A Palestinian State: the U.N. Gambit

As most people following the Middle East conflict know by now, in abrogation of the Oslo II Accords, the Palestinians will be going to the U.N. in September, 2011 seeking unilateral state recognition either from the Security Council or if need be, by circumvention of that body in favor of the General Assembly.  With the same contempt for agreements Muhammad had at Hudaibiya, matched by Hitler at Munich in 1938, Abbas senses the pendulum of history swinging in his favor.  In lieu of direct negotiations with Israel, the nominal leader of the PLO has sat back, let the Obama administration do his bidding, and has become accustomed to garnering concessions less reciprocation with any of his own.  Why should his U.N. gambit be any different?  Let's examine this question a bit later.

Frustrated by continuous Soviet vetoes in the Security Council throughout the early 50's the United States played a leading role in adopting resolution 377 A (V), known as "Uniting for Peace."  Simply put, the resolution states that in lack of Security Council unanimity the General Assembly (GA) can be called into session, consider a matter, and make recommendations to the membership on collective action.  Having had a distinct majority in the GA prior to the de-colonization of Asia and Africa, Uniting for Peace made sense to the U.S., particularly during the Korean conflict.  In recent years res. 377 has played into the hands of Arab foreign policy to the detriment of both Israel and the United States.  Fortunately, from a legal standpoint, in and of itself, the resolution is not binding.  It clearly states, "the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations" (my emphasis).

If push comes to shove, and the GA votes on Palestinian statehood, in terms of international relations, it admittedly would not be a good thing for either the U.S. or Israel.  For starters, it is antithetical to the foreign policy of the Obama administration which reluctantly will be forced to use its power of veto against Palestinian statehood in the Security Council -- a move the President wishes to avoid so as not to ruffle the feathers of the world community, a community of nations for reasons not short of anti-Semitism continuously turns a blind eye to historical Arab/Palestinian incitement and provocation, yet has no problem castigating the Jewish state for responding in her own defense.

Getting back to the question of why un-reciprocated Israeli concessions will stop at this point is quite straightforward.  If the Palestinians opt for a unilateral declaration of statehood, Israel will be released from all obligations, including those signed at Oslo II with the deceased terrorist, Yasser Arafat.  Such a declaration would also free Israel of any responsibility in the Gaza Strip.  The dispute would now morph into a conflict between two states rather than an occupier (my emphasis) and an occupied entity.  Israel would no longer be required to allow passage of personnel and material over what would become an international border.  Since under any circumstances, Hamas, sworn to the destruction of Israel, will continue its hostility, Israel under the U.N. Charter would have legal cover to silence the incessant aggression she has suffered for so long since mistakenly turning Gaza over to the Palestinians.  Even Haaretz, the left leaning Israeli newspaper, on Sunday featured an article by Shlomo Avineri stating the obvious.  Even if direct negotiations miraculously began again, "the prospects for peace are nil."  A prophetic statement indeed, since the following day it was learned that Fatah and Hamas have now formed a unity government.  The author correctly asserts that blame can not be affixed to the Netanyahu government.  After two years of negotiating and offering a great many concessions, the Olmert and Livni government could never reach an agreement with Abbas either.  If a state of their own and peace with Israel is really what the Palestinians wanted, Abba Eban's famous quote, "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity," is right on the money.

So what are the ramifications of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood?  Continued isolation of the Jewish State, increased efforts delegitimizing her, more calls for divestiture, cancellation of cultural events.  What else is new?  In terms of the status quo, this end run around direct negotiations with Israel changes nothing.  Recalcitrant as ever, the Palestinians refuse to budge or even negotiate on the core, secular foundational issues which underline this conflict:

  • Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
  • Israel's vital security needs.
  • Jerusalem, Israel's capital.
  • Palestinian refugees.
  • An end to Palestinian incitement.

Outside of what many pundits, including this writer, consider to be the least common denominator of this conflict, Islam itself, the above five issues are ostensibly the main topics of contention.  Let's examine them:

Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state: Once again tipping his hand, Mahmoud Abbas, as reported on Israeli radio, April 18, reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.  By the speech he gave on April 30, 2009 the Palestinian President proves, if nothing else, he's consistent.

