Begin with yesterday’s bombshells: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gave a 40-minute address to the UN General Assembly. He declared Palestine a state — a statement of zero legal effect but of political significance. He announced that: (a) September 30 would henceforth be known (to Palestinians) as Palestinian Flag Day; (b) the Palestinians were no longer bound by the Oslo Accords. Specifically, Abbas proclaimed as to Oslo, from the same podium where in 1974 Yasser Arafat spoke to the General Assembly with a gun in his belt, that
We therefore declare that we cannot continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power.
Abbas began his speech with this inversion of Jerusalem history since the end of the 1967 War:
I come before you today from Palestine, compelled to sound the alarm about the grave dangers of what is happening in Jerusalem, where extremist Israeli groups are committing repeated, systematic incursions upon Al-Aqsa Mosque, aimed at imposing a new reality and dividing Al-Haram Al-Sharif [“Noble Sanctuary” — Jews call it Temple Mount] temporally, allowing extremists, under the protection of Israeli occupying forces and accompanying ministers and Knesset members, to enter the Mosque at certain times, while preventing Muslim worshipers from accessing and entering the Mosque at those times and freely exercising their religious rights.
This is the scheme that the Israeli government is pursuing, in direct violation of the status quo since before 1967 and thereafter. By doing so, the occupying power is committing a grave mistake, because we will not accept this, and the Palestinian people will not allow the implementation of this illegal scheme, which is aggravating the sensitivities of Palestinians and Muslims everywhere.
Earlier In September, Abbas had insisted that “East” Jerusalem” — a geographic designation that did not exist until 1967, some 3,000 years after David founded the City of the Jews — would be the capital of a Palestinian state. Abbas wishes to exclude not just Jews but Christians as well from the Holy Land.
The September Rosh Hashanah Temple Mount riots by Palestinian thugs masquerading as “protesters” replays the “old” modern Mideast: two-thirds of a century of Palestinian rejection of any Jewish presence in the Holy Land; in Israel, there are more Jewish holy sites desecrated than Christian and Muslim sites combined. On top of this are unending Palestinian “blood libels” accusing Israel of planning to undermine or demolish Muslim holy sites — which Muslims routinely do to non-Muslim sites — and all the while as Muslims continue to deny that the historic peoples of Judea and Samaria were in fact Jews. Worse, as Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin notes, the Palestinians know that the “international community” will condemn any forceful Israeli response, whilst ignoring the terrorist nature of the rock throwing:
The goal of rock throwing… is not to bring to Palestinian suffering to the attention of the world but to shed Jewish blood. It is the tangible proof of the fact that Palestinian nationalism is still inextricably linked to a belief that the presence of Jewish sovereignty over any part of the country, whether across the 1967 line or inside them, is unacceptable. All Jews… are considered fair game for Palestinians because their goal is to eradicate the Jewish state….
The Rosh Hashanah riots induced the city council of Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, to ban imports of Israeli goods. A former top Palestinian cleric called “self-defense” the Muslim assault on Jews visiting Temple Mount. The latest riots — trying to prevent Jews from visiting their holiest religious sites on the days of the Jewish New Year — show what recentpolls of Palestinian views show about final status accords with Israel, as summed up by Mideast maven Evelyn Gordon:
The Fikra Forum published a fascinating poll last week that asked Palestinians for their preferred solution to the conflict with Israel over three different time frames. Queried about the next five years, a plurality chose “reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the river to the sea” as the “main Palestinian national goal”; the two-state solution placed second and the one-state solution third. Moreover, while Palestinians don’t expect this goal to be achieved within five years, they do consider it achievable in the medium to long term: In 30 to 40 years, only a quarter of respondents expect Israel to “continue to exist as a Jewish state,” and in 100 years, only 12 percent of West Bankers and 15 percent of Gazans believe the Jewish state will still exist.
That Palestinians aren’t keen on the two-state solution isn’t exactly news; a poll commissioned by The Israel Project four years ago found that a hefty 66 percent viewed two states as a mere stepping-stone to a single Palestinian state encompassing all of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Nor is this attitude surprising, given another enlightening nugget from the Fikra poll: Fully 81 percent of West Bankers and 88 percent of Gazans asserted that all this territory “is Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to the land.”
Gordon translates these findings into doleful conclusions about the futility of the Oslo “peace process” accords of 1993 (Oslo I) and 1995 (Oslo II). Israel cannot make peace with people who believe Jews have no right to the Holy Land, who believe that within a matter of decades the Jewish state will no longer exist. Ceding land to such people only forces Israel to fight inevitable future wars at a vastly increased strategic disadvantage. Put simply, on the fair evidence of Palestinian attitudes, the Oslo Accords are a dead letter.
In the 20 years since Oslo II was signed (Sept. 28, 1995), 98 percent of Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria (i.e., on the West Bank of the Jordan River) have lived under Palestinian civilian rule. As reported (link above) by Algemeiner:
Israel’s forces retreated from the cities of Nablus (Shechem), Jenin, Qalqilya, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Tulkarm, Jericho and almost all of Hebron. Later, they withdrew from all of Gaza. The Palestinian Authority took over all those areas. For the past 20 years, the PA has policed the streets, collected the garbage, issued the building permits, and administered the elections — that is, when the PA deigned to have elections at all. In Gaza, the PA ruled at first; today, Hamas is in charge there.
