Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence has produced a range of reactions among Israeli and Palestinian observers that reveal their anxieties about their respective situations. However, EI co-founder Ali Abunimah cautions, history should tell us that imposed partitions have only generated new conflict, injustice and ethnic cleansing and have reinforced nationalism and irredentism.

Kosovo also presents dilemmas from a Palestinian perspective. John Whitbeck, an international lawyer and former legal advisor to Palestinian negotiators, pointed out the obvious hypocrisy of the Western justifications for recognizing Kosovo: "The American and EU impatience to sever a portion of a UN member state (universally recognized, even by them, to constitute a portion of that state's sovereign territory), ostensibly because 90 percent of those living in that portion of the state's territory support separation, contrasts starkly with the unlimited patience of the US and the EU when it comes to ending the 40-year-long belligerent occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip" ("If Kosovo, Why not Palestine?" The Jordan Times, 20 February 2008).

Yaser Abed Rabbo, an aide to Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Ramallah Palestinian Authority, made international headlines by suggesting that if negotiations with Israel continued to go nowhere, "we have another option," which is to follow the example of Kosovo. "Kosovo is not better than Palestine," he asserted.

Abbas and his other chief lieutenants, Ahmed Qureia and Saeb Erekat quickly jumped on Abed Rabbo, assuring the world that they would do no such thing — they would instead stick to the very "negotiations" that have been going on for fifteen years and that they acknowledge have made no progress. This makes perfect sense. As Whitbeck noted, these leaders are merely clients of the US and the EU. They will never bite the hand that feeds them.

Originally from Electronic Intifada : Palestine on February 25, 2008, 1:09am

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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