Sep 11, 2011
At an ACRPS Conference:
The General Director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), Dr Azmi Bishara predicted, at a conference held on September 10, 2011, that the Palestinian cause would play an increasingly large role in the policies of Arab countries in the aftermath of the Arab revolutions.
This prediction he made during his opening remarks to the conference entitled "The Palestinian September: From the Oslo to a Return to International Institutions; Legal and Political Ramifications".
Speaking at the conference, Bishara described the Palestinian cause as being "central and existential" to the Arab national psyche; now that the Arab peoples had been freed from the yoke of their despot leaders, he said, the Palestinian cause would become one of the major demands which they would continue to hold dear, regardless of the outcome of the Palestinian statehood bid and UN recognition at the United Nations in September.
The conference, which brought together a select number of researchers and scholars of Palestinian descent from various Arab countries, was also notable for the attendance of a number of Arab dignitaries, including Qatari Minister of Culture Hamad Ben Abdulaziz Al Qawari, as well as Egypt and Iraq Ambassadors to Qatar, alongside with the Palestinian Ambassador.
Bishara pointed out that while the Palestinian cause had seemingly stepped into second place on the agenda of Arab media outlets, given the blizzard of activity surrounding the Arab revolutions; yet the Palestinian cause continued to play a central role amongst the Arab people.
One of the few commonalities shared by all the Arab peoples now rebelling was their distaste for how their governments failed to deal properly with the Palestinian cause, and have not managed to secure the Palestinians' rights.
Bishara also predicted that the Palestinian issue would return to the forefront of Arab demands, as soon as the revolutions achieved their aims and freed their countries from tyranny. This had already begun to happen in Tunisia and Egypt, according to Bishara, where the people were now free to express their opinions.
ACRPS General Director Bishara also indicated that the Center's desire to set aside a special conference for the topic of Palestinian statehood was a result of the ACRPS' concern for all aspects related to the Palestinian cause, not as a political position but since it is no longer considered of primary importance as noticed in the Arab and the international media landscapes.
The Palestinian leadership's attempt to form a fully-fledged Palestinian state was an important maneuver, which needed to be explored in further depth; something which, according to Bishara, Arab think-tanks had thus far failed to do.
Commenting directly on the decision of the Palestinian National Authority, the body brought about by the Oslo Agreements to govern the Palestinian territories (the PNA), to approach the United Nations, Dr Bishara said: "I believe that that this move by the PNA to approach the United Nations has demonstrated how the bi-lateral negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis through the Oslo process for the past 18 years, have failed. This is what has forced the Palestinians to return to international institutions; this renewed path with all its legal and political aspects will be examined at length through the conference."
Closing his remarks, Bishara noted that many people were projecting their own political views onto the Palestinian statehood bid, and also raised a number of questions regarding the political repercussions of such move. Will it be better for the Palestinians to try to win stake their claim at the UN General Assembly, or through the UN Security Council? The statehood bid also left open some questions about the right of return.