Endgame: Israel, 'Palestine' and the Post Peace Talks Era
In spite of an American brokered last minute Israeli proposal to try and preserve peace talks, Mahmoud Abbas has canceled a scheduled meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and decided to take the quest for Palestine's statehood unilaterally to the UN, signing an application for statehood and admission to 15 UN organizations.
Aside from violating the existing PLO agreement with the U.S. and Israel to avoid a unilateral move of this kind until the April 29th deadline of the peace talks, Abbas has also decided to violate the Oslo Accords and the Road Map. Of course, since the Palestinians never complied with either agreement anyway, their latest move is just part of a pattern. Abbas has shown by his consistent rejection of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, his refusal to commit to have a peace agreement signify the end of the conflict, and his insisting on a re-divided Jerusalem with the Jewish holy sites under his control and a Palestinian 'right of return' that the Palestinians never actually intended to sign a peace agreement that meant anything anyway.
So now that the fiction has exploded, where do things go from here?
The first move of course, belongs to the Obama Administration. It was President Obama and his team that set up this fiasco, arm twisting Israel into releasing Palestinians convicted of murder and terrorism in Israeli civil courts in order to bribe Abbas and the PLO into coming to the table. The hypocrisy of this move can be seen when you realize that the U.S. specifically requested of Israel that no Arabs guilty of murdering U.S. citizens be released as part of these arrangements. Israeli blood is apparently of less value.
The Israelis finally balked at releasing a final tranche of convicted killers because there was no progress being made in the talks and it was apparent that Abbas was going to simply pocket another concession and blow up the talks anyway. Even the PA chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat admitted earlier this month that Abbas was staying in the talks just to get the terrorist releases.
So now that Abbas and the Palestinians have deliberately insulted Secretary Kerry and President Obama by issuing an ultimatum and not even waiting for their own 24 hour deadline to pass, where do we go from here?
If things go as they usually do, you may see President Obama and the usual suspects blame the Israelis for the failure of the talks. And you may hear that there's nothing the U.S. can do to block Palestinian statehood in the UN. If the Obama team decides to use this, a quick glance at the UN charter shows what a blatant lie that is. Any permanent member of the Security Council -- Russia, France, China, Great Britain and of course, the United States -- has the ability to veto applications for membership of the UN itself or to any of its associated organizations. That's why Kosovo isn't a UN member, because of Russia's veto.
The Obama administration is going to have to decide on whether they're going to abrogate two treaties the United States is a signatory to in order to create “Palestine” in defiance of all norms of international law. And assuming they do, they're also going to have to decide whether to participate in UN efforts to enforce it.
Israel, of course, has different questions to answer. It remains to be seen if President Obama is going to have America participate or abstain to allow the creation of “Palestine” in the UN, which of course would destroy what remains of any alliance between America and Israel. But regardless of what the United States does, Israel is going to have to decide its own destiny and how the facts on the ground play out.
From Israel's standpoint, what makes the most sense is to once and for all forgo the mirage of the Two State solution. At this point, Israel can simply do what they should have done decades ago...delineate the borders it needs unilaterally, move any Israeli citizens to the Israeli side of the border and any Arab non-Israeli citizens to the other, perhaps with compensation for property. Israel could then annex that area, declare it part of Israel and defend its borders.
Such a solution would give Abbas and the PLO an area to call their own, comprising Area B and perhaps a few other areas. They of course would never accept this, but then, they don't accept Israel's existence in the first place. They were always going to be a genocidal and hostile neighbor anyway.
While there would definitely be a period of intense feedback from the EU and the UN, the idea that there is a “Palestine” would make that reaction largely fade out in a relatively short time. Much of the world, particularly the EU is tired of “Palestine” and the endless financial drain. They have their own problems and are ready to move on.
It's time the question of “Palestine” was settled once and for all, in the same way every other question involving refugees has been settled throughout history. Especially since the Palestinians, once again, have rejected any kind of negotiated settlement.