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SHELLEY FAINTUCH:WHY NOT SUPPORT THE UNILATERAL DECLARATION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE?

by Shelley Faintuch, September 24, 2011


Why not support the unilateral declaration of an independent (UDI) Palestinian state? The 18 years of negotiations since Oslo, have yielded nothing but a stalemate in the diplomatic arena and fatigue in the public domain. So, if we can’t achieve a two-state solution through bilateral diplomacy, why not just get it done unilaterally and work on the details later? After all, the end goal is to achieve peace and justice: peace in the Middle East and justice for the aggrieved. Right?

 
Wrong.
 
First things first: The State of Israel wants to have a peaceful, law-abiding, democratic independent Palestinian State beside it – a state that recognizes Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish homeland as it was created in 1948. If all parties were intent on safety and security for both Israelis and Palestinians, as the basis for UDI, we would all have reason to celebrate.
 
But let’s look at the facts: The players in this very dangerous game are the Palestinians who divide into several factions: Fatah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are among them. Hamas and Islamic Jihad still have as a core principal the destruction of the state of Israel. They are vociferously encouraging the people to take to the streets in demonstrations in support of the unilateral move. However, I doubt that peaceful demonstrations are the objective: Journalist Walla Karaja, working for UNRWA, confirmed recently that military training has increased in Gaza in anticipation of the people taking to the streets. Karaja also confirmed that massive quantities of weapons have arrived there from the “outside” – meaning Iran. “In spite of all the efforts of Israel, Hamas and its allies managed to get weapons through smuggling,” said Karaja.
 
Peaceful two state solution? Nabil Shabath, Head of Foreign Relations in Fatah stated both on Dream1 TV in Egypt and ANB TV Lebanon/London: “We will never accept the "Two-States for Two Peoples" Solution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. (July 21 and July 13)
 
Going directly to the UN allows Abbas to avoid direct negotiations with the Israelis. Furthermore, this bid foregoes the peace process and allows the Palestinians to achieve statehood WITHOUT a peace accord or any obligation to work on peace.
 
Avoidance of the correct process in place, allows the Palestinians to go renegade: to declare a state without peace opens the door for a permanent state of war. Moreover, it removes any incentive for negotiating lasting peace.
 
This plays into the hands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who want to destroy Israel; into the hands of Iran, who also seeks the destruction of the Jewish state and is in fact supplying most of the arms for the terrorists.
 
It is widely believed that the majority of the General Assembly will vote for the declaration of a state of Palestine. However, once the General Assembly has voted, the resolution needs to pass in the Security Council. The United States has vowed to veto the resolution. Should that be the case, the likelihood of Palestinian demonstrations turning into a third intifada is all but guaranteed:
 
Had the UDI had peace as its goal, there would be no arousal of the Palestinian people and encouragement to take to the streets. A poll for the Palestine Centre for Public Opinion found that 70.5% of the Palestinians in the West Bank expect an intifada after the Declaration. By the way, the Israelis also believe that a third intifada is imminent: an Israeli poll for Peace Index found that the same percentage (70%) of Jews expect a popular uprising on the part of the Palestinians.
 

Much as we all want to see a two state solution, a Palestine beside Israel, two states accepting each other’s existence, working together towards a better future, UDI is not the solution. Rather, the unilateral declaration of independence that we all anticipate is simply going to fan the flames of war. 

 Shelley Faintuch is the Community Relations Director of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and Associate Director, Local Partner Services, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.  

 
 
 
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