Yesterday, in a non-binding parliamentary vote, the British House of Commons overwhelmingly endorsed Palestinian statehood alongside Israel. Hadassah has been among the first of what will surely be a host of American Jewish organizations lamenting such moves (“Hadassah Concerned by Unilateral Actions for Palestinian Statehood“).
By way of contrast, there’s this statement issued by PPI on Sept. 18, 2011, as the Palestinian Authority first considered applying for upgraded statehood status at the United Nations. These are its main points:
. . . Regardless of whether or not the Palestinian application at the UN is approved, it will not replace the need for a bilateral Israeli-Palestinian accord, and Israelis and Palestinians will still have to learn to live alongside one another in peace and security. We therefore urge the government of Israel to embrace the positive elements that we hope and expect the Palestinian request to contain:
1. Non-violence: The Palestinian application is a diplomatic gambit, not a military offensive. It is imperative that this be the playing field on which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved.
2. Two-state solution reinforced: By referring to the 1967 lines as the basis for their state, we expect that the Palestinian application will reinforce the concept of the two-state solution, and weaken the idea, promoted by each side’s extreme elements, that one side or the other should dominate the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
3. Recognition of Jewish rights to statehood: By hopefully incorporating a reference to UN General Assembly resolution 181, the international basis for Israel’s creation, the Palestinian move could serve to implicitly recognize the Jewish people’s right to national self-determination and statehood.
4. The 1967 lines will not be the final borders: We expect the Palestinian application to indicate that the pre-war 1967 lines will be adjusted in subsequent negotiations with Israel to take into account Israel’s security needs and some of the demographic results of its settlement policy.
Should the Palestinians go forward with their application to the UN, we urge President Abbas and his government to include these elements in their proposal — 1) Non-Violence, 2) A Two-State Solution, 3) Reference to the UN partition plan, 4) Final border based on the 1967 lines with negotiated land swaps — and to continue expressing their readiness for renewed peace talks with Israel. We urge Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government not to waste time, and to engage with the representatives of the Palestinian people on the basis of these principles. . . .
Click here for the full statement from that time.
I was proud to have co-authored the PPI statement referred to, but I think the more relevant statement was the 2nd in the series, from Oct. 17, 2011, that examined the actual Palestinian application and saw it as a potential “basis for a reenergized and revamped diplomatic process” http://partners4israel.org/partners-progressive-israel-meretz-usa-encouraged-content-palestinian-application-full-un-membership
BTW: It would be helpful if we all made sure to remember that Israel’s diplomatic interlocutor is, and has always been, the PLO, NOT the “Palestinian Authority” as written in this post.
Israel’s government and media indeed refer to talks with the PA, but such references have an agenda: They focus discourse on the Palestinians in the WB and Gaza alone and turn a blind eye to the Palestinian diaspora (and the Palestinians of East Jerusalem, for that matter), whom the PLO also represents. The terminology is vital, since it’s needed to maintain the accuracy of the narrative.