In my last post, I discussed President Obama’s speech at the UN. Today I want to quote a few snippets from the speech of Palestinian ‘president’ Mahmoud Abbas to the same body and elucidate the meaning therein:
I confirm, on behalf of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, which will remain so until the end of the conflict in all its aspects and until the resolution of all final status issues, the following:
Whatever the significance of the ‘reconciliation’ between Fatah and Hamas, Hamas is not a member of the PLO. Hence it is possible for the PLO to maintain its distance from a group which is generally recognized in the West as terrorist and racist, and with which Israel and many other nations will not negotiate. Although the PLO is also a terrorist and racist organization, it has officially denied this and its denials have been (foolishly) accepted by Israel and others.
1. The goal of the Palestinian people is the realization of their inalienable national rights in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the land of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which Israel occupied in the June 1967 war, in conformity with the resolutions of international legitimacy and with the achievement of a just and agreed upon solution to the Palestine refugee issue in accordance with resolution 194, as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative which presented the consensus Arab vision to resolve the core the Arab-Israeli conflict and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace. To this we adhere and this is what we are working to achieve. Achieving this desired peace also requires the release of political prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons without delay.
The Palestinians as well as all the Arab states have always interpreted resolution 194 as calling for the ‘return’ of all Arab refugees and their descendants to ‘their original homes’ in Israel. It is important to realize that this is an inseparable part of their demand for statehood. It is one of the primary reasons — if not the primary reason that previous Israeli offers of as much as 97% of Judea/Samaria and large parts of Jerusalem were not accepted in 2000, 2001 and 2008.
Abbas implies that everyone of Palestinian descent has ‘rights’ to live in Israel, even those who are presently living in Judea, Samaria or Gaza:
The time has come to end the suffering and the plight of millions of Palestine refugees in the homeland and the Diaspora, to end their displacement and to realize their rights, some of them forced to take refuge more than once in different places of the world. (my emphasis)
Other PLO officials have been even more specific, stating that ‘refugees’ in the Palestinian state will not get Palestinian citizenship. Statehood, they want to make 100% clear, will not terminate refugee status or allow for their resettlement anywhere other than Israel.
The ideas of hereditary refugee status, refusal of resettlement, and a ‘right of return’ have never been accepted before in the history of refugee situations since WWII. And yet, the Arabs take this as a given. Of course this demand is nothing more than a demand to dissolve the Jewish state.
The issue of the prisoners is very important and is always mentioned. Although some may legitimately be called ‘political prisoners,’ many are murderers or responsible for causing grievous bodily harm to Israelis. Although Abbas claims that
4. Our people will continue their popular peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation and its settlement and apartheid policies and its construction of the racist annexation Wall,
these violent prisoners will be soldiers in the continued ‘resistance’ after the Palestinian state is declared. Of course, he fails to mention Gilad Shalit who is being held for ransom simply because he is an Israeli and whose conditions of imprisonment are far worse than those of the Arab murderers in Israeli jails.
3. We adhere to the option of negotiating a lasting solution to the conflict in accordance with resolutions of international legitimacy. Here, I declare that the Palestine Liberation Organization is ready to return immediately to the negotiating table on the basis of the adopted terms of reference based on international legitimacy and a complete cessation of settlement activities.
“Resolutions of international legitimacy” refers to the SC and GA resolutions that Abbas expects from the UN. With these in hand he is prepared to negotiate with Israel from a starting point of a ‘Palestine’ that includes all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, with its capital in Jerusalem (“Al-Quds Al-Sharif”), and with a precondition that all “settlement activities” will end.
Consistent with his mention of the Arab Initiative, I understand this as the ‘implementation phase’ — the process of the evacuation of all Jewish residents of the territories, as well as the realization of the ‘rights’ of all ‘Palestinian refugees’ to settle in Israel or receive compensation. This is all he is prepared to ‘negotiate’!
None of this, he claims, violates the Oslo agreements:
2. The PLO and the Palestinian people adhere to the renouncement of violence and rejection and condemning of terrorism in all its forms, especially State terrorism, and adhere to all agreements signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization and Israel.
But the 1993 Declaration of Principles, the main part of the Oslo agreement, says that
It is understood that the interim arrangements are an integral part of the whole peace process and that the negotiations on the permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973)…
It is understood that these [permanent status] negotiations shall cover remaining issues, including: Jerusalem, refugees, settlements, security arrangements, borders, relations and co-operation with other neighbours, and other issues of common interest.
In other words, following resolutions 242 and 338, Israel will get “secure and recognized boundaries.” And the actual borders (etc.) will be determined by the permanent status negotiations between Israel and the PA — not the UN. So in fact the Palestinians are not adhering to previous agreements.
Abbas concluded the main part of his speech with a remarkably offensive passage, beginning thus:
I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people in the homeland and in the the Diaspora, to say, after 63 years of suffering of the ongoing Nakba: Enough. It is time for the Palestinian people to gain their freedom and independence. (my emphasis)
For Abbas, there is no Jewish connection to the Holy Land. And his program is a program to end the “ongoing Nakba” of 63 years: Jewish control of any of it.