Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Palestinian Sound and Fury

November 29, 2012 5:47 pm 1 comment

United Nations General Assembly hall in New York City. Photo: Patrick Gruban.

Today, November 29th, marked the 65th anniversary of UN Resolution 181, calling for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab (not “Palestinian”) states. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, desperately trying to reclaim the limelight from Hamas after its fanciful claim of a Gaza “victory,” was expected to request his consolation prize from the General Assembly, welcoming the Palestinians as a non-member observer state, with the Vatican as its solitary partner.

But a General Assembly vote would be a hollow gesture. While it might be considered a promotion from the mere observer status the Palestinians have held since 1974, it is a nebulous title nowhere mentioned in the UN Charter. Any attempt to revive the authority of UN Resolution 181, wrote international law expert Julius Stone more than three decades ago, is “an undertaking even more miraculous than would be the revival of the dead.” But Abbas needed to say more to bolster the deflated image of the Palestinian Authority.

As Arab delegates enthusiastically cheered Abbas, they might have recalled their own role in dooming Palestinian statehood. In 1947 Zionists exulted over Resolution 181, the fulfillment of the 2000-year-old dream of the Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland and rebuild their shattered nation, even within truncated, porous, and precarious borders.

But Arab states showed no regard for a “Palestinian” people deserving a state of their own. They launched an invasion to eradicate the fledgling Jewish state and carve up the territory to suit their own wishes. King Abdullah of Jordan seized land from Palestine that became known as the “West Bank” while Egypt gobbled up Gaza.

Nineteen years later, confronting another looming attack from Arab states, Israel won a stunning victory in six days. Jerusalem and the biblical homeland were once again theirs. By now, 350,000 Israelis live in Judea and Samaria, as they have every right to do under international law that eighty years ago, under the auspices of the League of Nations, assured Jews the right of “close settlement” west of the Jordan River.

Ever since, Palestinians “never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity” (as Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban memorably quipped). Rejecting any possibility for their own statehood that required recognition of the State of Israel, they have preferred to lament the Naqba, the 1948 tragedy of their defeat and dispersion, rather than become state-builders.

Mahmoud Abbas’s General Assembly speech was mostly familiar boilerplate. Recognition of Palestine would represent “a victory for truth, freedom, justice, law, and international legitimacy.” All blame rests upon Israel, for its “colonial military occupation of the land of the Palestinian people” and its “brutality and racial discrimination.” The only unexpected insertion was his announcement that he had submitted an application for the admission of Palestine as a “full member.” But that requires unanimous Security Council approval, which the United States is unlikely to support.

The young men in Ramallah who gleefully display signs proclaiming “The State of Palestine” are likely to discover that little has changed. Words in New York are not facts on the ground until the Palestinian Authority negotiates an agreement with Israel that recognizes the existence and borders of the Jewish state. The lurking presence of Hamas, still pledged to the annihilation of Israel, will not be easily ignored. Perhaps Abbas should make peace with Hamas before he negotiates with Israel.

If Palestinians settle for non-member observer state status “Palestine” can pursue legal action against Israel in the International Criminal Court. But Israel, like the United States a decade ago, recognized the ideological and political bias of the ICC and withdrew from its jurisdiction.

The lingering question is whether the Palestinians can heal their own internal divisions and finally, after 65 years, accept the reality of Israel. Can they finally relinquish their identity theft from Jewish history and develop an independent Palestinian identity?

Ever since 1948 Palestinians have constructed their identity on the foundation of Jewish history, archeology, texts, holy sites and, of course, land. Ironically, even as Israel was targeted for incessant Palestinian terrorist attacks Zionist state building inspired Palestinian emulation. November 29th hardly was a random choice by the Palestinian Authority. It is, after all, the day when Israelis celebrate international recognition of their right to establish a Jewish state in the Land of Israel – not in the land of Palestine.

Jerold S. Auerbach is writing a book about Israel’s legitimacy struggles.

1 Comment

  • Let us not forget brethren,

    To pay tribute to the astute visionaries orchestrating the velvet glove of time. Via the auspices of social engineering, as history cures the ripeness of our convictions, while remembering what Albert Einstein said, of the institutions parading before us, are set for our purposes, until the fullness of their time, to wit:

    “The United Nations is an extremely important and useful institution provided the peoples and governments of the world realize that it is merely a transitional system toward the final goal, which is the establishment of a supranational authority vested with sufficient legislative and executive powers to keep the peace.”

