Why Palestinians Were So Quick To Reject Netanyahu's Speech

Imagine in private talks held in Oslo and other places you were promised an independent state but told by the other side that they can't actually use these words in the agreement. Imagine if you were told that the five year transitional period that began in 1994 was meant as a period to convince the Israeli public to accept this eventuality. Imagine if the person promising you a sovereign state is assassinated by his own people and you have to start talks all over with a right wing leader who has no interest in talking to you.

Imagine if in the past fifteen years you have been allowed all the trappings of a state. Since 1996 you have been allowed to field an Olympic team that actually participated in the Atlanta games and all games since. That you have an elected parliament and an elected president. That you have a functioning government, a functioning police, a nascent army. Imagine that your parliament debates and votes on laws which the president signs and the police enforce.

Imagine that you have an independent legal system with judges making rulings and smartly dressed policemen execute these decisions and place the criminals in jails that your security forces control.

Imagine traffic being regulated by policemen and policewomen who are smartly dressed with navy blue uniforms that have your tiny national flag on their arms. Imagine that they give you tickets which you have to pay or face administrative punishment.

Imagine if for the last fifteen years you have your own national radio and television station. Whenever your president wants to travel he is escorted with siren sounding convoy and well dressed and lightly armed security men who whisper in their hands and who jump out of their jeeps even before it comes to a complete stop.

Imagine that your president is welcomed with red carpet and 21 gun salutes in most countries of the world. Whenever world leaders come to meet your president they are also welcomed with red carpet and like when your president travels they are also given a chance to review the national guard. Imagine that your national anthem is played alongside all the world's national anthems.

Imagine that your president and his government hold bilateral talks with all these governments, and talk of all types of policies. They sit on tables across from each other with small flags representing your state and the other sides states. And when the talks are over, the two leaders step onto a hall adorned with much larger flags and give press conferences sometimes having to put earphones in their ears to understand the various foreign languages being used.

Imagine if your children go to schools in which all the textbooks are reviewed and issued with the approval of the ministry of education. Imagine if the high school matriculation examinations tawjihi are recognized the world over. Imagine that a separatist group in Gaza that tried to create an alternative tawhjihi was quickly rebuffed and had to come back and deal with your ministry of education because the world would only recognize your certificates.

Imagine your country's finances are regulated by an internationally recognized monetary fund. While you don't have your own currency (why add a national debt to your problems) your Monetary Fund deals with all local and international banks and financial institutions. Your country's national budget is published online as a sign of its transparency. Of course their web site has a national .ps code.

Imagine if your government can award a telecommunications license for a wireless and land line company. Imagine if this company is allowed by the International telecommunications Institute an international dialing code 970.

All these trappings of a state as part of an internationally recognized agreement signed in the White House lawn in 1993.

Imagine if all world leaders have been promising you publicly an independent viable state with territorial contiguity.

Imagine if the leaders of the free world including US presidents Bush and Obama publicly says that your independent state is in their own national interest.

Imagine then the leader of the government that signed that and all consequent agreements suddenly stands in front of the television cameras fifteen years later and offers a non-sovereign state that will come after a ton of conditions and international guarantees that the state will be forever demilitarized.

If you have all these elements and promises of an independent state but were missing full sovereignty it is hard to see why the latest offer is anything to get excited about.