As the United Nations takes up a vote on a unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood this week, Americans need to understand what a Pandora’s box this opens – and how it’s a threat to both American and Israeli security.
First, U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state simply throws away years of peace talks with Israel and sets both peoples on a collision course for violent conflict.
We’ve all seen the results of intifadahs, loosely translated as “uprisings” in the early 1990s and early 2000s. When Palestinian hard liners didn’t get their way through the Oslo peace process – waves of suicide bombers blew up buses, cafes, markets and shops, tearing apart two societies.
Like any sovereign state, Israel has a right to defend itself. It vigorously did so, taking out family homes of suicide bombers and tightening a variety of restrictions in the West Bank and Gaza. In the process Palestinians who truly want peace have had to face the consequences along with those who are bent on destroying Israel.
Second, such a move by the U.N. would only embolden radicals and add internal legitimacy to their attacks on Israel.
U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state would in all probability lead to a third Intifadah, meaning the deaths of thousands and cycle of violence playing itself out on television sets and newspapers every day throughout the world.
Let’s recall that one of Usama Bin Laden’s main beefs with America has been our support for Israel – Al Qaeda propagandists have relied upon images of Palestinian casualties as a chief recruiting tool in their war against us.
And as we saw on September 11, Islamic radicals don’t just target Israel – they have a bulls-eye painted on America’s back as well.
Speaking of September 11, President Obama ought to remember who our friends are.
I remember watching news reports of the Twin Towers falling, a smoldering Pentagon, and the remains of United Flight 93 in a Shanksville, Pennsylvania field – and feeling even more outrage witnessing TV coverage of Palestinians dancing in the streets as we were attacked.
As president, my top foreign policy priority would be to stand united with Israel. I will not allow the Arab Spring to be the fall of Israel.
A nation that shares deep spiritual bonds, our love of democracy, freedom and personal liberty, Israel has been one of our strongest allies for decades – at least until President Obama took office.
On a visit to Israel, last month, I met with the country's deputy prime minister about the many security challenges threatening the country’s existence – from Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons – to the prospect of U.N. support for a Palestinian state. His somber message was this, “Israel will defend itself.”
The Obama administration’s insistence that Israel return to pre-1967 borders, which are militarily indefensible – shows its enemies that the United States may not stand with Israel in times of crisis.
The lack of clarity towards Israel shown by this administration demonstrates weakness and only invites attack, which makes the situation more volatile.
And when Iran’s leaders say that Israel should be wiped off the map, we ought to take them at their word. Hitler said things like that about Poland when he came to power – and guess what -- he wasn’t bluffing.
Finally let’s remember how the U.N. has singled out Israel for punishment in their new world order, so its support for Palestinian statehood is just the latest blow.
Resolutions condemning Israel have become pro forma, notably with 22 coming in the 61st General Assembly (2006-07), during a time in which none were passed against the genocide in Sudan's Darfur.
My message for the U.N., Iran, Palestinians and anyone else is this: “If you mess with Israel, you’re messing with the U.S.A.”
And I’ll add, growing up in Georgia during the civil rights movement and graduating from Morehouse College, following in the footsteps of our most famous alum – Dr. Martin Luther King, the Palestinians could stand to learn a lot more from Reverend King than Malcolm X.
It’s the radical element among Palestinians that is keeping peace out of reach. If extremists lost internal legitimacy and their people took the path of non-violence -- both societies would be able to co-exist.
They could start by not electing Hamas -- a terrorist organization, to power in Gaza as they did in 2006. By not sending their sons and daughters out to blow themselves up in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, taking with them as many innocent Israeli civilians as they can.
I believe long term peace is achievable between Israelis and Palestinians – we just need to identify the right leaders to get it done.
And from the American perspective, by turning away from Israel when the going gets tough, President Obama is not only failing to get the job done, he is doing more harm than good.
So much for hope, it’s time for a change in Washington.
Mr. Cain, a Republican is running for president of the U.S. He is the former Chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and past President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. For more infomation visit: www.hermancain.com.