Following the brouhaha over Israel’s declaration of the country as “the Jewish State“, and the international and domestic opposition to such a law, despite the Prime Minister’s vow to uphold democracy and minority rights, you would think that there would be similar opposition to unilateral recognition of a Palestinian State, especially one that has specifically stated will not allow a single Israeli to reside there. But you would be wrong.
Last month Sweden became the first country to officially recognize the State of Palestine. The UK has already voted last month to “recommend recognizing the State of Palestine” – albeit solely a “recommendation” rather than actual recognition; last week Spain voted – symbolically – to recognize Palestine – davka on the day of the Jerusalem synagogue massacre; and a similar vote is going to take place in France, though there are doubts it will pass, and in Denmark. And while the Germans, of all nations, object to the recognition of the Palestinian State, the EU have been debating the issue today.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented on Israeli opposition to unilateral recognition of Palestine after the Spanish vote:
Speaking Sunday with Germany’s foreign minister, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called similar resolutions that passed the British and Irish parliaments this fall counterproductive, saying the “the calls… to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state pushed peace backwards.”
“They don’t tell the Palestinians that they have to make their peace with a nation-state for the Jewish people,” he said. They just give the Palestinians a nation-state.”
New EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini called on Israel and the Palestinians Wednesday to resume direct peace talks, as the European Parliament debated whether to recognize a Palestinian state.
“The sense of urgency is getting higher and higher in the absence of a political context,” Mogherini told lawmakers at the start of what she said was a “timely” debate. “There has to be a direct dialogue.”
I have yet to hear a reasoned explanation for the sense of urgency in recognizing what will be in essence a terrorist state. I also eagerly await an explanation of how such recognition will enable negotiations. Surely recognition of a Palestinian state will bring a full stop to any negotiations, for after all, what will be left to negotiate?
In Wednesday’s debate, European Parliament members appeared sharply divided on what policy to endorse. One lawmaker branded Israel “a state of child killers and land robbers,” while another likened a Palestinian state to the Islamic State terrorist group.
If the Europeans can’t agree amongst themselves how to define Israel and the Palestinians (and what antisemitic terms they use to describe Israel!), how can they possibly expect Israel and the Palestinians to be able to negotiate existential questions?
But the sort of good news:
A vote, originally expected Thursday, was put off until December.
A month is a long time in politics.
As for Germany’s objections to unilateral recognition, thank goodness for Angela Merkel’s steady hand at the wheel:
Germany, Israel’s closest European ally and the EU’s most powerful member, is a leading opponent of recognizing Palestinian statehood before Israel does. To do so, German officials say, would do more harm than good.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday it was better to focus on getting Israel-Palestinian talks going again, although “that appears very difficult in the current conditions.” She added that “we also believe that unilateral recognition of the Palestinian state won’t move us forward.”
A partial answer to my questions above about the urgency of unilateral recognition comes here:
There has been international alarm over a spate of deadly terror attacks carried out by Palestinians inside Israel along with rioting in East Jerusalem and the deadlock over peace talks that are fueling fear of another flareup after the Israel-Hamas war earlier this year.
But that still does not make sense. Does anyone really think that granting, or recognizing, Palestinian statehood will make them more peaceful? On the contrary. From past experience, any time the Palestinians achieve a political goal without effort, they take that as a reward for their violent behaviour and only increase their terrorist activities. As Israeli ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said in his reproof of the Europeans’ behaviour:
European parliaments voting to recognize Palestine are “giving the Palestinians exactly what they want — statehood without peace,” Prosor told the UN General Assembly.
“By handing them a state on a silver platter, you are rewarding unilateral actions and taking away any incentive for the Palestinians to negotiate or compromise or renounce violence,” he added.
Regarding the upcoming French vote, not everyone in France is for recognizing a Palestinian State. Former President Nicholas Sarkozy voiced his objections:
Sarkozy was quoted as asking fellow UMP party members on Tuesday to vote against the resolution.
“I will fight for the Palestinians to have their state. But unilateral recognition a few days after a deadly attack and when there is no peace process? No!” he said, in reference to last week’s terrorist attack at a synagogue in the capital’s Har Nof neighborhood that killed five Israelis.
The renowned French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy also heartily opposes such unilateral recognition, as he writes, “He who would act the angel acts the brute“:
One does not recognize, even symbolically, a state in which half of the government denies another state’s right to exist.One does not recognize, especially not symbolically, a government in which half of the ministers dream of annihilating that state.
…One day, perhaps, a majority of Israelis may come to believe that the least bad form of protection against this situation is a clean break. But that will be their decision, not the decision of a Spanish, English, Swedish, or, now, French parliament improvising a hasty, ill-founded, and, above all, inconsequential resolution.
One cannot be horrified at the decapitations in Iraq and then dismiss murders with knives and hatchets in Israel.
…No honest observer can ignore the fact that both sides have a long way to go.
But that is precisely what the proponents of unilateral recognition deny.
It is very precisely what they forget when they go around saying “we can’t take anymore of this” and “it is urgent that things move forward,” or that a “strong gesture” is needed in order to “apply pressure” and “unblock the situation,” and that no better “strong gesture” can be found than to impose on Netanyahu a non-negotiated Palestinian state.
And that points to the last critique to be laid against them: Their reasoning presupposes that there is only one blockage (the Israeli one) and only one party that needs to be pressured (Israel), and that nothing needs to come from the Palestinian camp—literally nothing: Stay put; take no initiative; whatever you do, do not demand the revocation of a Hamas charter that drips with hate for Jews and contempt for international law—because, hey, now you have your state.
Whilst I take issue with Levy’s implicit equating Israel’s settlements policy with Palestinian violence, I heartily agree with all the rest.
I would refer you back to an earlier post of mine (from 2 years ago) where I linked to an Algemeiner article explaining “Why I don’t want a Palestinian State” It states clearly and politically incorrectly why a Palestinian State would be a terrible idea, and only strengthens my puzzlement at the world’s eagerness to do so.
And it is interesting to note the timing of these votes, and also the original date of the Palestinians vote at the UN – 29th November, known in Israel as “Kaf-Tet beNovember”. On this date 67 years ago, 29th November 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181, “the Partition Plan”, partitioning Palestine into two entities: a state for the Jews and one for the Arabs. Yes, in those days Palestinians were the Jews. The “Palestinians” of today were simply “Arabs”.
The Arabs rejected Resolution 181 unanimously, and they have been trying ever since to overturn their stupid rejectionism. And in the typical Palestinian fashion of co-opting, aka stealing, Jewish history, they choose to hold these votes on the day that Israel was granted de-facto recognition in the Partition Plan. See my posts from 2011 and 2012 for examples of their attempts on 29th November.
And here they are again today, 67 years later, still trying to undo the results, with the eager connivance of the UN and the Europeans. The Palestinians have asked the Security Council to demand that Israel pull out of Judea and Samaria within two years. Since world attention has been distracted by the on-again off-again nuclear talks with Iran, the Palestinians decided to delay the vote. They always were attention-seekers, like 3 year old children. But now “chief negotiator” Saeb Erekat, denies the deferral. The more likely cause for the deferral of the vote, if it is indeed is deferred, is that despite their bombastic claims, the Palestinians have not been able to guarantee 9 Security Council votes. (h/t Israel Matzav).
Only the Palestinians are ever allowed to turn back the clock of history and get a do-over of the wars they started, each time hoping for a different result.