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If the Secretary General wanted to be truly “fair and balanced” as he professed to be, he would have to publicly acknowledge the fact that the Palestinians could have been living in an independent state of their own for more than sixty years. He would have to concede that the fault for their stateless condition today lies in large measure with the Palestinians themselves who, prodded on by their neighboring Arab countries, chose not to accept the UN’s original two-state partition solution.
Jordan occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem for nearly the first twenty years following the creation of the state of Israel, and then participated in the 1967 Six Day War against Israel which Israel won. Israel had sent a message to Jordan’s leader King Hussein via the US State Department, the UN and the British Foreign Office, saying that, despite the outbreak of war, it would not attack the West Bank if Jordan maintained quiet on that front. Jordan ignored Israel’s appeal to avoid conflict.
Had Jordan heeded Israel’s warning not to join Egypt and Syria in attacking Israel, Jordan would have been able to keep its West Bank territory. The Palestinians living in the West Bank could have worked out an arrangement with Jordan to create an independent state. But the Jordanians did not listen, leading to Israel’s take-over of the territory and a lost opportunity for the Palestinians.
The Palestinians have displayed bad faith in their negotiations with Israel ever since that time. In 2000, for example, Israel offered the Palestinians a contiguous state in 97% of the territory of the West Bank plus Gaza. Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the Haram as Sharif (Temple Mount) would have been incorporated into Palestine. Arafat chose to reject the Israelis’ offer, prompting the chief U.S. negotiator Dennis Ross to blame the Palestinians for the breakdown of the talks. Even Saudi Arabian ambassador Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan remarked that “if Arafat does not accept what is available now, it won’t be a tragedy, it will be a crime.”
The Palestinians had another chance to achieve a state of their own in the West Bank in 2008. This was after the Israelis had already withdrawn unilaterally from Gaza and turned over control to the Palestinian Authority, which was unable to meet their security obligations as the terrorist Hamas organization took over and used Gaza as a base for rocket attacks against innocent Israeli civilians.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discussed with the Palestinians transferring to them 98.1 percent of the West Bank. Parts of East Jerusalem were included in the Israelis’ offer. Olmert also agreed that some Palestinian refugees could return to Israel. However, it was a far lower number than Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was prepared to accept. Abbas rejected the proposed deal.
The Palestinians refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, even within the pre-1967 borders. Indeed, they deny that Jews have any historic connection to the land of Israel. The Palestinian Authority’s information minister recently claimed that the Western Wall, Jews’ holiest site, belongs to Muslims. In an attempt to de-legitimize Israel’s Jewish history, the information minister’s report asserts that there isn’t one stone in the wall that belongs to the era of King Solomon. “The Zionist occupation falsely and unjustly claims that it owns this wall, which it calls the Western Wall or Kotel,” he wrote in his report. “This wall was never part of the so-called Temple Mount, but Muslim tolerance allowed the Jews to stand in front of it and weep over its destruction.”
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon should know all this history. However, along with much of the international community, he refuses to acknowledge the Palestinians’ hypocrisy and deceit staring him in the face. Israel is made into the bogeyman, while its Jewish roots are denied.
The stage has been set for the coup de grace. The Palestinians are looking to the international community for unilateral recognition of an independent Palestinian state and of East Jerusalem as their capital, with at least the tacit approval of the United Nations Secretary General. At this point, it is increasingly likely that they will get their way at the United Nations next September.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam
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