While it’s been rewarding to see some of my ideas in publications reporting about the latest Palestinian maneuvers, there have also been some doubters. One of the key criticisms has been of the prediction that the Palestinians are planning to stall for time as they push for an eventual single state from the River to the Sea. How can I predict this, they ask, while the Palestinians appear to be planning to establish a state and are actually threatening to do this with American approval and a visit to the UN Security Council?
My response has been that the threat of declaring a state is a win-win for the Palestinians. It causes fear for Israelis and their leaders and strengthens the Palestinian bargaining position in the event they don’t declare a state. If they end up having to somehow actually go through with a declaration of statehood, then if they do have the blessing of the UNSC and especially if they modify UNSCR 242 and 338, then according to international law, east Jerusalem would become East Jerusalem and the official Palestinian capital. However, I qualified that if this were to happen, the Palestinians would build in some mechanism that allows them to continue to seek the remainder of the land between the River to the Sea. In other words, it’s just another stop-gap in their master plan.
Today I came across the Palestinian National Authority’s two-year plan for statehood. This is the plan the Palestinian PM, Salam Fayyad, put together and has been pitching to Western governments. When this plan was announced, it was received positively across the board. However, as the leaks about potential unilateral statehood declarations began to reach newspapers, the next days brought about criticism from…the office of Mahmoud Abbas. Well, within hours of this criticism, Fayyad’s office issued a denial that it had been negotiating some sort of end-run around the Israelis and potential unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.
If that isn’t enough evidence, then the plan itself contains the missing proof. I’ve highlighted the key elements of this section:
The majority of the Palestinian people are refugees and displaced persons living in the Palestinian territory and abroad. Most refugees live under oppressive and harsh conditions, lacking their most fundamental human rights, foremost of which is the right to live on their homeland. Though the issue of refugees will be addressed in the final status negotiations, it is certain that no political settlement can be accepted by Palestinians without a just and agreed solution to this fundamental issue in accordance with international resolutions, including UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
The refugee issue will remain under the jurisdiction of the PLO, through its Department of Refugeesâ€™ Affairs. The Government affirms its full commitment to all PLO decisions in relation to this issue. Within limits of its jurisdiction, without derogation of PLOâ€™s responsibility, and in a manner that does not exempt the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) from its responsibilities, the Government emphasizes that it will do all within its power and authority to bolster on the legal rights and living conditions of refugees in the occupied territory, particularly in refugee camps, including the provision of all the resources it can afford to support and alleviate the suffering of refugees in all aspects of their lives.
We are never going to accept any conclusion to the conflict without acquiring a right for all Palestinians to move into Israel. In order to avoid this appearing to be messy or part of our aggression as a newly formed government, we’re going to remove this issue from our government.
Now if one reviews their plan, there are 32 new ministries, authorities and bureaus listed. Thirty two government agencies are going to function in the new, never-before seen state of Palestine, but the refugee problem is handed off to the PLO. Why would they do that if they thought the achievement of statehood would be sufficient? They wouldn’t. The PLO is going to be the address for those things that a “state” couldn’t and wouldn’t do. Any fighting that takes place, any attacks, any language that is deemed too aggressive will be blamed on the PLO, and of course “refugee rights,” not the new state of Palestine.
They also are demanding that UNGA 194, the so-called “right of return” resolution which the Arabs rejected when it was first presented 60 years ago, become the governing rule for the Palestinian refugees. UNGA 194 is a Trojan Horse, code for the desire to recreate demographics so that Israel could stop being a Jewish state. It is a desire to return not to 1967/1949 lines, but a desire to return to 1920 lines.
As for Israel, what can it do to counter this new diplomatic onslaught by the Palestinians?
Their solution is a simple one. Offer the Palestinians what Barak offered at Taba in 2001, without any delineation of sovereignty over any part of the Temple Mount. Make it public that this peace plan is on the table. Do it loudly and do it everywhere. In the worst case scenario, the Palestinians will accept, in which case Israel will have peace. That’s a pretty good worst case scenario! In the best case scenario, the Palestinians will reject this offer as they do every offer. That’s a lousy best case scenario, but it’s the best way to come out of this set of traps the Palestinians are trying to set for Israel.
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