By Yoram Getzler (Abbas @ the UN Nov 2012) As the UN prepares to grant Palestine limited international recognition as a observer state with some independent rights and privileges we are once again witness to the state of Israel having a childish fit of rejection. Why childish? Because it is a child like behavior to refuse to recognize reality, however obvious. It is truly transparently for all to see that the resolution promoted by the Palestinians will receive a positive majority response in the hall of the nations. (I am not sure we would).
So, fighting the inevitable is a non-productive waste of energy and our limited international legitimacy. We are attacking the windmill with full force and justification. We are in effect making fools of ourselves and our cause. Yet I believe there is a way to at least attempt to pull some success from the jaws of failure.
The original proposition the UN adopted in 1947 was an attempt to settle an impossible contradictory dilemma. Two legitimate claims to one small territory. What was left of Palestine after the British had arbitrary detached 2/3ds of the land and given it to a Saudi family to pay a colonial debt.
The only possibility with a degree of justice was to divide the remaining territory into two independent states. One a Jewish state, the other an Arab state. Thus two legitimate claims could be honored as best as was possible. This was known as “Two states for two people”. Today most people shorten the phrase to “Two states”. When this short phrase is used by Israeli Jews, the intention is to include “for two people”. In contrast when the phrase “Two states” is used by the Palestinians, they have made it clear that they are purposely omitting the concluding three words and their implied recognition of the Jewish people as a legitimate “people” entitled to a state, as those three words connote. These last three words indicate the legitimate national claim of both peoples, a claim most people do not realize has been continually rejected by the Arab/Muslim world. (This is actually the heart of the hundred year old conflict.)
Now, the resolution being proposed and that will be passed by the UN will refer to only one of those peoples, the Arab one.
It would be to our great advantage as well as a display of our wisdom and magnanimity if we were to co-sponsor the Palestinian resolution, with an amendment individual states could include in their statements of accepting the Palestinian proposal; in the spirit of: “recognizing the wish of the international community for two states for two people, we recognize the legitimacy and justice of Palestinian representation and their intent to live a good neighbors alongside the Jewish State of Israel!”
If / when they refuse to accept this amendment it will be a most public statement of the absence of good will by them to live as good world citizens.
On the other hand if they accept… we will have achieved legitimacy in an important forum by our intractable enemies.