WILLIAMS: Palestinian statehood would be diplomatic disaster

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The world is abuzz with the possibility of a United Nations vote to recognize a Palestinian state. Should this vote take place, it would be a disgrace and a diplomatic debacle for Israel, the Palestinians and the United States.

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has lived under the constant threat of physical danger, surrounded by hostile regimes committed to its obliteration. In recent weeks, Israel’s diplomatic ties with Turkey, at one time its closest ally in the Muslim world, unraveled completely. Meanwhile, across the border in Egypt, Israeli diplomats ran for their lives as a lawless mob stormed their embassy. These events, combined with the Palestinian Authority’s pursuit of U.N. recognition, are creating a perfect storm of diplomatic danger.

Palestinian Authority efforts to secure statehood represent an abandonment of the very foundation of the peace process, which requires the Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate directly to resolve their conflicts. The Palestinian Authority lusts for statehood despite its near-total reliance on foreign aid to prop up its frail economy and the government’s physical and political division between Palestinian Authority-controlled areas on the West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The proposition of Palestinian statehood today is ludicrous: This would involve bestowing legitimacy on a government that includes a radical Islamist terrorist group that is committed to the destruction of its neighbor Israel, has championed the use of suicide terrorism to kill innocents and has indiscriminately fired thousands of rockets into Israeli towns and cities after Israel withdrew completely from Gaza.

Should the United Nations really grant the precious gift of global recognition to a Palestinian Authority that pays salaries to known terrorists in Israeli prisons, honors suicide terrorists as martyrs and holds them as role models for children?

The Palestinian strategy for leading the world down this misguided path is insidious. The Palestinian Authority is aiming to drive a wedge between the United States and Israel, undermining America’s role as an honest broker in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and marginalizing our country’s global standing by cloaking anti-Israel intent in the internationalization of the conflict.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been clear about this, authoring an opinion piece this year that the Palestinian Authority’s gambit at the U.N. would morph the contours of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into “a legal matter, not only a political one,” and “would also pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations, human rights treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.”

Abusing legitimate international bodies for the illegitimate purposes of singling out Israel is nothing new. For decades, the United Nations has used a double standard to judge Israel, attack the democratic Jewish state and make it the target of more resolutions than dictatorial regimes around the world that commit atrocities and human rights abuses on a daily basis.

So why is it that the Palestinians have decided that now is the time to shred nearly two decades of signed agreements with Israel brokered by the United States to declare their state? The Obama administration’s public spats with Israel have left open to question the degree to which the United States truly stands with Israel, something that should never happen. After all, the guarantee of American solidarity is part of what empowers Israel to literally put lives on the line by taking risks for peace with the Palestinians.

Because the Palestinians sense daylight between the elected governments in Washington and Jerusalem, they are trying to exploit the perceived rift as a way to pressure Israel and wrest concessions from the Jewish state when they return to the peace talks they have consistently refused to resume since September 2010 despite repeated entreaties from Israel.

America today should work assiduously to persuade other nations to oppose a unilateral Palestinian statehood, but we should be prepared to do what’s right even if it means acting alone. Moving forward, the U.S. should be far more resolute in standing by our invaluable ally Israel. The U.S. must demonstrate the strength of its convictions and never let its commitment to its closest friends be open to question.

Armstrong Williams is on Sirius Power 128, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m. Mondays through Fridays. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside. Read his content on RightSideWire.com.

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