September 27: The UN speeches – and their fallout

The fact is, there never was a Palestinian state in all of human history.

(photo credit:)
(photo credit: )
Sir, – PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s words (“Abbas: After 63 years of an ongoing ‘Nakba,’ it is time for the Palestinians to gain their independence,” September 25) are a case study in the manipulation of reality.
He focused on the West Bank.
His problem is that it is occupied by Israel. He fails to explain that this is the result of a conspiracy among Egypt, Syria and Jordan to annihilate the world’s lone Jewish state. As it happens, Israel defeated the three aggressors in 1967, moving its border from the 1949 armistice line to the Jordan River.
Before that, the West Bank had been annexed by the Kingdom of Jordan. In all those years no one asked that there be a Palestinian state. The fact is, there never was one in all of human history.
Sir, – It is revealing to consider the probity of Mahmoud Abbas.
It is clear from his PhD thesis.
In it, he described the Holocaust as “the Zionist fantasy, the fantastic lie that six million Jews were killed.”
In his speech to the UN, Abbas referred a number of times to the Nakba, the “catastrophe,” the flight of Arabs from Israel at the time of the War of Independence. It is instructive to recall what actually happened: When the British Mandate forces left, five Arab armies – those of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq – invaded.
“This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades,” declared Azzam Pasha, secretary-general of the Arab League. The five Arab armies lost. Israel won.
Abbas also has made two telling statements: 1. “A Jewish state, what is that supposed to mean? You can call yourselves as you like, but I don’t accept it and I say so publicly” (April 27, 2009).
2. “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land” (July 29, 2010).
I believe these comments show the true character of Abbas and the Palestinians. If they are granted statehood, will they live in peace alongside Israel?
Beit Zayit
Sir, – Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has turned from being an ineffective leader into a very dangerous leader. By building up false hopes for a Palestinian state based on UN declarations rather than face-to-face negotiations with Israel, he is setting the groundwork for violence that will be very difficult to rein in once the Palestinians see their resolution fail.
Frustration leads to anger and anger leads to irrational behavior, and when you add the influence of radical forces you have the potential for bloodshed and extremism. Nobody is a real winner until a satisfactory solution is found and leaders on both sides are prepared to make the concessions needed for a lasting peace.
Sir, – Imagine if the UN speech by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (“‘Recognize the Jewish state and make peace with us,’ Netanyahu calls on Abbas,” September 25) had been that Israel would immediately support, based on the 1967 lines (with future land swaps), Palestine’s request for full UN membership, and would encourage the Security Council to vote yes.
Such an earth-shaking, openhearted gesture would have stunned the Palestinian public, the PA, the anti-Israel extremists, the wider Arab and Muslim “streets,” Western intellectuals and governments, and the entire world.
Why not do it? It’s not too late for Netanyahu to announce that Abbas’s speech changed his mind. Israel’s Foreign Ministry could even work with Palestinian diplomats to lobby wavering nations to vote yes.
If tangible peace and security, a turn-around for Israel’s isolation and a two-state solution are so much in Israel’s interest, why not? Consider how much this Sadat-like tsunami would reverberate, and how this 180- degree turnaround would jumpstart high-morale and high-momentum peace talks.
How could it hurt Israel even a single iota? I’d like someone to show, on a pro-and-con chart with a column for each, a single item to place in the “con” column, and then compare it with the full “pro” column.
It’s a no-brainer and has been since the beginning. What is stunning is Israel’s lack of imagination and emotional paralysis.
If Netanyahu really wanted forward movement and had a single Sadat-like bone in his body, he could transform everything completely in a single moment.
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Sir, – Since early 2002, the Quartet of the US, EU, Russia and the UN has called on Israel and the Palestinians “to move toward a political resolution of their disputes based on UNSCR 242 and 338, and the principle of land for peace... two states, Israel and Palestine, living sideby- side within secure and recognized borders.”
It demanded that the Palestinians “stop terror attacks against innocent Israelis” and for Israelis to implement previous agreements, “including an end to all settlement activity.”
Meeting up to 10 times a year, the Quartet has issued statement after statement, with virtually no movement toward resolution. On September 23, it proposed that Israelis and Palestinians meet within one month, produce comprehensive plans on territory and security within three months, demonstrate substantial progress in negotiations within six months, and conclude negotiations by the end of 2012 (“Israel welcomes, PA rejects Quartet’s proposal,” September 25). Another vacuous, unenforceable statement.
If the Quartet were serious, its members would halt all funding to both Israelis and Palestinians until negotiations produced genuine results. It would make future funding contingent on demonstrable, measurable progress in negotiations and their governments’ affirmations and implementation of agreements.
It must change the rules of the game because the current rules produce only childish accusations from all sides and zero movement toward resolution.
Out of self-interest and genuine fear, both President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu lack the ability to stand up to their people and make the significant concessions that are required. It’s time the Quartet makes a difference – or goes out of business.
O'Connor, Australia
Sir, – You report that following Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech at the UN, MK Danny Danon spoke in his support, saying the prime minister “reminded Obama who the State of Israel is and what our connection with the US means” (“Kadima, Labor call for action, not speeches from Netanyahu,” September 25).
In his dreams. The reality is different.
Danon, of course, is a Likud MK, although sometimes he keeps it well hidden and when the deed is done pretends to come out fighting. By defending Netanyahu he has accepted the two-state solution, which is absolutely not meant to be on a Likud agenda.
His reply should have been along the lines of that of MK Arye Eldad (National Union), who accused the prime minister of being “submissive” in his speech, adding that “Netanyahu missed a rare opportunity to cancel the Oslo Accords and annex Judea and Samaria” and “did not raise our demand for the Land of Israel when faced with Palestinian demands, and that is why we do not have the world’s support.”
Netanyahu is living an illusion, just like the opposition he condemns.
It’s a sad reminder of weak leadership.