Thursday, October 14, 2010

PLO chief shows tiny flexibility; retracts under fire

From Avi Issacharoff in Ha'aretz:
Senior Palestine Liberation Organization official Yasser Abed Rabbo said on Wednesday that the Palestinians will be willing to recognize the State of Israel in any way that it desires, if the Americans would only present a map of the future Palestinian state that includes all of the territories captured in 1967, including East Jerusalem.

"It is important for us to know where are the borders of Israel and where are the borders of Palestine. Any formulation the Americans present – even asking us to call Israel the 'Chinese State' – we will agree to it, as long as we receive the 1967 borders." [Abed Rabbo stated in an interview with Ha'aretz]

Which means that Abed Rabbo told Ha'aretz that if the Americans force Israel to accept the 1949 armistice lines as their borders without any deviation, then the PLO will accept Israel as the Jewish state.

Hamas and other Palestinian Arab leaders were livid:
Gaza government spokesman Taher An-Nunu said Abed Rabbo's statements did not represent the Palestinian national consensus, and gave dangerous concessions to Israel. Further, he said the statements betrayed Palestinian refugees by undermining their right to return to their land.

An-Nunu said Abed Rabbo's comments proved that the current PLO leadership could not be trusted to act in the interests of Palestinians, and called for the restructuring of the organization.
Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) First Deputy Speaker Dr. Ahmed Bahar said Abed Rabbo should be prosecuted before a Palestinian court for his betrayal of the rights of the people, the blood of the martyrs, and Palestinian national principles.

Bahar said in a press statement on Wednesday that Abed Rabbo has violated all principles of national Palestinian agreement and opened the door to new division among the Palestinians. He added that the statements place an imminent and substantial threat in front of Palestinian reconciliation.

For his part, PLC Secretary, Mahmoud Al Ramahi, said Abed Rabbo has no right to speak for the Palestinian people, who have put forth enormous sacrifices to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state without backing down on even one inch of land.

Hamas leader, Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil, said in press statement that Abed Rabbo’s remarks are a “national crime”, adding that Abed Rabbo only represents himself.

Arab member of the Israeli Knesset Jamal Zahaliqa called on the PLO to remove its Secretary Abed Rabbo from office in light of his statements.

“Neither Yasser Abed Rabbo nor anyone else has the right to sell the rights of the Palestinians in the interior [1948-occupied Palestine], or to waive the rights of the refugees abroad, or confer legitimacy for that by recognizing Israel as a Jewish state,” he said.
In light of all this criticism, even though US State Department Spokesman Phillip Crowley reacted positively to the suggestion aa a start of a negotiation, Abed Rabbo retracted/denied the statement. Palestine Today says that Abed Rabbo, in the face of withering criticism, denied making that statement, and Ma'an says that he denied speaking to Ha'aretz altogether, saying he only spoke to AFP.

While I have problems with Ha'aretz, Avi Issacharoff is a good reporter and I believe him over Abed Rabbo any day.