by Khaled Abu Toameh
The third intifada is already here, and it is being waged against Israel not on the streets of Gaza and Ramallah, but in the international arena.
This is a Diplomatic Intifada, aimed at rallying the world against Israel in the hope of forcing it to accept all of the Palestinian Authority's demands, first and foremost a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 armistice lines.
Palestinian officials are saying that even if their application for statehood membership in the UN Security Council fails, they will pursue the battle in the UN General Assembly, where the chances of success are guaranteed.
The Palestinian Authority has reached the conclusion that there is no point in continuing the negotiations with Israel because no Israeli government could give the Palestinians everything they want.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has decided that it is better to negotiate with the UN than with Israel.
He is hoping that the UN will grant him what Israel is refusing to give at the negotiating table.
Palestinian Authority officials are hoping that international pressure will force Israel to its knees. They point out that similar measures forced Apartheid South Africa to eventually succumb to the will of the international community.
Success at the General Assembly, they explain, would pave the way for Palestinian membership in countless UN organizations and agencies, including the International Criminal Court and the World Health Organization.
Once the Palestinian Authority gains membership in these bodies, it is planning to launch a massive diplomatic campaign aimed at isolating Israel in the international arena. The ultimate goal is to seek Israel's expulsion from most UN bodies on the grounds that it is refusing to comply with UN resolutions concerning the Israeli-Arab conflict.
The Palestinian Authority says it wants to use its newly acquired membership in UNESCO to file a number of lawsuits against Israel in international courts and forums for alleged theft and destruction of archeological sites and antiquities in Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Authority also says it wants to accuse Israel of "changing and destroying the Arab and Islamic character and culture of Jerusalem and various holy sites in the city. "
Palestinian Authority representatives say they are also planning to seek a series of punitive measures against Israel in the international arena. One of the ideas being floated around in Ramallah is to seek the prosecution of hundreds of Israelis for alleged war crimes against Palestinians over the past few decades.
Talking to Palestinian officials in Ramallah, one is left with the impression that the Palestinian Authority is out to punish Israel more than achieve a state for its people.
The Palestinian Authority's new intifada against Israel in the international arena is only widening the gap and increasing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. Many Israelis feel that Abbas is trying to push them against the wall by launching a worldwide campaign against Israel.
Abbas now risks losing the sympathy of a majority of Israelis who support the two-state solution and are ready for far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians. But the Palestinian leader clearly does not care anymore about what Israelis think and that explains why this week he told reporters in his office: "I will continue with the statehood bid at the UN and I don't care about anyone."
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