Palestine: What Obama and Abbas Didn’t Tell the U.N.

September 27, 2010 by David Singer
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President Obama and Palestinian Authority  President Mahmoud Abbas both addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations this week and left more unsaid than was actually stated.

Both delivered speeches that indicated little grasp with the political realities that have led to negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority failing to make any progress at all since the “two-state solution” was revived in 1993 – after having been unequivocally rejected by the Arab world in 1947.

President Obama’s speech reiterated long standing American policy when he stated:

“Israel is a sovereign state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people. It should be clear to all that efforts to chip away at Israel’s legitimacy will only be met by the unshakeable opposition of the United States. And efforts to threaten or kill Israelis will do nothing to help the Palestinian people. The slaughter of innocent Israelis is not resistance — it’s injustice.”

Such a principled call by America is not new.

President Obama was indeed confirming the written commitment made to Israel by his predecessor  President Bush on 14 April 2004:

“The United States is strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish tate.”

These statements had followed similar declarations by all American Presidents beginning with President Woodrow Wilson who stated on 3 March 1919:

“I am persuaded that the Allied Nations, with the fullest concurrence of our own Government and people, are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundation of a Jewish Commonwealth.’

It was President Harding who on 21 September 1922 signed the joint resolution of approval by Congress and the Senate to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine.

The President therefore missed a wonderful opportunity in failing to tell the assembled world leaders:

“My appeal to President Abbas is to end his opposition and that of all members of the Arab League to recognizing Israel’s existence as a Jewish State. This policy is not mine alone but continues the policies expressed by all United State Presidents since Woodrow Wilson in 1919. This policy led to the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine by both the United Nations and its predecessor the League of Nations. Continuing resistance to accept Israel as the sovereign State of the Jewish people will guarantee the failure of negotiations recently resumed in Washington. It is time for the Arab world – after 63 years of unqualified rejection – to accept the Jewish people’s right to self determination  in their historic homeland.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been vainly seeking such an assurance from President Abbas since direct negotiations were resumed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority [PA] in Washington on 2nd September. President Abbas has failed to yield to this demand.

That President Abbas has no intention of accepting this basic principle was evident in just one hypocritical sentence in his speech to the General Assembly just two days after President Obama had spoken:

“Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, I reaffirm the eagerness of the Palestine Liberation Organization to achieve a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy”

These words were insincere, false and totally meaningless – completely the opposite of what appears in the Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] and the separate Charter of its largest constituent member organization – Fatah .

President Abbas should have told the General Assembly that:

“I head both the PLO and Fatah and I can tell you that President Obama’s demand to recognize Israel’s existence as a Jewish State will never be conceded by the Palestinian Authority. My reasons are found in the Charters of both Fatah and the PLO – the sponsors of – and responsible for – the creation of the Palestinian Authority in 1993.

Might I remind you all that those two Charters specifically provide that:

  • Liberating Palestine is a national obligation which necessities the materialistic and human support of the Arab Nation.
  • The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism
  • Liberating Palestine and protecting its holy places is an Arab, religious and human obligation.
  • Our goal is complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence
  • I am committed to establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty on all Palestinian lands, and Jerusalem is its capital city, and protecting the citizens’ legal and equal rights without any racial or religious discrimination.
  • Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.
  • We oppose any political solution offered as an alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine
  • The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”

President Obama and President Abbas were playing diplomatic games at the United Nations that are totally divorced from reality.

The demands of neither are capable of being achieved.

President Obama is engaging with the PA in a fruitless exercise that has no chance of being achieved because of Palestinian intransigence on this one critical issue.

Talk of any compromise in reaching the “two state solution” on issues such as settlements, refugees,water and Jerusalem remain a pipe dream whilst the PA ignores President Obama’s call to recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people.

President Obama needs to find another Arab negotiating partner to sit down and negotiate with Israel on the future sovereignty of the West Bank.

Maybe that will be the subject of President Obama’s next speech to the United Nations.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

Let’s hope it is.


4 Responses to “Palestine: What Obama and Abbas Didn’t Tell the U.N.”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    After reading David Singer’s article and then the comments as responses posted (Mark Levy 27/09 and Roy Malkeith 23/09), I am feeling flabbergasted. I’m nervous about the future of Jews anywhere if this kind of thinking becomes prevalent amongst Jewish people themselves! Have you no knowledge of history, no imagination, and no capacity to objectively consider David Singer’s writing, most of which discusses details of the existing Charters of Fatah and the PLO? If his words are impassioned they have good reason to be. Would you prefer silence, hypocrisy and politically correct justification to abound, fuelled by Arab perspectives only? You’re absolutely entitled to your opinions but you’re misguided to say the least and, it seems to me, in so fervently seeking fairness and balance you’ve ended up bereft of the realities. Let us hope that neither one of you is ever in a situation where you’re persecuted and/or murdered for being Jewish and no Jewish State exists for refuge. I’m all for a separate Palestinian State, but not at the expense of Israel.

  2. Lynne Newington says:

    Roy, you should be ashamed to call yourself Jewish. I would be interested to hear what your mother’s views are on this, I would be surprised if they were the same as yours.

  3. Mark Levy says:

    wow, this David Singer is really an ANGRY racist zionist!
    angry that Israel was clearly outplayed by Palestine!

    why don’t you join “Jewish for peace” with me?
    oops, I forgot, you’re a zionist who wants everything for Israel, sorry you can’t join our movement, we are for a just peace between Palestine and Israel.

    Mark Levy, moderate Jew for Peace

    P.S: please stop writing, we only see your anger and venom coming out of your “articles”!

  4. roy malkeith says:

    Whaz an extra ordinary newspaper. I have never seen it before but reading what i see published here i think it puts the strongest case for an independent Palestinian state. I t seems to be utterly delusional and totally divorced from the reality of what I have observed in the West bank. These articles should be presented to a wider public in order to encourage supprt for a Palestinian state. The reasons given for palestine not being recognised as a state (see ‘permanent occupation’ above) stand the whole israeli argument on its head.
    The idea that you are Jewish if your mother is jewish, like other edicts that make one of a certain nationality or race as your father,or yet others that delare you are share the nationality of the country in which you are born, are man made decrees. In the jewish situation this is a jewish ‘truth’ not a universal one and has no internationalstanding.
    By the way when is the jewish national ‘saladin day’ to commemorate the Moslem who rightly allowed jews back to palestine after the crusaders exiled them..when is he going to be recognised for his services to the jewish people?
    No wonder so many young Jews throughout the world (my jewish friends, young jewish americans, and members of ‘Jewish Voice for Peace‘ and other organisations among them) are now demanding justice for Palestine and disassociating themselves from israeli poicy towards her arab.
    Keep publishing. citizens.

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