by Stephen Lendman
On April 1, Abbas signed documents to do so. He'll submit them to UN authorities. It's high time he did so.
He should have years ago. It's Palestine's legal right. It's able to join all UN bodies and treaties. It can ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
It can file a formal state to state complaint against Israeli past and current officials. It can ask they be held responsible for crimes of war and against humanity.
It can ratify the Genocide Convention. It can sue Israel at the World Court. It can get a temporary restraining order. It can do so against Zionist lawlessness.
It can go to the Security Council for enforcement. If vetoed by Washington, it can petition the General Assembly.
It can do so under the 1950 Uniting for Peace Resolution 377. If approved, vetoes become null and void.
Restraining order enforcement perhaps can halt lawless settlement expansions. Perhaps lift Gaza's siege. Maybe end unlawful occupation.
Perhaps assure all long denied Palestinian rights. Failure to act responsibly assures business as usual.
Joining UN bodies and treaties is one thing. Using them responsibly alone matters. It's high time Israel was held accountable.
The alternative is continued occupation harshness. It's what no responsible leader would tolerate.
Abbas is polar opposite what Palestinians need. He's Israel's enforcer. He's a long time collaborator. He sold out at Oslo.
It remains to be seen if he's turned a leaf. It takes a great leap of faith to believe it. Smart money suggests business as usual.
Abbas has all the proving to do. His record isn't encouraging. Integrity isn't his long suit. Nor serving his people responsibly.
On Tuesday, he signed documents during a meeting with PLO officials. They unanimously endorsed them.
Abbas said he's ready to pursue an international campaign to oblige Israel to observe international law and related Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.
"We aren't trying to pressure any party," he said. "We seek no confrontation with Tel Aviv and Washington."
"Our legitimate activities do not target any country. This is our right, and we are going to use it."
His words ring hollow. He made similar pious statements before. Nothing followed. Don't expect this time to be different. It never was before.
He says one thing. He does another. He's done so throughout his political career. He's an opportunist. He's a traitor.
It remains for responsible leadership to replace him. Israel and Washington will go all-out to prevent it.
Perhaps Cast Lead 2.0 will target all Palestine. Perhaps more ruthless than ever repression will follow.
Perhaps world leaders able to make a difference will continue turning a blind eye. They've done so since 1948. Expect nothing different this time.
Palestinians are on their own like always. They enjoy popular world street support. It's not followed by similar help in high places. That matters most.
Israeli officials believe Abbas acted to exert pressure on Israel and Washington for better peace talk terms.
So far they're entirely one-sided. Israel gets whatever it wants. Palestinians get virtually nothing. Business as usual persists.
Abbas may worry more about internal rebellion. Perhaps a third Intifada. Perhaps efforts to oust him. Maybe efforts to kill him.
Abbas said he and PLO officials acted after Israel failed to release an agreed on fourth round of Palestinian prisoners. Twenty-six remain incarcerated.
What about thousands of political prisoners languishing in Israel's gulag longterm? What about their freedom? Abbas ignores them entirely.
What about nearly 1.8 million lawlessly besieged Gazans? What about slow-motion genocide suffocating them? Their rights aren't part of peace talks?
Discussions exclude them. Abbas spurns them altogether. Claiming Israel's failure to release 26 prisoners as reason to join world bodies rings hollow.
Abbas said "(i)t is our right to turn to UN institutions, and we had postponed it for nine months and never agreed to give up that right."
He'll continue peace talks, he added. He'll do so through April 29. Perhaps longer. He'll seek conflict resolution, he said.
For a generation or longer, he did nothing responsible to do so. Don't expect this time to be different.
Abbas said the first document he signed petitioned to join the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols. ICRC and Swiss officials administer them.
Apparently he doesn't know Palestinian history. In 1989, Palestine did so. It's already a Geneva state party. Swiss authorities consider it valid.
No official request was made to join the International Criminal Court. Some reports suggested otherwise.
A previous article discussed convicted spy Jonathan Pollard's possible release. Reports said Kerry suggested doing so as an Israeli peace deal sweetener.
They said Pollard's release was imminent. Likely before Passover begins on April 14. Perhaps not now.
Things have a way of changing fast. On the one hand, Abbas petitioned to join 15 world bodies and treaties.
Kerry planned meeting with him on Wednesday. He cancelled doing so in response.
At the same time, a US parole board member Patricia Smoot said Pollard waived his planned parole hearing.
He declined to attend. It was scheduled for April 1. On the same day, Kerry and Netanyahu agreed on most details for continuing sham peace talks beyond April 29.
On April 2, meeting with Abbas was scheduled to do so. It's cancelled. It's unclear when rescheduling is planned.
An unnamed Israeli official said Washington is working on getting Abbas to agree on continuing talks.
"Things are not sealed yet but we are not far from it," he said. "We are waiting for the Palestinian response."
