Watching Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations on Sept. 23 calling for a vote on Palestinian statehood, I was struck by how callously Abbas ignored the reasons for the occupation by Israeli troops. Absent was the fact that, in their eagerness to destroy the Jewish state, the Arab nations attacked the newly formed state in violation of UN recognition and a partition plan. In claiming that Israel took Palestinian lands during the 1967 war, he conveniently forgets that it was the Arabs who started that war and another war in 1973. In asking the General Assembly to condemn the wall separating the occupied territories from Israel, he declines to mention that the wall is Israel’s response to suicide bombings of Israeli civilians on buses and in restaurants.
Also absent in his speech was the fact that during the Clinton peace talks at Camp David, Israel agreed to nearly all Palestinian demands, all except the demand that would open Israel to enough Arab residents to eventually change Israel into a majority Moslem state. Instead of settling for less than the political destruction of Israel, Yassar Arafat started a bloodbath that Israel is still defending against.
A peaceful solution requires partners. Jordan is an example. But a “partner” that includes Hamas and who characterizes Israel as the aggressor is no peace partner.