In the next few weeks, the United Nations will vote on Palestinian statehood. Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that the pre-1967 borders be used to define the state. Mr. Abbas‘ approach is intentionally confrontational and unrealistic. He somehow supposes that his goals are less an expression of Islamic chauvinism than ones in the past regarding the recognition of Jewish statehood.
How can the Israelis be expected to cede the Old City of Jerusalem (including the Armenian and Christian quarters) to a hostile, nascent Islamic government? Why the sudden interest in old borders the Palestinians never wanted in the first place?
The assumption here is that the Abbas government is a neutral one and that the statehood request is based on the assessment of the “Arab Spring,” which has had the appearance of an Islamic, theocratic winter. Such dark clouds on the horizon have been ignored by the Obama White House and a body that is co-opted by large minorities of Muslims, the United Nations.
What guarantees can Mr. Abbas make to the Jewish people that their holy places will be respected, when for the last 35 years Palestinians have been destroying any Jewish artifact discovered by archaeologists in an attempt to erase the Judaist claim of political history and identity in “Palestine”? None.
My problem with the Abbas proposal is the Palestinian leader’s use of a historical past that defined the irrelevance of Jews in the practice of their religion at the “Wailing Wall” and other places. Once we start backward, where do we stop? Why not go back to the period when a U.N. trusteeship was proposed after months of bloody fighting between “Pan-Arab” militias and the Yishuv in 1948? That was a time when the question of a Jewish homeland was an Islamic impossibility and is the framework for Mr. Abbas‘ current proposal. It would nullify any Zionist claim to a historical past and even the interpretation of a religion not defined by Islam.
It is this perspective that raises my distrust of President Obama and his continued usurpation of American will for his own ideology. It is likely the Obama administration is saying it will do one thing with regard to a Palestinian state when, in fact, it has laid the foundation to do something entirely different. It wouldn’t be the first time.
TERRY M. STAUB