The Impending Vote For The Recognition of Palestine

A vote for recognition would do more than anything in decades to undermine a peace settlement. The terrorism will continue, Hamas will import and stock ever more powerful weapons and will, in all likelihood, take control of the West Bank.

Dr. Denis MacEoin,

OpEds Denis MacEoin
Denis MacEoin
INN:DE

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP

Jonathan Arnott MEP
Paul Brannen MEP


RE: The Impending Vote for The Recognition of Palestine

Dear Madam, Sirs,

I hope you don’t mind my contacting you collectively, but it seems easiest to address you together as the three MEPs for my region. I have lived in Newcastle upon Tyne since 1981, where I taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at Newcastle University. I was also a Fellow at Durham University’s Centre for Middle East and Islamic Studies. Currently, I am a Distinguished Senior Fellow at New York’s Gatestone Institute, which covers Israel and the Middle East, for whom I write two monthly columns, and I am a Senior Fellow at the US Middle East Forum, for whom I edited the Middle East Quarterly. I believe my background and my extensive writings in this area entitle me to comment on the proposal, soon to go to a vote in the European parliament, to recognize a Palestinian State on the West Bank and Gaza, within the 1967 armistice lines.

May I write to you to ask if you will vote against what I perceive to be a wrong-headed and dangerous motion? Allow me to give you some of the reasons why I am opposed to it and why I think such recognition at this stage would bring further disaster to an already disaster-prone Middle East. I also add a link here to an article I wrote earlier about the Swedish parliament’s vote to recognize Palestine.

I don’t propose to cover the entire history of the conflict or most of the complexity that surrounds. But I do feel that such a vote oversimplifies things to the point where only one side of a nuanced argument is being heard and acted on.

Let me start by stressing that I am not anti-Palestinian nor am I opposed in principle to the idea of a Palestinian state. I would love to see a proud Palestinian state existing next to Israel, benefiting from its' proximity to one of the world’s most advanced and technically advanced countries, with a reputation for the observance of human rights that far exceeds the standards of any Arab state, and before too long growing economically and in its own commitment to human rights. The Palestinian people have suffered since 1947, and they deserve to carry much of the blame for the ongoing violence. However, they are themselves the victims of their own leaders and many of the Arab leaders who have trapped them in an endless round of
Before recognition, the Palestinians have to do something positive to deserve it.
suffering, economic disaster, and never-ending waves of wars and terrorism initiated by those leaders. 

For there to be a Palestinian state there must first be a solid peace agreement between the Palestinians and Israel, an end to terrorism by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and elements in the West Bank such as the PFLP, and agreed permanent borders. It is seriously premature to think of establishing a Palestinian state that has not made peace, has not renounced violence, and takes for its borders the highly vulnerable armistice lines agreed at the end of the Six-Day War in 1967. If we seek a peaceful Palestinian state, then we are agreed; but if we seek to promote it without those conditions being met, we will guarantee an even deeper conflict in coming years, when the Palestinians use whatever sovereignty they obtain to build and import bigger and more sophisticated weaponry and start to use it for their long-standing aim of annihilating the state of Israel.

If you have not read the Covenant or Charter of Hamas, I would ask you not to vote before you have done so. There is a translation from Yale Law school here.

But to save you the tedium of reading it all, here are a couple of quotations from it, which I confirm to be accurate. Its preamble contain this sentence: ‘Israel  will  exist and  will  continue  to  exist until  Islam  will obliterate  it,  just  as  it obliterated  others before  it’. Article eight reads:‘Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Koran its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes.’ Article thirteen begins: ‘Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement’ and continues: ‘Now and then the call goes out for the convening of an international conference to look for ways of solving the (Palestinian) question. Some accept, others reject the idea, for this or other reason, with one stipulation or more for consent to convening the conference and participating in it. Knowing the parties constituting the conference, their past and present attitudes towards Moslem problems, the Islamic Resistance Movement does not consider these conferences capable of realising the demands, restoring the rights or doing justice to the oppressed. These conferences are only ways of setting the infidels in the land of the Moslems as arbitrators. When did the infidels do justice to the believers?... There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours'..

Is it remotely wise to consider giving a state to the rulers of Gaza, whose principles, based on the Islamic law of jihad, are identical to those of the Islamic State which is currently devastating parts of Iraq and Syria? Why would the EU want to encourage the genocidal intentions of a group which the EU itself defines as a terrorist organization, and which the United States, Australia and other countries have defined in the same terms? Would the EU fare better with the Palestinian Authority or the PLO?

For, in the West Bank, as in Gaza, there is no secret that the purpose of the entire community is the final destruction of Israel and the slaughter or expulsion of Israel’s Jew. This has been repeated so many times by PA officials and religious leaders, in plain language and in open forums or from the pulpits of mosques throughout the territory that it surprises me that so many politicians in the West pretend that it is not the case.

When supporters of the Palestinians march on British streets chanting ‘Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea’, they mean exactly that: a future Palestine will cover the entire territory of the British mandate territory and there will be no Jews in it. This is something Mahmoud Abbas has openly stated: ‘There Will be No Jews in a Future Palestine’. No Israel and no Jews. That sentiment is reinforced in demonstrations across Europe, where protestors chant ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas’ and march on unmolested by the British, French or other European police. It is reinforced on the maps of Palestine found across the 

West Bank in schools and government buildings: maps without Israel, only Palestine. It is further reinforced when pro-Palestinian activists chant in Arabic ‘Khaybar, Khaybar, ya Yahud: Jaysh Muhammad sa-ya’ud’ (‘Remember Khaybar, O, you Jews, the army of Muhammad is coming back’), referencing a place where a Muslim army fought Jews and from which all Jew were later expelled.

