Palestinian ‘statehood’ – triumph or trap?

The much anticipated vote on Palestinian statehood at the UN takes place this month. Writing in The Scotsman Michael Bröning, author of The Politics of Change in Palestine: State-Building and Non-Violent Resistance, believes that a UN vote to endorse the borders of a Palestinian state would be cause for ‘some cautious optimism’:

A nuanced Palestinian resolution that moves beyond a zero-sum mindset and embraces legitimate Israeli concerns is possible, and could increase the likelihood of a return to constructive negotiations.

The lack of detail about the UN resolution allows room for manoeuvre. Such an approach would begin with refraining from forcing an immediate vote – and a dramatic US veto – in the Security Council. Instead, a carefully drafted motion in the form of a non-member state bid in the General Assembly could mark the way forward.

Drafted with reference to UN Resolution 181 (which partitioned Palestine in 1947), such a motion would reaffirm the establishment of a Palestinian state and a state for the Jewish people, based on the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed border adjustments and security arrangements.

While such an approach would fall short of maximalist Palestinian demands, it would embrace the parameters outlined in May by US president Barack Obama. It would also address the Israeli government’s demand that the Palestinians recognise a “Jewish state”.

As such, the UN bid might well transform a confrontation into a potentially constructive tool of diplomacy.

Visit The Scotsman to read the article in full.

In contrast Mehdi Hasan from the New Statesman argues that ‘the Palestinians are walking into a trap of their own making’:

With the so-called “peace process” going nowhere, and with the number of Israeli settlements on the rise, the UN vote is an act of desperation, not strength, on the part of the Palestinian leadership. The risks are high; the benefits few and far between.

Proponents of statehood hide behind a series of spurious arguments. Some argue that statehood will give Palestinians a greater voice. Mahmoud Abbas, the PA president whose electoral mandate expired more than two years ago, has said that “when the recognition of our state on the 1967 borders happens, we will become a state under occupation, and then we would be able to go to the UN [with demands]”.

Yet Abbas also happens to be chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. The PLO, in its capacity as “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”, has had observer status at the UN since 1974 and been allowed to participate in security council debates since 1976. So Abbas can already raise whatever issue he likes at the UN. Why has he not, for instance, gone back to the international court of justice, which has previously declared Israeli settlements to be “illegal and an obstacle to peace”, for further rulings? Why has he not pushed for a security council debate on the Goldstone report, which accused the Israelis of committing war crimes in Gaza?

Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.

The Politics of Change in Palestine

State-Building and Non-Violent Resistance

Michael Bröning

Highlights the political activity in Palestine that is building towards a coherent national movement to challenge Israel in the occupied territories.

“Bröning’s lucid text on Palestinian affairs within the context of the continuing Israeli occupation is timely and immensely needed. This book is a must-read for those who want to comprehend the Israeli/Palestinian elephant in its totality, rather than be misled by a blind grasp of just the trunk, an ear, or the tail.” – Khaled Hroub, University of Cambridge

“Michael Bröning provides a much-needed antidote to mainstream writing. He methodically sketches the arc of the Palestinian national movement in the Occupied Territories as it transforms itself from Fatah’s secular nationalist approach to Hamas’s Islamist nationalism. This is a highly valuable book that no student of Palestinian history or the Arab-Israeli conflict can afford to ignore.” – Joost R. Hiltermann, Deputy Program Director Middle East and North Africa, International Crisis Group, Washington DC

£17.99 only £16.00 on the Pluto site

Popular Resistance in Palestine

A History of Hope and Empowerment

Mazin B. Qumsiyeh

A detailed yet engaging study showing that the vast majority of Palestinian resistance over the last 100 years has been peaceful and creative.

“Written with conviction and supported by extensive notes, this book should be required reading for the politicians who deal with peace in Palestine and the citizens who vote for them. Summing up: Essential for all readership levels.” – CHOICE

“This is a timely and remarkable book written by the most important chronicler of contemporary popular resistance in Palestine. Mazin Qumsiyeh brilliantly evokes the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, Edward Said, Rachel Corrie and many others, to tell the unvarnished truth about Palestine and Zionist settler colonialism. With its focus on ‘history and activism from below’, this is a work of enormous significance. Developing further his original ideas on human rights in Palestine, media activism, public policies and popular, non-violent resistance, Mazin Qumsiyeh’s book is a must read for anyone interested in justice and how to produce the necessary breakthrough in the Israel-Palestine conflict.” – Nur Masalha

£17.99 only £16.00 on the Pluto site

Israeli Rejectionism

A Hidden Agenda in the Middle East Peace Process

Zalman Amit and Daphna Levit

An analysis of the Middle East ‘peace process’ showing that peace has never been in the interest of the state of Israel.

£18.99 only £17.00 on the Pluto site

Israeli Apartheid

A Beginner’s Guide

Ben White

Indispensable introduction to the Israel/Palestine conflict, examining the current structures of Israeli domination.

“A very strong and clear voice that does not shun from exposing in full, and in a most accessible manner, the essence of Zionism and Israeli policies in Palestine. In a world confused by competing narratives, disinformation and fabrication, this book is an excellent guide for understanding the magnitude of the crimes committed against the Palestinians and the nature of their present suffering and oppression.” – Professor Ilan Pappe, University of Exeter, Israeli historian and author of ‘The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine’ (2007)

“This book deals rationally and cogently with a topic that almost always generates considerable heat even just with book titles. The reader may not agree with everything that White asserts but it is a highly commendable effort to throw light on a fraught subject.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

£9.99 only £8.50 on the Pluto site

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