Yes, after UNGA vote, Palestinians do now have rising expectations

Yes indeed, it’s clearer each day since Thursday’s vote in UNGA, Palestinians do now have rising expectations…

This is something that Israeli Ambassador Ron  Prosor had warned of, in his address at the UNGA  in New York, just before the vote last Thursday that he by then had no hope of averting.

Posters hung on lamp posts in the city center [in English + Arabic] which say: “Warning: this is Palestinian land.  Occupation forces must leave”.

Palestinian TV has gone all out to remind viewers, over and over, that Palestine is now a state.

PLO Chief Mahmoud Abbas returned to an organized hero’s welcome in the Ramallah Muqata’a today, after travelling to the UNHQ in New York for the General Assembly vote that gave Palestine state status  [albeit still non-member in the UN].

The photo below was taken inside the Muqata’a by French journalist Emilie Baujard, and Tweeted here.

Mahmoud Abbas given a hero's welcome at Ramallah Muqata'a after returning from UN vote

Photo of poster held by Palestinian waiting in Ramallah Muqata'a to welcome Mahmoud Abbas as a hero after UNGA vote in New York

Abbas’ first words were: “Yes, yes, we are now a state”…
He ended by citing these words: “hold your held up, you’re Palestinian!”

After the Israeli announcements last week of expediting procedures to begin building in the E-1 area, as well as another 3,000 settlement units in the “Greater Jerusalem Municipality”, and then today’s announcement that some 460 million NIS [new Israeli shekels = $121 million US dollars] in Palestinian VAT + Customs Tax fees collected at Israeli ports would  now be withheld and instead diverted to pay outstanding PA electricity bills of some $200 million dollars, there apparently is still more to come.

Barak Ravid tucked the following revelation down at the bottom of his Haaretz article, published here, on strong European protests being made about the settlement announcements: “a source in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Israel is planning to take more steps against the Palestinian Authority. ‘The Palestinians will soon come to understand that they made a mistake when they took unilateral action and breached their treaties with Israel’, the source at the PMO said”.

Reuters reported that a “defiant” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said at his weekly cabinet meeting today that: “We will carry on building in Jerusalem and in all the places that are on the map of Israel’s strategic interests”. However, anonymous Israeli officials told Reuters that “it could up to two years before any building begins in E1″… [But, we've heard that before.]

Reuters also reported that “Israeli Housing Minister Ariel Attias said that within weeks the government would publish invitations for bids from contractors to build 1,000 homes in East Jerusalem and more than 1,000 in West Bank settlement blocs. ‘E1 is in planning, which means sketches on paper’, Attias told Army Radio. “No one will build until it is clear what will be done there’. The E1 zone is considered especially sensitive. Israel froze much of its activities in E1 under pressure from former U.S. President George W. Bush…Benny Kashriel, mayor of the Maale Adumim settlement adjacent to E1, told Army Radio building ‘will take a year or two’.”

Laura Rozen reported today in Al-Monitor that “an Israeli official told Al-Monitor that Israel considers its 2009 understanding with the Americans that it would not build in the sensitive E1 zone of East Jerusalem ‘no longer relevant’.” According to this Israeli source, the agreement dates to the beginning of the current Netanyahu government, which took office in March 2009, a month after February 2009 general elections — by which time Barak Obama was already in office as well — so, if the original agreement was made by George W. Bush, it must have been renewed by the Obama Administration.

However, the Israeli source for this story told Laura Rozen by email, and not for attribution, that “I understand there was some agreement with the Americans in 2009 … at the start of this government’s term of office not to build in E1…That commitment has been kept in full. Now we have two new factors making it no longer a relevant understanding’, he continued. First, ‘new elections in a few weeks [that] will bring a new government…and [secondly, the Palestinian Authority’s] fundamental violation of all prior agreements and re-writing of the rules’. There is ‘no place for criticism (or even surprise) by [the] Americans’, he added. The ‘agreement [was] kept in full, for four long years’.” This report is published here.

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