Sunday, September 25, 2011

The UN speeches

If the presentations at the UN General Assembly of Pres. Abbas of the PA and PM Netanyahu of Israel last Friday were a popularity contest, then Abbas would win hands down. But, we all know that the majority of member states of the UN General Assembly see the Palestinian cause as their favorite cause and as Netanyahu pointed out some 95% of resolutions condemning a State are directed against Israel, and not the most terrible violators of human rights, such as China, N. Korea, Iran, Syria, etc. In an organization where the Chair of the Security Council is held by Lebanon, whose Government is controlled by the terrorist organization Hizbollah, what can one expect?

So Abbas received plaudits for his historic move to break the impasse of 18 years of "fruitless" talks. Yet when he returns to reality in Ramallah, he will find little has changed on the ground, except that he has destroyed the one basis for future peace talks that was bilateral negotiations under the auspices of UN resolution 242, that he has thrown out of the window. In order to avoid actually having peace talks and leaving all options open, Abbas has outflanked all peace initiatives and taken a deliberate unilateral step. Since there are actually only two sides to this conflict, it doesn't really matter what the others think, what matters is what the Israeli Government thinks about his move, and the facilitators of the negotiations, the Americans. And they think that it stinks. Since the basis for negotiations is now ended, there will be certain consequences, but Netanyahu did not tell us what they might be, nor did he threaten anything.

One feature of Netanyahu's speech was that he hardly mentioned the unilateral bid for statehood by Abbas, but he emphasized Israel's over-riding security needs. He initially addressed the real issues that concern Israel and Israelis, namely Iran, its hateful philosophy and its policy of developing nuclear weapons, Turkey and its turn against Israel, and the upheavals in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world that have not yet resolved into anything like democratic states. As he indicated Israel must be prepared for anything. Abbas is no longer a legally elected official, his period of office expired last January, and he intends to retire, on a high note. So what assurances does Israel have that this now self-declared state will not allow terrorists to bring missiles into the West Bank with which to bombard Israel as Hamas is doing from Gaza. And what can stop Hamas taking over this supposed state. Such consequences cannot be accepted by Israel!

The crux of the matter, as Netanyhau stated, is that States do not go to the UN to be established, they go there once established after peace negotiations, as South Sudan recently did with Sudan, to be recognized. For all the fanfare and talk of historic moments, etc. etc. this maneuver was a popularity contest, but historically it will be seen for what it was, a hollow moment in which nothing real was accomplished. Once the Security Council considers the Palestinian request and once it is rejected, then only negative consequences can follow.


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