Abba Eban served in many governmental positions in the early years after the creation of the State of Israel. Eban was an eloquent speaker, a brilliant diplomat and a gentleman and scholar. He served as both Israel's ambassador to the United States and to the United Nations at the very same time.
Abba Eban brilliantly observed that "Palestinians never miss an opportunity – to miss an opportunity."
His words and keen observation especially reverberate today.
The Palestinians were scheduled to chair the Arab League meetings for the next six months. The position rotates every half year. Instead of assuming the position, they resigned the chairmanship.
They resigned because they, Palestinians, had failed to convince the Arab League to condemn the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain for committing to peace treaties with Israel. The Palestinians claim that these treaties, created between the Jewish State and their fellow Arab nations, were an abandonment of the long-held agreement among Arab countries not to recognize Israel.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki held a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah to inform the Palestinian public and the world that they were resigning the chairmanship. He said: "Palestine has decided to concede its right to chair the League's Council (of foreign ministers) at its current session. There is no honor in seeing Arabs rush towards normalization during its presidency."
Maliki then read from a letter he sent to Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit informing him of the Palestinian move and criticizing the UAE and Bahrain, both Gulf Arab nations.
In his letter Maliki wrote that peace deals with Israel "created a deep crisis in the Arab League." Obviously, in the year 2020, the Palestinians stand almost alone in their thinking.
It was a typical Palestinian response. Hurt yourselves in the hope that by hurting yourself, people will take notice. That people will feel your pain.
It was a valiant, even if misguided, effort by the Palestinians to, diplomatically speaking, dis Israel. They attempted to pass a resolution within the Arab League condemning the UAE and Bahrain's normalization agreements with Israel. And they failed. When the Gulf States gained the support of the Arab League because of the treaties they signed, the Palestinians were dealt a huge blow.
Instead of moving on, they took a big – and very predictable, step backward. For years Palestinians thought they could set the tone for all Arab interaction with Israel. They have not succeeded, and they have not learned their lesson.
The Palestinian claim that they cannot participate in a movement to normalize relations with Israel until an agreement is in place. That process of creating an agreement is called normalization. But they have rejected and continue to reject the process.
They say that they will not participate in a process that causes their destruction. They say that Arab League support of the normalization is akin to Palestinian suicide. That explains the reasoning behind their resignation of the Arab League chairmanship.
What the Palestinians do not understand is that through the position of chair, they could bring important attention to their story and agenda and even help guide the process of normalization. The Arab League is composed of a hefty 22 nations. Instead, they identified it as a loss and walked away.
But Palestinian leadership cannot be swayed.
Even money has not persuaded PA leadership to budge from their childish stance. And large parts of the Arab world, including the seven Gulf Aran states, are throwing up their hands in despair over the behavior and decision-making of Palestinian leaders. Gulf money donations to the Palestinians has virtually dried up. In the first seven months of 2019 the PA received $267 million in donations. This year that number has shrunk to a tiny $38 million, a 80% drop in funding.
If $230 million dollars could not and does not influence Palestinian leadership's attitude, I do not know what will.
The UAE's UN ambassador met with the Israeli UN ambassador this week. Her name is Lana Nusseibeh and she is a woman of Palestinian decent. Educated in England with a masters degree in Jewish and Israeli Diaspora Affairs, Nusseibeh is from a prestigious Palestinian family. Decades ago, her father fell out of favor with Palestinian leadership over their direction.
The Arab world is leaving the Palestinians to flounder on their own. Arab nations are forming alliances with Israel on almost every level. Politically, economically and even in the world of the great equalizer – sports. Dubai has just signed Israeli soccer player Dia Saba to play for the UAE professional soccer team.
Abba Eban also said that "nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives."
This is the nature of normalization. The Palestinians are missing great opportunities! Again! And again!
Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.
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