On the occasion of the Khomeini-invented “Qods Day” last Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad unsurprisingly declared that international recognition of a Palestinian state should only be regarded as a first step because the “ultimate goal” was “the liberation of the whole of Palestine.”
Of course, Ahmadinejad also threw in some expressions of his trademark Jew-hatred, describing Israel as “a center of microbes” and “a cancer cell” that shouldn’t be allowed to exist in even “one iota of Palestine.”
Given this rhetoric, the Palestinian leadership apparently felt the need to quickly react to Ahmadinejad’s statement. Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh promptly declared that Ahmadinejad’s “words do not help anyone except the Israeli right who are against our bid at the UN, and put in doubt our intentions and obligations to a two state solution based on the 1967 borders.”
The remark that Ahmadinejad’s words “do not help anyone except the Israeli right” is perhaps a reference to Bennie Begin’s eloquent warning that the Palestinians are not really interested in a two-state solution, but rather in a “two-stage solution” of the kind described by Ahmadinejad.
However, Israeli opposition to Palestinian efforts to get UN recognition for a state without any commitment to peace is hardly limited to the right; likewise, it’s not just the Israeli right that has grave doubts about Palestinian intentions – and for good reason.
One doesn’t have to dig deep to find plenty of evidence justifying suspicion about Palestinian intentions. Even the most recent news reports will provide a dismal selection of examples illustrating the persistent Palestinian refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state or to give up on demands for a “right of return” for Palestinian “refugees” whose number Palestinian President Abbas recently put at 5 million.
And then there are the results of a recent poll by The Israel Project. The poll shows that two thirds of Palestinians believe that their “real goal should be to start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state;” similarly, 84 percent support the idea that Palestinians should gradually “work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state.”
When asked to decide if a proposition is “right” or “wrong, fully 72 percent of Palestinians considered it “right” to deny that Jews have a long history in Jerusalem; 61 percent approved of the naming of streets after suicide bombers and 53 percent believed it was “right” to teach songs in Palestinian schools that encourage hatred towards Jews.
Instead of rejecting Ahmadinejad’s words by claiming that they “do not help anyone except the Israeli right,” it would have been more truthful for the PA spokesman to acknowledge that they were a rather accurate reflection of the views of a majority of Palestinians.