Saeb Erekat, a former Palestinian peace negotiator and a current member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, has said that “after the voting at the General Assembly is completed, [Abbas] will submit three letters to the UN Secretary-General, at the same hour.” The first would be a request for membership to become a state member of the 4th Geneva Convention, so as to show Israel that there is “a high price to pay” for occupation. The second letter would call on the UN Security Council to reactive the UN Anti-Apartheid Committee to address the situation in the West Bank, which is claimed to be “worse than it was in South Africa [and] Rhodesia.” The third letter would be a request for membership in the Forum against Racism and Discrimination.
Palestinian President Abbas went a step further by saying that his proposed UN statehood bid would allow the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) and prosecute Israelis.
Hamas, meanwhile, continues to air hateful programming on its television network, and refuses to renounce its anti-Semitic charter, which demonizes Jews and calls for the destruction of Israel.
Still, Israel remains as determined as ever to return to the negotiating table.
Since peace talks broke down in late 2008, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeated over and over Israel’s willingness to resume peace talks without precondition. In Amman last April, Israel made yet another serious and detailed proposal to the Palestinian leadership.
Sadly, like so many other times in the past, his call was met by silence.
That the Palestinian leadership would avoid direct talks in favour of pursuing a path toward statehood that does not include peace with Israel is proof enough that their vision of the future does not include us, and is therefore a prescription for perpetual conflict.
How can Israelis come to have confidence in the Palestinians if their leadership is intending on reducing our existing agreements to rubble?
How can Israel continue to make painful sacrifices and concrete concessions in exchange for promises on paper that are ultimately relegated to the dustbin?
How can we continue to dream of peace and co-existence when, in both Gaza and the West Bank, Palestinians are promoting incitement in school manuals, and dedicating town squares to suicide bombers instead of engaging in institution-building?
As the peace accords we have signed with Egypt and Jordan show, Israel is serious in its quest for peace. The only way to make this a reality in the West Bank and Gaza is for both Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations and to accept each other’s legitimacy and right to exist.
Israel remains as committed as ever to the realization of the two-state solution to our long-standing conflict with our Palestinian neighbours. Today, as has always been the case since we won our independence in 1948, our future is a future that consists of a Jewish homeland and a Palestinian homeland living side-by-side in peace and security.
Isn’t it time the Palestinian people had leaders with the moral conviction to put past grievances aside in the name of peace?
The Palestinians deserve peace as much as we do. They should strive to achieve this dream through confidence-building, and not by stoking the conflict with unilateral acts in international forums.
Via The National Post