The Palestinian statehood ruse

Going for statehood at the UN derails the real peace process

Today, Palestinian leaders may attempt to achieve statehood with a unilateral declaration of independence at the United Nations. This political ploy on the part of the Palestinians, if carried out, will not only fail to change the situation on the ground, but will also severely undermine peace and violate past agreements with Israel. Therefore, in the interest of true and meaningful peace, it is the responsibility of Congress to cut U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority if any such unilateral appeal for statehood is made.

It is ironic that the Palestinians have chosen to pursue a declaration of statehood in the United Nations, considering the fact that the UN does not actually have the legal right to grant statehood — the UN can only grant existing states membership to the General Assembly. This is because the UN Charter does not provide the United Nations the authority to formally establish a state, only to recognize them. This may seem like mere semantics, but in reality the Palestinians “seeking statehood” at the UN means trying to symbolically elevate their international status while avoiding concrete steps for establishing a state legitimately. For example, the international requirements for declaring statehood mandate that a state possess a defined geography and government, a permanent population, and a recommendation from the UN Security Council. Since the Palestinians meet none of these criteria, it is incredulous that they have appealed to the United Nations for what seems a moot cause.

Regardless, even if the United Nations did have the ability to grant statehood, Article 4 of the United Nations Charter requires that membership only be granted to “peace-loving states.” This is also a requirement not met by the Palestinian government, which is led in part by terrorist group Hamas. Any government comprised of a terrorist entity aimed at obliterating another country — Hamas seeks to destroy Israel — rightly fails the criteria for statehood or admission to the UN General Assembly. Furthermore, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has admitted that any new Palestinian state will be free of Jews — is the United Nations really so morally destitute as to acknowledge a racist and terrorist state?

Moreover, a unilateral Palestinian appeal to the United Nations for statehood violates every major agreement made between Israel and the Palestinians, all of which require direct negotiations without third party arbitration. For example, the Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, signed in September 1999 and witnessed by Egypt, Jordan and the United States, said “neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in accordance with the Interim Agreement.” The Palestinians unilaterally delineating borders is in clear violation.

The Palestinian appeal for statehood at the United Nations is not only an antagonistic and aggressive maneuver against Israel — it also de-legitimizes the value of any United States-backed agreement. If peace is to be achieved, it is necessary that all parties’ signatures have some credibility and worth. The Palestinians’ utter disregard of past agreements tarnishes their trustworthiness for future deals, and that significantly hurts the peace process.

The true obstacle to peace is the Palestinian leadership’s refusal to acknowledge Israel as the Jewish state and homeland, the use of terrorist tactics against Israeli civilians, and the abandonment of direct negotiations. Only this week, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya said that Hamas is eager to establish “a Palestinian state on any part of Palestinian land without giving up an inch of Palestine or recognizing Israel.” As long as such hatred and denial of Israel continues among top Palestinian leaders, no secure peace will be reached.

Congress must take a stand and completely reject any unilateral declaration of statehood, and thank President Obama for his support of a Security Council veto of the resolution. In a time of instability, it is against America’s interests to undermine Israel — our one true democratic ally in the Middle East — or to endorse the creation of yet another volatile state in the region. The best way to foster progress is by cutting Palestinian aid to show that there are repercussions for violating past agreements and taking unilateral action, especially in such a public international forum as the United Nations.

Anonymous over 12 years ago

I reject your line of thinking. Your arguments are full of nonsense semantics and details meant to obscure the weakness of your main points.

Palestine is and will always be the heart and soul of the Arab world. The indigenous Palestinian people both in Palestine and Diaspora still recall their history, heritage, culture, music, lineage which is separate and distinct from the other Arab speaking countries.

Israel has expended herculean efforts to erase and vilify the Palestinian existence and erase its natural borders. Golda Meir said in 1969 that there are no Palestinians!