It remains to be seen what follows. More of the same is certain. Kerry is in lockstep with Netanyahu.
They want Palestinians denied all rights. They want Jews alone afforded them. Business as usual continues.
Sham peace talks change nothing. They were dead on arrival when began. They remain so now.
Pursuing them continues the charade. Palestinian rights are entirely spurned.
It's been this way throughout nearly 47 years of occupation. Expect no substantive change going forward.
Expect continued theft of Palestinian land. Expect occupation harshness persisting. Expect Palestinians denied all rights. Expect war, not peace.
Israeli officials reacted as expected to Abbas petitioning to join world bodies. Tourism Minister Uzi Landau said "they will pay a heavy price" for doing so.
"One of the possible measures will be Israel applying sovereignty over areas which will clearly be part of the State of Israel in any future solution," he added.
He referred to over 60% of West Bank territory Israel controls. Hardliners want it annexed to Israel.
They want East and West Jerusalem entirely. Landau wants Palestinian financial aid blocked.
Mustafa Barghouti is a former Palestinian presidential candidate. Israel rigged Abbas' election to spurn him.
He's a physician and activist. He's a BDS founding member. He's a Palestinian Legislative Council member.
He heads the Palestinian National Initiative. He wants Palestine joining all relevant world bodies and treaties.
"There will be many more international institutions and treaties to join," he said. "The International Criminal Court will be one of them in the future."
How soon he didn't say. Or whether Abbas and likeminded PLO officials will do so.
Palestinians prepared documents to join 63 world bodies and treaties. So far it's petitioning to join 15.
Expect others to follow. At issue is when, not if. Tuesday's decision was a step in the right direction. Much more needs to be done.
Most important is exercising lawful rights. Palestine is lawlessly occupied territory. It's high time past and current Israeli officials are held accountable for high crimes too grave to ignore.
It's time for World Court action against Israel. Accountability is long overdue. Pursuing it should be top priority. Long denied justice is impossible otherwise.
Legitimate Palestinian leadership is needed to pursue what Abbas failed at throughout his tenure.
He's polar opposite what Palestinians deserve. He collaborates with Israel irresponsibly. He does so illegally.
In October 2009, he pulled a draft resolution condemning Cast Lead war crimes. He turned a blind eye to Israeli lawlessness.
Before Israel attacked, he got advance word. Israeli officials briefed him. He concurred with their plans.
He urged Israel to crush Hamas. He ignored 23 days of mass slaughter and destruction. Toppling Hamas mattered more.
Avigdor Lieberman held ministerial positions under Sharon and Ehud Olmert. In April 2009, he became Netanyahu's Foreign Minister.
He explained Abbas' involvement, saying:
"Over the past year, I witnessed (Abbas) at his best. In Operation Cast Lead, (he) called us personally, applied pressure, and demanded that we topple Hamas and remove it from power."
During Cast Lead, a senior Olmert official called his comments "essentially accurate."
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said this information "reaffirms the fact that Mahmoud Abbas is no longer fit to represent our people, who conspired against his people during a war."
He was never fit to serve. He's not now. Israel and Washington chose him for that reason. He's easily manipulated against the interests of his own people. His entire political career reflects betrayal.
Cast Lead was planned months in advance. So was Israel's 8-day November 14 - 21, 2012 Pillar of Cloud aggression. Perhaps Abbas got advance word a second time.
During Israel's sustained terror-bombing, his comments were delayed, weak, meaningless and insulting. He did nothing to help beleaguered Gazans.
He ignored their suffering entirely. He concurred with Israeli mass slaughter and destruction. He deserves International Criminal Court prosecution.
Palestinians remain isolated on their own. Peace, equity, justice and liberation aren't forthcoming. Not any time soon. Not with Abbas and likeminded Israeli collaborators in charge.
A Final Comment
Longstanding New York Times policy one-sidedly supports Israel. It reacted to Abbas' decision as expected. It headlined "Abbas Takes Defiant Step, and Mideast Talks Falter."
He "defied the United States and Israel by taking concrete steps to join 15 international agencies - a move to gain the benefits of statehood outside the negotiation process."
On November 15, 1988, the Palestinian National Council (PNC) "proclaimed the existence of the new independent state of Palestine."
It became a de facto, not a de jure, UN member. In late November 2012, it gained observer status.
Doing so permits joining all world bodies and treaties. Responsible leaders are obligated to take full advantage. Don't expect the NYT to explain.
It spurns truth. It twists facts irresponsibly. It supports what demands condemnation. It's on the wrong side of history.
It said Palestine joining world bodies and treaties created "crisis" conditions. It fears Israel one day being held accountable for decades of crimes of war and against humanity.
It fears long denied Palestinian liberation. It wants Israel alone having rights. Don't expect their editors to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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