The number of Israeli settlers has more than doubled during the last ten years of "negotiations", reaching a staggering figure of 650,000. There are 236 illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These occupy about 43 per cent of the land in the truncated West Bank and East Jerusalem and have displaced thousands of Palestinians. There are over four hundreds checkpoints and Jewish-only roads. And, of course the monstrous separation and land grabbing Wall snaking through Palestinian territories.
Clearly the sole beneficiary of these "negotiations" is Israel, which is using the negotiations for this very purpose. The Palestinians have gained nothing. To the contrary. they have lost much from the meager amount they had.
Under these circumstances, to say that the only course for the Palestinians is to negotiate with Israel is, to say the least, cruel.
It is time for the international community to end this farce of direct negotiations between the helpless occupied and the all-powerful occupier. It is time for it to live up to its duty and obligations and take action to end the illegal occupation.
The first step is to approve the Palestinians' application for full membership.
Regrettably, of all persons, Obama has threatened to veto any resolution granting this request!
Coming from the man who started his presidency by choosing the Palestinians to be the first to be called on phone, who gave the Cairo speech so full of hope and promise to the Arab world, who not so long ago snubbed Netanyahu, this stance by Obama is inexplicable and strange indeed.
But then, the President's chair has magical powers. It changes men. Its occupant becomes addicted to it. S/he will do anything to retain this seat.
Alas, Obama has obviously chosen this path. From being a world statesman he has sunk to being a contender in the coming general elections in the USA. He used the international forum to speak to the electorate in the USA. Aware of the power of AIPAC, desperate to shore up his sagging popularity back home, he spoke what powerful donors and supporters wanted to hear.
In doing so, he has shown a complete disregard for justice and international law, has diminished himself, tarnished the image of America and, as between Israel and Palestine, has aligned himself with the oppressor against the oppressed.