Letter: Pyrrhic victory for the Palestinians

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is ironic that the Palestine Liberation Organisation is signing an autonomy agreement during the same week as South Africa's blacks voted for the first time. This week sees a humiliating defeat for the Palestinians and a triumphant victory for South African blacks.

In South Africa the African National Congress secured political rights for the majority while the PLO has obtained the right to do little more than fly flags and collect garbage in the Gaza Strip and Jericho. Palestinians remain under occupation in most of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with millions more left in exile.

Many of us hoped that the Arafat-Rabin accord last September would create a momentum towards an independent Palestinian state and the return of the refugees. The PLO leadership probably shared this optimism. Now it is clear that there has been no tangible advance.

It is easy to condemn the PLO leadership for its repeated concessions. However, the role of the international community should not be ignored. While pressure was brought to bear on the apartheid regime in South Africa, Zionist aggression and occupation have been subject to mere words from the UN Security Council.

Yours faithfully,



4 May