Abbas: "We're going to the UN in November 2012, not 2013 or 2014"

Amidst threat of financial reprisals, pressure lobbying and media pressure, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said today: “We’re going to the United Nations in November 2012, not 2013, or 2014”. This was reported on Al-Akhbar, here.

Abbas is Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO]. which is supposed to function as Provisonal Government of the State of Palestine [declared by the PLO’s Palestine National Council in 1988]. Pn that basis, Abbas last year signed his name as President of the State of Palestine in the request he submitted for admission of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations, As that was blocked by the U.S. [acting on behalf of Israel] Abbas is apparently now determined to pursue this half-way measure, and will soon request “non-member state” status in the UN.

UPDATE: Haaretz’s Barak Ravid Tweeted tonight that U.S. President Obama called Abbas and urged him not to proceed with his plans for this month’s UNGA move… Ravid has not yet Tweeted what Abbas replied…

But in his article, Ravid reports that Abbas said, in effect, no.

Ron Kampeas reported a little later for the Jewish Telgraphic Agency here that the White House had finally put out a statement about the call, saying that “Obama was returning Abbas’ congratulations for winning last week’s U.S. reelection. Obama returned a similar call to Netanyahu last Thursday”.

Continue reading Abbas: "We're going to the UN in November 2012, not 2013 or 2014"

Why is Salam Fayyad – Palestinian Authority Prime Minister – going to head the delegation that will visit Netanyahu?

The Israel Project sent out an email over the weekend saying that Salam Fayyad, who had nothing to do with negotiations, will meet Benjamin Netanyahu next week about negotiations…

The same news was published in a report by Agence France Presse (AFP) on Thursday [which cited the Israeli Prime Minister’s Arabic-language media adviser Ofir Gendelman as its source]. The AFP story, which was posted here, said:

    ” ‘Prime Minister Netanyahu will meet with Palestinian prime minister Fayyad’, Israeli premier’s spokesman Ofir Gendelman said in a statement posted on his official Twitter feed. He initially said the meeting would take place next week, but later clarified that it would occur after the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins at sundown on Friday and ends on April 13. Palestinian officials confirmed the meeting and said Fayyad would hand Netanyahu a letter from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas about the stalled peace process. ‘A Palestinian delegation will take a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’, Nimr Hammad, an advisor to Abbas told AFP on Wednesday. He said Fayyad would be joined by senior Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo and negotiator Saeb Erakat. Visiting US envoy David Hale was meeting Fayyad early on Wednesday evening and was scheduled to see Abbas later, Palestinian officials said”.

The same AFP story noted that:

    “Abbas has reportedly prepared a letter restating Palestinian terms for returning to negotiations and warning that the status quo risks rendering the Palestinian Authority useless. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Tuesday that the letter would not include any threats by Abbas to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, as had previously been reported. But on Monday, the Palestinian leader said his message would contain a warning for the Israeli leader. ‘You have made the Palestinian Authority a non-Authority. You have taken from it all its specialisations and commitments’, he said in Cairo, quoting from the letter”.

The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh reported today, here, that:

    “A PA official in Ramallah said over the weekend that dissolving the PA was not not an option. The official denied that Abbas had any plans to dismantle the PA because of the stalemate in the peace process. Abbas is planning to send a letter to Netanyahu in the coming days that does not include such a threat, the official told The Jerusalem Post. The letter, he added, would hold Israel fully responsible for the current stalemate because of its refusal to stop construction in the settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods and accept the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state. Abbas’s letter, which will be delivered to Netanyahu by PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, will also demand the release of Palestinians who were imprisoned before the signing of the Oslo Accords nearly two decades ago, the official noted”.

But, I’m still puzzled about this report that PA PM Salam Fayyad [a resident of East Jerusalem, so easier for him to move around inside the city] will present letter to Israeli PM Netanyahu in just over a week’s time … It can’t be just that the Israeli PM likes him better than he might like Sa’eb Erekat.
Why wouldn’t it be Palestinian leader Abbas himself — would that look too much like negotiations? So then, why wouldn’t it be someone from the PLO Executive Committee [Fayyad is not a member, but Sa’eb Erekat is, for example]. Why is this delegation being led by someone whose only function is as a member of the Palestinian Authority?

Since it’ll be PA PM Fayyad who’ll be delivering letter to Netanyahu, will he be empowered to present PA Cabinet resignation if no progress?

What is the Palestinian leadership / Palestinian Authority going to tell Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

Barak Ravid, who reports for Haaretz, Tweeted late on 4 April: “I obtained a draft of the letter that Palestinian President Abbas is planning to give PM Netanyahu next week … In the letter Abbas will accuse the Netanyahu government of undermining Palestinian Authority” – article posted here“…

Then, Ravid sent out Tweets with scans of the entire draft letter, in the original Arabic:
Here is page number 1 of the draft letter Abbas will send Netanyahu here
Here is page number 2 of the draft letter Abbas will send Netanyahu here
Here is page number 3 of the draft letter Abbas will send Netanyahu here
Here is page number 4 of the draft letter Abbas will send Netanyahu here.

There has been a lot of speculation about this letter — Abbas would announce his resignation, Abbas would disband the entire Palestinian Authority…

The same day, Israeli former Minister of Justice Yossi Beilin, formerly of Meretz and previously the Labour Party, wrote a piece, entitled “Dear Abu Mazen, End This Farce”, which was published on the Foreign Policy website, here, urging Abbas to disband the PA, saying:

    “I admit that I never believed the moment would come when I would have to write these words. I am doing so because U.S. President Barack Obama has convinced you not to announce, at this point in time, the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority’s institutions and the ‘return of the keys’ of authority for the Palestinian territories to Israel. Because there have never been serious negotiations with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the last three years, and because you did not want to perpetuate the myth that a meaningful dialogue existed, you have been sorely tempted to declare the death of the ‘peace process’ — but the American president urged you to maintain the status quo. It is a mistake to agree to Obama’s request, and you can rectify this.

    Continue reading What is the Palestinian leadership / Palestinian Authority going to tell Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu