Hailed as one of the best spokespersons for Palestine, veteran diplomat Afif Safieh impressed many during his four-city tour in Canada, earlier this year.
Safieh – the author of The Peace Process: From Breakthrough to Breakdown – is also the Palestinian Authority’s roving ambassador for special missions.
But while the messenger was admirable, the message was disturbing.
Safieh’s high degree of eloquence and refined diplomatic skills were not enough to conceal the current pathetic state of political stagnation and bankrupt strategic thinking that inflict the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian Authority (PA).
Safieh stressed his personal view that international intervention is needed for any peace agreement to be reached with Israel and repeatedly referenced international law as the basis for the demands the Palestinians are making. But his message was greatly compromised by the limitations of his official status as representative of the PLO.
In response to threats made by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird that the PA would face great “consequences” if it decided to make a case against Israel at the International Criminal Court, Safieh assured the Canadian government and the public that the Palestinian leadership has no “immediate plans” to pursue Israel at the ICC.
Al Jazeera, Qatar