Tag Archives: Mahmoud Abbas

P.A.’s Abbas’ New York Times Op-Ed Filled With Lies

by Morton Klein

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed out that, in the op-ed space granted to Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas in the New York Times (May 16), Abbas has produced a collection of shameless falsehoods.

• “It is important to note that the last time the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the General Assembly, the question posed to the international community was whether our homeland should be partitioned into two states. In November 1947, the General Assembly made its recommendation and answered in the affirmative. Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued” [ZOA: Abbas neglects to mention that the Palestinians and Arab states utterly rejected the offer the UN proposal of a state and instead went to war to prevent Israel’s emergence.

• “Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened. War and further expulsions ensued” [ZOA: In fact, the Arab side launched attacks on Palestine’s Jews even before the end of the British Mandate and the proclamation of Israel’s establishment in May 1948. In anticipation of the impending invasion of Arab armies, which commenced the day Israel was declared, many Arabs started leaving while still under British rule. Often, Jewish appeals for Arabs to stay, as in Haifa and Tiberias, went unheeded. Most of those Palestinian Arabs who left did so in the chaos and fog of the war which they and the neighboring Arab states had initiated. In contrast, every Jew was expelled from the West Bank, illegally seized by Jordan. Had there been no Arab-initiated war, there would have been no refugees – on either side.]

• “Minutes after the State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948, the United States granted it recognition. Our Palestinian state, however, remains a promise unfulfilled … Only if the international community keeps the promise it made to us six decades ago, and ensures that a just resolution for Palestinian refugees is put into effect, can there be a future of hope and dignity for our people” [ZOA: The UN General Assembly in 1947 recommended the creation of an Arab state and a Jewish state in Palestine, which was an international offer of statehood – not a “promise” – and it was utterly rejected, as mentioned, the Palestinians and Arab states at the time. The Arab parties were explicit about their reasons – they rejected the legitimacy of a Jewish state alongside an Arab state. That rejection persists from Mr. Abbas to this day, who has said that, “I do not accept the Jewish State, call it what you will.” In 2000, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered a Palestinian state on almost all the territories mentioned by Abbas, but was turned down. During 1948-67, no Palestinian state was set up, despite Judea, Samaria and Gaza then being under Arab control, because the primary goal was and remains Israel’s elimination, not a Palestinian state].

• “Israel continues to send more settlers to the occupied West Bank and denies Palestinians access to most of our land and holy places, particularly in Jerusalem” [ZOA: All Muslim shrines, like the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, have functioned continuously in Jerusalem under Israel rule. Jerusalem’s Arab population has increased, as has Arab construction. In fact, it is only under Israeli rule that there has been genuine freedom of religion in historic Jerusalem. Under its previous (and illegal) Jordanian occupiers, every synagogue was razed and Jews were barred from merely visiting the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site. Under Abbas’ PA, Jewish shrines, like Joseph’s Tomb, have been torched and violated. Last year, his government published an official “study” claiming that Jews have no rights or historical connection to the Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. In Gaza, under Hamas, with which Abbas has just signed a unity agreement, most Christians have fled for their lives.]

• “we have met all prerequisites to statehood listed in the Montevideo Convention, the 1933 treaty that sets out the rights and duties of states …” [ZOA: The PA does not meet all necessary international legal criteria for statehood. It does not exercise control in defined territory, as Israel shares in a range of responsibilities by agreement in at least some PA-controlled areas, while PA rule has not extended for years to Hamas-run Gaza and still does not at time of writing. Moreover, the PA is a signatory to the Oslo Agreements in which it committed itself to not altering the political status of the PA territories, except by a negotiated settlement with Israel.]

• “The State of Palestine intends to be a peace-loving nation, committed to human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the principles of the United Nations Charter. Once admitted to the United Nations, our state stands ready to negotiate all core issues of the conflict with Israel” [ZOA: The PA is a terrorist-supporting entity run by Fatah, whose Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is a deadly and proscribed terrorist organization which has murdered hundreds of Israeli civilians. Scores of streets, schools and sports teams have been named in honor of terrorists who murdered Jews. Fatah’s’ 43rd anniversary emblem shows all of Israel draped in a kffiyeh, with a picture of Arafat and a Kalashnikov rifle alongside it. It recently signed a unity government agreement with Hamas, which calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7). In seeking to circumvent negotiations and alter the political status, Abbas fails to mention that any such unilateral act violates the 1995 Oslo II agreement, which stipulates that “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”]

• “A key focus of negotiations will be reaching a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on Resolution 194, which the General Assembly passed in 1948” [ZOA: UN General Assembly Resolution 194 is a non-binding resolution that all Arab states rejected at the time. Every refugee problem of the twentieth century has been resolved by resettlement, not repatriation, which the PA demands].

• “We go to the United Nations now to secure the right to live free in the remaining 22 percent of our historic homeland because we have been negotiating with the State of Israel for 20 years without coming any closer to realizing a state of our own” [ZOA: The land earmarked for the British Mandate and for settlement by Jews with a view to eventual Jewish statehood includes present-day Jordan, which constitutes 78% of the territory in question. It is Israel itself, plus Judea, Samaria and Gaza, which constitutes 22% of the territory earmarked for Jewish settlement, of which 12% was offered in 1947 for a Jewish state and 10% for another Arab state]

Read Mahmoud Abbas’ NYT article by clicking here.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas has shown in his New York Times op-ed that his historical revisionism is not limited to the Holocaust, which he denied in a 1982 doctoral thesis at Moscow’s Oriental College and in 1983 book; it extends to the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. It is a tragic commentary on our times that such a mendacious and error-ridden piece could be published in a leading newspaper.”