Is it right under international law to recognize a non-existent state whose only raison d’être is the destruction of another state, a legally-established state within the UN, and to threaten the genocide of a people who, in living memory, saw the cruel deaths of six million in the heart of Europe? Will the EU endorse through such a recognition the Nazi belief that Jews must be expelled or slaughtered.

I cannot believe that for a moment, and I know you will repine at such a thought; but the EU is preparing to recognize a state that has launched wars and thousands of acts of terrorism, and is amassing  armaments for the express purpose of fulfilling Hitler’s ambitions in that regard, something they often say in public speeches. I have seen banners saying ‘Hitler was right’. Can we Europeans endorse threats of another Holocaust? Have we that right?

Am I writing this as a pro-Israel polemic? If it is a polemic, it is quite simply pro-peace. Do not forget that, of all countries in the world, Israel is the most eager for peace with the Palestinians and the most desperate to see a stable Palestinian state created on its borders, with a guarantee of a final end to violence. But Israel has made more offers — serious and substantial offers — of peace to the Palestinians than any country to an enemy state.

It offered peace in 1947, when the United Nations voted to establish two states, a Jewish state and an Arab state, within the territory that had been the British Mandate of Palestine. Before 1922, when the Mandate was set up, along with dozens of other mandates, there had never been a state of Palestine. The mandated area had been part of Syria, itself a colony of the Turkish Ottoman empire. The Palestinian and Arab response to the UN offer of an independent state was to start a civil war, followed, the day after the departure of the British in May 1948 and the declaration of the state of Israel, by an invasion of the Jewish state by seven Arab armies sent from five Arab countries, a mere three years after the end of World War II and the liberation of the Nazi death camps. 

Israel won that war — barely, and with great loss of life — and offered peace, and the Arabs refused, embarking after that on thousands of terrorist raids into Israeli territory. 

The Palestinians rejected peace again in 1967 (as required by UN Resolution 242, which is still in force) when the Arab Leagueissued a Declaration that there would be 

‘No peace with Israel, no Negotiations with Israel, no Recognition of Israel’ in 1998; in 2000 at the Camp David Summit almost 100% of Palestinian demands were offered, but Arafat walked out and started the second intifada in 2000; in 2003 - the Road Map - Israel pulled out of population centres, increased humanitarian aid, dismantled outposts and Mahmoud Abbas said: ‘Cracking down on Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Palestinian organizations is not an option’; in 2005 Israel pulled out completely from Gaza; in 2008 Olmert offered 93% of the West Bank and land swaps to bring that to 100%: Abbas rejects it out of hand; in 2009 Netanyahu offered a Palestinian state, Palestinians responded with threats of violence, and said terrorism is the only way to gain their rights; the 6th Fatah Conference resolved to ‘totally reject recognition of Israel as a Jewish state’ to ‘adopt all legitimate forms of struggle’ against Israel, and to ‘be creative in finding new forms of struggle and resistance’; 
in 2010 Fatah rejected an opportunity to recognise Israel as a starting point for peace; in 2011 Nabil Shaat rejected a two-state solution, demanding a single Palestinian state. 

In the intervening years Israel has given up all of Sinai to make a peace agreement with Egypt and secured another peace treaty with Jordan.


Given this ceaseless refusal to make peace even on the best of terms, why on earth should the EU want to hand on a plate something which the Palestinians themselves have done all in their power to resist? Europe’s recognition will not advance peace. The reverse is true: it will give something for nothing, and show the Palestinians that they don’t have to negotiate peace, recognize Israel, draw up secure borders, demilitarize, or seek for a two-state solution.

A vote for recognition would do more than anything in decades to undermine a peace settlement. The terrorism will continue, Hamas will import and stock ever more powerful weapons and will, in all likelihood, take control of the West Bank.

Before recognition, the Palestinians have to do something positive to deserve it. They must stop their hate speech in schools and mosques, cease their praise of terrorists and suicide bombers as ‘martyrs’, give up their meaningless demand for the ‘Right of Return’ of millions of descendants of refugees, whose grandparents fled from a war the Arabs started, embrace possibility, care more for themselves than they hate Jews, accept a small level of Jewish settlement as permitted in UN Resolution 242, draw up mutually agreeable borders, remove all weapons except for those genuinely appropriate for their security and police forces, use foreign aid and Israeli help to rebuild homes, not to import missiles and build tunnels to attack Israeli civilians, and much more.

You should not treat them as a people without responsibility, who deserve for free what they are unwilling to earn through hard work to foster peace and live in harmony with their neighbours. 

I have gone on too long, and I think it suitable to end here. However, I am willing to communicate with each and every one of you to explain my arguments further. That may be done through e-mails, or I can visit you. I hope you will take the opportunity afforded by having at least one constituent who has a solid background in these matters, if only to discuss this vexatious topic at length. 

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Denis MacEoin
Jesmond
Newcastle



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