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December 3, 2012

An Independent Palestinian state- what’s the problem?

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/an_independent_palestinian_state_whats_the_problem/

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Last Thursday, the U.N General Assembly voted on the Palestinian Authority's resolution to change its U.N observer status from "entity" to "non-member state," (like the Vatican’s.) Despite Israel's attempts to get as many states as possible to oppose that resolution, the majority still chose to vote in favor of the resolution. The anger aimed towards the U.N started days before the actual vote, when it became clear that the resolution would pass. Many pro-Israel activists saw in this a betrayal, and a set-back in the peace process because this resolution called for unilateral recognition and did not come out of a negotiated agreement with Israel. Others said this vote, which is a step towards an independent Palestinian state, would be irrelevant because without Israeli recognition, there cannot ever be an independent Palestinian state. According to those people, the U.N vote was nothing but an attempt to provoke Israel.

I agree with everything that has been said in the paragraph above, but I don't think that the problem is the recognition of a Palestinian state. First of all, I am not angry with the U.N, at least not anymore. I just came to the realization that this organization has failed in presenting a non-biased, balanced, objective opinion, and with that, it has failed in fulfilling it founding purpose. For me, the U.N is yet another political organization which takes the world a step back instead of taking it a step forward. Since I now fully understand that, I just ignore it. Maybe if more people will do so, it will eventually make it go away. As for a Palestinian state- I am for it. I see no reason for them not to be independent within their own territory. A separate and independent state could definitely put an end to this long, protracted conflict since it would mean that they would live on their own without any support from Israel. Why is this a win-win situation? Since they will stop complaining about how they are being treated so badly and we will be able to save a lot of money by cutting the supply and finance chord. 

When I think of the fact that they are asking for a state of their own, I can't help but think about the history of the Jewish people. In just a few days we will celebrate Hanukkah- one of the many holidays celebrating our victory over a vicious enemy that wanted not only our land but also to kill us. This has been our history for over 2000 years and 64 years ago, the hunting of Jews finally stopped. It happened several months after the U.N declared Israel an independent state. From this point on we had a home and a safe haven for Jews worldwide, where they could live without being hunted for their way of life. It didn't stop people from coveting our land but now we at least had the power to not run away and to stay put to fight for our legally owned land.   When I think of our story, the first thing that comes to mind is "why can't a group of people, who want to live independently as a state, have the right to do so?"  Why then should there not be a Palestinian state?

The answer to that is because it doesn't end there. In this story, no one is naïve enough to believe the Palestinians will settle for recognition as an independent state in this small territory of theirs (well, except for maybe the Palestinian citizens, who really just want peace and quiet). Mahmoud Abbas does not want to settle down in peace on a small piece of land. If that was true, there would probably be peace by now because there was no actual reason for a conflict. If that was true, the Palestinian Authority would not need to address the U.N proposing a one-sided resolution. If all they wanted was to be independent, it would have happened years ago because Israel seeks peace and this would have been a way to achieve it. Besides, it is much cheaper for Israel to stop supporting the Palestinian Authority. Mahmoud Abbas had to address the U.N and propose a one-sided resolution because his definition of "peace and quiet" is the complete ownership of the land of Israel, and our return to wandering in the dessert. His speech in front of the General Assembly was aggressive, and showed no true desire for a settlement of any kind. In his speech, Mahmoud Abbas kept trying to color the conflict in black and white, by convincing the U.N delegates that Israel is the villain, and the Palestinian Authority is the victim. One way in which he did that was by comparing Israelis to the Nazis- a comparison that should never be made, and without a doubt a very hurtful saying, aimed to hurt every single Israeli and Jew.

Mahmoud Abbas played a tricky game. He purposely chose November 29th as the date for the U.N vote. On 29 November 1947, the General Assembly of the U.N voted for the partition of what was once supposed to be named Palestine into two states- one for the Jews and one for the Arabs. The Jews accepted this partition, while the Arabs refused it. They wanted the entire territory and were unwilling to settle. Sixty-five years later, the Palestinian leader returns to the General Assembly stage with a not-so-hidden statement- he wants an independent state at Israel's expense. This bottom line of his is not new. He has stated many times before that his wishes are to wipe Israel as we know it off the map and claim the territory for the Palestinians. Even though he sometimes appeared as a worthy partner for negotiations, his bottom line is no different than the ones Palestinian leaders before him held: "We will not settle, we will not negotiate. We want to wipe the Jewish state off the map."

I have no problem with an independent Palestinian state. In fact, I am for it. I want the Palestinians to have a place to belong to and call "home." I am sure many Israelis feel the same way for we have been in their place before. But when voting for a Palestinian state, the U.N is not really voting for peace or for the Palestinian people. True peace can only be achieved by conversation and negotiation, not by winning a vote at the U.N. The only way in which two states can truly exist side by side, quietly and peacefully, is when both sides would be willing to seriously sit down and talk and compromise. Leaders on both sides have negotiated before and therefore I believe they can negotiate again. A proposition to the U.N is not the beginning of a  negotiation process and therefore, no vote, future or past will get us any closer to peace.

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