For his part, in a speech given on April 19, Prime Minister Netanyahu unequivocally stated that "Jerusalem won't budge on demand for recognition."  Some may ask why is Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state so important?  Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon succinctly states that such a proclamation is of no importance to the Jews of Israel.  The founding fathers and generations of Israeli citizens subsequent recognize themselves as a Jewish state.  Ayalon correctly asserts, for two nations to live side by side in peace, it's Palestinian society that must come to grips with Israel as a sovereign, Jewish entity.

Israel's Vital Security Needs: Emboldened by recent events and more confident than ever, Abed Rabbo gave the following quote during an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper: "The Palestinian leadership won't back down unless real and serious peace negotiations are launched on the basis of the 1967 borders."  In other words he's telling Israel, either acquiesce to indefensible borders and other demands or the U.N. will impose it upon them.  In a unique expectation of the victors suing for peace, one almost forgets Israel actually controls the territory in question.  Likewise, as the jackals in the U.N. curry favor with the Arab world, one has to wonder if any them understands why no Israeli government will succumb to their false sense of urgency and retreat to borders which had placed her in peril during two previous wars.

Only 44 miles separate the Jordan Valley from the Mediterranean Sea. Following the Six Day War, United Nations Resolution 242 stated Israel was entitled to defensible borders, defensible borders unlike the ones she is being cajoled to return to.  Running along Israel's eastern border is the Jordan Rift Valley whose hills rise from 1,200 feet below sea level to a height of 3,000 feet, serving as an effective 4,200 foot defensive abutment against a potential attack coming from terrorist groups, Iran, Iraq, or Jordan.  The last time Israel abandoned such a strategic position was in 2005 when the Sharon government unilaterally pulled out of Gaza, allowing the Philadelphia Corridor to become a conduit for weapons and terrorists, a move unlikely to be repeated in the Jordan Valley.  Likewise, the 3,000 foot mountain range surrounds an area of Israel containing 70% of her population, as well as her air and seaports.  There could not be a greater vulnerability to the Jewish state than the relinquishment of this high ground overlooking Jerusalem and the heart of Israel.  As the likely preponderance of nations in the GA prepare to impose a Palestinian state based upon the pre-1967 Armistice lines, don't take bet these considerations will ever come to mind.

Jerusalem as Israel's capital: Kind of a no brainer.  If under all circumstances, the supposed good guy, Abbas, refuses to even consider Israel as a Jewish state, what chance is there for the Palestinians, particularly their new unity government, of recognizing Jerusalem as the Jewish capital?  As this presentation by Dore Gold bears witness, the Arabs are perplexed at any Jewish connection to this land.  Could, or should Israel, now, after a 2,000 year Diaspora, be in control of her ancient capital, only to abnegate her rights to a Palestinian people sworn to her destruction?  This may have made sense when the Western world dissected Czechoslovakia in 1938 but it should not hold water today.

Palestinian Refugees: Unlike the 800,000-1,000,000 Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands between 1949 to 1960 who were made citizens of Israel, today you have the progeny of a people uprooted by war, still living in UNRWA refugee camps, never repatriated by an Arab world with greater concern for geo-politics than their wretched plight.  Yet today, those countries so fast to bestow nationhood upon a hostile Palestinian state either do not consider or care less the ramifications of Israel absorbing what today would be 7.2 million hostile Arabs.

An end to Palestinian incitement: It all starts and ends here.  If this could be accomplished, all else could fall in line.  Dealing with a cooperative, true partner for peace, turning their attention away from war towards nation building would be a godsend to both to Israel and the Palestinians.  Unfortunately, all roads lead back to the endemic, theocratic hatred of the Palestinian people toward the Jews of Israel.  This indoctrinated angst is so great that, even if begun today, it would take many generations before it could be eradicated.  The gap is too great, it's doubtful it will ever happen.

