“We are going to the United Nations to request our legitimate right, obtaining full membership for Palestine in this organization,” Abbas said in a televised speech, indicating he would seek a vote on the issue in the UN Security Council…
“If we succeed, and this is what we are working towards, then we must know that the day following the recognition of the state, the occupation will not end,” Abbas said.
“But we will have obtained the world’s recognition that our state is occupied and that our land is occupied and not disputed territory, as the Israeli government claims,” he said.
He added that the move is not intended to isolate Israel or delegitimize its legal status. “Israel is there, no one can isolate or take away its legal status, but we need to isolate the policies of Israel. We need to put an end to the occupation and take away the legal status of the occupation.”
The PA president said that recognition of statehood with pre-1967 borders is necessary for renewed negotiations with Israel. “We need to have full [UN] membership within [pre-1967] borders in order to go to negotiations on a basis adopted by the world so that we may discuss the permanent issues of Jerusalem, borders, refugees – and our prisoners in Israeli prisons.”
For once, he’s telling the truth. Although they don’t like to admit it, and no matter how often their friends in the media say “settlements are illegal under international law,” the Palestinians realize that in fact the territories are at most ‘disputed’, and Jewish settlements east of the Green Line legal (see scholar Howard Grief’s arguments for Israel’s legal title to all of the area of the mandate here).
Abbas believes that a Security Council resolution that recognizes a state of ‘Palestine’ in the territories will overcome the precedents set by
the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920, the Mandate for Palestine conferred on Britain by the Principal Allied Powers and confirmed by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, and the Franco-British Boundary Convention of December 23, 1920 [Grief]
as well as UNSC resolutions 242 and 338, which state that the disposition of the territories captured in 1967 shall be determined by the agreement of all of the parties (and not imposed by the UN), and of course the Oslo accords which reaffirmed that principle.
All of this, he hopes, will disappear. But statehood will not confer any responsibilities on the Palestinians, such as to feed their own people or resettle any of the Arab refugees (except in Israel).
A PLO official remarked that statehood would not affect the right of refugees to return to their ‘original homes’ in Israel. Indeed, it will not affect the status of any Palestinian ‘refugees’, not even the ones within the PA. They will remain in refugee camps, supported by the UN (mainly with US money) until they can be mobilized to overrun Israel and turn it into West Palestine!
The arrogance is remarkable, considering that the Palestinians have no economy, have created no real institutions, do not have a unified leadership, and have proudly announced that they plan to create an apartheid state which will engage in ethnic cleansing of its Jewish inhabitants. But none of this seems to matter.
The PA — and this doesn’t include payments to the UN refugee organization, UNRWA — receives half a billion dollars a year of US taxpayer funds, plus millions more from the EU. US instructors train its army, which is armed with US weapons. Much of the money is paid to PA officials in Gaza, which is under Hamas control. Without this international dole, there would be no PA.
They are asking the UN for statehood while Hamas — an explicitly racist group which espouses genocide against the Jewish population of Israel, which is holding a kidnapped Israeli incommunicado in violation of international law, and which continues to fire rockets at random against a civilian population (a war crime) — is officially part of the PA.
All of this is justified by an invented, inverted historical narrative, and — in the case of Hamas — a radical Islamist ideology.
The only thing preventing the passage of such a resolution is a threatened US veto. Abbas claims that a veto would “destroy the two-state solution.” In Abbas-speak, a “two-state solution” does not mean a Palestinian state alongside a Jewish one. It means that there will be a Palestinian state where Jews are forbidden to live, and an ‘Israel’ where 4.5 million Arab ‘refugees’ will have the right to join the existing Arab minority to create another Arab state. So according to this definition, he is correct.
Direct negotiations with Israel could have given the Palestinians a state in the territories with generous borders and serious concessions on Jerusalem. But it could not, ever, give them a right of return for refugees because no imaginable Israeli government would commit suicide.
It’s also the case that any bilateral agreement would have to include recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, and a statement that the Palestinians have no further claims, territorial or otherwise, against Israel. These conditions would not be acceptable to the Arabs for obvious reasons. It is not “Israeli intransigence” or construction within settlements that has prevented a bilateral agreement. It is simply that Israel won’t negotiate itself out of existence.
The Obama Administration has promised to veto the Palestinian proposal in the Security Council. Most analysts believe that it will do so. Polls show that most Americans support Israel. It is already becoming a partisan issue, with Republicans increasingly staking out pro-Israel positions. Can you imagine what would happen if Obama became the first president in history to permit an anti-Israel resolution to pass in the Security Council?
But in my opinion, the President and his advisers are a slim reed to lean on. And supposing that there is a veto, what will Israel have to pay to get it?