Statehood timeline

THE PROACTIVE diplomacy launched by the Palestinian leadership is a step in the right direction. Though it is a delayed gesture, it has nonetheless caught the attention of the audience that it was really meant for.

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Published: Sun 26 Oct 2014, 10:24 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:44 PM

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, thus rightly said that the time for prevarication was over. What he actually meant is that the Palestinians can no more be taken for a ride by resorting to veto resolutions in the United Nations Security Council, especially by the United States, and the pursuit of statehood would now be marked with a definite timeline. Erekat said that the leadership has set 2017 as the year for attaining statehood status and there would be no let or hindrance on its path. It should not be read as an ultimatum but an earnest plea to let international law triumph.

What made this announcement most stunning and realistic in essence is not the timeframe to achieve that goal, but the roadmap that the beleaguered leadership came up with. The strategy is to attain de jure status for the Palestinian Statehood in the next three years, and in this regard the Palestinian Authority would go ahead to sign as many declarations, protocols, conventions and treaties as possible to elicit recognition. The Palestinians already enjoy non-member state status at the United Nations and are entitled as per law to enter into formal agreements with states on a sovereign basis. As Erekat said the joining of International Criminal Court would be a leap step forward, enough to put the Israelis and the United States in the dock.

As far as the territorial question is concerned, the Palestinian leadership is quite clear and concise on it. It wants the world and the occupier, Israel, to recognise the legitimate borders of 1967 that existed before the Arab-Israeli war. This is an acceptable proposition and well in relevance with the Arab League and United Nations resolutions. If loud thinking is applied, it is an opportunity in disaster for Israel to agree to the 1967 border deal and trade land for peace. The reason is that it de facto guarantees Israel its own existence, as the Palestinians have come a long way from their basic demand of asking for the destruction of the Jewish state, which was forcefully created on the Arab lands in 1948. With Hamas in a political league with the Palestinian Authority, this is the wisest moment for Israel to agree to a two-state solution and let the imbroglio of history be resolved in an amicable manner.

The onus is now on the United States to prevail over Israel and offer its unconditional support to what Erekat had said in simple and polite words. The fact that Palestinians strongly believe in diplomacy and look up to the largesse of the world community in realising their right to statehood needs to be appreciated. This is a departure from their yesteryears policy of Intifada through which Palestinians relied and supported the movement of armed struggle. There is no better alternative, if parleys can attain that goal. Britain and Sweden by offering to recognise the Palestinian state have created conducive environment for diplomacy. All that the Palestinians now need to do is to walk the talk.

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