Palestinian Authority leadership has released a flurry of strong and potentially dangerous statements over the past week. They have announced that it would be unprecedented, illegal and ill-advised for Israel to cancel the Oslo Accords despite the fact that the Palestinian move to attempt to form statehood unilaterally through the United Nations would be an even greater breach against the agreement than all the other abrogations committed throughout the entire Oslo period. Past moves which broke items from the Oslo Accords by the Palestinian authority include but are not limited to blocking access to holy sites such as Kever Yosef (Joseph’s Tomb), Ruth’s Tomb, Machpelah (Tomb of the Patriarchs), and the Temple Mount; ending terror; disarming terror groups; ending incitement in the schools, media, entertainment, naming of public places (parks, children’s camps, schools, streets, squares, festivals, and other functions and items); and exceeding the numbers of allowed security forces and limitations on their armament.
The Palestinian leadership is claiming that they have been forced to turn to the United Nations to seek statehood as negotiations have broken down and no longer appear to them to be viable. Neglected in their statements are the facts for the reasons negotiations have ceased. They leave out the fact that it was they who called an end to the negotiations even after Israel had taken the previously never-considered step of freezing all building within the Jewish neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria for ten full months. The Palestinian claim that they did hold negotiations during that time, where technically true, were hardly actual negotiations when they consisted of two photo opportunities and one brief meeting all in the final three weeks of the freeze where the Palestinian negotiating team walked out of the only real meeting and then started making demands for additional open-ended building freezes by Israel. When it became apparent that Israel might actually meet this demand, they added demands that Israel agree to the 1949 Armistice Lines as the new borders for the Palestinian State; an indefinite, for the length of negotiations, building freeze in Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem, and Jerusalem’s suburbs; the removal of all IDF forces from all areas of Judea and Samaria leaving them to be completely in Palestinian security control which would have left the Jews in these areas completely vulnerable to the whims of the Palestinian Authority and the terrorists; complete removal of every single Jew from Palestinian claimed territories upon end of negotiations; the right to raise an army and to allow the armed forces of other nations to station in the Palestinian state for varied purposes; unfettered access between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip free of any conditions or searches; and, of course, complete “Right of Return” for between 4 and 5 million Palestinian refugees and their progeny to inside Israeli borders with full rights as citizens of Israel. For reasons that must be totally bewildering to the Palestinian leadership, the Israelis did not comply and actually had the audacity to make a demand of the Palestinian authority. Prime Minister Netanyahu demanded the Palestinian Authority actually recognize Israel as the Jewish State, which they, needless to say, refused adamantly as the “Right of Return” has as its sole reason turning Israel into the twenty-third Arab State with the first election after their returning to homes, which most have no idea where they were located, but they do have the keys to the house, keys that are usually very large and archaic in appearance.
So, once again we find the situation in the reputedly delicately balanced Israeli and Palestinian process under another attempt to slightly tilt it towards one side over the other and, as usual, the threats are flying. The Palestinian threat against Israel is their decision to unilaterally, with or without United Nations’ blessings, declare their initial State with the boundaries they wish to impose under the conditions they demand in whatever manner they choose and Israel is instructed to simply accept this as natural and not a threat or in any way abrogating the Oslo Accords which called for a negotiated settlement. This, the Palestinians claim, is the negotiated settlement because these are all preconditions to the negotiations thus freeing the Palestinian Authority to implement any and all preconditions as they see fit, and Israel is supposed to have absolutely no recourse or the Palestinians are going to scream, “FOUL!”, and the world will come running to protect them. Israel responds that this is an abrogation and shows the Palestinians no longer feel constrained to obey the limitation or to fulfill the obligations of the Oslo Accords yet Israel must remain bound by those same Oslo Accords and must not react or respond in any way that might be interpreted by the Palestinians or the anti-Israel General Assembly of the United Nations as breaking the explicit and implicit restraints of the Oslo Accords. Somehow, I seriously doubt such is going to turn out anywhere near the way the Palestinians hope this will. I actually do not see this coming confrontation as ending well for the Middle East or anybody anywhere on Earth, and I stress anybody anywhere. As I have said on rare occasions, it might be a good time to practice ducking as things could start to fly.
