The U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements is perceived throughout the entire Muslim world as a giant victory and a historic achievement for the rights of Palestinians. Indeed, the resolution, which “will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations,” renders negotiations pointless because the international community rejects outright any Israeli legitimacy over any land beyond the lines drawn before the Six-Day War. In other words: Israel must withdraw from the Jewish Quarter, from Jerusalem’s new neighborhoods and from all of Judea and Samaria.
The common denominator in the Palestinian reaction — whether Fatah, Hamas or Islamic Jihad — is that this victory has to be leveraged, with vigor. A Palestinian Authority spokesman said actions must be taken to isolate Israel in the international arena, and called on the international community to take the necessary steps to implement the resolution ratified by the United Nations. The PA foreign minister called for actions that would put an end to the “Judaization” of Judea and Samaria. Other mouthpieces noted the need for legal action against Israelis for war crimes.
From the onset of Israel’s creation, the Muslim world without exception has sought to exterminate the Zionist entity. Its initial efforts focused on classical armed conflict: from the War of Independence to the Lebanon War, the enemies’ armies suffered staggering defeats, even if exacting from us a painful price. From the mid-1980s, the Muslim world shifted to a different strategy: intifadas. Here, too, Israel paid a heavy price, but was able to withstand the threat. For years now, calls for another intifada in Judea and Samaria and among Israeli Arabs have fallen on deaf ears. The third wave of terrorism, which is still ongoing, has introduced a new method of resistance: lone-wolf attackers, armed with knives or behind the wheel of a careening vehicle, seeking to terrorize the civilian population. However, a series of measures implemented by Israel’s security forces, alongside quick and effective action by civilians at the scene of attacks, have suppressed the phenomenon significantly.
The current phase is no less dangerous: diplomatic, legal and public relations warfare against Israel — a variety of initiatives aiming to present it as an immoral, apartheid, “illegal” country that must be denounced. Lest we delude ourselves: The goal of the public diplomacy war is the collapse of the Jewish state. International pressure demanding that Israel return to the June 4, 1967, borders is understood as the first stage, not the last. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has consistently declared that he will never recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. And that he will never surrender the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
The heated argument between the Israeli Left and Right overlooks the essence of the problem: The issue is not the territories but the very existence of the State of Israel. It is imperative that Israel find effective ways to counter this new type of warfare, which is no less an existential threat than classic wars, intifadas and knives.