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What U.N. Recognition of Palestine Really Means



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To comprehend what went down at the U.N. on Thursday when the Palestinians were given “non-member observer state status” by a vote of 138 for, 9 against, and 41 abstentions, consider these statements made in New York over the course of the day:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, U.N. “Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” event; (statement delivered by Foreign Minister Riad Malki, New York, Thursday morning: “Israel’s admission to the United Nations in 1949 was accompanied by two conditions: Israel’s commitment to . . . the return of Palestine refugees to their homes…”

President Abbas, General Assembly, New York, Thursday afternoon: “The Palestinian people . . . miraculously recovered from the ashes of Al-Nakba of 1948 which was intended to extinguish their being. . . . Israeli occupation is . . . an apartheid system . . . which institutionalizes the plague of racism.”

Palestinian ambassador Riyad Mansour, opening of a Palestinian U.N. exhibit, New York, Thursday evening: “Today we have legislated a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.”

So the real deal is this. Israel’s legitimacy is not recognized by the Palestinian leadership. It is conditional and it is conditioned upon alleged prerequisites (of a right of return and the end of a Jewish state) that have not, and will not, be met.

The Palestinian narrative is a fiction. It is deliberately crafted to mirror that of the Jewish people, beginning with the biggest lie of all — that the catastrophe of the creation of the state of Israel is equivalent to the Holocaust. 

Israel is alleged to be akin to apartheid South Africa, so that its legitimacy is continually in jeopardy. After all, the South African regime had to be destroyed by lethal politics. 

And the whole point of the exercise was to legislate — that is, impose — results on Israel on Palestinian terms. Negotiations are a joke. The U.N. will do Palestinians’ “negotiation” for them.

No wonder the outcome was met by the loud applause of a room full of the representatives of dictators and thugs (the majority of U.N. members are not full democracies), and NGO/“civil society” hacks who had been brought in by the U.N. Division for Palestinian Rights. (A letter of Division Director Wolfgang Grieger states that he had personally reserved at least 100 spots in the gallery.) Sitting in the gallery myself, I noticed that during Abbas’s lengthy speech the outbursts of clapping across the gallery would commence before the translation of Arabic sentences into other languages had finished. It was an exercise in what one might call Benghazi-style spontaneity. 

The only question that remains, therefore, is this. Now that decades of Palestinian intransigence and belligerence have been richly rewarded by the U.N. majority, how soon will Palestinians start targeting and harming Israeli Jews with impunity again?

— Anne Bayefsky is Director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust.



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