Palestinian statehood bid premature, immature and minor concern for Arab world
by Moshe Dann
The Palestinian struggle to wipe out Israel, although ongoing and front page news has never been more than a sideshow in the Arab world. A convenient tool used by Arab dictators to divert attention away from local corruption and abuse, it has not and will not be of major consequence. The Arab world has more important concerns.
That is why exaggerating the consequences of Palestinian moves toward UN recognition distorts reality and creates a false sense of impending doom for Israelis and for the world. Hyping Palestinian causes and efforts to delegitimize and demonize Israel are in effect propaganda gimmicks aimed at Israel's destruction. These methods were common throughout history in different forms – blood libels, racist theories, Nazi screed, the Protocols, Holocaust denial – and promoted in churches and mosques. For some, it is a way of life.
With all the hoopla and media attention, however, the surge for Palestinian statehood is a minor event in the Arab world exploding with civil wars, demonstrations and riots. In real terms, the Palestinian diplomatic sideshow cannot compete with hundreds of people killed daily by Arab security forces in the Middle East and North Africa, revolutions and counter-revolutions without end.
Since they already have diplomatic recognition from 150 countries, the EU and the UN, what more does the PLO seek in statehood at the UN? The political self-definition of the Palestinians includes non- recognition of Israel and terrorist factions, like Hamas. Statehood, moreover, involves the ability to effectively control the territory claimed, reasonable and just civil institutions, desire for peaceful relations, and in the case of the PLO, an end to the "Palestinian refugee" issue.
Most significantly, the current Palestinian leadership has decided to go to the UN before holding oft-postponed elections, raising questions about its internal power struggle and future leaders; experts predict Hamas will take power. Amidst an ongoing civil war between Fatah and Hamas, despite their temporary "reconciliations," Palestinian leaps towards statehood are not only premature; they are immature.
Jew-hatred to persist
Jew-hatred will not change with or without recognition of Palestinian statehood. The PLO and Hamas will continue to pursue their goal of eliminating Israel, supported by Islamists, Jihadists, the Muslim Brotherhood and others. Hezbollah will continue to amass missiles – although its current stock estimated at 50,000 seems more than enough to destroy Israel. And, regardless of President Obama's request that they come up with answers, Palestinian leaders can continue to remain silent while planning for conflict.
Exaggerating Palestinian moves toward UN recognition is dangerous when linked with demands for Israel to "do something!" It encourages opponents of Israel and settlements to pressure the Jewish State into more concessions to "head off the tsunami." Even more dangerous, it shifts the onus of preventing violence and promoting peace to Israel.
Finally, if the Palestinians make this move it will have no practical or diplomatic effect. It will, however, have one very important benefit for Israel: It will free us from the restrictions of the Oslo Agreements and the delusions that spawned.
If Arabs claim sovereignty in Palestine, Jews should match that with our own: Sovereignty now.
The author is a historian, writer and journalist