Six Words Palestinians Should Say at the U.N.
The annual diplomatic flash mob, aka, the U.N. General Assembly, has once again descended on the island of Manhattan, guaranteeing gridlocked streets and a red carpet for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (while credentialed human rights activists are invited to sit in the bleachers), but offering precious little for millions still living under the yoke of tyranny.
There are a few lineup changes in the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan delegations, courtesy of the Arab Spring -- which the U.N. did nothing to help -- and a 10th anniversary 'celebration' of the Durban 'Anti-racism' hate-fest, which the United Nations sponsored and which has spawned a decade of vitriolic Israel-bashing and Jew- hatred.
Speaking of Israel, it has again reluctantly been thrust onto center-stage thanks to the Palestinians' apparent insistence that the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly blessing for their unilateral declaration of the state Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
As a rule, any anti- Israel move at the U.N. is a slam-dunk. Before the ink is dry on any resolution, there is automatic support of the 22- member Arab League and 57-member Organization of Islamic Countries. Many of the 27 member states of the European Union either meekly cave in or occasionally courageously cast an abstention. Israel, on the other hand can generally rely on Canada, Micronesia, and usually, the United States.
But this time Palestinian Authority President Abbas' dramatic gambit has drawn a strong negative reaction from President Obama who now has to struggle to head off the need for a U.S. veto in the U.N. Security Council. Indeed, European and Latin American diplomats I have spoken to the past few days wonder why to go to the U.N. at all, when all most countries already are on record supporting a two-state solution, including most Israelis, and their Prime Minister.
So what’s the real problem?
In Shakespeare’s words, “The fault lies not in our stars, but ourselves.” The Palestinians might as well be relying on astrology rather than looking in their cracked national mirror.
Despite their attempted charade at “unity” by Fatah and the Hamas a few months ago, the Palestinians (like Hamlet) are fatally unable to make up their minds. There are two Palestinian presidents, two prime ministers, and a legislature that neither meets nor passes laws.
Mahmoud Abbas’ unilaterally declared but otherwise imaginary state would incorporate the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem.
Yet for years, Abbas has failed to govern the majority of his own constituents who live in Gaza. In fact, the P.A. president hasn’t even dared to set foot there for fear of assassination—not by the Mossad- but his Iranian-backed, Islamist rivals.
The sad truth is that the bitterly divided Fatah government in the West Bank and Hamastan government in Gaza can only agree on two fundamentals: Demanding the "right of return" for 4 million, third generation "refugees" to Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv; and teaching their children an abiding hatred for their Jewish neighbors’ national identity and heritage.
There are a few other small details. In the world according to Palestine, Israel will be expected to retreat to boundaries—no more than 9 miles wide in the center of the country- which the late Israeli statesman, Abba Eban, labeled “Auschwitz borders”.
And then there’s the issue of the value of any previous Palestinian commitments. Take the Oslo Accords that led Israel to cede the administration of Palestinian communities to PA control in the first place. Embedded in every agreement since 1993, is the prohibition against unilateral actions including a statehood declaration.
Even at the conclusion of the Camp David Peace Summit in 2000, Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat reaffirmed: “the importance of avoiding unilateral actions that prejudge the outcome of negotiations and that their differences will be resolved only by good faith negotiations.”
So much for "good faith".
We’ll leave it to the pundits to wrestle about whether the Palestinians—bitterly divided between rival governments in the West Bank and Gaza—come close to meeting the usual prerequisites demanded by the international community for statehood. That includes agreed-upon borders, a clearly defined population, and the ability to conduct foreign relations.
But whatever the outcome of the diplomatic dust-up at the United Nations, there will no deal and no peace unless and until a Palestinian leader has the guts to tell his constituents there will never be a Palestine from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River; that 6 million Israeli neighbors also have the right to live in peace; and that he declares before his own people in Arabic-- "Kubul Israeil kadawla yahudia"-- we “recognize Israel as a Jewish State.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization with over 400,000 family members.