Hey Palestinians: Sure, Obama is POTUS, but still, you’re doing it wrong.

It may just be because with Obama in the White House the Palestinians recognize they have the best chance they’ll ever have to force their way into statehood, but the formal request for recognition of statehood today by Mahmoud Abbas at the U.N. was a really odd way of going about it.

Especially since Hamas, which was elected to rule the Gaza Strip, wasted no time decrying Abbas’ action since he didn’t call for the destruction of Israel.

Now, Hamas didn’t put it that bluntly—that would be completely impolitic (as opposed to mostly), and the Palestinians, especially their late leader Yasser Arafat, have a history of saying one thing in English so as to assuage Western fears, while saying something very different to their own people. No, they rejected his action because he accepted the 1967 borders (or the pre-1967 borders, depending which paragraph you read from the news articles, but they’re so close it doesn’t seem to matter for the point). The decried that the 1967 borders would leave 80% of Palestinian lands within Israel.

Now the West Bank and Gaza Strip, i.e., the lands that would make up the Palestinian state, have a combined land area of roughly 6,000 square kilometers, while the state of Israel has 22,072 square kilometers. 6,000 is about 20% of 30,000, which, if you’re just being polemical, roughly means that Hamas sees all Israeli territory as legitimately Palestinian. (6,000 is 20% of 30,000; while 22,072 + 6,000 = 28,072, which make 80% a rough estimate for Hamas purposes.)

Israel and the "1967 borders." Abbas wants the West Bank and Gaza Strip, while Hamas will settle for nothing less than everything. They're simple and easy like that.

This isn’t a surprise, of course, Hamas has been dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state since its founding, but to be so blunt just as Abbas is making the most impressive, direct, bold request for formal international recognition really shows that they’re less interested in compromise on Israel’s right to exist than Obama is on economic liberty.

But even Abbas’ request was really ill-timed. Sure, Obama is the POTUS, but his party just lost a special Congressional election (NY-09) that revealed significant fissures in his support among Jews, and even Obama wouldn’t be so bold as to leave Israel hang out to dry in so provocative a manner… It’s too… blunt and decisive, I think are the terms. Sure, Obama called for Israel to return to the 1967 borders back a few months ago, but he didn’t really *mean* it as a matter of policy, just as a matter of pandering (if only to himself). And I’m sure he didn’t appreciate being put on the spot so definitively, having to make it clear that the U.S. will use our veto on the Security Council to block the formal request for recognition. That was very gauche of them, really.

No, the only way forward for Palestinian statehood is through peaceful negotiations with Israel, the actual sovereign government of the lands in question. And perhaps a first step could be halting the random rocket launches over the wall. Just a thought.



24 thoughts on “Hey Palestinians: Sure, Obama is POTUS, but still, you’re doing it wrong.

  1. Bill says:

    Tom: You may want to read the lead articles on http://www.mondoweiss.net today to get a fuller picture of the future of “Palestine”. You and the readers will receive quite an education. By the way, the site is owned and managed by the American Jews I mentioned in my last comments.

    1. Greg Smith says:

      Bruce ~I read the lead article. Regarding 1948, following the UN partition into gerrymandered Jewish and Arab states the Zionists accepted it. Down the road, the Palestinians might have also declared a state. We’ll never know because the day after, five Arab armies invaded Palestine/Israel intent on destroying the latter.

      The Jews did not have the oft mentioned to US military aid then. Rather they had to smuggle arms in piecemeal for what was, in truth, a rag tag militia. Trans-Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia Syria and Iraq had real, professional forces, mostly British trained and equipted. While the Israelis did displace Arab villages, most of the movement had to have been people trying to get out of the way of two opposing forces, one of which had armor and heavy artillery. Time for the Palestinians to have a state living in peace with Israel. The site you keep refering us to, with it’s skewed version of history, isn’t helping. ~ Pax ~ Greg

      1. Tom Crowe says:

        Beyond that, the history of the period around the establishment of the Jewish state includes some other key factors. After the establishment of Israel, the surrounding Arab countries expelled their Jewish populations, forcing them to move to Israel, causing the nascent state, already fighting on all borders for her very survival, to absorb hundreds of thousands of displaced Jews. She did so. Also, the surrounding Arab states told the Arabs living in Palestine, “you should move away for a time until we push the Jews into the sea, at which point you can have not only your own house back, but also the houses of the Jews, whom we pushed into the sea.” But then the Israelis won. Oops. Of course, not all Arabs fled. Most of those are still in their homes to this day. Those Arabs who fled the new state of Israel—by choice, mind you, the Israelis never expelled them—moved initially to refugee camps in other Arab countries, where they remained, since the native governments and populations both did not feel any need to let them move in and properly assimilate, AND wanted to continue using them as a reason to wage perpetual war against Israel: if the displaced (by choice) Arabs are not assimilated into their new country then they are a permanent aggrieved party, permanently seeking redress of grievances, which can, of course, only be achieved by pushing the Jews into the sea. And thus we have the rise of movements dedicated to pushing the Jews into the sea on behalf of the Arabs whom their neighbors (even their ethnic cousings in Trans-Jordan) refused to take in properly. ———— No, the Israelis haven’t been saints, not even to Christians who have been getting squeezed in recent decades, but let’s not pretend that the Arabs who are also native to Palestine have a unique and unanswerable grievance against the perfectly evil Jews…

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