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The New Track to Palestinian Statehood

Will anti-settlement sentiment prove a tipping point?

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Palestinian President Abbas and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.(Jorge William/Globo via Getty Images)

“Fayyadism” is the strategy under which increased state-building in the West Bank would give the Palestinian Authority enough of the trappings of sovereignty that international legitimacy, particularly through the United Nations, would grow to the point that a unilateral declaration of independence may not seem ridiculous. Though it was disowned by its namesake (Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad), and though it is not apparent that state-building is particularly advanced, recent events and currents suggest that Fayyadism may merely have been hibernating during the latest unproductive round of peace talks. Cut to Palestinian President Abbas publicly hoping for a state in 2011.

All of South America except for Colombia and Peru have either recognized or plans to recognize a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders. Abbas was in Brasilia last month for a groundbreaking ceremony—complete with flying doves!—for what will be the Palestinian embassy. Meanwhile, the P.A. is drafting a Security Council resolution that would condemn settlements, which the United States has pledged to veto.

The resolution—which will not call for Palestinian statehood or even sanctions against Israel—is a microcosm of the larger trends: Lacking much in the way of teeth and unlikely to produce any concrete changes in the near future, it nonetheless threatens to prove the groundwork for an eventual climate wherein Palestinian statehood comes to seem inexorable. The point is less the eventual climate than the threat, to Israel and the U.S., that it is in their interests to get onboard.

The fact is—and no offense to Ecuador, which I hear is lovely—these South American nations’ recognition of a nonexistent state don’t, practically, amount to anything. (Although it is interesting that Argentina, with its nearly 200,000 Jews and generally philo-Semitic populace, is among these nations.) And the resolution isn’t even really designed to be passed—the U.S. has pledged to veto it. Besides, even if it were passed, it would explicitly have no practical effect.

But what the resolution is designed to do is embarrass the Americans. After all, as veteran Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat put it, “It’s a very moderate resolution, by design, because we don’t want the U.N. to veto it. We want the international community to tell Israel that the settlements are against international law.” That is not exactly the truth, of course: Erekat does want the U.N.—specifically the U.S.—to veto it, which it no doubt will. This is because, as he goes on to say, since the resolution’s anti-settlement argument basically reflects the Obama administration’s stated position, were the U.S. to veto it anyway, “then that’s a story” (which also isn’t entirely true, since it wouldn’t exactly be the first time the U.S. blocked an anti-Israel resolution, but you see his point).

On top of all this, top American Jewish opinionmakers Thomas Friedman, Jeffrey Goldberg (a Tablet Magazine contributing editor), and David Remnick recently made comments that seemed to go further than they ever had before in condemning Israeli settlement-building as both immoral and dumb. None of what they said is groundbreaking if you have been following the region closely, but most people don’t follow the region closely and instead take their cues from people like Thomas Friedman, Jeffrey Goldberg, and David Remnick, so this is not irrelevant news.

In a sense, Israeli illegitimacy is the new Palestinian state-building: The most resonant argument for fast-tracking an independent Palestine, potentially without Israeli support. This is dangerous: Whereas successful Palestinian state-building is a logical argument for a Palestinian state, Israeli illegitimacy is more of an emotional one. But, of course, that is also why it may be more persuasive. Pointing to a new fire station is one thing. Pointing to a dead protestor is another.

Palestinians To Appeal to U.N. with Anti-Settlement Resolution [LAT]
U.S. Opposes Anti-Settlement Resolution [JTA]
Palestinian FM: Chile, Paraguay To Recognize Palestinian State in Coming Weeks [Haaretz]
Abbas Lays First Stone of Palestinian Embassy in Brazil [JPost]
Earlier: What is Fayyadism?
Too Good To Be True?

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Jonathan Silverman says:

“Saeb Erekat put it, “It’s a very moderate resolution, by design, because we don’t want the U.N. to veto it. We want the international community to tell Israel that the settlements are against international law.” That is not exactly the truth, of course: Erekat does want the U.N.—specifically the U.S.—to veto it, which it no doubt will.”

The truth is that the settlements are NOT against International law. The settlements are legal under international law. That’s the truth! Don’t be fooled by Arab propaganda that weakens your will to fight!

FRED LAPIDES says:

I won’t get into the issue of settlement building, but should the various states decide that the West Bank is the new Palestinian state and recognizes it as such, then how do the Palestinians plan to deal with the issue of The Return and a capital in Jerusalem without negotiations with Israel? Israel it seems could readily say, Ok, you are a state. Now that is the end of talks, but other issues no longer are to be discussed.

