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(photo credit: Courtesy)
Today, Israel and the Palestinians each take their case to the United Nations,
one in an effort to create a state, the other to thwart it.
It is almost
a foregone conclusion that the Palestinians will become a non-member state and
will have access to UN bodies such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and
the International Court of Justice (ICJ) from which to continue their onslaught
against the Jewish people.
Make no mistake about it – this is another
attempt to delegitimize Israel. Let us go back to Mahmoud Abbas’s New York Times
article on May 16, in which he iterated his belief that Israel has been an
occupier for 63 years, thus denying Israel’s right to exist. He wrote, “Our
quest for recognition as a state should not be seen as a stunt.”
wrote, “The State of Palestine intends to be a peace-loving nation, committed to
human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United
But he contradicts himself when he reminds us the real
reason behind the effort to declare statehood unilaterally: “Palestine’s
admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization
of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave
the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human
rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.”
has become imperative to shift our focus and mind-set elsewhere. Nearly gone, it
seems, are the days of diplomacy and negotiations. The idea to let bygones be
bygones seems to have vaporized. All Israel has left, at least in the near
future, is to lead the legal battle that will now be waged in the (astoundingly)
If it is true, as Abbas declared in his article,
that the Palestinians will now seek to vilify Israel through the international
and legally viable options soon available to them, Israel will need a large and
brilliant legal team to head off efforts to delegitimize it in international
If Palestine is accepted by the UN General Assembly as a
non-member state, future fact-finding missions similar to the ridiculous one led
by Richard Goldstone, which recommended the parties take the allegations of the
report to the ICC, will prompt the Palestinians to take action – something they
could not have done in the past.
Although the ICJ's opinions are just
that – advisory opinions – and have no binding effect, its rulings do carry
weight within the international community and decisions made against Israel
could have far-reaching ramifications.
For this reason, it is already
necessary, even before the UN vote on Palestinian statehood, to exit the offices
of diplomats and enter the courthouse. The legal battle has now begun and Israel
must focus on preventing its isolation on the legal battlefield by organizing a
large team of lawyers well-versed in international law.
off-the-record meeting with the prime minister this week, I was pleased to
observe his realist approach, steadfastness and determination to protect Israel
against all efforts to delegitimize it, especially at the UN. It may be true
that there is no better place for the nations of the world to hear the truth
directly from the prime minister than at the UN, and the Palestinians have made
crystal clear their intentions to continue fighting Israel – rather than
attempting to make peace with it.
Yesterday’s diplomatic struggle is
today’s legal one.
Tomorrow it will be fully military. Israel and the
Quartet should insist that the Palestinians sign a declaration, similar to the
Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, to renounce war as an instrument of national policy
and hold them accountable in the future.
Furthermore, the culture of
hatred against Jews that has so permeated Muslim culture and specifically
Palestinian culture has practically eliminated any chance for peace. Palestinian
leaders have denied their own people the right to a state for years and it is
becoming apparent that the leadership is not necessarily representative of the
Will a Palestinian state be based on the consent of the
governed and remain devoted to securing individual rights? That’s hard to
Internal Palestinian fighting has become so intense that even if
a Palestinian constitution ever comes into being, it is unlikely to begin with
the words “We the People.”
It should be clearly evident, to even the
casual observer, that the Palestinian leadership is once again misleading its
people by shunning Israel’s overtures and requests for negotiations and instead
choosing the path of least resistance by going to the UN, through which it can
get the most international support.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal
pointed out that there are other nations of the world with higher entitlement to
a state than the Palestinians. The Kurds, for example, “one of the oldest ethnic
groups in the world,” still do not have a state of their own. The same goes for
“the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Tibetans of China, the Basques of Spain, the
Chechens of Russia or the Flemish of Belgium.”
Clearly, the Palestinians
do not have a better claim to statehood and it is obvious that their only
intention is to continue maligning Israel in any way possible.
Eban put it, “Those which want to perpetuate a deadlock and to prove that their
adversary is at fault find the UN a congenial arena... The United Nations must
decide what it wants to be: an instrument for solving conflicts or an arena for
The ICJ and other UN bodies will find themselves convening
over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict far more frequently than they do now and
Israel had best be prepared.