On September 20th, the Palestinian Authority is expected to ask the United Nations to recognize “Palestine” as a sovereign state within the pre-1967 borders with Israel and as a full member of the UN. In doing so, Palestinian leaders will be asking the UN to go back in time, to borders that were created in 1949, after Israel’s War of Independence. This war was a result of the fact that the Arab world rejected the two-state partition plan offered in 1947 that created both a Jewish and an Arab state. Israel accepted this plan and declared statehood in 1948. She was immediately attacked by her Arab neighbors and the War of Independence began. As a result of this war, the fledging State of Israel gained territory, as did Egypt and Jordan – the latter gaining control of the West Bank (Samaria and Judea) and East Jerusalem (including the Western Wall). The 1949 Armistice lines that were drawn at the conclusion of this conflict are often referred to as the pre-1967 borders, the borders that the Palestinian Authority wants the UN to acknowledge as the official borders of the sovereign state of Palestine.
These borders were in place until 1967 and the Six Day War. Until this conflict, Jordan and Egypt could have given up their territory to create a Palestinian state. There was nothing stopping them – EXCEPT the Arab world’s overwhelming hatred of Israel and a fierce determination to destroy the Jewish State and turn it into Palestine. For the Arab world there was (and for many in the Arab world there still is) no other option.
Arab hatred led to another assault on Israel in 1967 – resulting in the Six Day War and Israel gaining more territory, including the West Bank and Gaza. In response to this war, the UN passed Resolution 242 that called for a “peaceful and accepted settlement” between the involved parties. This settlement would require return of some territory by Israel and an acknowledgment by the Arab world that Israel has the right to exist and the right to safety and security. In June of 1967, President Johnson made it clear that Israel was not expected to give back all land that she gained during the Six Day War, saying that the old “truce lines” (the pre-1967 borders) had been “fragile and violated,” and that what was needed were “recognized boundaries” that would provide “security against terror, destruction and war.”
Over the years, Israel has attempted to negotiate with her Palestinian neighbors. Israel gave up Gaza and parts of the West Bank have been given over to the Palestinian Authority. Despite this, Palestinian terrorism continues to plague Israel and her citizens, much of it coming in the form of missiles launched from Gaza. In addition, the Palestinian community still refuses to accept that Israel has the right to exist in peace as a Jewish state. This has been a huge roadblock that has gotten in the way of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. How can Israel negotiate with an entity that refuses to accept her right to exist?
Playing the victim and asserting that Israel is refusing to negotiate, the Palestinian Authority is going to the UN this month and asking them to recognize the sovereign state of Palestine based upon the pre-1967 borders – borders that were created as a result of the Arab world’s refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist, borders that were “fragile and violated” by those committed to Israel’s destruction. If the UN were to recognize a sovereign state of Palestine based upon these borders, the international body would be undermining the “peaceful and accepted settlement” that Resolution 242 requires, violating the calls for a negotiated settlement and the rejection of unilateral moves that were laid out in the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement and empowering the enemies of Israel by giving credence to borders that were not agreed upon by Israel and that jeopardize her very existence.
As the Palestinian Authority prepares to bring their case before the UN, Palestinian leaders know that they face a tremendous obstacle. A state cannot be recognized and admitted into membership in the UN without the recommendation of the Security Council. The United States has the ability to veto such a recommendation and President Obama has said that:
“No vote at the United Nations will ever create an independent Palestinian state. And the United States will stand up against efforts to single Israel out at the UN or in any international forum because Israel’s legitimacy is not a matter for debate.”
The Palestinian Authority might attempt to circumvent the Security Council by going straight to the General Assembly where they will probably have the votes needed for recognition and approval. Based upon the “Uniting for Peace” precedent of 1950, a special emergency session of the GA can be called to address urgent matters of international peace and security. “Uniting for Peace” does not, however, apply to matters pertaining to membership in the UN. If the General Assembly were to somehow pass a resolution that recognized the sovereign state of Palestine and accepted this state as a full member of the UN without the recommendation of the Security Council, this resolution would be nonbinding. That is not to say that such a resolution would not have tremendous ramifications across the globe. Some assert that the GA might independently upgrade the status of Palestine from an “observer mission” to that of a “nonmember state”, a symbolical move that would still pack a punch.
No one should believe that a UN resolution recognizing and empowering a sovereign Palestine based upon pre-1967 borders will increase the chances of peace. If anything, a resolution that empowers those who refuse to accept Israel’s sovereignty while redrawing and reducing Israel’s borders without the involvement of the Israeli government would undermine the Jewish State and give legitimacy to those determined to annihilate Israel. This is a recipe for disaster and part of the Palestinian plan: remove statehood and borders from the negotiating table and there’s not much more to talk about with Israel.
The United States needs to stand strongly by Israel’s side this month. The US must veto any Security Council resolution that recognizes Palestine as a sovereign state. An abstention by the US is not acceptable. If the General Assembly votes to recognize a Palestinian state, the US must refuse to accept this state. Our government must insist that the recognition of a Palestinian state must only happen when the Palestinian Authority ends all violence against Israel and acknowledges Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish nation within secure borders that are determined by negotiations. Furthermore, the US must make it explicitly clear to the General Assembly that the US will withhold funds to any UN organization that admits a sovereign state of Palestine as a member state or grants it “nonmember state observer” status.
Please pay close attention to this situation and be in touch with the President, our Senators and our Representatives – sharing your concerns and urging them to insure that the United States stands with Israel. Also, please consider signing the Petition Against a Unilaterally Declared Palestine sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Councils and The Jewish Federations of America: https://jcrcny.wufoo.com/forms/petition-against-a-unilaterally-declared-palestine/