This article is but one of many recent articles in Tablet that defame Israel.

The issue of a permanent solution for the West Bank of Israel and for Gaza will not be determined based on the noise level of Israel-haters, Jews or non-Jews.

If you have believed otherwise, then I am sorry to be the one to disabuse you of such a silly notion.

No government. No government has the right to cede Jerusalem to anyone. It was, is, and will be the undivided and untied capital of Israel.

And conversely, no government of Israel wants Gaza.

Only those who are themselves illegitimate call Israel illegitimate, and no amount of stupidity, whether uttered by a Tablet contributor or anyone else and no matter how loudly said can make wrong right.

While the haters of Israel and the foolish and ignorant “do gooders” of Jewish parentage who feel a necessity to back every wrong cause can certainly make things unpleasant for Jews and endanger their security, and they can cause lives can be lost, but they cannot change these facts.

The only solution is for the Arabs to unilaterally recognize Israel and its legitimacy, and to renounce all their fraudulent and non-historical claims to Jerusalem. Just as you get no reward for recognizing the legitimacy of the United States, or the United Kingdom, or of other legitimate nations.

Those Arabs who fraudulently claim to be “Palestinians” (a non-existent entity) know the facts. Much better than the leftists.

They do not want a state. In fact, they are terrified of a state.

If you have a state, you need to stop lawlessness,collect the garbage, and clean the streets. It’s much easier to shout, murder, rape and kill.

Only naive and self-hating Jews think otherwise. However, those who run Tablet must really ask themselves if using Jewish money to publicize such harmful and wrong ideas that give succor to the sworn enemies of Jews everywhere is really the best possible use of Jewish money.

Is this really what Tablet is all about?

B”H May I bring to recognition that the Jewish people inhabited the land by virtue of those Imperial minded Empires (1950 – might make right) seeking a foothold on the oil nipples in Mesopotamia, not as a national heritage to which we returned. We have yet to replant our national heritage and from all appearances Israel has little to offer in terms of nationalist identification with Judaism or anything Jewish, except as legislated by the religious zealots. It behooves us to handle democracy as a one-man one vote united force of ancient indigenous peoples sharing the resources in a special way (harmonious cooperation with nature) to further distinguish the glorious place of Semitism – Avrohom and Yishmael taking proper care of the management of resources and conduct as a medium of government that can exemplify the best of human character.

Doug G. says:

A state of Palestine already exists in all but name. Palestine declared its independence in 1988 and many countries already recognize it as such. It has an elected (sort of) government, which controls and runs its own territory and over 97% of the Palestinians living on the West Bank. It has a flag, an anthem, and representation in international organizations. It does not control all contiguous territory in the West Bank, but so what? It fully controls its sovereign territory and is definitely not occupied. At times, Israel invades its territory and arrests its people (as it should), but Israel does not occupy Palestine on the West Bank and certainly not in Gaza.

John Arush says:

Israel’s claims that international recognitions of Palestinian statehood are meaningless are belied by reports that Israel is working behind the scenes trying to stop them. If recognitions are meaningless, then why bother to try to prevent them? And if recognitions are meaningless, then why criticize the Palestinians for not recognizing Israel as “Jewish”?

nathan zuckerman says:

Ok. You are a state, Palestine, so you and your friends say.
But if you do not recognize our right to exist, then in turn we do not recognize your right to exist either.

The issue is not settlements. The issue is seizing land by force. The United States, of which I happen to be a citizen, opposes building settlements on land that doesn’t belong to it. Americans, Jew and non-Jew are growing weary of the Israeli influence in internal politics of our country. We, Jew and non-Jew are embarassed by the renewed plea to release the traitor to the United States, Jonathan Pollard. The documents he stole wound up in the hands of the enemies of the United States, and as a result, many of its assets in the Soviet Union were murdered. Pollard’s health is deteriorating? What about the people whose death he caused. To say nothing of the one million pages of documents he turned over to his Israeli handlers? We are all American citizens and as such the interests of the United States comes first not the interests of some foreign power.

Edwin Svigals says:

Nobody ever explains why Arabs are permitted to live in Israel but Jews may not live in ‘Palestine’?

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The New Track to Palestinian Statehood

Will anti-settlement sentiment prove a tipping point?

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