On Friday, 23rd September 2011, scores of envoys to the UN rose to their feet and applauded as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas gave a speech giving the background to the application submitted to the UN Secretary General requesting that Palestine be accepted as a UN member state. On the other hand, the US has made it amply clear that they will veto the move in the Security Council. Thus the issue of national rights of the Palestinian people once again came to the limelight, and the world got to see for yet another time the manner in which the US imperialists and the European powers support one of the most openly racist and fascist regimes of the world even as it openly flouts international law.
Mr Abbas recalled in his speech the history of the Palestinian struggle. The PLO's decision in 1988 to relinquish its claim on all of Mandate Palestine and settle for those territories captured by Israel in 1967 was a "very painful and difficult step" said Mr Abbas, but "we decided to adopt the path of relative justice, justice that is possible". Now, after over 20 years of fruitless negotiations, he said, the Palestinians have concluded that the path to independence is firmly blocked. With passion, he blamed Israel's "colonial" policy of building Jewish settlements on occupied territory which, he said, was undermining the realistic potential for the existence of a Palestinian state. Mr Abbas also made clear that he had no more faith in the American-led process based on the Oslo peace accords, appealing for a greater and more effective UN role.
The Palestinian people were dispossessed of most of their lands and nation with the active backing of British and other imperialists in 1948 with the forcible formation of Israel. The Zionist state of Israel, armed to the teeth by US imperialists, launched a war in 1967 and seized more territories, including the West Bank and Gaza, Israel has always stood as an outpost of reaction in West Asia, and the Zionists have been encouraging the colonisation of more and more land originally belonging to the Arab peoples. Israel, backed by the Anglo - Americans has been responsible for the total lack of peace in the region since the time it was forcibly established. The Palestinian people, turned into refugees in neighbouring countries, have been valiantly fighting for their national rights. Their inspirational struggle for national rights continues to be one of the most consistent and continuous struggles waged in modern times. The Indian people have among those who have whole heartedly supported the Palestinian people through the long decades of their quest for justice.
The Palestinian people were urged to “shun violence” and negotiate for their demands, particularly during the regimes of US President Clinton and later. However, the “historic” 1993-95 Oslo accords have not ended the Israeli occupation of their land. The peace process was in fact used as an international smoke screen for the inexorable expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and the biggest single enlargement of the settlements took place in 1992-96. However the Palestinian people continued their struggle in various ways and continued to win the hearts and support of people around the world.
Even among the ordinary Jewish people residing in Israel, the Palestinian cause has significant support. Just before Mr Abbas’s speech in the UN, on Thursday 22nd September 2011, dozens of Israeli artists and academics proclaimed their support for the Palestinian United Nations statehood bid, outside of Independence Hall in Tel Aviv. The declaration, signed by actors, professors and Israel Peace laureates, as well as former ministers, professors and even former military leaders reads "We … call on all persons seeking peace and freedom, and upon all nations to join us in welcoming the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, to support it and to work and act together in order to encourage the citizens of both countries to live together in peace, based on the '67 borders and mutual agreement. A final and complete end to the occupation is a basic condition for the freedom of both peoples, for the realisation of Israel's Declaration of Independence and a future of peaceful coexistence." Various demonstrations were also organised in several towns in Israel over the next few days, supporting the Palestinian bid for statehood.
The bid for statehood at the UN is one of the steps taken to advance the quest of the Palestinian people for justice and self-determination. While the present bid may not succeed due to the US stated intent to use its veto in the Security Council, it has certainly laid bare the hypocrisy and duplicity that has enveloped the so-called peace process, and brought the issue of Palestinian statehood, Zionist fascism and the deceit and demagogy of the US and other imperialists into the limelight. It is sure to win more friends for the Palestinian cause and expose the Zionists and their imperialist backers even more.