Meanwhile, the Palestinians have waxed inordinately successful at promoting their positions – you’ll find no concessionary zeal on their part. And today the international community swallows those positions whole – without either setting them into historical context or doing a fair and reasonable analysis of precisely what it is that is being promoted as a “given.”
In fairness to the members of the international community, there has been scant reason for them to analyze the validity of Palestinian Authority premises as we haven’t been doing so ourselves. This situation must change, and that change must begin here at home with a forthright challenge to several Palestinian presumptions. The Netanyahu government, at long last, gives hope of being ready to do this. Among the many issues that require a public airing are these:
Mahmoud Abbas, PA president, and others speaking on behalf of the Palestinian position, regularly refer to the “June 4, 1967 border.” What Abbas et al have in mind is the line, commonly called the Green Line, behind which Israel operated before the Six Day War that began on June 5, 1967. Implied is that this line constitutes Israel’s “real” border, and that Israeli presence beyond this is automatically “illegitimate.” Thus, goes the PA argument, there can be no justice, no fairness that will lead to peace, unless Israel returns to her border.
Yet the simple, irrefutable, historical fact is that this line was not a border at all, but merely an armistice line. It was drawn when hostilities ceased at the end of the 1948-49 War of Independence — a war initiated, it should be noted, by the Arab League, which attacked the nascent state of Israel as soon as independ¬ence was declared.
Not only was it an armistice line, it was intended to be temporary. In the signed armistice agreement with Jordan (which was on the other side of that line) there was a clause stating that this line would not prejudice future negotiations on a permanent border. Thus the case cannot legitimately be made that the Green Line has any legal status in determining Israel’s “true” border. It does not. That border has yet to be determined. In negotiations.
Intolerable inequity of demands
Even more egregious is the claim made by the PA regarding the land on the other side of the line that it sees as defining Israel’s border. Its leaders maintain that it must be totally Judenrein. This is a position that is inherently morally offensive, and yet it is accepted wholesale by the world.
When the Palestinians declare with great self-righteousness that “settlements are an obstacle to peace,” what they are actually pushing for is the total removal of Jewish presence on the land they are seeking for their state.
It’s past time to ask why this is all right.
This demand is particularly ironic in light of Palestinian charges that Israel is an “apartheid” state. “Apartheid” is a buzz word, utilized spuriously to delegitimize Israel: anyone who has spent time in Israel and seen the freedom with which Arabs walk the streets and secure equal services knows full well that there is nothing remotely resembling apartheid here.
The situation grows even more ludicrous as the Palestinian leadership has just rejected the demand of Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
On Saturday, Azzan al-Ahmed, a close Abbas associate and major Fatah official, declared that, “We reject Netanyahu’s demand to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. This demand illustrates the racist nature of Israel…”
If Israel – which permits its Arab citizens (citizens!) to elect representatives to the Knesset and provides them with full health care and other rights – is “racist” for insisting that the nation must be recognized as having a Jewish character, what, precisely does this make the PA – which seeks to totally drive out every Jew from the land it envisions to be part of a future state?
Arlene Kushner, a Jerusalem-based writer, frequently deals with issues regarding the PA. She is author of Disclosed: Inside the Palestinian Authority and the PLO, and has done major investigative reports on Fatah for the Center for Near East Policy Research. Her regular postings can be accessed via www.arlenefromisrael.info .