for a final status solution and then using its considerable clout to see to its implementation. Instead, the U.S. can be counted on to make the protection of Israel's interests -- as defined even by its most reactionary and xenophobic governments -- its first priority. The U.S. Congress, if not the White House, will see to that.
President Abbas and his supporters have reason to be confident that in refusing to withdraw their U.N. initiative they have chosen the right course. For Palestinians, as well as the international community, must come to terms with the hard reality that a two state solution will have to be achieved not only without U.S. help but in the face of its opposition. A General Assembly resolution affirming the Palestinians' right to statehood within the 1967 borders and granting them non-member state observer status will not produce immediate progress in ending Israel's occupation. But it is likely to trigger a global reaction to Israel's continuing efforts to dispossess Palestinians from the 22% of Palestine that has been left them. That reaction will have a far better chance of bringing Israelis back to their senses, and to the values of the Jewish state's founders, than any of America's feckless efforts have to date.