There Is No Palestinian State

by Efraim Karsh

As the United Nations prepares to vote next week on the issue of Palestinian statehood, it might be worth bearing in mind that whatever the outcome, the result will certainly not be the creation of an actual Palestinian state, any more than the November 1947 partition resolution spelled the inevitable creation of a Jewish one.

In 1948, Israel came into being due to the extraordinary cohesion of Palestine’s Jewish community (the Yishuv). Armed with an unwavering sense of purpose and an extensive network of institutions, the Yishuv managed to surmount a bevy of international obstacles and fend off a pan-Arab attempt to destroy it. Likewise, it was the total lack of communal solidarity—the willingness to subordinate personal interest to the collective good—that accounted for the collapse and dispersion of Palestinian Arab society as its leaders tried to subvert partition.
Sixty-four years later, Palestinian society seems no better prepared for statehood. And the U.N. would be doing the Palestinians a great disservice by accepting the corrupt and dysfunctional Palestinian Authority as its newest member. While this would hardly be the first failed state to be delivered by the world organization, the unique circumstances of its possible birth make failure a foregone conclusion, and the consequences are too dire to contemplate.

The building of the Jewish state began in the Swiss town of Basel in 1889 at the First Zionist Congress, which defined Zionism’s goal as “the creation of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine to be secured by public law,” and established institutions to promote it. By the time the League of Nations appointed Britain as the mandatory for Palestine 23 years later, the Yishuv had been transformed into a cohesive and organized national community that provided most of Palestine’s Jewry with work, trade union protection as well as with education, health care, and defense.

By contrast, it was the tragedy of the Palestinians that the two leaders who determined their national development during the 20th century—Hajj Amin Husseini and Yasser Arafat—were far more interested in destroying the Jewish national cause than leading their own people. As far back as 1978, Arafat told his close friend and collaborator, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, that the Palestinians lacked the traditions, unity, and discipline to have a successful state. Once given control of parts of the West Bank and Gaza, this prognosis became a self-fulfilling prophecy, as his regime quickly became oppressive and corrupt. Later it helped launch the second intifada, the bloodiest and most destructive confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians since the 1948 war. In the process, he destroyed the fragile civil society and relatively productive economy that had developed during the previous decade.

Paradoxically, it was Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the June 1967 war that laid the groundwork for Palestinian civil society. Not only did it bring the issue of Palestinian independence to the forefront of the international agenda, but it also produced dramatic improvements in the Palestinians’ quality of life. During the occupation, the territories became the fourth fastest-growing economy in the world—ahead of Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, and substantially ahead of Israel itself. From 1967 to 2000, life expectancy rose from 48 to 72, while infant mortality fell from 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 births in 2000. And while there was not a single university that existed in the West Bank or Gaza before Israeli rule, by the mid-1990s, there were seven such institutions, boasting more than 16,000 students.

All of these achievements were steadily undone after Oslo, as Arafat’s regime took control over parts of the territories. In September of 1993, conditions in the West Bank and Gaza were still better than those in most neighboring Arab states—and this despite the economic decline caused by the first intifada. Within six months of Arafat’s arrival in Gaza, the standard of living in the strip fell by 25 percent, and more than half of the area’s residents claimed to have been happier under Israeli rule. The launch of the second intifada six years later dealt the death blow to the economic and institutional gains that Israel bequeathed.

In an apparent departure from this destructive path, in the summer of 2007, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad embarked on the first true state-building effort in Palestinian history. And he has had some modest successes, most notably a sustained economic recovery that has nearly restored the West Bank’s pre-intifada levels of performance. Yet Fayyad has created no new institutions, and the PA remains a corrupt and wholly dysfunctional organization. The Palestinian prime minister may claim to have laid the groundwork for a democratic Palestine, but the presidency of Mahmoud Abbas, and by extension his own position, are totally unconstitutional. Not only did Abbas defy Hamas’s landslide victory in the January 2006 parliamentary election, but Abbas’s presidency expired more than two years ago.

No less important, the two factions dominating Palestinian life, the Hamas and Fatah, remain armed groups, and active practitioners of terrorism—an assured recipe for a failed state. The Oslo Accords charged the PA to dismantle all armed groups in the West Bank and Gaza, but Arafat never complied; David Ben-Gurion, by contrast, dissolved all Jewish underground movements within a fortnight from Israel’s independence, incorporating them into the newly established Israeli Defense Forces. Following statehood, even if Abbas were to make a genuine commitment to reform, Hamas would continue to defy his tenuous authority; not only does the group rule the Gaza Strip, which it has transformed into an Islamist micro-state, but it also wields considerable power in the West Bank.

Small wonder that recent surveys show that more Palestinians in east Jerusalem, who are entitled to Israeli social benefits and are free to travel across Israel’s pre-1967 borders, would rather become citizens of the Jewish state than citizens of a new Palestinian one. Two thirds of them believe that a unilateral declaration of Palestinian independence backed by the U.N. would have no positive effect. And they’re right. Unfortunately the ramifications—increased conflict with Israel and a deepening rift in an already divided Palestinian society—are manifold. Once again, the Palestinian leadership is leading its people astray.

This article was originally published in the The Daily Beast on September 16, 2011.

Efraim Karsh is research professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London, director of the Middle East Forum (Philadelphia) and author, most recently, of Palestine Betrayed.