Tuesday, September 20, 2011 will prove to be a very busy and interesting day. On that day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the United Nations general assembly, followed soon after by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Both men will outline the state of affairs between the two peoples who reside in a very contentious region. Their perspectives, however, are very different, and in the end, only one of them is right.
Netanyahu will start out the day in an effort to defend Israeli policy and practice. The reception, however, is likely to be very chilly, to say the least. The U.N. General Assembly has been known for its blatant anti-Israel stance, so Netanyahu’s message is more of a matter of record than of sway. He simply wants to get everything out there for the world to hear, even if it’ll all fall on deaf ears.
Abbas has different motives. He is seeking a U.N. Resolution, preferably from the Security Council that declares, unilaterally, the existence of a State called Palestine. He wants full U.N. membership and representation, and his goal is to force Israel’s hand by having the U.N. outline the borders. The Palestinian Authority is intent on securing borders from prior to the 1967 war. At least, that’s the border they want to start with.
Israel, however, has argued that those borders are indefensible and negotiations must be undertaken to choose different borders. Israel also insists that Jerusalem not be re-divided and remain the capital of the Jewish State. One other thing that Israel wants, however, is something that the Palestinians are unwilling to give: a declaration that Israel as a Jewish State has a right to exist.
The P.A. won’t resume negotiations until Israel stops building settlements in the so-called occupied territories. That, of course, is a straw man being used to further the Palestinians’ goal. They’d prefer to have the world exert pressure on Israel through the United Nations by painting themselves as the good guys.
The P.A. is undertaking this move by saying they are just copying what the Israelis did in 1948. An article ran in the Sydney Morning Herald on August 29th in which Sonja Karkar distorted history and portrayed it as fact. He said:
“Israel’s own unilateral move in declaring statehood after the UN’s intention to partition historic Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state cannot be avoided. It underscores that Palestine was never a land without a people and that Israel’s existence was imposed on Palestinians, robbing them of their homes and land and destroying their proud and millenniums-old society.”
What Mr. Karkar fails to mention in his first sentence is that when Israel declared independence, they did so within the U.N. partitioned borders in good faith. The Arab League opposed the plan. They argued that the U.N. lacked the authority to divide the land and they viewed the division as being unfair. On the day Israel declared her independence, the surrounding Arab States declared war with one purpose in mind: the obliteration of Israel. They wanted to push the Jewish infestation in Arab lands into the sea.
The Palestinians in the region at the start of the war were urged by the surrounding Arab States to leave their homes. They were promised prime land, once Israel no longer existed.
Mr. Karkar’s reasoning again is faulty by his assumption that the “Palestinians” were actually a distinct society. There, of course, have always been people there. Those people come from all different sorts of backgrounds and cultures, but never once has there been a nation of Palestine that was run by the people who call themselves Palestinian.
The Arab confederation lost this war. Several more military campaigns would be waged over the years and each time the result was the same: Israel was victorious and the surrounding nations were clueless.
In 1949, the land that the U.N. had partitioned for the Arab State was firmly in the hands of the Jordanians and Egyptians. It remained in their hands until 1967.
In those 18 years, no effort was made to establish a nation of Palestine according to the U.N. plan. The only thing the Egyptians and Jordanians did was plan their next war. In 1967, they lost the now so-called “Occupied Territories”. Egypt also lost the entire Sinai Peninsula.
On the eastern side, Israel had taken the West Bank of the Jordan River along with East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria.
Israel reunited Jerusalem, but under treaty with Jordan, left the temple mount under Jordanian control.
In 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a Peace agreement that formally ended 30 years of war. As part of the deal, Israel gave Egypt back the Sinai Peninsula and wanted to give Egypt the Gaza Strip at the same time. Egypt did not want Gaza. They viewed the residents there as being problematic and preferred to leave the problem in Israel’s hands. Once again, no effort was made by the Egyptians to secure that land, which they could have then turned around and ceded to the Palestinians.
Over the course of time, the Palestinian Liberation Organization evolved from a purely terrorist organization to a “respected” representative of the Palestinian interests. Various accords have been signed and Israel has withdrawn from large portions of the land. The exception would be the settlements that are being constructed in the West Bank.
This is where the racist aspect of the Palestinians comes clearly into view for those of us who want to look. The Palestinians have no interest in having any Jews live in what will be their State and so they oppose, often violently, any Jewish settlements in those areas. This sort of apartheid is condemned elsewhere, but for some reason, is not only accepted in this region, it’s promoted as the only way to have “peace”.
The truth is there won’t be peace in the region because there are two peoples in one region that both want the same land and refuse to live together and work together.
With the exception of re-dividing Jerusalem, Israel is more than willing to share the land with the Palestinians, side by side. They just want to make sure their borders are wide enough to be defended. The Palestinians, however, only view such an existence a stopgap to their goal: A Palestinian State that extends from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea.
The United States wants to stop Abbas from making his demands, and Netanyahu wants to make sure the world knows why. If both efforts fail to change the course the world is on, September 20th could prove to be a very busy, perhaps even bloody, day, indeed.