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PA reaching for diplomatic plan B

Nov. 25, 2009 3:46 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 27, 2009 12:30 P.M.)
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Fatah-dominated Palestinian leadership based in Ramallah is developing a new diplomatic strategy that would free itself from the failing framework of US-brokered bilateral negotiations with Israel, officials say.

The new strategy, sources in the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) explain, is more “pluralistic” and more internationally-oriented.

As a first step in implementing this strategy, the PA will launch a diplomatic campaign on Sunday 29 November, which marks the UN’s International Day in Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The same day Palestinian envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, is to deliver a speech on behalf of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The details of the campaign and the speech have not yet been released.

Earlier this month, top Palestinian officials floated the notion of asking the UN Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state, a step indented as an alternative to failed peace negotiations.

It is all but assured that Israel’s main political backer, the US, would veto any such resolution, should it reach the Security Council, analysts say. The PA’s new strategy is premised, however, on exposing Washington’s role in thwarting Palestinian ambitions, insiders said.

The officials said the plan, if adopted, wound amount to a departure from previous reliance on the US as a broker in peace talks.

The plan emerges as the PA and PLO appear increasingly powerless in local politics. After a year of total impasse in peace talks, the initial delay of action on the Goldstone report on alleged war crimes in Gaza, the PA has been unable to change or improve the Palestinian situation in either the West Bank or Gaza. With the looming possibility that Hamas will conclude a critically important prisoner exchange with Israel in the coming days, the PA risks being overshadowed by Gaza government success.

Also on Wednesday, the PLO International Relations Department said the Palestinian struggle is currently “going through its most dangerous phase as a result of Israeli stubbornness and their practices against the Palestinian citizen and his properties through the expansion of settlements, the demolition of houses, Juidization of the holy city Jerusalem, and manipulating the negotiations process.”

The department added that “the Palestinian cause is going through its most dangerous stages as a result of the Israeli stubbornness and their practices against the Palestinian citizen and his properties by the expansion of settlement, demolishing houses, Juidizing the holy, and manipulating the negotiations process.”

The peace process is stalled, the PLO said, because there is no Israeli partner with which to negotiate. The statement alleged that the present Israeli government does not believe in the two-state solution, and is in fact shattering what remains of the possibility of a negotiated settlement.

The PLO called on the Quartet, the UN, and the US to approve the creation of a Palestinian state. The international community must “shoulder [its] moral and legal responsibilities toward the Palestinian cause and compel Israel to comply with the resolutions of the international legitimacy to end the longest occupation in modern history.”
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