Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas came to New York for the second time in four months to present the Palestinian case for statehood in person to the United Nations General Assembly. He basked in the glory of thunderous standing ovations, which both preceded and followed his speech. Thousands of miles from Gaza and Ramallah, Abbas was enjoying his own version of a Turtle Bay "New York State of Mind."
On November 29, 2012, the 65th anniversary of the General Assembly's 1947 resolution recommending partition of what remained of the British Palestinian Mandate after the Palestinian-majority state of Jordan had already been carved out, Abbas called upon the General Assembly to complete the two state solution envisioned in 1947. He was petitioning the 193 UN member states for a new resolution that issues "a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine."
"Sixty-five years later and on the same day, which your esteemed body has designated as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People," Abbas said, "the General Assembly stands before a moral duty, which it must not hesitate to undertake, and stands before a historic duty, which cannot endure further delay, and before a practical duty to salvage the chances for peace, which is urgent and cannot be postponed."
Abbas got his wish. With 138 UN member states in favor to 9 against and 41 abstentions, the General Assembly adopted the legally non-binding resolution to elevate the Palestinians' status from observer entity to observer non-member state. The very next day Palestinians were proudly displaying their new nameplate - the "State of Palestine" - on the table beside their seat in the morally bankrupt Hall of Mirrors that the UN General Assembly has become.
It is fitting that the racist Arab Muslim regime of Sudan, charged by the International Criminal Court (ICC) with genocide and other crimes against humanity, submitted the resolution and vouched for the bona fides of the Palestinian claim to recognition as a legitimate state. Sudan is returning a favor. Abbas, after all, has in the past praised the ICC-indicted genocider, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir.
"We are with Sudan," said Abbas when asked during his 2009 visit with Bashir in Khartoum about the Palestinian position on the ICC's warrant for arrest issued against al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur. Abbas added, "We are with the president. We support Sudanese unity and entirely agree with Sudan's position."
After Abbas concluded his speech last Thursday and took congratulations from many members of his rapt UN audience, Daff-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, Sudan's UN Ambassador, formally submitted the resolution, titled "Status of Palestine in the United Nations” (document A/67/L.28) for a vote.
In remarks to the press after the voting was concluded and the resolution passed, Sudan's UN Ambassador said it was "bizarre" for supporters of the International Criminal Court to oppose the Palestinians using the vote as leverage to bring their allegations of war crimes against Israel in the ICC. This is the same Ambassador Ali Osman who had accused the International Criminal Court prosecutor of "terrorist" tactics in investigating the Sudanese Arab regime's ethnic cleansing, concentration camps for non-Arabs the ICC prosecutor likened to "a gigantic Auschwitz" and murders of non-Arab people living in Darfur that reportedly cost the lives of more than 300,000 people since 2003.
Abbas decided to end-run negotiations with Israel and raise false hopes among the Palestinian people, in order to use the General Assembly's recognition of its statehood as leverage for lawfare purposes in bringing war crime charges against Israel at the ICC.
The General Assembly became an accomplice to Abbas's sleight of hand. Beginning in 1977, as Abbas alluded to in his speech, the United Nations has sponsored the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People on November 29th, the date in 1947 when the UN General Assembly approved its partition Resolution 181 (II). Abbas invoked the partition resolution, which the Palestinians and neighboring Arab countries once so vehemently rejected, in his speech last Thursday. However, he never once acknowledged Israel's right to exist within any borders in the region as a Jewish state, even though Resolution 181 (II) used the expression “Jewish State” twenty-three times, when it advocated the creation of “two states in Palestine, a Jewish one and an Arab one.” By going along with Abbas's cherry picking of the partition resolution, the General Assembly ratified the Palestinian victimhood narrative in which they have only rights but no responsibilities.
Abbas claimed in his speech that he came to the General Assembly "to protect the possibilities and the foundations of a just peace that is deeply hoped for in our region." But he laid down unconditional demands that he knows Israel cannot ever accept for its own security, particularly after the terrorist attacks it has experienced following its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 to give peace a chance.
Far from opening doors to genuine negotiations, Abbas's speech was replete with the usual Palestinian blood libel, accusing Israel of "racism," "apartheid," "brute force" and "war crimes." Abbas falsely characterized Israel's very measured response to the Islamist jihadists' unprovoked rocket attacks against Israeli civilians launched from Gaza as "aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip."
Finally, Abbas lied to the General Assembly and to his own people about what kind of society an independent Palestinian state is likely to be. He said that "we reaffirm that Palestine will always adhere to and respect the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations and international humanitarian law, uphold equality, guarantee civil liberties, uphold the rule of law, promote democracy and pluralism, and uphold and protect the rights of women."
Abbas's Palestinian Authority does not control the lawless, Islamic fundamentalist Gaza Strip, a fatal flaw in the logic for a Palestinian state at this time but which also relieves him of responsibility for what is presently going on there under Hamas's control. However, the West Bank territory under Palestinian Authority control does not come close to Abbas's representation of a pluralistic democracy that protects the rights of women.
According to the Social Institutions and Gender Index launched by the OECD Development Centre, laws in the West Bank "contain discriminatory provisions in the areas of marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. Women cannot marry without permission from their closest male relative on the paternal side. Polygamy is legally accepted in the Palestinian Authority, in accordance with Islamic law."
As for a pluralistic society upholding equality and guaranteeing civil liberties, the draft constitution of the Palestinian state contains some of the right words that Abbas mentioned in his speech, but also evidences the notion of Arab Islamist supremacy that Abbas conveniently omitted to mention. For example,
• Article 1: "This constitution is based on the will of the Arab Palestinian people. It shall be approved democratically."
• Article 3: "The Palestinian people are a part of the Arab and Islamic nations."
• Article 6: "Islam shall be the official religion of the state."
• Article 10: "Sovereignty belongs to the Palestinian Arab people."
The draft Palestinian constitution also implies that the Palestinians' claim of "right of return" to their homes in pre-1967 Israel is not negotiable. Article 32 states: "The right of the Palestinian refugee to return to his home and the original home of his ancestors is a natural right which cannot expire. Its exercise may not be delegated nor surrendered."
Abbas's UN maneuver was intended to gain the endorsement of the international community for the Palestinian demand that Israel retreat to the pre-1967 borders and turn over Old Jerusalem (which they call East Jerusalem and claim as their capital) to Palestinian sovereignty. They also continue to insist on the so-called right of return that would, if implemented, destroy the Jewish state without the necessity of Hamas's missiles.
In response, Israel decided last Friday that it had enough of the Palestinians' gaming of a UN system stacked against Israel. It announced that it was proceeding with zoning and planning preparation for a 4.6 square mile area near Jerusalem known as E-1, which can serve to buffer Jerusalem from incursions from the West Bank should the Palestinians get the state they are seeking.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the E1 announcement. "Should the E-1 settlement be constructed," he said, "it would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution."
Instead of acting on cue with a Pavlovian criticism of Israel, the Secretary General should tell the Palestinians to stop playing games and get serious by resuming negotiations with Israel without conditions. The Israelis have not committed to the actual construction of E-1. However, if the Palestinians do not give up their play-acting at statehood via the UN and their unreasonable, non-negotiable claims, such as to Jerusalem, that have no historical or moral foundation, Israel will have to play whatever cards it has available.
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