A Palestinian State?

A blue chair embroidered with the words ‘Palestine's Right’ has been prepared by The Palestinian Authority for their use at the United Nations.  A vote is to be taken by the UN General Assembly this autumn which is likely to recognise a Palestinian State.

Sonja Karkar, writing in the The Sydney Morning Herald on August 29 offers some pro-Palestinian propaganda:

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.

There have been people in the Holy Land for millennia.  Jews, Arabs, Syrians and nomadic herders have all had communities in the land for centuries.  Different powers, from the Romans to the Ottoman Turks, have also controlled this part of the Middle East during the last two thousand years, but there has never been a Palestinian state run by ‘Palestinians.’  The people now called Palestinians occupy land that prior to the Six Day War in 1967 was under the control of Egypt or Jordan.  Karkar's portrayal of a single Palestinian people with a long proud history is simply untrue.

An article on the Koinonia House website says:

Now, after 44 years of butting heads and a perpetual impasse, the Palestinian Authority wants to circumvent negotiations with Israel.  It seeks an end run around certain moves necessary to keep peace with the Jewish state – things like rejecting terrorism and recognising the State of Israel.  The PA is instead pushing to create a Palestinian state via an upcoming United Nations General Assembly vote in late September.  A Security Council vote would be more binding, but the United States can veto decisions at the Security Council.

Some people expect a UN vote for a Palestinian state to settle the issue.  That's not only naïve, but dangerous.  Not only will there be no peace, but Israel anticipates immediate attacks on settlers in the West Bank if the vote goes through.  The settlers are certain to fight back, causing the West Bank to explode in bloodshed.  Israel security forces working in settlements are being armed with riot gear in advance of the September 20th debate on the issue.

Ron Prosor, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, told the Foreign Ministry last week that Israel simply does not have the support to oppose the General Assembly resolution.  The Palestinians have the diplomatic upper hand, and they only need a majority of votes – just 51 percent – to gain recognition.

Besides encouraging violence however, the General Assembly's vote will almost certainly fail to create a peaceable two-state solution.  Israel will not give up its settlers or East Jerusalem just to please the United Nations.  Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza will not suddenly affirm the existence of Israel and treat their neighbor with respect.  When Israel moved settlers out of Gaza in 2005, the immediate result was an increase in rocket attacks over the border onto Israel.  Without any true co-operation or peace agreements, the result of a Palestinian state created by vote is unrest and destruction.

Both Israel and the United States have urged the Palestinian Authority to return to the negotiating table.  Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has said the PA would agree once again to negotiate if Israel stops building settlements and uses the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations.  Neither of these things are likely to happen.

US President Barack Obama recognises that 'initiatives through the UN will not bring about the two-state solution and enduring peace, which both the parties and the US seek.'  The US will discourage the declaration of a Palestinian state, but the General Assembly can still vote however it chooses.


Thanks for keeping me informed with the current issues.

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