Does anybody honestly believe that Israel will simply lie down and die without even the slightest protestation, let alone responding by implementing a situation more in the Israeli interest? Before this United Nations fiasco gets under steam, the world had best read some history and make very sure their intended actions fall within recorded treaties and proclamations before jumping the gun. There really are not an endless number of items to consider. The reading list contains the Belfour Declaration, the Peel Report, the United Nations Charter, the Montevideo Conventions of 1933 and 1939, United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, and lastly, the Oslo Accords with its predecessor, the Madrid Conference of 1991. Everyone also needs to keep in mind that United Nations Resolution 181 was passed solely by the General Assembly and not the Security Council making it a suggested solution to the situation and was voided by the Arab States who immediately refused to accept the suggestion. Also, these countries should remember that it was at the insistence of the Arab Nations that the 1949 Armistice Lines were denoted to never be recognized as borders and it does not matter that the reasoning of the Arab and Muslim States that they were refusing to allow them to be seen as borders in order to prevent Israel from using them as such, their demand made it so neither side may use them as actual borders. Israel back then would have accepted these borders but cannot be held to them today even as things have changed and the shoe is on the other foot as far as borders are concerned, the Armistice Lines still are forbidden to act as borders due to the original insistence of the Muslim and Arab powers demands in 1949. Should the United Nations decide to overturn all of these documents, treaties, councils, conferences, and the definitions upon which much of the structure of current nations make their claims to legitimacy and instead replace them with the idea that any group of peoples may declare themselves statehood, they had best prepare for the inundating flood of other groups demanding their own statehood everywhere in this wide world. But, if the United Nations, even without nomination by the Security Council (something I am still not all that certain the United States will veto when the vote is taken but instead abstains), still votes in the General Assembly granting that the Palestinians should have the right to their own state, does anybody think that would be the end of the conflict even if Israel complied allowing independence for the West Bank and Gaza? Hamas and Fatah both have the eradication of Israel as a basic tenet in their charters and have sworn that obtaining statehood in whatever lands they can manage to grab peaceably is only the first of as many steps as necessary to eliminate Israel. There exist Arab Muslim groups of Israeli citizens who have formed with the intent of demanding their own state separate from Israel in the territories within recognized Israel where they have significant populations. Some of these groups claim they will also demand the removal of any Jew within the areas they wish to claim and they have also responded that their intent is to join with the existing Palestine State once they have attained statehood. There are groups of Bedouins who have claimed that they should have complete autonomous statehood in the entire Negev region of Israel. Lebanon claims lands within the Israeli northern border. Syria has their claim to the Golan Heights and some Syrians also claim much of the Dead Sea areas. All told, eventually Israel would be whittled down to simply Tel Aviv and possibly a few suburbs once all the different claimants would be satisfied. Fortunately for the Jews, Tel Aviv was built originally on virgin ground of shoreline and scrub grass, not on any previous villages or towns. About the only people not yet demanding their piece of Israel are the Greeks and Rome, both of which held these lands about two to three thousand years ago. Iran is also making claims as the legal entity for modern Persia, or actually they would settle for eradication of Israel from what I have heard. Are their many Babylonians left alive? I am aware of a number of people claiming Assyrian ancestry; guess they might make a claim. Maybe I should not give Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan the idea to reclaim Israel as it was part of the Ottoman-Turkish Empire, though they did surrender claims in a treaty after World War I, but so many treaties are about to be ignored, what is one more. As you can plainly see, this issue of Palestinian statehood is not as cut and dry as the media would like to portray it and it will make the precedent of Kosovo being turned into Kosova, an entirely unrelated area of land under a completely unrelated people’s rightful claim as the complete difference in the name clearly implies, an even more dangerous precedent.
Beyond the Cusp