A UN speech that every Palestinian wanted to hear
At the UN, President Mahmoud Abbas used terms like “ethnic cleansing”,“al-Nakba”, “apartheid policies” and “racist annexation Wall”. His speech was indeed befitting of being a historical platform to voice the issue of Palestine. It encapsulated the suffering the Palestinians have endured for 63 years, from the horrors of their ethnic cleansing in 1948 to the unbearable life under the continuous settlement building which aids the apartheid and racist policies that are inherent in every aspect of Palestinians’ lives.
The speech also mentioned Gaza, which is still suffering under siege and from air raids that account for extra-judicial killings. It was a perfect speech, succinctly and without being overly garrulous capturing Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and making Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech sound like the incessant whining of a spoiled kid.
For the indifferent, it won their support, and for those opposed it either strengthened their opposition or cracked their resolve. Talk now isn’t about whether the UN bid for statehood is detrimental or beneficial; it has now come to optimistic discussions of what this bid could do for Palestinians.
The argument is now about how the “internationalization” of the Palestine/Israel conflict is a good thing because it is rarely that the world fixes its attention on this small country except when there is bloodshed and misery, and this attention can now be channeled into genuine support for an end to the Israeli occupation.
Nelson Mandela once said that “only free men can negotiate” and these failed talks between the PA and Israel which have come at the expense of Palestinians and the increasing loss of their rights only give the illusion to the outside world that the relationship is between two partners, two equals, not the occupier and the occupied.
Mahmoud Abbas was never popular with the Palestinian people. It’s not just his lack of charisma either. Abbas never bothered to conceal his frank collaboration with Israel. Most importantly there were the leaked Palestine Papers, which exposed the length Abbas and the rest of the unelected PA negotiating team were willing to concede the rights of the Palestinians.
With his “historic speech” Abbas may satisfy himself with the knowledge that he has crept up the ladder of icons, cementing his legacy as the (autocrat) who laid the application for a Palestinian statehood at the UN’s feet.
[Full article at Electronic Intifada]