Why Australia should not support a Palestinian bid to unilaterally declare a State at the UN

August 23, 2011 by Albert Dadon
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SEPTEMBER 20. That’s the date that now looms like a dark cloud on the Middle East horizon after the decision by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to request formal recognition of the state of Palestine by the UN….writes Albert Dadon.

Albert Dadon

Palestinian officials believe almost 120 nations support Palestine becoming the 194th member of the international organisation.

Aside from the fact the UN has been a bastion of anti-Israel sentiment and a platform for Israel bashing, Australia should not be among the majority of states that vote for Palestinian statehood.

Here’s why.

First, Australia is committed to a two-state solution. It rightly supports the establishment of a Palestinian state. So do I. And so do the vast majority of Israelis.

But that commitment is conditional on the right of Israel to live in peaceful and secure borders, a right that is mutually exclusive to the charter of Hamas, Abbas’s political bedfellow and a terror organisation that has held [Israeli soldier] Gilad Shalit in captivity since June 2006 and whose military wing is rightly outlawed in Australia.

But here’s the rub: Australia’s longstanding support for a two-state solution is based on bilateralism: namely, that the two parties, Israelis and Palestinians, hold direct negotiations.

But the Palestinian demand for statehood via the UN is unilateral, despite claims to the contrary by Abbas.

Second, the Palestinians’ bid to seek statehood via the UN is akin to a match to dynamite. Already Palestinian officials claim to be planning worldwide protests — most probably including here in Australia — to coincide with the September 20 vote.

Mass unrest across the Palestinian territories and Arab world is likely. And that’s a prescription for yet another black chapter in a century-old conflict that has been written in blood.

Third, Kevin Rudd’s alleged preference to abstain has been widely reported as an attempt to appease the Arab bloc, which he wants to support Australia’s bid for a temporary seat at the UN Security Council in 2013.

Rudd’s longstanding support for Israel is on the record and his appetite for Australia to punch above its weight on the international arena is to be admired. And the fact Australia, a founding member of the UN, hasn’t had a seat at the Security Council since 1986 should be rectified.

He would be well aware that Lebanon will replace India as president of the Security Council next month, which is precisely why the Palestinians have chosen September 20 as their date.

Yes, this is very same Lebanon that dissociated itself from a Security Council statement earlier this month condemning the Syrian regime’s massacre of civilians.

Rudd is right to want to bring Australia’s morality and integrity to the table, but he’s wrong to do so by sacrificing Israel on the altar of the UN.

Fortunately, Julia Gillard, whose moral clarity on the Middle East was first evident when she backed Israel in its war against Hamas in December 2008, is reportedly at odds with Rudd’s view.

Fourth, a yes vote at the UN General Assembly will be nothing but a Pyrrhic victory for the Palestinians. Why? Because full membership requires the backing of the 15-member Security Council and the US has already stated its intention to veto the proposal.

So what the Palestinians will likely end up with is the status of a non-member state, an upgrade from its observer status but a step short of full membership, which requires a two-thirds majority of the 193 countries in the General Assembly. Abbas will achieve a toothless resolution in the General Assembly with no legal force.

Even the liberal New York Times, in its editorial of August 6, concluded that Abbas’s strategy would leave him “empty-handed”, saying: “After the initial exhilaration, Palestinians would be even more alienated, while extremists would try to exploit that disaffection.” Australia should not be party to such a scenario.

Finally, an abstention by Australia’s envoy to the UN would be (mis)construed by the Greens — and their leftist allies — as a victory.

For despite Bob Brown’s public statements, among his growing ranks are those who try to disguise their anti-Israel vitriol under the veneer of progressive politics.

The newly elected senator for NSW, Lee Rhiannon, is the quintessential case in point. She openly defended Marrickville Council’s ill-fated support for the Israel boycott, a campaign that has morphed into the targeting of Max Brenner chocolate shops across Australia.

Make no mistake. Factions of this mob of anti-Israel protesters — some of whom are due in court next month for breaching bail conditions after they were initially arrested in the melee outside Max Brenner in Melbourne on July 1 — are red, not green.

One of their chants reveals their true colour: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

This is straight out of the Hamas song sheet and is not-so-subtle code for the elimination of Israel and, in its place, a Palestinian state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

Moreover, what is so galling is their rank hypocrisy. Where are the mass protests about the slaughter of innocents in Syria, or Libya, or Egypt? Their silence about these crimes is deafening.

Optimists hope that this act of unilateralism by the Palestinians will help resuscitate the stillborn peace process because the alternative is much worse. But it’s a forlorn hope.

In the end, the real question is not what happens in New York on September 20.

There’s little doubt the resolution will pass in the General Assembly but be vetoed in the Security Council, but what happens in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza, Lebanon and elsewhere on September 21?

