Mahmoud Abbas – putative president of the Palestinian Authority – addressed the UN General Assembly on Thursday, focusing on the negotiations between the PA and Israel. How eminently reasonable was the tone he attempted to project. There he stood on the dais, expressing his intention to work hard for peace, even pleading for peace.
“Our quest is supportive of the path of peace,” he assured those assembled.
“I affirm before you that… we shall continue [the negotiations] in good faith and with open minds, strong determination and an insistence on success…we shall …foster the most conducive atmosphere for the continuation of these negotiations…”
Ah! That he should truly be what he would have us believe he is. But an even cursory look at his words tells us that he is not. The leopard has not changed his spots.
We might start with that bit about fostering “the most conducive atmosphere…” Khaled Abu Toameh has just described the atmosphere that Abbas fosters:
“Although Abbas and some of his aides have been telling Israelis, Americans and Europeans that they are opposed to violence and terror attacks against Israel, they continue to incite Palestinians against Israel on a daily basis.”
The irony is that Abbas himself provides an example of this incitement in his talk, as he refers to almost daily attacks on the Al-Aksa mosque. This is pure and outrageous fabrication. The reality is that Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount – which is where the mosque is located – are sometimes accosted by stone-throwing Arabs, and sometimes prevented from visiting at all because of threats of Arab riots.
“The objective of the negotiations,” he explains,
“is to secure a lasting peace accord that leads immediately to the establishment of the independence of a fully sovereign State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all of the Palestinian lands occupied in 1967, so that it may live in peace and security alongside the State of Israel, and the resolution of the plight of Palestine refugees in a just agreed upon solution, according to United Nations resolution 194, as called for by the Arab Peace Initiative.”
This run-on sentence must be unraveled. What we are seeing here is the Palestinian Arab “narrative”: A host of claims without legal or historical basis that have been repeated so often that much of the world believes them.
There is no “occupation.” “Belligerent occupation” applies only when a sovereign state moves into the territory of another sovereign state. This was not the case here, when Israel took Judea and Samaria in a defensive war in 1967. What is more, and perhaps more significantly, this area is historically the cradle of the ancient Jewish nation. This fact – the reality of the region as the heritage of the Jewish people – was recognized in the Mandate for Palestine, an international legal document mandating establishment of a Jewish homeland from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
Prior to the ‘67 war, Jordan was the presence on the other side of the Green Line, not “the Palestinians.” And so, in no event should that land be referred to as “Palestinian land.”: And, it should be noted here, that Green Line was merely an armistice line, which Jordan, when signing the armistice agreement, concurred would be temporary only.
UN Security Council Resolution 242, passed shortly after the war in ’67, recognized that Israel would not move back behind the Green Line, as this would not provide a secure border. That resolution referred neither to a “Palestinian state” nor to a “Palestinian people.”
As to the “refugees,” Palestinian Arabs and their supporters routinely point to Resolution 194 as proving that they have a “right to return” to lands in Israel they left in 1948. But this is a misrepresentation of the facts. That was a General Assembly resolution, and GA resolutions are merely recommendations – not binding and without weight in international law. What is more, while one phrase in the resolution speaks of “return,” when one reads the entire resolution, it becomes apparent that this was only one option mentioned, along with resettlement.
Israel has never agreed to the Arab Peace Initiative, for it was a “take it or leave it” deal that is nothing more than a formula for her destruction – precisely along the lines that Abbas spells out here. Recently there were suggestions by representatives of the League that “minor” adjustments “might” be made but were never approved by the League.
The initiative consists of a two-part plan. First, to push Israel back behind the indefensible armistice line. And then to push on that “right” of refugees to return to their villages of 65 years ago, thereby inundating Israel with a hostile population.
We see this two-track theme in Abbas’s speech. In one place he refers to the “injustices” of 1948, and in another, the “occupation” of 1967. There is a reason why Palestinian Authority textbooks routinely reflect “Palestine” from the river to the sea.
Abbas indicates that if Israel signs on to the deal he outlines, there will be recognition from 57 Arab and Muslim states, but this is simply not the case. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has 57 members, but by no stretch of the imagination have they all signed on to recognition of Israel, whatever the parameters of an agreement. The Arab League consists of 22 members.
What must be emphasized here is that Israel would, ostensibly, be recognized. But not Israel as the state of the Jewish people. This is more than a technicality, for it is the intention of supporters of the Palestinian Arabs to push for Israel as the “state of all its residents,” by which is meant that its Jewish character would be erased.
Lastly here I note the outrage of Abbas instructing Israel that it is time to “stop relying on exaggerated security pretexts and obsessions.”
In 1967, the Security Council recognized Israel’s need for secure and defensible borders. How much more so is this the case in the volatile Middle East of today. Nightly operations by the IDF in Palestinian Arab areas of Judea and Samaria control the threat of terrorism. Radical Islamic groups would have a field day, were the IDF no longer able to enter within the borders of a Palestinian state. What is more, should Jordan fall to Islamists, there would be risk from farther east.
Where Israel’s borders are set is of enormous, existential, import.
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