The Palestinians are not ready for statehood...
The latest from Khaled Abu Toameh...
Almost every week, the Palestinian Authority reaffirms its intention to seek the international community's recognition in September of an independent Palestinian state on the 1948 armistice lines.
Palestinian leaders in the West Bank say that the Palestinians are ready for statehood, and all what is needed now is that the United Nations recognize the state even without an agreement with Israel.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat revealed this week that the Palestinian leadership has prepared a draft document that would be presented to the UN in the coming weeks. The document, Erekat said, calls for official recognition of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines, including east Jerusalem.
The Palestinians, he added, have reached the conclusion that there is no point in conducting peace talks with the government of Binyamin Netanyahu because of his refusal to withdraw from "all" the territories that were occupied in 1967.
The Palestinian Authority has also decided that it does not necessarily have to wait until September to seek UN recognition of the state. In recent months and weeks, Palestinian leaders have approached many countries, asking them to declare their recognition of a future Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.
So far, a number of South American countries have responded positively. But these countries did not bother to ask Palestinian Authority leaders whether the Palestinians were prepared for statehood.
Had the South American governments checked, they would have discovered that the Palestinians already have two "states" – one in the West Bank and the second in the Gaza Strip. This has been the reality on the ground ever since Hamas managed to throw the Palestinian Authority out of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.
The Palestinian Authority is asking the world to recognize a state on the pre-1967 lines when it has no control over the Gaza Strip. Abbas cannot even visit his private residence in Gaza City because it has been occupied by Hamas.
Moreover, Abbas does not have a real mandate to negotiate or strike any deal with any party on behalf of a majority of Palestinians, particularly since his term in office expired in January 2009.
Abbas is seeking the world's recognition of a state when he knows that he also cannot even hold elections without Hamas's approval.
His recent announcement that he would hold presidential and legislative elections is not being taken seriously because of opposition from Hamas and other Palestinian groups.
Now Abbas is saying that he is ready to take the risk and travel to the Gaza Strip to try to convince Hamas to change its position and agree at least to the formation of a new Palestinian "unity" government. But this new initiative is also not being taken seriously, not even buy his own Fatah faction: they believe Abbas is saying this only for local consumption, not only to show that he cares about unity, but also because they know that the gap between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority is too wide and too difficult for this dispute to be solved at the moment.
Before seeking international recognition of an independent Palestinian state, the Palestinian Authority needs to get its act together and end the ongoing power struggle between the two Palestinian entities.
For now, it seems that everyone is against everyone in the Palestinian Authority: Abbas against Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who is against Fatah, which is against Fayyad; the PLO is against Fatah, some of whose members are also against Abbas.
And then there is Fatah against Hamas, which is against all the others.
With such a mess, it is hard to say that the Palestinians are prepared for statehood.