Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority (PA) has launched into a bid to obtain statehood through the United Nations, refusing negotiations with Israel.
This is illegal.
The Oslo II agreement (1995), Article 31, Paragraph 7, is explicit: “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
Clearly Abbas’s goal is statehood without agreeing to end all claims against Israel.
Last May, Abbas wrote in The New York Times, “Palestine’s admission to the UN would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter. It would pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the UN, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.”
In short, more conflict – not peace.
In addressing the UN on September 23, Abbas spoke of “the Land of
Palestine, the land of divine messages,” and referred to Muhammad and
Jesus – but not to Moses or David, nor the biblical Jewish kingdoms nor
the vast, rich Jewish history that long preceded the Arab conquest in
the 7th century.
The American Jewish community has rightly opposed the Palestinian UN
statehood bid. But far more is required. Israel and American Jewish
organizations must stop taking defensive positions.
We must cease speaking of PA leaders as “moderates” and “peace partners”
who “deserve a state.” No one who deliberately murders Israelis,
delegitimizes the country, erases Jewish history, promotes hatred and
violence, and seeks to replace Israel with a state called ‘Palestine’
deserves anything, let alone statehood.
Instead, we must go on the offensive by delegitimizing the
delegitimizers – by speaking loudly and clearly the unalloyed truth
about Abbas’s PA. From the prime minister down, in a sustained manner,
the Israeli government and American Jewish organizations must tell the
truth of the Arab war on Israel’s existence.
They must tell the truth more forcefully about Israel – not an
interloper, an alien invader of another’s land, but a country located in
the religious, biblical, historical heartland of the Jewish people, as
known and accepted by the over one billion Bible believers around the
world. It is called the Promised Land for a reason – because it was
promised to the Jews by God. And it is, moreover, a country earmarked
for the reconstitution of the Jewish nation by the 1917 Balfour
Declaration and the 1920 San Remo Conference.
The American Jewish community must also tell the truth about the PA.
Fatah, which governs the PA, calls in its unrescinded Charter for
“demolishing the Zionist state” (Article 22) and for the “armed
struggle” (Article 19) against Israel to continue as an indispensable
element in the struggle to achieve that goal. Earlier this year, the PA
signed a unity government agreement with Hamas, which calls in its
Charter for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of
Jews (Article 7).
Naming schools, streets and sports teams after Jew-killing terrorists;
honoring their families; publicizing false accusations that Israel has
infected Palestinians with AIDS or made them addicted to drugs;
delivering sermons denouncing Jews as the common enemy of mankind – all
these things serve a culture of demonization of Israel and Jews that
erases any prospect for peace.
As Abbas has said several times, “I do not accept the Jewish state, call it what you will.”
He has also declared, “It is not required of Hamas, or of Fatah, or of
the Popular Front to recognize Israel.” He has told Arab leaders, “If
you want war, and if all of you will fight Israel, we are in favor.”
But do we tell the world this? Or do we continue to call Abbas a
“moderate” and “peacemaker?” Under these circumstances, it is obvious
that a PA state will be simply another racist terrorist state. It will
be able to form alliances with foreign countries and terrorist groups.
Hamas, with Iranian help, could well take it over. Jerusalem, Ben-Gurion
Airport and Tel Aviv will be in range of hand-held missiles fired from
PA territory; but, unlike now, there will be no Israel Defense Forces in
PA territory to preempt such attacks.
A Palestinian state will also be a state ethnically cleansed of Jews.
Abbas himself has said so: “We won’t agree to the presence of one
Israeli in it … when a Palestinian state is established, it would have
no Israeli presence in it.”
Palestinian statehood is not the solution to these massive problems.
Iran, North Korea, Syria are all sovereign states – that fact hasn’t moderated their regimes or turned them into peacemakers.
On the contrary, they have real sovereign power with which to pursue their terrible agendas.
It is vital that Israel’s friends go on the offensive and make the truth
widely known. The PA has enjoyed undeserved sympathy and support which
persistent truth-telling can erode. Correspondingly, understanding of
Israel’s position can be improved, and with it, the incessant pressure
to make further one-sided concessions can be accordingly reduced. But
this will not happen if we allow the world to continue thinking of Abbas
as a responsible peace partner. Morton Klein is president of ZOA, the Zionist Organization of America.