As the Palestinian UN “Statehood stunt” goes on, and yes it is simply a public relations stunt since a General Assembly recommendation is not legally binding, Israel is pleading with PA leaders via numerous channels to abandon their bid and return to negotiations immediately.
Prime Minister Netanyahu called on PA head Mahmoud Abbas to enter into negotiations “without preconditions, and to remain there until it is finished.” Israeli diplomatic officials traipsed the globe on a PR mission of their own encouraging the Western and development countries to vote against a UN resolution on Statehood.
The hope is that Israel will, if the vote occurs, at least say that mostly the 3rd world countries along with obvious Muslim and Arab nations voted for the measure.
But what is Israel really saying? Israel is not saying to the (so-called) Palestinians ‘we don’t want to give you a State,’ but we are saying that ‘we would rather you achieve statehood on our terms through negotiations.’
Perhaps our government is hopeful that through negotiations a Palestinian state will be more acceptable to the Israeli public with all the major “settlement” blocs to remain part of Israel along with a Palestinian public acknowledgment that Israel is the State of the Jewish people?
Since the current text submitted to the UN has all of the Land Israel regained in 1967 as part of a Palestinian State, negotiations and their results might be a way to lessen the blow.
The problem is that the Palestinian leadership has never been willing to accept any of the “settlements” including the major blocs as ever being part of Israel. In other words, negotiations on this topic are most likely to lead to nowhere.
In addition, both Abbas and Senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat continue to insist that even if a PA State would come into being, the millions of Palestinians across the Middle East still have the so-called 'right of return'. To put it simply, ‘first we’ll get our state, and then we are going to go after yours.’
Israel’s mistake is that it is keeps insisting on a State via negotiations instead of insisting that continued Palestinian intransigence will result in severe consequences. As suggested by several right-wing politicians, any UN requests for Statehood should be met with justified retaliatory measures by Israel including annexing all of Jewish Judea and Samaria as well as declaring the Oslo accords dead.
It is well known that part of the nature of the agreement since day one is that neither side should take unilateral measures, which may damage the spirit of talks.
Anytime Israel legally approves of housing even in “consensus” communities in Judea and Samaria or in Jerusalem, the Palestinians cry foul, accusing us of taking unilateral and inflammatory steps.
But when they do it, as is now the case, that seems to be fair play in their minds.
As an aside, I don’t think the Palestinians complained so much when Israel took a major unilateral step in 2005 by pulling all of its soldiers and civilians out of Gaza. That unilateral move, ridding Gaza of its Jews, was an exception to the rule in their minds.
But let’s not forget that this isn’t the first time “Palestine” approached the UN seeking recognition. In 1988 the PLO was designated as “Palestine” within the UN system. Yasser Arafat of course was present and addressed the General Assembly with his gun holster attached.
And now 23 later that entity under the PA is seeking to become a full State member. Whether the General Assembly approves the vote (and it will) or not, and whether it’s via the UN or through negotiations, what makes the most sense is for Israel to take the issue of Palestinian Statehood off the agenda entirely.