The scope of this essay relates to the secular issues of this dispute.  In reality the core of this conflict is religion; uncompromising Islam.  That's the rub -- that's its irreconcilability, regardless of what comes out of the United Nations in September.
As most people following the Middle East conflict know by now, in abrogation of the Oslo II Accords, the Palestinians will be going to the U.N. in September, 2011 seeking unilateral state recognition either from the Security Council or if need be, by circumvention of that body in favor of the General Assembly.  With the same contempt for agreements Muhammad had at Hudaibiya, matched by Hitler at Munich in 1938, Abbas senses the pendulum of history swinging in his favor.  In lieu of direct negotiations with Israel, the nominal leader of the PLO has sat back, let the Obama administration do his bidding, and has become accustomed to garnering concessions less reciprocation with any of his own.  Why should his U.N. gambit be any different?  Let's examine this question a bit later.

Frustrated by continuous Soviet vetoes in the Security Council throughout the early 50's the United States played a leading role in adopting resolution 377 A (V), known as "Uniting for Peace."  Simply put, the resolution states that in lack of Security Council unanimity the General Assembly (GA) can be called into session, consider a matter, and make recommendations to the membership on collective action.  Having had a distinct majority in the GA prior to the de-colonization of Asia and Africa, Uniting for Peace made sense to the U.S., particularly during the Korean conflict.  In recent years res. 377 has played into the hands of Arab foreign policy to the detriment of both Israel and the United States.  Fortunately, from a legal standpoint, in and of itself, the resolution is not binding.  It clearly states, "the General Assembly shall consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate recommendations" (my emphasis).

If push comes to shove, and the GA votes on Palestinian statehood, in terms of international relations, it admittedly would not be a good thing for either the U.S. or Israel.  For starters, it is antithetical to the foreign policy of the Obama administration which reluctantly will be forced to use its power of veto against Palestinian statehood in the Security Council -- a move the President wishes to avoid so as not to ruffle the feathers of the world community, a community of nations for reasons not short of anti-Semitism continuously turns a blind eye to historical Arab/Palestinian incitement and provocation, yet has no problem castigating the Jewish state for responding in her own defense.

Getting back to the question of why un-reciprocated Israeli concessions will stop at this point is quite straightforward.  If the Palestinians opt for a unilateral declaration of statehood, Israel will be released from all obligations, including those signed at Oslo II with the deceased terrorist, Yasser Arafat.  Such a declaration would also free Israel of any responsibility in the Gaza Strip.  The dispute would now morph into a conflict between two states rather than an occupier (my emphasis) and an occupied entity.  Israel would no longer be required to allow passage of personnel and material over what would become an international border.  Since under any circumstances, Hamas, sworn to the destruction of Israel, will continue its hostility, Israel under the U.N. Charter would have legal cover to silence the incessant aggression she has suffered for so long since mistakenly turning Gaza over to the Palestinians.  Even Haaretz, the left leaning Israeli newspaper, on Sunday featured an article by Shlomo Avineri stating the obvious.  Even if direct negotiations miraculously began again, "the prospects for peace are nil."  A prophetic statement indeed, since the following day it was learned that Fatah and Hamas have now formed a unity government.  The author correctly asserts that blame can not be affixed to the Netanyahu government.  After two years of negotiating and offering a great many concessions, the Olmert and Livni government could never reach an agreement with Abbas either.  If a state of their own and peace with Israel is really what the Palestinians wanted, Abba Eban's famous quote, "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity," is right on the money.

So what are the ramifications of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood?  Continued isolation of the Jewish State, increased efforts delegitimizing her, more calls for divestiture, cancellation of cultural events.  What else is new?  In terms of the status quo, this end run around direct negotiations with Israel changes nothing.  Recalcitrant as ever, the Palestinians refuse to budge or even negotiate on the core, secular foundational issues which underline this conflict:

  • Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state.
  • Israel's vital security needs.
  • Jerusalem, Israel's capital.
  • Palestinian refugees.
  • An end to Palestinian incitement.

Outside of what many pundits, including this writer, consider to be the least common denominator of this conflict, Islam itself, the above five issues are ostensibly the main topics of contention.  Let's examine them:

Recognition of Israel as a Jewish state: Once again tipping his hand, Mahmoud Abbas, as reported on Israeli radio, April 18, reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.  By the speech he gave on April 30, 2009 the Palestinian President proves, if nothing else, he's consistent.