    Most graciously ‘In Honor We Trust’

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Sports Israeli Fans Mob, Dance With Basketball Player Amar’e Stoudemire at First Jerusalem Team Practice (VIDEO)

    Israeli Fans Mob, Dance With Basketball Player Amar’e Stoudemire at First Jerusalem Team Practice (VIDEO)

    Israeli basketball fans mobbed Hapoel Jerusalem’s newest player, American pro Amar’e Stoudemire, dancing around and with him during a practice open to the public. On Friday, the team posted a video on Twitter of the happy romp with fans jumping around Stoudemire, while chanting in Hebrew. Unfamiliar with the lyrics, Stoudemire pumps his fist in the air. The basketball player, who has Jewish roots on his mother’s side, also waved a flag emblazoned with Hapoel Jerusalem’s logo. The former New York Knicks forward retired from the NBA […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Playboy Columnist Calls Israel’s ‘Burning Man’ Festival ‘Ultimate Revenge on Hitler’

    Playboy Columnist Calls Israel’s ‘Burning Man’ Festival ‘Ultimate Revenge on Hitler’

    The Israeli version of the famed American Burning Man music festival is the “ultimate revenge on Hitler,” according to a column in Playboy magazine on Thursday. In his column, Jeff Weiss also took note of the fact that Midburn — a five-day bacchanal in the Negev Desert, self-described as an event celebrating “a communal life style, creativity, art and radical self-expression” — began on June 8, the day of the Sarona Market terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, which left four people dead. Weiss asked rhetorically, “What could needle the mustached […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Author of New Book on Connection Between Jews, Punk Rock Describes Bands Flinging Gefilte Fish, Bagels at Audience (INTERVIEW)

    Author of New Book on Connection Between Jews, Punk Rock Describes Bands Flinging Gefilte Fish, Bagels at Audience (INTERVIEW)

    Some punk rockers integrate their Jewish identity into their music through food, the author of a new book on the topic told The Algemeiner on Wednesday. Michael Croland, author of Oy Oy Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk, described the way different musicians express this connection. “One band is known for throwing gefilte fish in the mosh pit, and people at its concert slide around on it while dancing,” he recounted. “Another used to drink Manischewitz [sweet kosher] wine out of a shofar [the ram […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Scottish Soccer Club Manager Hails ‘Fantastic’ Jewish-State Visit After Victory Over Israeli Team (VIDEO)

    Scottish Soccer Club Manager Hails ‘Fantastic’ Jewish-State Visit After Victory Over Israeli Team (VIDEO)

    The manager of Scotland’s Celtic soccer club lauded Israel, after his team won a match against the Jewish state’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night. Brendan Rodgers said at a post-match press conference: On behalf of the players, the people of Celtic and Scotland, Israel’s been fantastic for us. We came out here on Sunday, [and from] the hotel, the staff, we’ve been very, very warmly received. The atmosphere at the game was amazing and, obviously, one team has to lose, but you have a wonderful team here, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    Second Jaffa Jazz Festival to Reunite International, Israeli Musicians

    For the second time, Israel will host the Jaffa Jazz Festival, according to Broadwayworld.com. The festival will unite 43 Israeli musicians and eight international artists for a three-day event. The program will include a special performance by an ensemble of top jazz students studying at Belgium’s Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, the Belgrade Music Academy in Serbia, Israel’s Rimon School of Music and the jazz program of the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv. There will also be a jazz show for children led by Israeli saxophonist […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    Israel’s First NASCAR Driver Revved Up to Win

    JNS.org – As a young boy growing up in Ashdod, Israel, Alon Day got his first go-kart at age 9. By 15, he was racing them. Less than a decade later, Day has become the first Israeli professional race car driver on the NASCAR circuit. He made history by competing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 13. “Driving a race car is not like any other sport,” Day told JNS.org. “You are actually almost flying […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    Writer of Popular Kids Series to Premiere Autobiographical Solo Show ‘Not That Jewish’

    The writer of a popular children’s television series will premiere an off-Broadway solo show called “Not That Jewish,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Written and performed by Monica Piper — the Emmy Award-winning showrunner of Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats” — the show is described as “the autobiographical telling of a Jew…’ish’ girl’s life.” “Not That Jewish” explores Piper’s Bronx upbringing in a show-business family, her comedy-club debut and her “almost” night with former Yankees legend Mickey Mantle. “Audiences can expect to leave laughed-out, a little teary-eyed and […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scottish Soccer Team Will Fly to Israel on Private Jet Used by Madonna

    Scotland’s Celtic soccer club will fly to Israel with the same private jet Madonna used while on tour, The Scotsman reported on Monday. According to the report, the team is heading for the Jewish state to compete against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva on Tuesday night, and will be transported in the customized, luxurious Boeing 757-200 that the pop icon used in New Zealand for her six-month Rebel Heart tour, which wrapped up in March. The plane is on loan from Greece-based GainJet Aviation and can accommodate 62 passengers. The […]

    Read more →