WHILE YOU STAND ON ONE LEG: A little longer than usual this week. But I’m quoting two Abbas speeches to the UN, echoing the international view of the Jewish homeland in last year’s UNSC 2334. Is this international forum attack comparable to that back in the days of Herzog and Moynihan? I think it is, and we ought to heed their plea in responding to it.
Pouring It On – Abbas’ Frames of Reference This Week To the UN Security Council and Last Fall to the UN General Assembly: Time for Us To Reject These Frames of Reference?
Abbas at the UN
Give Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas credit for this: In his addresses to the U.N. he persistently and insistently frames the Arab-Israeli conflict in clear unambiguous terms – he calls it illegal Israeli occupation of an East Jerusalem-capitaled State of Palestine comprised of every inch over the 1967 borders. E.g.:
*** “Israel is acting as a State above the law. It has transformed the occupation from a temporary situation as per international law into a situation of permanent settlement colonization and has imposed a one-State reality of Apartheid. It has closed all doors to realizing the two-State solution on the basis of the 1967 borders.” (Abbas to UNSC, This Week, 2/21/18, par. 16)
*** “… the two-Solution on the basis of the 1967 borders ….” (Abbas to UNSC, 2/21/18, par. 19)
*** “… East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 and is our capital ….” (Abbas to UNSC, 2/21/18, par. 19)
*** “We will continue to extend our hands to make peace and will continue to exert efforts to bring an end to the Israeli occupation based on the two-State solution on the 1967 borders ….” (Abbas to UNSC, 2/21/18, par. 25)
*** “Foremost [during negotiations under Abbas’ “peace plan” (par. 31)] must be the cessation of settlement activities in the territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and suspension of the decision regarding Jerusalem and halting transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem ….” (Abbas to UNSC, 2/21/18, par. 36)
*** The “terms of reference for any upcoming negotiations” must include:
“1. Respect for international law and the relevant resolutions,” including 242, 338 and 2334;
“2. Preservation of the principle of the two-States, i.e., the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with the State of Israel in peace and security on the basis of the 4 June 1967 borders ….”
“3. Acceptance of minimal land swaps ….”
“4. East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine ….”
“5. Ensuring the security of the two States … through the existence of an international third party”
“6. A just and agreed solution for the Palestine refugees on the basis of resolution 194(III) ….” (Abbas to UNSC, 2/21/18, par. 37-43)
[BTW, I left out the bit in par. 2 about “the Palestinians” being descendants of the Canaanites 5000 years ago, and have “continuously remained there to this day” (where doubtless they fought in their co- inhabitants’ wars against the Assyrians, Babylonians, Seleucids, Romans, etc.) The irony is that if either side is descended from Canaanites, it’s the Jews, per the “indigenous origin” camp of archeologists.]
Abbas’ September 20, 2017, speech to the U.N. General Assembly mentioned “occupation” 35 times in its 51 paragraphs; “1967 borders ” 8 times; Israeli “colonialism” 7 times; “two-state solution,” as in “the two-state solution on the 1967 borders” (par. 23), 7 times; and “East” Jerusalem, as in “Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” (par. 16), repeatedly.
A few gems:
*** “We recognized the state of Israel on the 1967 borders. But Israel’s continuous refusal to recognize these borders has put into question the mutual recognition we signed in Oslo in 1993.” (Abbas to UNGA, 9/20/17, par. 2)
*** “Beyond any doubt, draining the swamp of colonial occupation of our land and ending its unjust, oppressive and illegal practices against our people would greatly affect the fight against terrorism ….” (Abbas to UNGA, 9/20/17, par. 7) [And here I thought the swamp to be drained was in Washington.]
