Sunday, May 1, 2011

After a Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Statehood

by Yonatan Silverman

Until Friday I believed that the Israeli government did not know what to do about the threatened Palestinian statehood declaration in the UN and was doing nothing. However, an article in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot (not available online) reveals that in fact the government is not sitting on its hands. In an article entitled "Hoping For Netanyahu's Initiative," Nehama Duek notes three lines of foreign ministry logic on the matter:

  • 1. We don't oppose establishment of a Palestinian state and Israel also will vote for it in September. It is worthwhile to mention however that already in 1988 Arafat declared establishment of a state in Algeria. 104 countries recognized it, but borders were never established, and this was finally seen as a meaningless development. In other words - Israel will accept the international declaration of Palestine, but this will not specify borders or eliminate the need to conduct negotiations.
  • 2. In principle Israel does not oppose establishment of a Palestinian state, but the vote about this is damaging. Therefore, we need to go from country to country and from Embassy to Embassy and from one Foreign Minister to the next, and enlist votes against the move.
  • 3. Come out with a peace initiative. In the view of many in the foreign ministry this option will cause more harm to the Palestinian initiative than anything else. (Yediot Ahronot 29 April 2011 page 9.)
But Israel has more severe options if the Palestinians unilaterally declare an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza.

For example, Danny Dayan the head of Yesha notes in an item recently published on Arutz 7:

"No more promises for concessions and gestures if they drop their unilateral approach, but rather a clear and direct threat that their unilateral steps will be met by some unilateral steps of our own. But not merely declaratory unilateral steps, like the one they are planning, but some very practical ones - such as our annexation, with all that that entails, of all or parts of Judea and Samaria... We have many tools at our disposal... and we must be less restrained in using them."

One retaliatory tool that would hit the Palestinians where it hurts is a prohibition on Palestinians studying in Israel's institutes of higher learning. This would prevent them from having their cake and eating it too.

How does the apparent reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah affect the Palestinian statehood enterprise? According to Herb Keinon writing in the Jerusalem Post:

"It is almost universally agreed in Israel that the reconciliation won't last, that there are too many cardinal issues separating the two sides, but at least it will bring Abbas to the UN in September asking for the world body's recognition of statehood with the ability to debunk Israel's argument that he only represents half a future state."

Keinon goes on to explain that the reconciliation not only helps legitimize the Palestinian Authority threats in the UN, it helps legitimize Hamas in the eyes of the world too:

"Ah, but Europe is different. For months there have been voices in the EU calling for engagement with Hamas; voices proclaiming that peace is made with enemies; that Hamas can be tamed by being brought into the political tent; that it is necessary to be inclusive, not exclusive; that no agreement is possible without the Islamic organization.

"And rather than be put off, like most Israelis were, by the fact that the PA is on the verge of incorporating into its unity government an organization calling for Israel's destruction, many in Europe will see this move as an indication that Hamas has become pragmatic and more ‘moderate.'"

Even before they joined politically (for the time being anyway) Hamas and the PA were approaching each other on the Islamic plane. Itamar Marcus pointed this out in a recent Jerusalem Post article.

Compounding the PA's nationalistic hate promotion are its Islamic-based messages. The PA seems to have adopted what was once thought to be only Hamas ideology, that the conflict with Israel is a Ribat - a religious war for Allah to defend Islamic land in which conflict with Israel is uncompromising

Abbas's appointed minister of religion, Mahmoud Habbash, has taught repeatedly that the conflict with Israel is not territorial but is in accordance with Islamic law:

"Allah has preordained for us the Ribat on this blessed land. We are committed to it by Allah's command. Let no one be mistaken or under the illusion that Ribat is a choice and nothing more. It is a commandment."

He has also preached that the conflict against Israel - over all of Israel - is cited in the Koran:

"The catastrophe, in truth, did not begin in 1948, but began perhaps in 1917 with the cursed [Balfour] Declaration, which gave a promise to those who did not deserve it... Since that date, resolute people, fighters and Ribat fighters have not ceased upon our blessed land... This conflict is explicit in the Koran and our obligation with regard to it is clarified by the Koran."

In short, the PA, like Hamas, is telling its people that Islam does not allow for reconciliation with Israel.

This is the message the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs needs to broadcast far and wide now. The Palestinian national ethos is not a child of nature but of brazen malicious deceit and Jew hatred. It is not possible to live with people in coexistence if they do not have even one drop of good will.


Yonatan Silverman is a professional Hebrew to English translator in Tel Aviv.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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