Friday, February 22, 2008

If Kosovo Can, Why Can’t Palestine?

Palestinians are asking why can’t they do the Kosovo shuffle? Why is the world not behind their declaration of statehood? It’s not fair:

A day after talks between Mr Abbas and Israeli PM Ehud Olmert ended without visible progress, the PLO secretary general [Abd Rabbo] said that “Kosovo is not better than us. We deserve independence even before Kosovo, and we ask for the backing of the United States and the European Union for our independence.”

“If the situation does not progress [. . .] we must undertake steps similar to that in Kosovo and unilaterally declare independence,” he added.

President Abbas responded saying that Palestinians are committed to reaching a negotiated peace agreement this year, but if “we are unable to do that . . . we will return to our Arab [brothers] to take the appropriate decision,” he said.

The statement left itself open to interpretations and in Israel some looked at it in light of what others had to say; people like Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian negotiator, who voiced opposition to any unilateral declaration of independence, pointing out that the PLO had already declared independence in 1988.

Instead “we need real independence, not a declaration. We need real independence by ending the occupation,” Erekat stressed.

Meanwhile, chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia said that “decisions should be taken and then declared, and not be declared and then be taken.”

Now that’s an interesting take on things. Decisions before declarations…we may be at this impasse forever, then. What would the world be like without Palestine and Israel negotiating?
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The Globe and Mail noted that the comparisons with Kosovo weren’t valid for a number of reasons:

The parallels between the Kosovars and the Palestinians are actually quite thin. Where Serbian troops were driven out of Kosovo by a NATO bombing campaign nine years ago, the Israeli military is still spread throughout the West Bank. Meanwhile, Palestinians themselves are divided between the warring Hamas and Fatah factions.

An independence declaration issued by Mr. Abbas in Ramallah would mean little in Gaza, where Hamas has ruled since seizing control last June. Hamas, which won legislative elections in 2006, claims to be the legitimate Palestinian government and a Hamas spokesman yesterday dismissed Mr. Abed Rabbo as someone not worth listening to.

In other words, Kosovo was united in its concerted push for sovereignty. Hamas and Fatah are deeply suspicious of one another and cannot reach any concord. They are playing an eternal win/lose game.

Maybe someone should quote the Christian scripture to them — i.e., how a house divided against itself cannot stand.

On the other hand, with the talk of peace-keeping troops coming to visit for awhile, Palestinians may begin to look more like their Muslim confreres in Kosovo.

The forces unleashed by the US and EU backing of Kosovo’s move to independence haven’t finished playing out yet. The only thing we know for sure is that there will be blood. Lots of blood.

Hat tip: Insubria


Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Palestinians are asking why they can’t do the Kosovo shuffle?

Why not indeed, since just about the only exceptional thing to justify an independent Kosovo as opposed to independent Palestine, Abhazia, TransDnestr, Catalionia, Aztlan etc etc etc was US backing (and now EU backing too). Also known as "might is right". That exception don't wash too good with everyone else, particularly since damn near everyone else has a better case than Kosovo (other than US backing).

The can of worms yawns wider and starts looking like a snake pit.

Now, I wonder what arguments the US can use if (WHEN) Kurdistan decides it doesn't need the rest of Iraq?

Anonymous said...

I have to hand it to leftist. One the one hand, the left is vehemently against the concept of nation states - there should be no borders; we must take sworn enemies into our "melting pot"; there are no "illegal humans". On the other hand, when it benefits certain groups, they act as if granting that group a state is the only solution.

My question for the left is, which is it?

KGS said...

I had posted on the same situation and I find that I agree with one of my own commentors, TINSC, that:

"The Palestinians declared their independence a long time ago. The Arab League nations all recognize it. Many countries recognize "Palestine" and even have embassies. This includes some European countries.

The United States is one of the very few nations standing in the way of full international recognition of Arab statehood in Palestine. Yasser Abed Rabbo knows this. He knows that Arab Palestine declared its independence long ago. He's merely grandstanding for the mainstream media."

Due to the US's stance, and common sense, the Palestinians do not yet have a state. They're not yet up to the challenge. But on the other hand, I have heard it eloquently put, that once statehood is acheived, old relationships of fighting terrorism with one hand held behind the back, over. The big gloves come off, perhaps that's one of the big reasons the Palestinian "leadership" keep rejecting statehood.

laine said...

Making more Muslim states is a recipe for poor government, low standard of living and breeding ground for terror .

The only advantage would be if Muslims were confined to their own states to walk the walk of what their religion and sharia law create instead of becoming economic parasites in the West, benefiting from capitalism while undermining it...the chaps who kill the golden goose.