Unfortunately, the tragedy is that this unilateral attempt to declare a Palestinian state will light another fuse in the combustible Middle East.

Albert Dadon AM is the founder and chairman of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange and the Australia Israel Leadership Forum. This article was first published in the Australian newspaper.

Comments

6 Responses to “Why Australia should not support a Palestinian bid to unilaterally declare a State at the UN”
  1. Kathy says:

    Alright, so what the heck are these numbers I
    must keep typing in to comment? I’m seriously becoming frustrated. Every time I head over to a new site and need to post something, I need to key in some asinine words and numbers.

  2. david singer says:

    To Neil

    Your thinking is a bit skewered.

    The history of modern Palestine did not begin in 1948. You just need to go back to 1920 to the Treaty of Sevres and the Mandate for Palestine laid out in that Treaty.

    Contrary to what was initially proposed – 78% of the area of Mandatory Palestine within which the Jewish National Home was to be reconstituted actually became a Jew-free and independent Arabs- only state of Transjordan in 1946. Round 1 to Arab residents of Palestine

    This left just 22% availialble for the Jewish National Home when the UN dealt with the issue in 1947.
    Of that 22% – 55% was recommended for a Jewish state and 45% for a second Arab state in Mandatory Palestine. The Jews said “yes” and the Arabs said “war”. Round 2 to Jewish residents of Palestine.

    What we now have in 2011 is the Jews sovereign in 17% Mandatory Palestine (Israel), the Arabs sovereign in 78% of Mandatory Palestine (Jordan) and just 5% – the West Bank and Gaza remaining unallocated between Arabs and Jews.

    Whilst we are talking figures – also remember the Arabs were offered 99.999% of the captured Ottoman Empire and the Jews just 0.001%. The Arabs have never accepted this division.

    How much of the pie can you eat before you get indigestion? The Arabs have been their own worst enemies.

  3. Matt says:

    It should never have got to the UN, the US are going to veto it anyway. If you pay the billions of dollars to the Australian Government that they have spent on the UNSC bid, then Australian would not abstain. If Ben thought of Australia as a friend he would not have let it get to the UN, but he only thought of himself as you are. Now Australia is set to lose billions of dollars plus it was in Israel national interest to have another friend on the UNSC. So Ben has gone against his own national interests.

    But the Australian Government is responsible to account for tax payers investment. If it was me I would vote for it and not abstain, I would certainly not vote against it. It is an irresponsible commercial decision and not in the Australian national interest or the interest of the taxpayers. Besides the US is going to veto it, the UK is in similar position as they do not want to increase the terror threat advisory before the 2012 Olympic Games. If Gillard votes for against it then she has undermined the Australian national interest and is responsible for wasting billions of tax payers. But she will do anything to stay in power, so threats to support the opposition we see her cave, but it will not make you a lot of friends in Government departments, the Labor Party or with the Australian punters who have done their cash on the UNSC bid.

    So I would vote for it, so I do not lose money and try to gain that UNSC seat, this is really in the national interest to get a UNSC seat, it is not my fault it got to the UN it is Ben’s. And the US is going to veto it so it does not matter if I vote for it or not, sure it makes Israel look isolated in the General Assembly but that is of no real harm in this situation, it means nothing.

    But I am not the Australian Government and this is just my opinion of what I would do.

  4. Michael Burd says:

    Excellent piece by Albert , obviously at odds with statements from Baker’s ACJC, AJDS, IAJV, Loewenstien and all the other Leftist community and anti- Zionist Jews who support the Palestinian Narrative.

  5. Neil says:

    The real question is what will be the solution going forward.

    Israel and it’s supporters keep on saying no as Israel continues to steal more and more land.

    This was the intention of Ben Gurion who was for announcing a state on any land and then progressively taking more and more land through military force. (check out “The Iron Wall”.

    Think about two things.
    1) In 1948, Israel was meant to have 55% of the land. By the end of 1949, Israel had expanded to 78% of the land. In 1967, Israel attacked it’s neighbors and increased the percentage of the land to 100% and included the Sinai Peninsular and the Golan Heights. (do people realise that Israel had to withdraw 20,000 colonists from the Sinai when the peace treaty was signed. Do people realise that Israel has over 20,000 colonists in the Golan?)

    2) That without the massive transfer of Arabs from the new land of Israel in 1948/49, Israel would be a Bi-National state today. Think about it. 1.5 million Arabs in Israel plus 4.9 million Arab refugees registered with the UN = 6.4 million. Verses 6.2 million Jews in Israel today.

    The question has to be asked of this writer. You say no to the UN resolution. What will you say yes to?

    Best Wishes

  6. Lynne Newington says:

    Australians in general, wouldn’t take the time to go deeper into these issues, only because they have never had their status quo questioned and had to fight for it.
    I’m sorry about that, therefore it only the Australian Governments to understand and act accordingly.

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