The myth of Palestinian sovereignty claims

The PLO National Charter was redrafted in 1968 and, in many ways, became more radical and threatening than the original version.

Barry Shaw

OpEds Barry Shaw
Barry Shaw

The Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), of which I am a proud member and the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy, is dedicated to presenting hard facts to politicians, diplomats, journalists, think tanks and the general public on issues relating to Israel and its dispute with the Arab world and the broader international community.

By addressing reality and truth, rather than attaching itself to current utopian fantasies in pursuit of peace, IISS presents clear-eyed analysis of problems and causes and, by doing so, lays bare the shallow proposals meant to solve the Israeli-Arab conflicts.

One such myth is the international desire to create a Palestinian state. 

None of the diplomatic proposers have ever addressed the official positions of the dysfunctional Palestinian political bodies on what constitutes the territorial sovereignty of such a Palestine.

The so-called 'moderate' arm of Palestinian politics, the Palestinian Authority, claims to operate under the Palestine National Charter.

It is enlightening to learn over what sovereign territory the Palestinian hierarchy intended to rule. It is even more interesting to learn which territory they rejected as being any part of a future state.

While brushing aside offensive statements in their 1964 National Charter that Israel is illegal, that the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine are all frauds, that Zionism is racism, statements that  should automatically disqualify them from statehood, the articles dealing with sovereign territory, are a guide to the perplexed.

Article 2 reads "Palestine with its boundaries at the time of the British Mandate (the aforementioned 'fraud') is a regional indivisible unit."

Having disclaimed the UN Partition Plan (UN Resolution 181) as "illegal," an eye-brow raising read is Article 24 of the Palestine National Charter which contradicts Article 2 by, amazingly, rejecting the "West Bank" and Gaza as being part of a sovereign Palestinian state!

Article 24: "This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and on the Gaza Strip"

It is stunning to remind ourselves that the Palestinian Arabs not only had no intention of claiming the "West Bank" and Gaza as part of their future homeland, but they expressly and officially excluded them from any part of a sovereign Palestine!

They did so because, at the time, they were under the patronage of the Arab world. The Palestinian leadership presented itself as a national liberation movement. As Yasser Arafat said, they saw themselves as part of the Pan-Arab movement to destroy the Jewish State of Israel.

“The PLO is fighting Israel in the name of Pan-Arabism. What you call Jordan is nothing more than Palestine,” Arafat said dismissingly to Italian journalist, Arianna Palazzi, in 1970.

So here we have Palestinians rejecting the "West Bank" and Gaza and admitting they are fighting to destroy Israel under the flag of Pan-Arabism, not as a national liberation movement. Could this be the reason they have consistently rejected generous offers by Israel for a two-state solution in return for recognition of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as the Jewish state?

This leaves only one question hanging in the air. 

What is the intended target and sovereign territory so desirous for Palestinians?

Their National Charter was redrafted in 1968 and, in many ways, became more radical and threatening than the original version.

Territorially, they claim every inch of Palestine as it was under the British Mandate. In other words, no Israel.

They devote articles to denying the legitimacy of the Jewish people and Zionism, thereby demonizing and rejecting their neighbor’s rights to self-determination.

They have articles lauding the use of terrorism (“armed struggle” and “commando actions”) to achieve their aims.

They boldly state that the UN Resolution 181, known as the Partition Plan, and the establishment of the State of Israel “are entirely illegal.”

Territorially, they claim every inch of Palestine as it was under the British Mandate. In other words, no Israel.
After trashing Jewish rights to exist in peace, and in a shocking twist of hypocrisy, their Article 24 states, “The Palestinian people believe in the principles of justice, freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, human dignity, and in the rights of all peoples to exercise them.

All peoples, it seems, except the Jewish people in Israel.

Their Charter continues with its jingoistic violence repeating the calls for a war of liberation, fighting and carrying arms.  

In 2003, a Permanent Constitution was drafted which claims that Jerusalem has to be the capital of Palestine. The question is why? They already have two de-facto capitals. One in Gaza City, the other in Ramallah. Why a third?

No further reference to territory was escribed into this Basic Law draft. Neither has this draft been accepted into Palestinian law. This is mainly due to the domestic conflict between  Fatah in Ramallah and Palestinian Hamas controlling Gaza.

The Hamas Charter pledges its allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood and is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Its anti-Semitism is there in its opening preamble;

“Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious.”

Note it says “the Jews” not “Israelis.”

Article 7 pledges Palestinian Islamic Hamas to the global Caliphate and to its everlasting anti-Semitism.  Its final sentence warns;

“The Day of Judgment will not come until Moslems fight the Jews, when the stones and the trees will say, ‘O Moslems, O Abdulla! There is a Jew hiding behind me. Come out and kill him!’”

Article 15 calls for Jihad and the liberation of Palestine, the eradication of Israel, which is the responsibility and duty of every Muslim, according to Article 14.

Everything to do with the establishment and existence of Israel is “illegal” and null and void in the eyes of Palestinian Hamas. Israel, according to the Hamas Charter and every word from Hamas leaders, must be utterly destroyed.

Finally, if anyone assumes that the creation of a Palestinian state, on whatever stretch of territory it is granted and approved by the international community, will result in Middle East peace, they should think again.

By the ballot, or by the bullet, Hamas will usurp power in a future Palestine. They say so, in their Charter. Hamas pays lip service to the Palestinian Liberal Organization in Article 27, but end with this ominous note;

“Secularism completely contradicts religious ideology. Attitudes, conducts and decisions stem from ideologies.… With all our appreciation for the Palestinian Liberation Organization…we are unable to exchange the present or future Islamic Palestine with the secular idea…Whoever takes his religion lightly is a loser.”

This then is the Palestine that a dangerously misguided international community, foolishly led by the United States and Europe, is pressing to establish.

As an example, France recently denied Jewish heritage to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount in an anti-Israel UNESCO resolution.

When secular Europe denies not only thousands of years of Jewish belonging, but also Christian scriptures, to appease the Islamic world and placate a Palestinian cause in the name of peace, it paves the way to future Middle East turmoil as a result of their continuing dhimmi attitude to Muslim demands.

There is nothing in the stated intentions and agenda of either faction of the Palestinian divide lead us with any confidence or clarity that current attempts to create a Palestinian state, in any borders, will result in peace.

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.

He is the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS, and Anti-Semitism.’