Undeserving case for a Palestinian state
by Salim Mansur
Recently Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, took to the pages of The New York Times with a plea for "The Long Overdue Palestinian State."
He recalled how, as a 13-year old, he fled with his family from the Galilean city of Safed for safety to Syria following the UN partition of Palestine and the establishment of modern Israel.
Abbas' Times column is instructive for what is not mentioned even more than what is stated.
He recalls the "nakba" (or catastrophe) of Palestinian loss in 1948. This is the preferred Arab narrative in which Palestinians are victims of western powers and Zionist Jews through the agency of the UN.
Palestinians cannot, and will not, acknowledge that what occurred in 1947-48 came about as a result of the catastrophic miscalculation on the part of their leadership and Arab states.
For 30 years prior to the November 1947 UN vote, Palestinians and other Arabs refused to accept the idea of making allowance for Jews in their midst as set forth in Britain's Balfour Declaration.
This long standing refusal found expression in their rejection of the UN partition plan, and within a few hours of Israel's independence in May 1948, Arab armies invaded the Jewish state.
Those who plan war and initiate it must know there are consequences both in victory and in defeat.
There is no mistaking what Palestinian and Arab rejectionism of the UN plan meant.
An Arab victory in 1948 would have meant the liquidation of Jewish presence in Palestine.
The same held true in the repeated efforts of Arab states and Palestinian armed conflict against Israel after the 1949 armistice, and the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973.
It is this record that the Arab/Palestinian narrative dismisses, and against this record insists that for justice to be done in favour of Palestinians, the clock of history must be set back minimally to the status quo before the war of June 1967.
Hence, the plan Abbas sets forth is the request to be made in September for the General Assembly's recognition of the State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders and its admission to the UN.
This plan will likely materialize given the politics of the General Assembly backed by the numbers of the Arab and Islamic states.
What it cannot do, despite the propaganda effect for Palestinians, is deliver the state without seriously engaging Israel in a negotiated settlement.
But what no one asks is why Palestinian rejection of the UN's 1947 plan and Arab aggression against Israel merit reward of the same more than six decades later?
Or why juxtapose another Palestinian state next to Jordan, which is already overwhelmingly Palestinian, in addition to 21 other Arab states?
Or, why 355 million Arabs need 22 states when there is only one China and one India with their respective population of more than a billion people in each state?
The reason Palestinians will receive the General Assembly's undeserving support is due to the real, though unstated, institutionalized bigotry inside the world body that once voted Zionism as a form of racism.
Against such bigotry there is no appeal for fairness.
Ask the more deserving Tibetans.