The body of UN Security Council Resolution 1850 avoids any meaningful mention of a two-state solution or the creation of a Palestinian state with the exception of a feeble reference late in the text
Bush’s Farewell Gift*
UN Resolution 1850 pushes Palestinian unity further from reach than ever, argues Nicola Nasser**
The body of UN Security Council Resolution 1850 avoids any meaningful mention of a two-state solution or the creation of a Palestinian state with the exception of a feeble reference late in the text — added almost as an afterthought — to “preparation for statehood”. While the preamble does mention Resolution 1514, issued five years ago, and notes that “lasting peace can only be based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement, and terror, and the two-state solution, building upon previous agreements and obligations,” and even notes “the importance of the Arab peace initiative of 2002” the seven articles of the resolution, adopted on 16 December, focus on committing all parties to continuing an endless peace process.
The statement also included Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s comment on the resolution: “Today’s Security Council resolution constitutes international endorsement for the Annapolis process in keeping with the guiding principles established by the parties, namely: direct bilateral negotiations between the parties, without international intervention, and according to the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, a commitment to the Quartet principles — recognising Israel, ending terror and accepting former agreements — as well as conditioning implementation of any future agreement on the implementation of the roadmap.” She adds, pointedly, “the Security Council’s clear support is a vote of confidence in the process that
Meanwhile, Palestinian negotiators found nothing in the resolution clear enough to warrant a warm official welcome. They therefore restricted themselves to generalities and ambiguities in the hope of disguising the peril looming over the Palestinian cause from the UN’s decision to confer legitimacy on the
The only possible interpretation of this welcome (which was not shared by important Fatah and PLO leaders such as Farouk Qadoumi and Taysir Qubaa) is that the Fatah leadership has seized upon the Security Council’s “commitment to the irreversibility of the bilateral negotiations” that began in Annapolis on 27 November 2007 (Resolution 1850, Article 1) as a potential weapon to wield in the face of its rival in the national rift and as a means to press forward with a negotiating agenda that is rejected by Hamas and other major factions in the PLO, as well as by the majority of Palestinians according to polls conducted by research centres in Ramallah, Nablus and Bethlehem. Bush’s farewell gift to
In order to better appreciate the price the Palestinians will pay for continuing with the Annapolis process and the roadmap it might be useful to cite US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s remarks to the Security Council in defence of the resolution: “Reforms in the Palestinian Authority in 2003 had inspired hope, yet they had proved to be superficial, and the hope deceptive.” (Does anyone out there remember that Arafat was PA president at the time?) “The Palestinian elections in January 2005 and the Israeli disengagement from
Rice’s disregard of the Palestinian people’s right to choose their leaders, her declaration from the most important international forum that elimination of Arafat and, now, Hamas, is the price the Palestinians have to pay to achieve her president’s utopian vision, recalls the arrogance her president displayed six years ago. On 4 June 2002, at the height of Israeli incursions into PA territory which culminated in the siege on Arafat’s compound and eventually his death, Bush called for a new Palestinian leadership and declared, “When the Palestinian people get a new leadership, new institutions, and new security arrangements with their neighbours [he meant the Israelis of course, not the Arabs], the US will support the creation of a Palestinian state.”
This is recent history. When we place Resolution 1850 in its context, we can better appreciate how generous a gift Bush left
*Translated into English from Arabic by Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue No. 927, 25 – 31 December 2008 (http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/927/op2.htm).
** The writer is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied