Sunday, December 02, 2012

Symbolic Palestine

There is no doubt that the overwhelming vote in favor of enhanced status for "Palestine" at the UN GA is a symbolic victory for the Palestinian cause and a further step in their delegitimization of Israel.  One can quote many aspects of Pres. Abbas's spech, but the one that seemed most emblematic to me was this : "Israeli occupation is becoming synonymous with an apartheid system of colonial occupation, which institutionalizes the plague of racism and entrenches hatred and incitement."  Is this the statement of a foe who seeks peace?  He affirmed that he wants peace with Israel and that this step was the only way to achieve it - nonsense!  The only way to achieve peace is thru direct negotiations with Israel without preconditions.  He included in his remarks his vision of a Palestinian State, "We will accept no less than the independence of the state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on all the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967, to live in peace and security alongside the state of Israel, and a solution for the refugee issue on the basis of resolution 194."  So he is sticking to his preconditions, nowhere did he say he would negotiate without these preconditions.
One ironic twist to his speech is that he emphasised the legitimacy of "Palestine," whereas it has no internatioanl legitimacy: "We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the state that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine."   He was precisely seeking to delegitimize Israel and by taking this step he was jettisoning the whole history of UN resolutions that all call upon the two sides to negotiate a peace agreement.  Such unilateral action makes a mockery of the so-called legitimacy of the State he would like to found.  But, a State is not established by UN resolutions, just as Israel was not founded by the UN Partition Plan of 1947; it was founded by the declaration of David Ben Gurion in May 1948 and the War of Independence, that Israel won and then received recognition of the individual members of the UN.
There are two major criteria for recognition of a State: 1. Does it control it own territory?  In the case of "Palestine," the answer is a resounding NO!  40% of the territory of Arab Palestine is controlled by Hamas in Gaza, and the Government in Ramallah does not control this.  Also the Government in Ramallah controls only the 7 cities of the West Bank (Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem, Jericho, Jenin, Tulkarm and Hebron) while Israel controls the sourrounding countryside and gave up those cities under the terms of the Oslo Accords (Area A), but stopped further withdrawals when Arafat unleashed the terrorism of the second intifada in 2000.  2. Does the putative state have an infrastructure of government and economic independence.  The answer once again is NO!  "Palestine" exists only as a name, it has inadequate organized infrastructure and is dependent entirely on international aid, much of which is routinely stolen. 
The Israeli Government has warned of unilateral retaliatory action, which it did yesterday in authorizing 3,000 new housing units in Jerusalem and in E1, the area between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim, that effectively cuts Judea and Samaria apart and prevents a contiguous Palestinian State on the ground.  What the UN did on November 29, 2012, was a travesty, but Israel and the Palestinians are going to have to live with the consequences. 


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