For his part, in a speech given on April 19, Prime Minister Netanyahu unequivocally stated that "Jerusalem won't budge on demand for recognition."  Some may ask why is Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state so important?  Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon succinctly states that such a proclamation is of no importance to the Jews of Israel.  The founding fathers and generations of Israeli citizens subsequent recognize themselves as a Jewish state.  Ayalon correctly asserts, for two nations to live side by side in peace, it's Palestinian society that must come to grips with Israel as a sovereign, Jewish entity.

Israel's Vital Security Needs: Emboldened by recent events and more confident than ever, Abed Rabbo gave the following quote during an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper: "The Palestinian leadership won't back down unless real and serious peace negotiations are launched on the basis of the 1967 borders."  In other words he's telling Israel, either acquiesce to indefensible borders and other demands or the U.N. will impose it upon them.  In a unique expectation of the victors suing for peace, one almost forgets Israel actually controls the territory in question.  Likewise, as the jackals in the U.N. curry favor with the Arab world, one has to wonder if any them understands why no Israeli government will succumb to their false sense of urgency and retreat to borders which had placed her in peril during two previous wars.

Only 44 miles separate the Jordan Valley from the Mediterranean Sea. Following the Six Day War, United Nations Resolution 242 stated Israel was entitled to defensible borders, defensible borders unlike the ones she is being cajoled to return to.  Running along Israel's eastern border is the Jordan Rift Valley whose hills rise from 1,200 feet below sea level to a height of 3,000 feet, serving as an effective 4,200 foot defensive abutment against a potential attack coming from terrorist groups, Iran, Iraq, or Jordan.  The last time Israel abandoned such a strategic position was in 2005 when the Sharon government unilaterally pulled out of Gaza, allowing the Philadelphia Corridor to become a conduit for weapons and terrorists, a move unlikely to be repeated in the Jordan Valley.  Likewise, the 3,000 foot mountain range surrounds an area of Israel containing 70% of her population, as well as her air and seaports.  There could not be a greater vulnerability to the Jewish state than the relinquishment of this high ground overlooking Jerusalem and the heart of Israel.  As the likely preponderance of nations in the GA prepare to impose a Palestinian state based upon the pre-1967 Armistice lines, don't take bet these considerations will ever come to mind.

Jerusalem as Israel's capital: Kind of a no brainer.  If under all circumstances, the supposed good guy, Abbas, refuses to even consider Israel as a Jewish state, what chance is there for the Palestinians, particularly their new unity government, of recognizing Jerusalem as the Jewish capital?  As this presentation by Dore Gold bears witness, the Arabs are perplexed at any Jewish connection to this land.  Could, or should Israel, now, after a 2,000 year Diaspora, be in control of her ancient capital, only to abnegate her rights to a Palestinian people sworn to her destruction?  This may have made sense when the Western world dissected Czechoslovakia in 1938 but it should not hold water today.

Palestinian Refugees: Unlike the 800,000-1,000,000 Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands between 1949 to 1960 who were made citizens of Israel, today you have the progeny of a people uprooted by war, still living in UNRWA refugee camps, never repatriated by an Arab world with greater concern for geo-politics than their wretched plight.  Yet today, those countries so fast to bestow nationhood upon a hostile Palestinian state either do not consider or care less the ramifications of Israel absorbing what today would be 7.2 million hostile Arabs.

An end to Palestinian incitement: It all starts and ends here.  If this could be accomplished, all else could fall in line.  Dealing with a cooperative, true partner for peace, turning their attention away from war towards nation building would be a godsend to both to Israel and the Palestinians.  Unfortunately, all roads lead back to the endemic, theocratic hatred of the Palestinian people toward the Jews of Israel.  This indoctrinated angst is so great that, even if begun today, it would take many generations before it could be eradicated.  The gap is too great, it's doubtful it will ever happen.

The scope of this essay relates to the secular issues of this dispute.  In reality the core of this conflict is religion; uncompromising Islam.  That's the rub -- that's its irreconcilability, regardless of what comes out of the United Nations in September.

RECENT VIDEOS