Saturday, September 17, 2011

Palestinians Continue Push Towards Declaring Statehood At United Nations

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to declare Palestinian statehood at the United Nations this week, and it's yet another effort to undermine Israeli sovereignty in the process.

We'd just have to ignore all the pronouncements made by Palestinian leaders in the past several weeks to believe that this is about creating a Palestinian state.

Palestinian officials have stated that they want to create a Jew-free Palestine, something that no regime or country has sought to do since Nazi Germany. This is something that would otherwise be considered ethnic cleansing and subject to all manner of hue and outcry from human rights groups around the world, but they have largely remained silent.

Palestinian officials have stated that they do not want to permit Palestinians living outside the West Bank or Gaza the right of return to the Palestinian state and will not resettle refugees living in the dozens of refugee camps scattered throughout the Middle East; they would rather keep these people living in squalor rather than build a productive state.
Mr. Abbas’s plan, made public in a television address, follows months of failed American and European efforts to restart Palestinian negotiations with Israel. Some fear that Mr. Abbas’s move will raise expectations among his people, with nothing changing for them on the ground. Combined with alarmed reactions from Israeli settlers, violent showdowns could erupt.

But the Palestinians say that after decades of occupation and about 20 years of failed talks with an increasingly hawkish Israel, it is time for a new approach in which the borders of a Palestinian state are first recognized globally and then two states, Israel and Palestine, negotiate final details.

The decision to apply for membership through the Council signals a double defeat for the United States. Washington not only failed to dissuade the Palestinians from a unilateral bid for statehood, but also fell short of its goal of confining the application to the United Nations General Assembly, where Obama administration officials believe a vote in favor of statehood would be more symbolic and less divisive.

The Obama administration has vowed to use its veto at the Council to prevent full recognition of Palestine. But it is eager to avoid doing so because that action would likely leave the United States isolated on the issue, weakening its standing with Arab nations at a politically delicate moment.

“We need to have full membership at the U.N.,” Mr. Abbas said in the speech from his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, which was broadcast live on Al Jazeera and other outlets. “We need a state, a seat at the United Nations.”

He added, “We are going to the Security Council,” as Palestinian dignitaries gave him rousing applause and a standing ovation. Mr. Abbas called it “our decision, which we have conveyed to everyone.”

The borders Mr. Abbas seeks are those of 1967, meaning East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza would be included. More than 500,000 Israelis have settled beyond those lines.

These statements show that Israel lacks a partner in a peace process, and it's little wonder then that Israel has grown more hawkish since the Oslo process began near 20 years ago. What began with so much promise has turned into a nightmare because the Palestinian leaders have been exposed for what they are - they seek a one-state solution that ultimately wants Israel's destruction and all their actions are in furtherance of that goal.

Israel withdrew from Gaza unilaterally, and Palestinians promptly launched a terror war that continues to this day with rockets, missiles, and mortars - precisely because the initial suicide bombing campaign was thwarted with the construction of a security fence. Palestinians complain that the fence thwarts economic activity, but for the terrorism, indoctrination and support for terror activities, Israel would not have had a need to build the fence, maintain a security cordon off Gaza's coast to prevent terrorists from being resupplied, and the economic conditions for Palestinians would be greatly improved.

For the most part, Hamas has been silent about Fatah's Abbas and Palestinian Authority statements, but it has announced that the UN bid is empty of content because it doesn't sufficiently deal with the Palestinian right of return to Israel. That's right folks, Hamas, which is part of the Palestinian government and which controls Gaza, doesn't think that Abbas and the PLO/Fatah are going far enough in their delegitimization efforts. They want the whole kit and kaboodle.

Hamas has never recognized Israel's right to exist, and it refuses to accept any deal that recognizes Israel alongside a Palestinian state.

So, with all that in mind, what is the United States to do with the ongoing situation. Pundits in the US think that Obama has to take a strong stand so as to retain the Jewish vote (and they point to the outcome of the NY-09 House race as proof). But no matter the outcome of the 2012 elections, the UN situation the Palestinian Authority is putting President Obama in the hot seat on how to deal with a major policy crisis. Wording a resolution that somehow raises the status of the Palestinian mission to the UN to something less than a state but more than an observer is a likely outcome.

The Palestinians have done nothing to warrant any kind of support here; they have engaged in terrorism for years on end and have not been a partner in peace. Israel's sovereignty and right to exist are inalienable rights, and yet the Palestinians are busy undermining Israel at every opportunity and with no regard for human rights - Palestinian or Israel.

A peace process requires two partners interested in a peaceful outcome, but the Palestinians refuse to accept any outcome where Israel exists.

Moreover, do the Palestinians really understand what having a state is all about. It's going to put terror attacks on par with acts of war and enables Israel to formally declare war against the Palestinians should they engage in the kinds of rocket battles that have been fought since 2007.

The world's leaders repeatedly chastise Israel when it defends itself from terrorists, but barely shrugs its shoulders when countries like Turkey invade Iraq and kill Kurdish groups that Turkey claims are terrorists or harboring terrorists.

The world's diplomats have no interest in the facts; they are far more interested in their legacy and appearance of signed documents. That's why the Palestinians continue to be advancing their agenda despite an ongoing disregard for the sovereignty of Israel.

This is the quandary facing Israel and the US.

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