*** “On our part, we have repeatedly tried to revive the peace process and called on the Israeli Prime Minister to affirm his commitment to the two-State solution ….” (Abbas to UNGA, 9/20/17, par. 13)
*** “We have warned in the past and continue to warn of Israeli policies aimed at entrenching the occupation and colonial facts on the ground in East Jerusalem….” (Abbas to UNGA, 9/20/17, par. 15)
*** “… Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory….” (Abbas to UNGA, 9/20/17, par. 16) [cf UNSC 2334]
It goes on for 35 further paragraphs, but Enough! You get the tenor.
How To Respond?
Certainly, direct detailed point-by-point response to this in the halls of diplomacy of the U.N. rests with Israel’s diplomats. But I think that a more broadly based, more fundamental response is required.
I’m reminded of sterling Israeli diplomat Chaim Herzog’s reaction to American Jewish non-involvement in the run-up to the infamous U.N. “Zionism Is Racism” resolution. In Living History (p. 198) Herzog wrote of his presentation after the vote to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations:
“My friends, I tried desperately in the two weeks in which the debate was going on to bring home to the Jewish community the gravity of the situation. I cannot say that I was encouraged by the Jewish reaction.
“… While the Jews were comparatively passive on the issue, and in my view failing in their duty as Jews because they did not apparently appreciate the dangers to the Jewish people inherent in this Resolution ….
“… My friends, you can be proud of your delegation [Moynihan] to the United Nations ….
“But I ask, can we be proud of the Jewish reaction? Here in this city [New York], in the midst of the largest Jewish concentration in the world, with a small Israeli delegation fighting desperately against the heaviest possible odds to defend Jewry from a major anti-Semitic attack against Jews wherever they may be …
“Can you honestly say that the dangerous significance of this development has penetrated American Jewish consciousness?
“Remember, it did not begin yesterday. We have been waging the battle for three weeks now…. And yet, where were the Jewish people?”
Herzog quoted (p. 198) in his book [a very good read, btw] what America’s sterling U.N. delegate, Patrick Moynihan, wrote in his book, A Dangerous Place, about what he went up and told Herzog just after the vote: “I rose and walked over to Herzog and embraced him. ‘Fuck ‘em,’ I said.” But it was what I read in some other book (long misplaced, alas) about what Moynihan had said to Herzog just before the vote that I most remember. Moynihan rose and walked over to Herzog and asked: “Where are your fucking Jews?”
Are these two cases – the years-ago “Zionism Is Racism” resolution, and this week’s UNSC speech by Abbas, literally echoing last year’s 14-0-1 UNSC Resolution 2334 – “Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem” – comparable? Of the same magnitude in attempting to delegitimize the Jewish homeland of Israel? I would say, yes.
It’s not enough for us, any more, to keep saying, Now, wait a minute: 242 didn’t say “the”; the 1949 ceasefire lines, expressly declared as not being borders, weren’t “1967 borders”; it’s the Palestinian Arabs who’ve never accepted “two-states” as “two states for two peoples,” who’ve walked away from every the enormously-compromising peace offer by Israel; who’ve never ruled one inch of their “capital,” Jerusalem, ever. We have to make the valid Jewish homeland case as unambiguously simple and clear as Abbas makes his “descent from the Canaanites.” Western Palestine, the land of Israel – (see history – we never left – and San Remo, the Mandate, etc.) is our homeland, not Arabs’ (who have 78% of the Palestine Mandate in Palestinian-Arab-majority, Hashemite regime-rather-shaky Jordan). We’re the indigenous natives. Jews are the last people on earth to be called “settlers” in historic Jerusalem (ask Isaiah, or the Jewish majority since the 1800’s). Nor are Jews “settlers” and “colonialist occupiers” in what even the U.N. in 1947 called “Samaria and Judea.”
Beyond our intrinsic historical and legal right, from a strictly security standpoint we have to have the Judea-Samaria hill country west of the Jordan. I read this week that the IDF is preparing for multi-front war – Lebanon, Syria, “West Bank”-Jordan, Gaza and Sinai. The Jewish “peace” front that advocates an Israel 9-miles-wide in the lowland middle ought to call itself “Alav ha-Sholom Achshav.”