Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 29

Pres. Abbas of the PA chose November 29 to apply for "non-member state observer status" at the General Assembly of the United Nations  because November 29 is a historic day in the Jewish calendar.  It is the anniversary  65 years ago in 1947 when the UN GA voted for the Partition Plan to divide British Mandatory Palestine into two, and for the first time in 2,000 years agreed to the establishment of a Jewish sovereign state.  Of course, the Palestinians see the irony of trying to copy the Israelis on this date, but is it too late?  After trying to destroy the nascent Jewish State by invasion, war, terrorism and now missiles, the so-called more moderate Palestinian Fatah (PLO) which controls the PA, has now chosen the diplomatic route.  Does this represent progress?
In doing so they are flouting 65 years of UN resolutions, that the conflict must be resolved by negotiation and agreement between the two sides.  Even if the Palestinians get a majority in the UN GA, which they are sure to do, they do not have the agreement of Israel, and that is the crucial vote.  Without an agreement with Israel no viable Palestinian State can exist on the ground.  And if the PA takes unilateral action, so can Israel.  At present no drastic Israeli reaction is foreseen, the Israeli Government could take any of a number of unilateral moves that have been broached, from stopping tax payments and refusing to cooperate with the PA, to annexing parts of Judea and Samaria
Israel has been providing funds for the PA in order to keep it afloat as an alternative to Hamas, and economic conditions in the PA have been improving  The split between the two Palestinian sides is deep and not likely to end soon.  Clearly of the two, Israel prefers to deal with Fatah rather than the Islamist fundamentalist Hamas which it recently fought in Operation Pillar of Defense.  But, how long can Israel retain the illusion that Fatah represents a viable partner for peace?   Now that Abbas is taking this step, and vows not to use violence and terrorism to attain his goals, what will he actually do next.  Declaring a Palestinian State within the 1967 borders does not make it so, without Israeli agreement. 
UN GA votes are advisory, not legally binding, which means that although the GA may give enhanced status to the Palestinian representative at the UN, it does not change their legal status or the situation on the ground.  They do not have sovereignty, which is granted by the Security Council.  Also, since the Arabs did not accept the Partition Plan of 1947, that vote in the GA too did not become legally binding.  It was the recognition of the new Jewish State by the US, Russia and a host of other countries that conferred sovereignty on Israel.  Will Abbas now try to get other countries to recognise Palestinian independence? How wIll that change the relations between the PA and Israel?  If the putative Palestine State's borders conflict with Israeli interests how will Israel react?  A ball has been set rolling and no one knows where it will come to rest.


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