Mr. Netanyahu stood before the UN body which was noticeably short of attendees, and extended his hand in peace to the Palestinians, and indeed to all of Israel's Arab neighbors. His gesture included the oft repeated and ignored request for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Yet Mahmoud Abbas, the man who should be his peace partner, has a different agenda. Mr. Abbas has rebuffed both the US and Israel, refusing to sit face to face without preconditions.
In a normal world, two parties sit together to resolve difference on disputed issues. In Mr. Abbas' world, his demands must be met before negotiations begin, exemplifying "theatre of the absurd."
He also has chosen to paint the Palestinians as being the victim, rather than the perpetrator, claiming the main reason for the conflict is "Israeli aggression" and "construction of settlements on land of a future Palestinian state."
Apparently Mr. Abbas conveniently forgets the very body he stands before demanding statehood approved an Arab state in the form of a two-state solution in 1947, by virtue of UN resolution 181. He must have also forgotten that even though the partitioned land given to the Jews was a mere 12% of what the British originally promised, they accepted the offer.
On the other hand, the Arab states not only refused to accept the resolution, they attempted to destroy Israel the day after it became independent. Some six decades hence, Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is still an unresolved issue, with Mr. Abbas himself unabashedly repeating his rejection numerous times, as recently as last week.
Yet he has the chutzpah to stand before the world and demand a 23rd Arab state from the very body whose decision the Arab world resoundingly rejected. And why did the Arabs reject the '47 partition? Not because they didn't want their own state. It was their unwillingness to reciprocally accept the existence of a Jewish state.
Some 64 years later Israel's would-be “peace partner” won't accept one either. Indeed, more "theatre of the absurd." In spite of Abbas' attempts to blame the stalemate on "settlement construction," his refusal to accept Israel as a Jewish state is the single most important obstacle standing in the way of his dream of statehood. For this he alone must accept responsibility.
Abbas’ insincerityIn a normal world, resolving conflict usually requires both parties to give something in order to get something in return. Israel has already done its share of giving. It withdrew from south Lebanon and from the Gaza Strip. Where is peace?
Prime Ministers Barak and Olmert offered more than 90% of Israel's heartland and a divided Jerusalem. Israel froze construction of "settlements" for 10 months. Did Abbas even return to the table?
Netanyahu has pledged to accept the existence of a Palestinian state. What does he ask for in return? The acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state, which includes well over one million Arab citizens. Yet Abbas says if he gets a state he "will not allow a single Jew to live there."
If Mr. Abbas is sincere about a two-state solution, the very concept suggests two states for two peoples. Yet not only does he demand a Jew-free state, he refuses to back away from the right of return, which would result in an Arab majority in Israel. Is this a man who appears sincere about peaceful coexistence with Israel?
A person who is genuinely interested in peace would be willing to do at least two things. First, he would be willing to make necessary compromises. Yet on the key issues - accepting Israel as a Jewish state, Jerusalem, and the right of return - Abbas has steadfastly refused compromise.
Second, he would make statements designed to demonstrate his sincerity. For example, he should offer to amend Fatah’s charter, which calls for the "destruction of Israel and eradication of the Jewish national existence." He should acknowledge the legitimate security concerns of Israel and make a pledge to end all future territorial claims once an agreement is reached.
However, Abbas is clearly not a man who is interested in peaceful coexistence with a Jewish state of Israel. The question is why? Acceptance of a Jewish state goes against long-held Muslim belief that any land they once controlled is forever considered theirs. Thus by accepting a Jewish state Abbas be would be saying this land is no longer considered Muslim land. To those who adhere to the tenants of the faith Abbas would be viewed as an apostate.
Thus, in order to avoid being considered a traitor to Muslim thinking his aim to is to circumvent due process by attempting to have the UN impose upon Israel what his own Arab brethren refused to accept in 1947, thereby allowing him to obtain his goal of statehood without making a single concession, most notably not accepting Israel as a Jewish state.
For his role in this grand stunt, he should be rightfully dubbed lead actor in the UN "theatre of the absurd."
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