How can one understand Israel's brutality toward its indigenous population? One can successfully argue that Israel is brutalizing the Palestinian people in the same way that the Jewish populations of Western Europe were brutalized. History is repeating itself no doubt. I, however, will not stand as a silent witness to this tragedy. As a US citizen I stand with the Palestinian people and their commitment to nation status. Palestine's bid for Nation status is no different than Israel's creation in 1947 or the 34 new countries that have arisen since 1990.

Bernard over 12 years ago

What would you do if you realized that Israel is not interested in ceding one inch of land? What would you do if you realized that the Jewish lobby has enormous clout in Washington and on wall street, and that the US has no interest in Palestine but rather wants to keep Israel as the 51st State of the Union? What would you do if you were living under an illegal occupation (see UN Resolution)? What would you do if you were humiliated daily and forced to live under circumstances that resemble a concentration camp?

Pete Hastings over 12 years ago

This is a good example of why there has not been any progress in a peace effort. The extremism and hatred is so pervasive and frankly, this type of rhetoric only adds fuel to fire. The only hope for peace is for people to confront this type of thought process and get participants focused on some sort of middle ground.

mark over 12 years ago

There is not such nation as palestinians. There are just palestinian arabs. Before foundation of Israel Jew in palestine were called palestinians. There are not any differenses beatween Iraeli arabs and "palestinians". Mostly they came to palestine in the begining of 20 century. Study history

Samantha over 12 years ago

Anon: It seems to me that you are the one who is guity of using semantics to obsure the weakness of your assertions. For instance, Mandatory Palestine, now known as Israel has never been the center of the Arab or Muslim world. In fact, the area of Israel, and especially the Jewish capital, Jerusalem, is not once mentioned in the Qur'an, the Muslim holy book. By contrast, Mecca and Medina, Muhammad's birthplace and the destination of his hijra, are both mentioned multiple times in the Qur'an. These locations are both in Saudi Arabia, not in Israel. Muslims must make a yearly pilgramage to Mecca from wherever they are, and they prey facing it five times a day. Saudi Arabia is seen as the homeland of Islam, the place it began, and the holy birthplace of the Prophet.

Anonymous over 12 years ago

Well written and accurate! You present well reasoned, clear, and logical arguments, especially that the US needs to realize how this impacts their own credability!

Anonymous over 12 years ago

It's kind of funny because all the requirements you say are needed for declaring statehood mandate if Palestine does not have them it's because of the Israeli occupation. You're like asking the Palestinians to give in because they don't have a defined geography, which I think is untrue, it's pretty defined, Israeli violates it, so get real.

And if we are going to start arguing that Palestine is breaking previous agreements with Israel, this is not 5 of the violations Israel has made towards the Palestinians and UN law. You can't be serious, who's paying you to say this?

Anonymous over 12 years ago

5 percent

Dhanesh over 12 years ago

Rachel, you make so many errors (I use that word charitably) that I can't help thinking you're a parody. You write that "the UN does not actually have the legal right to grant statehood." If that is true, certain things follow. Are you aware of a vote taken by the United Nations General Assembly on 29 November 1947?

Anonymous over 12 years ago


Of course you are referring to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181, which sought to end the British Mandate of Palestine and "recommended the partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab." All the UN could do is recommend, and not actually grant sovereignty.

However, Israel does not grant its validity as a state from the UN-- it derives its nationhood from a continuous Jewish presence in the land for over 2,000 years following an expulsion of the Jews from their ancestral homeland from which they were exiled. Moreover, Israel has defined boundaries, a stable government, and a common language. These qualifications are either non-existent or severely lacking in the Palestinian's case. Most of the Arabs who lived in the British Mandate of Palestine before the Partition Plan were Bedouins, and moved their relatively recently from a historical perspective. Only after the partition plan did the so called "Palestinian people" come into existence. Before that, nothing differentiated the Arabs who lived in present day Jordan from those who are called Palestinian today.