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In a fiery, no holds barred speech on September 23, 2011 to the United Nations General Assembly, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas presented Palestine’s formal application for full membership to the United Nations. Although he was speaking on the first day of fall, Abbas proclaimed that the “Palestinian Spring” had arrived, which he repeated to cheering crowds welcoming him home Sunday in the West Bank.
Holding up a copy of his letter requesting full UN membership, Abbas declared to the General Assembly:
The time has come for my courageous and proud people after decades of displacement and colonial occupation and ceaseless suffering to live like other peoples of the earth free in a sovereign and independent homeland. Mr. President, I would like to inform you that before delivering this statement I, in my capacity as president of the state of Palestine, and chairman of the executive committee of Palestine Liberalization Organization, submitted to his excellency Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations an application for the admission of Palestine on the basis of the borders of June 4, 1967 with al Quds al Sharif [Jerusalem] as its capital as a full member of the United Nations. This is a copy of the application.
Abbas received a rousing hero’s welcome as he stepped up to the same podium where the PLO terrorist Yasser Arafat had received a rousing welcome in 1974.
Abbas also received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his speech, as raucous cheers erupted from the gallery, where minutes before, a rambunctious standee got into a violent clash with UN security guards.
Little has changed at the United Nations between the Arafat and Abbas General Assembly speeches. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it during his own speech to the General Assembly following Abbas’s speech, the United Nations has become both a “house of lies” and a “theater of the absurd” in its obsession to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and to falsify the history of the Palestinians’ own self-inflicted wounds.
“Twenty-one out of the 27 General Assembly resolutions condemn Israel — the one true democracy in the Middle East,” said Netanyahu. “Well, this is an unfortunate part of the U.N. institution. It’s the — the theater of the absurd. It doesn’t only cast Israel as the villain; it often casts real villains in leading roles.”
Netanyahu’s speech did not receive the wild applause that Abbas’s speech had received just an hour or so before from Abbas’s fawning listeners. But, as the Israeli prime minister said, he was not aiming for applause lines. “Today I hope that the light of truth will shine, if only for a few minutes, in a hall that for too long has been a place of darkness for my country,” Netanyahu told his listeners. “So as Israel’s prime minister, I didn’t come here to win applause. I came here to speak the truth.”
Abbas, on the other hand, came to the United Nations to embed his lies even deeper into the fabric of the UN by using them as a foundation for pushing the Palestinians’ bid for full UN membership. “I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for a full membership in the United Nations and our admission as an independent state,” he shamelessly declared.
The truth is, however, that no one with “a shred of conscience” should have submitted an application for full membership in the United Nations as an independent state in the first place, while at the same time boasting of having aligned himself with the terrorist organization Hamas in a “reconciliation” government that would rule the new state.
Article 4 of the United Nations Charter states that membership is “open to all other peace-loving states which accept the obligations contained in the present Charter.” Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter states that “all Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
Abbas’s partner in a future new government, Hamas, has pledged in its own death-to-the-Jews charter – a pledge repeated by its leaders to this day – to destroy the UN member state of Israel. Yet in the “Declaration of the State of Palestine,” signed by Abbas in his self-anointed capacity of “President of the State of Palestine” and included in the UN membership application material, Abbas “solemnly” declared that “the State of Palestine is a peace-loving nation and that it accepts the obligations contained in the Charter of the United Nations and solemnly undertakes to fulfill them.”
Abbas’s declaration is neither solemn nor truthful. His application for membership in the UN cannot be accepted by anyone with “a shred of conscience” or a “shred” of familiarity with the United Nations Charter’s most fundamental of membership qualifications. However, instead of performing his duty to question the truthfulness of the application in light of the Hamas-Abbas partnership, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon immediately passed along Abbas’s application to the current president of the UN Security Council, the UN representative of the Hezbollah-dominated government of Lebanon. A closed-door Security Council consultation on the application was scheduled by Abbas’s Lebanese ally for September 26th.
In his General Assembly speech, Abbas blamed the failure to reach peace with the Israelis entirely on the “occupying power,” particularly on Israel’s settlement policy. He tried to portray a Palestinian leadership that had extended its hand in peace to Israel, only to have it cut off by the nasty Israeli “colonialists.”
Netanyahu responded that Israel had repeatedly offered the Palestinians virtually all of the territory they were seeking in the West Bank, but Israel was consistently rebuffed. He pointed out that the Palestinian negotiators had no interest in listening to Israel’s genuine security concerns. “The truth is that Israel wants peace with a Palestinian state, but the Palestinians want a state without peace,” said Netanyahu.
The core problem is not the settlements, Netanyahu argued. In an effort to compensate for the amnesia pervading the General Assembly audience that had so loudly cheered Abbas, Netanyahu observed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had raged “for nearly half a century before there was a single Israeli settlement in the West Bank … The core of the conflict is not the settlements. The settlements are a result of the conflict.”
With history unambiguously on his side, Netanyahu made the case that the fundamental cause of the conflict was the Palestinians’ refusal, going back to Israeli independence in 1948, to “recognize a Jewish state” within any borders at all.
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