Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Love of the Land: Abbas demands something for nothing

Abbas demands something for nothing
17 May '11

As we get closer to September and a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, Mahmoud Abbas has taken the opportunity to explain why he thinks justice requires yet another slice to be taken from the only Jewish state and given to his amalgamation of two vicious terrorist organizations. After Hamas has told us that even total Israeli withdrawal to 1949 lines won’t bring peace, Abbas explains here that this is his position as well.

The Abbas piece is remarkable for its distortions of the historical record, including the heart-wrenching account of how a little boy who would grow up to be Palestinian President was ‘expelled’ from Tzfat (see also here for a version of the article with lies replaced by truth).

One of the biggest lies Abbas tells is that the Palestinian Arabs should have had a state in 1947, but implementation of the UN partition agreement was derailed by the Zionists. He writes,

In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued…

Minutes after the State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948, the United States granted it recognition. Our Palestinian state, however, remains a promise unfulfilled.

Abbas does not tell us that both the Palestinian Arab leadership and the rest of the Arab world rejected partition on the grounds that all of Palestine should be under Arab sovereignty. He does not tell us that the Palestinian Arabs have rejected offers of a state no less than six times between 1937 and 2008 (and once in 1919).

So why, if they did not want a state until now, will this time be different? Because this time they think they will be able to gain control over a large, strategic territory without having to commit to recognition of Israel, and without having to give up their claim on the rest of the land, in particular, the right to settle millions of Arab ‘refugees’ in Israel.

Israel would never agree to cede territory in return for a promise of belligerency, and — at least so far — the US has not tried to force it to do so. As a result, negotiations between Israel and the PLO have always failed. Abbas may say that “negotiations remain our first option,” but the PLO has only been prepared to negotiate surrender, not compromise. And no matter what concessions Israel has offered, they have not included giving up its right to exist.

Abbas believes that after the world makes Israel leave the territories, it can make Israel sit still and accept the return of the so-called ‘refugees’ (95% of whom are not refugees in any normal sense), and — probably after a bloody war — become another Arab state:

Palestine’s admission to the United Nations would pave the way for the internationalization of the conflict as a legal matter, not only a political one. It would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice …

… Once admitted to the United Nations, our state stands ready to negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel. A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948.

The Arab interpretation of resolution 194 is that every descendant of the 600,000 Arabs that fled Israel in 1948 (about 4.5 million claim this status) is entitled to ‘return’ to Israel and take possession of his property, or be compensated. This wasn’t the intent of the resolution, which referred only to actual refugees and required that they be prepared to ‘live in peace’ with Jewish Israelis. And it would also cover the approximately 850,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries, who most likely wouldn’t want to return but would be happy for compensation!

Since 1967 the presumption of the West has been that land will be exchanged for peace, recognition and an end of all claims against Israel. The Abbas plan finally makes explicit what some of us have been saying all along, that the PLO never intended to give up its dream of replacing Israel with an Arab state of ‘Palestine’.

It’s time for the White House to recognize this and firmly oppose the attempt to give the PLO something for nothing.

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Love of the Land: Abbas demands something for nothing

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