[Published 13 January 2014]
PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has wasted no time dismantling US Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed framework agreement with an intemperate outburst affirming the PLO will never recognise Israel as the Jewish State.
Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh quotes Abbas as stating on 11 January:
“We won’t recognize and accept the Jewishness of Israel. We have many excuses and reasons that prevent us from doing.
Israel’s problem is that the Palestinians know more than the Israelis about history and geography, he said. “We talk about what we know,” he said.
Kerry had alluded to the daunting problems he faced producing his framework agreement as the basis for ongoing negotiations between Israel and the PLO at a joint press conference with chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat in Ramallah on 4 January.
“There are narrative issues; difficult, complicated years of mistrust that have been built up, all of which has to be worked through and undone, and a pathway has to be laid down in which the parties can have confidence that they know what is happening and that the road ahead is real, not illusory.”
The narrative issues raised by Abbas’s latest comments underscore the two very different Jewish and Arab perspectives of their 130 years old conflict which appear certain to continue to remain irreconcilable.
These issues goes to the very heart of the conflict - and short of a complete retraction by Abbas - will continue to be the quicksand into which Kerry’s framework agreement will collapse into political oblivion.
Abbas has clearly signalled the continuing refusal of the PLO to accept the unanimous decision of the League of Nations on 24 July 1922 legally sanctioning the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in its ancient and biblical homeland - as promulgated in the Mandate for Palestine.
The site for the Jewish National Home - originally intended to be established within 100% of the Mandate territory - was restricted to being created within just 22% of that area (now Israel and the West Bank) by virtue of the application of article 25 of the Palestine Mandate on 23 September 1922.
The “two state” solution now being pursued by Kerry had its actual genesis in this decision - when the remaining 78% of Palestine (now Jordan) was set aside for Arab self determination.
The League of Nations found no identifiable indigenous people then existing in Palestine - referring only to
1. the ” civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine”
2. “safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine, irrespective of race and religion”
3. “The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration… and shall encourage ... close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”
In 1964 - when the PLO was formed - article 18 of its founding Charter consigned the Mandate and all subsequent decisions of the League of Nations and its successor - the United Nations - to the garbage bin - considering them all to be “fraud”.
These longstanding international legally binding commitments were dismissed with even more contempt when the Charter was revised in 1968 - article 20 unequivocally declaring:
“The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.”
Palestine had also been miraculously transformed by the PLO Charter to become:
1. “the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people”
2. “an indivisible part of the Arab homeland
3. “the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation”
4. “an indivisible territorial unit with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate”
This amazing metamorphosis has been the driver seeking to delegitimise and denigrate the Jewish people’s legal right to establish a state of their own sitting alongside 57 Arab and Moslem nations in the United Nations on equal terms and with mutual diplomatic recognition.
This narrative has resulted in the majority of those Arab and Moslem States - and regretfully many other UN member States - seeking to subvert the legal right of Jews to reconstitute their national home in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as laid down by article 6 of the Mandate and article 80 of the United Nations Charter.
Having become members of the United Nations - thereby having agreed to accept the obligations set out in the Charter - including article 80 - these rejectionist States have become involved in a concerted Arab and Moslem campaign to relegate the Jewish State from world atlases back into the Bible - where its birth and history was first recorded.
No amount of doublespeak, winks or nudges will enable Kerry to present a framework agreement that has any chance of a diplomatic breakthrough unless this disingenuous Abbas narrative is abandoned.
Abbas’s knowledge of history and geography is demonstrably false and misleading.
Entrapped by a fictitious narrative that rejects binding international law, history and geography whilst maintaining an illusory belief they can be re-written - the Arab League and the PLO will surely miss yet another historic opportunity to end their conflict with the Jewish people.
So will Kerry.