Socialist Worker

Abbas plan won’t bring justice for Palestinians

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2271

A demonstration in the West Bank calling for UN recognition of a state of Palestine  (Pic:

A demonstration in the West Bank calling for UN recognition of a state of Palestine (Pic:

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian National Authority president, demanded that Palestine become a United Nations (UN) recognised state last Friday.

The US has pledged to use its veto against the bid, and has already spent weeks manoeuvring to stop it.

Hours after Abbas made his demand, the US, the European Union, Russia and the UN agreed terms to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Most of those demanding a Palestinian state are pleased that Abbas made the call for UN recognition.

Many believe it will help to further Palestine’s demands and security—even people who have no illusions in the UN.

But the situation is far more complex than the headlines let on.

And what would a victory for the Palestinians look like?

Abbas has not demanded the return of all the territory of historic Palestine.

The UN granted the new state of Israel 55 percent of Palestine in 1948.

But Zionist forces mounted a huge assault on the Palestinians—the Nakba, or “catastrophe”.

Thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands driven from their homes. This was a land grab and, once again, Palestine’s area was reduced.


But Abbas is only demanding a return to the borders before the 1967 war with Israel.

He also wants east Jerusalem as a capital for a Palestinian state and a freeze on Israel’s settlement building.

This still hands huge swathes of land to Israel and drops the demand for the “right to return” for Palestinian refugees.

People who had been driven from land now within Israel’s borders would be left without justice.

Many in Palestine are sceptical about the outcome of the negotiations, whether in the UN or with Israel.

And the presence of Tony Blair as special envoy offers little hope to those who want a just peace. As prime minister, Blair was steadfast in his support of Israel.

It is the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East that can offer the Palestinians real hope.

Israel’s position has been undermined by movements of mass resistance, and the overthrow of its allies—particularly Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

The state of Israel is based on racism and the oppression of Palestinians.

The only solution is one of a single state of Jews and Arabs living together.

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Tue 27 Sep 2011, 19:00 BST
Issue No. 2271
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