Palestine – What Is There to Talk About?
By: David Singer
Excitement mounts and expectations are raised as speculation increases that the man simultaneously wearing three hats as Palestinian Authority President, Fatah Chairman and PLO Chairman – Mahmoud Abbas – might be possibly meeting at the United Nations with Israelâ€™s Prime Minister –Benjamin Netanyahu – around September 23.
They will no doubt be locked in a smiling and happy three-way embrace with President Obama – flanked by as many Quartet and Arab leaders as President Obama can cajole to join in this historic photo opportunity.
Like the failed Annapolis meeting less than two years ago with President Bush – there will supposedly be an announcement by his successor – President Obama – that sixteen years of failed negotiations to create a new Arab State between Israel and Jordan – the so-called â€œtwo state solutionâ€ – are going to once again be resumed. Perhaps the announcement will be accompanied by the intention to hold an international gathering in Moscow to formally open the resumption of those negotiations.
However before this chain of events can happen it will certainly be necessary for Abbas to declare he is ready to recognize Israel as a Jewish State – something he has consistently and steadfastly refused to acknowledge.
As President of the Palestinian Authority Abbas is notionally committed to the â€œtwo state solutionâ€ accepted both by him and his predecessor the late Yasser Arafat- albeit the terms demanded by both of them have ensured the failure of this initiative since 1993.
As Chairman of the PLO Abbas is however committed to advocating the provisions of Article 20 of the PLO Covenant which states:
â€œThe Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and everything that has been based on them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism being a divine religion is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own: they are citizens of the states to which they belongâ€
As Chairman of Fatah he is sworn to uphold Article 22 of its separate Charter:
â€œOpposing any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine â€¦ â€œ
It is no wonder then that Abbas has been loath so far to accept the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in 17% of former Palestine pursuant not only to the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine – but also pursuant to the United Nations Charter.
He still continues to head two organizations that are hell bent on consigning the six million Jews now living in Israel into national oblivion – either by armed struggle or by changing the demographics of Israelâ€™s population from its present ratio of 80% Jews/20% Arabs by continuing to demand the right for millions of Arabs to be allowed to emigrate to Israel.
Abbas is too weak to resist these plans to eliminate Israel as the Jewish National Home for all present – and future – generations of Jews no matter where they might happen to be born or to be living.
He is certainly frank about where his loyalties presently reside.
On 27 April 2009 he told a preliminary conference of the Palestinian Youth Conference at Ramallah:
â€œA Jewish State, what is that supposed to mean? You can call yourselves as you like, but I donâ€™t accept it and I say so publicly. All I know is that there is the state of Israel, in the borders of 1967, not one centimeter less. Anything else I donâ€™t accept â€ [YNet - 27 April 2009]
Abbas [ pictured ] had no compunction or embarrassment in accepting a large framed map of â€œPalestineâ€ covering the entire area of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea after this address. The picture later appeared on the front page of both daily publications of the Palestinian Authority. [Israelinsider - 28 April 2009]
Perhaps Mr Abbas needs reminding that
1. There are no 1967 borders – only armistice lines
2. The United Nations had no trouble in understanding what the term â€œJewish Stateâ€ meant when passing Resolution 181 on 29 November 1947 which declared:
“Independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem, set forth in Part III of this Plan, shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than 1 October 1948. The boundaries of the Arab State, the Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem shall be as described in Parts II and III below.”
The Jewish people did not struggle for 2000 years to return to their ancient homeland only to then be delegitimized and categorized as a â€œnon-nationâ€ – not entitled to enjoy in 0.01% of the former Ottoman Empire precisely the same rights of self determination as have been conferred on the Arab nation extending over twenty one sovereign states in the remaining 99.99% of the liberated Ottoman Empire.
Given his intransigent attitude – what will Abbas possibly have to talk about with Netanyahu at the United Nations unless Abbas has a life transforming change within the next three weeks? And why should Netanyahu be a party to such a farce unless Abbas accepts that Jews have the same rights as Arabs to determine their own future in at least some portion of the land where their national identity and destiny was forged more than 3000 years ago.