Un Secretary General Utters The Same Old Tired Lies
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited Ramallah on Tuesday, where he made public remarks about the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict and key issues related to the region.
Below, in no particular order, are seven significant problems with the views and ideology expressed by the UN chief on his visit to the West Bank city. Some of these same problems pervade the current attempts by the Trump administration to broker an Israeli-Palestinian deal.
1) Guterres promoted the failed so-called two-state solution. “I want to express very strongly the total commitment of the United Nations but my personal total commitment to do everything for a two-state solution to materialize,” he said. “I have said several times there is no Plan B to a two-state solution.”
Guterres ignored that a central problem with finalizing any two-state solution is that the Palestinian Authority has rejected every single Israeli offer of a state. State offers were made at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007, and more offers were made in 2008. It was recently reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quietly made another such offer in 2014. In each of these cases, the PA refused generous Israeli offers of statehood and bolted negotiations without counteroffers. There is no evidence to suggest that the Palestinians would accept any future Israeli offer.
2) Guterres wrongly assumes that there is a Palestinian partner for peace while the PA and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, support terrorism, incite violence against Israel, and routinely promote the delegitimization of the Jewish state.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group responsible for scores of suicide bombings and deadly shooting attacks, is closely aligned with Abbas’s Fatah Party and is routinely referred to as Fatah’s so-called military wing.
This week, Abbas exclaimed that he wouldn’t stop official PA payments to convicted terrorists “until my dying day.” Earlier this month, it was reported that the PA’s 2017 budget for payments to terrorists and their families amounts to about half of all foreign aid the PA expects to receive this year.
Abbas’s official PA organs and media outlets routinely glorify murderous terrorists. Breitbart Jerusalem recently reported on a Fatah summer camp for children named after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in which 38 people – including 13 children – were murdered.
3) There is no significant evidence to suggest that such a state would be moderate and would be a force against regional radicalism. Indeed, the PA’s official support for terrorism indicates that a Palestinian state would be an extremist entity in a constant state of war with Israel. This is highlighted by the PA’s repeated use of maps that erase Israel and PA propaganda calling for the dismantlement of the Jewish state. This week, Breitbart Jerusalem reported on a song featured on a children’s program on official PA television calling the entire state of Israel, including major Israeli cities, “my country Palestine.”
The ailing 82-year old Abbas, meanwhile, is unpopular and hasn’t held a presidential election since 2005. He is at odds with Hamas and a slew of other radical Palestinian factions that are either outright terrorist groups or support terror ideology. Hamas itself is under threat by the even more extremist Islamic State. There is no known moderate Palestinian leader or political party viewed as capable of taking over the PA. Indeed, there is no known moderate leader in any position of senior capacity in the Palestinian arena.
4) Guterres argued that settlements are an impediment to peace in his statements in Ramallah. This claim, however, is contradicted by history. In 1948, even before Israel controlled the areas referred to as “settlements,” Arab states formed a coalition and went to war to destroy the newly established state of Israel. Additionally, the PA walked away from numerous statehood offers, which would have included the evacuation of major Israeli settlements and the creation of a state in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
If “settlements” were the obstacle, why did the PA fail to respond to Netanyahu’s unprecedented attempts to jump-start negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state, including the freezing of Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem?
As an aside, the reference to “settlement building” has become so routine that few notice the anti-Semitic undertones of implying that Jews should not be allowed to build in certain territories.
5) Guterres promoted the disputed charge that settlements are “illegal under international law.” United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw under a future final-status solution “from territories occupied” as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War. The resolution does not call for a withdrawal from “all territories,” a designation deliberately left out to ensure Israel’s ability to retain some territory for security purposes under a future deal.
6) Guterres’s statements about Israeli settlements, which Israel maintains are not illegal but disputed, ignores undisputedly rampant illegal Palestinian construction taking place in key areas of eastern Jerusalem. The illegal Palestinian construction has worked to generate facts on the ground, creating de facto Palestinian neighborhoods inside peripheral Jerusalem that are virtual no-go zones for Israeli civilians. The illegal housing has impacted previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Numerous Israeli-Palestinian peace proposals designated these very areas future Palestinian territory due to the large concentrations of Palestinians living in them.
Lost in the news media coverage of eastern Jerusalem is that major swaths of land there are legally owned by Jews. In 2007, this reporter extensively investigated those areas and found Jewish-owned land was utilized to illegally construct Palestinian apartment buildings, a refugee camp, and a United Nations school.