It was the late Israeli diplomat Abba Eban who famously said that "Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." Now an Arab intellectual looks at the Palestinian political situation today and fears it will prove that statement true.
In an article in the London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Mamoun Fandy argues there will never be a better chance to create a Palestinian state, but "idiotic warring Palestinian factions," along with misguided priorities may doom the chance. According to a translation of Fandy's article by the Middle East Media Research Institute, Fandy said "The ones who oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state today are the Palestinians and the Israelis – in that order."
To succeed, Palestinians are going to have to create a unified leadership for negotiation with Israel and that's not likely to happen:
"The behavior of the various Palestinian factions, and the rivalry between them, looks to the world like efforts to maintain the status quo. [Hamas prime minister] Isma'il Haniya and [Hamas political bureau head] Khaled Mash'al have so far shown no political maturity proving that they want a solution instead of rejecting one."
Palestinians, he writes, are "are tired of this pointless 'resistance' – because resistance must have a political goal." But it is difficult at times to figure out what the goal is of Palestinian leadership:
"If the goal [of the resistance] is for a few members of the leadership to be recognized as symbols of resistance and [national] honor – we are perfectly willing to give them this recognition, but there is no need to sacrifice innocent lives in order to accomplish such a limited goal.
However, if the goal is realizing the dream of establishing a Palestinian state, and for this people to live in dignity like other peoples – then that is a different struggle, which requires new strategies. The first [of these] strategies is the creation of a united leadership for the future Palestinian state – one that will convince its enemies to negotiate with it and to give it the land. It is easy to convince friends – but solving the problem requires first of all convincing enemies…"
The EU, UN and the Obama Administration are setting the table for a deal favorable for the Palestinians. It's up to them, Fandy writes, to decide "whether to be part of the solution or part of the problem."
The full MEMRI translation is here.