A more precise description of the three areas shows: Area A covers 3 percent of the West Bank, and is under full Palestinian civilian and security rule; Israelis cannot even enter these areas, save for East Jerusalem, except that the Israeli Defense Forces can do so in emergencies. Area B covers 36 percent of the WB with 440 villages, and is under Palestinian civilian rule and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control. There are no Israeli settlements in Areas A and B. Area C, now 61 percent of the WB, is under full Israeli civilian and security control. But only 2 percent of Palestinians live in these largely empty areas. Thus if one goes by population rather than area, nearly all Palestinians on the West Bank live under full local civilian rule and under full or partial local security control. And, of course, all Gazans live under the totalitarian rule of Hamas.
This is how Abbas described joint administration in his 2015 speech:
The state of Palestine, based on the 4th of June 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, is a state under occupation, as was the case for many countries during World War II.
Anyone care to ask the Poles how they feel about that analogy?
A year ago, Abbas addressed the General Assembly and, of his movement’s goal, which he asserted (falsely) was supported by international law, said this:
At the same time, I affirm that… we will maintain the traditions of our national struggle established by the Palestinian[s] and to which we committed ourselves since the onset of the Palestinian revolution in early 1965.
The operative words that matter are “early 1965”: That New Year’s Day the PLO launched its offensive to “liberate” all of what it regards as “Palestine” — at a time when Israel controlled nothing outside the 1949 “Green Line” ceasefire positions. These lines were not “borders” or recognized “boundaries” because the Arab signatory parties refused to recognize Israel as a nation. The Jordan River’s West Bank was controlled then by Jordan; the Gaza Strip was controlled then by Egypt. And so all the stuff about “the occupation” after the 1967 War is rhetorical camouflage.
Another major factor, cited by Arabic scholar Dennis MacEoin, is that the Arabs export their refugees. The Arab refusal to help migrants fleeing today’s Mideast collapse is sending millions to Europe and ultimately, if unchecked, will send millions to America. They have never offered to resettle or even give aid to refugees of the 1948 war five Arab states started to kill or expel all Jews from what is today Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. From time to time, their leaders will shed crocodile tears for the Palestinians, such as King Salman of Saudi Arabia did over the Rosh Hashanah riots; but when the Saudis want help versus Iran they will eagerly seek — and get it — from Israel.
That Israel had acquired (21:30) the West Bank and Gaza lawfully, via self-defense against aggression — and had in the century preceding 1948 had lawfully purchased, often at premium prices — such lands from absentee Arab landowners, matters not at all to Palestinians and their international supporters. Put another way, in return for a concrete, irrevocable surrender of land to which they are not lawfully entitled, Palestinians will offer an intangible, instantly revocable promise of peace. There is zero reason to believe that the Palestinians would honor their side of this lopsided bargain. The pernicious course of 20th century politics gave rise by the 1960s to a Palestinian nationalism based upon a largely fictive history.
Israel is reaping the whirlwind of what one commentator called two huge strategic mistakes: its post-1967 War decision to cede control of Temple Mount to the Muslim Waqf (religious authority), and its acceptance of the faux 1960s Palestinian narrative.
Israeli’s legendary prime minister (1969-1974) Golda Meir was once asked when there would be peace between Arabs and Jews. To which she answered that there would be peace when the Arabs decide that they love their children more than they hate the Jews. Are we there yet? Watch this stomach-turning Hamas video (1:38) in which a Palestinian boy says he wants to be an engineer so he “can blow up Jews,” while another boy says he wants to “liberate” Jerusalem via the Hamas al-Qassam brigades; their female interviewer gently corrects the aspiring engineer, telling him that instead of “Jews” he should say “Zionists.” And most Americans have forgotten the Palestinian 9/11/2001 street celebration video (0:53). Such barbaric celebrations could not have taken place without widespread knowledge that the authorities would condone them. Yet most Western leaders stepped up diplomatic pressure on Israel to make further “peace process” concessions.
Sadly, the latest Palestinian outrages show that they are nowhere near the attitudinal change Golda saw as sine qua non for true Arab-Israeli peace. To the contrary, as the Jewish autumnal harvest festival of Sukkot began this week, Palestinians renewed anti-Jewish attacks, stockpiling rocks inside the al-Aqsa (“far”) Mosque on Temple Mount. According to Israeli security forces, the Muslim religious authority and Arab Knesset members did nothing to restrain rioters.
There may, however, be one ray of hope for a winding down of the Palestinian war against Israel and the Jews. Former defense minister Moshe Arens writes that Palestinians living in Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza may join the Mideast refugee exodus to destinations in Europe. This newest Palestinian flight could not plausibly be linked to Israel. They would be feeling the calamitous collapse of the century-old post-colonial Arab order into fratricidal civil war. The result of large-scale Palestinian flight, Arens notes, could be the destruction of the half-century old idea of a separate West Bank/Gaza Palestinian state.
Should such a development come to pass it would be a step in creating a more stable — well, less unstable — Mideast order. In the meantime, Abbas took a big step backward in his latest UN speech.