The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, recently presented his case for recognition of Palestine as the United Nation’s 194th member state. It is currently being discussed by an admissions committee of the United Nations Security Council. President Obama has already said the U.S. will veto any Security Council vote on Palestinian statehood.
In an effort to not be outdone, several Republican candidates ignored the longstanding tradition of standing with a united front on issues of international security by condemning President Obama’s handling of the issue. Not by calling for support of the Palestinian cause, but by taking an even harder line, and saying the President hasn’t been as staunch an ally to Israel, as he should be.
Obviously these are just attempts to try and gain support from both the Jewish voters and the evangelicals. Texas Governor Rick Perry even ruminated on being “directed” by his religious teachings to support Israel. Many Christians believe that Israel is a necessary condition for the second coming of Christ to take place.
However, as a practical matter, President Obama has reached out to the Arab nations like no other President. If there ever was a time the Palestinians should be trying to achieve a peace agreement, it’s when a President like Obama is in office. But it is clear they aren’t capable, or apparently willing, to do what is necessary to make peace with the Israel. In fact, evidence is strong that it’s not even their ultimate goal.
They do manage to work wonders in the area of public relations. These are a people who turned down a negotiated peace deal brokered by President Clinton that gave them 97 percent of the land they were asking for, including parts of Jerusalem, which is something the Israeli’s had previously said they would give up. These are a people that, when almost the whole world mourned the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11, stood on rooftops to shoot guns into the air and celebrate. These are a people who have dueling governments; one in the West Bank, and one in Gaza, which is recognized as a terrorist organization and said it will not be bound by any agreements negotiated by the West Bank government, which is led by Abbas.
This is a people that have repeatedly turned down the offer of the Israeli’s to negotiate, stating that they won’t come to the table until the Israeli’s stop building settlements on ground they want. Excuse me, isn’t that what negotiations are for? Come to the table, and demand that be a condition; in fact, demand that settlements be taken down. The Israeli’s have done that before, so it’s clearly something that could be part of a settlement. Why are they making demands to just start the negotiations?
Yet, the world views them as the victims, and the Israeli’s as the aggressors. The Israeli‘s don’t even want all the land; in recent years they unilaterally pulled out of certain areas. What did the Palestinians do? They used that land as a staging ground for attacks on Israel. Not a very good way to get the Israeli’s to give up even more land!
Abbas says he will return to the bargaining table, but only on two conditions: Israel must stop building on lands the Palestinians claim, and agree to negotiate borders based on lines it held in 1967. Again, aren’t these things that should be negotiated? And is it realistic to think the Israeli’s would accept the pre-1967 borders, when they existed in the past and were used for military attacks against them? Obviously the borders have to be different, since history proves they didn’t satisfy the Palestinians when they had it.
And the real kicker, that seems to be brushed aside by the world at large, was an in-depth interview with the Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon, Abdullah Abdullah. He plainly stated statehood was not the goal, but only a step toward what they really want.
The ambassador unequivocally stated that Palestinian refugees would not become citizens of the new U.N.-recognized Palestinian state, should it come about. “They are Palestinians, that’s their identity,” he said. “But… they are not automatically citizens.” Abdullah added that “even Palestinian refugees who are living in [refugee camps] inside the [Palestinian] state, they are still refugees. They will not be considered citizens.”
Abdullah went on to say, “When we have a state accepted as a member of the United Nations, this is not the end of the conflict. This is not a solution to the conflict. This is only a new framework that will change the rules of the game.” Obviously it is part of an overall strategy. What is the ultimate goal? According to the Hamas part of the government, which controls Gaza, the goal is not peace with Israel, but its destruction, with the Palestinians staking their claim to all the land in the region.
That may be a gamble the countries of the European Union, Russia and China, who have all expressed support for the Palestinian statehood claim, are willing to take. But should the Israeli’s take the gamble that the Palestinians really only want a state to live in peacefully next to Israel? If they lose that gamble, which all evidence seems to indicate will happen, they can’t walk away and shake their heads like the others might do. They will lose thousands of lives in another war, and be in a very hard to defend position based on the pre-1967 borders. If they lose that war, they will be wiped out; a genocide—and pardon the expression due to the region of the world— of biblical proportions.
They are right to not be taken in by the Palestinian’s claims of wanting only a state to call their own. They were offered that several times, starting in 1947, and again under the Clinton peace negotiations. They didn’t accept it then, and have not made it clear they will accept it now. The world should not be fooled again.