By Amy Teibel and Mohammed Daraghmem - Associated Press | AP[The US and Israel against the world. ♫ Sometimes it feels like... ♫
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Defying U.S. and Israeli opposition, Palestinians asked the United Nations on Friday to accept them as a member state, sidestepping nearly two decades of failed negotiations in the hope this dramatic move on the world stage would reenergize their quest for an independent homeland.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was greeted by sustained applause and appreciative whistles from the delegations in the General Assembly hall as outlined his people's hopes and dreams of becoming a full member of the United Nations. Some members of the Israeli delegation, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermann, left the hall as Abbas approached the podium.
In a scathing denunciation of Israel's settlement policy, Abbas declared that negotiations with Israel "will be meaningless" as long as it continues building on lands the Palestinians claim for that state. Invoking what would be a nightmare for Israel, he went so far as to warn that his government could collapse if the construction persists.
"This policy is responsible for the continued failure of the successive international attempts to salvage the peace process," said Abbas, who has refused to negotiate until the construction stops. "This settlement policy threatens to also undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence."
To another round of applause, he held up a copy of the formal membership application and said he had asked U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to expedite deliberation of his request to have the United Nations recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
Ban has to examine the application before referring it to the Security Council. Action on the membership request could take weeks, if not months. [If not years. If ever.]
The speech papered over any Palestinian culpability for the negotiations stalemate, deadly violence against Israel, spurned peace offers and the internal rift that has produced dueling governments in the West Bank and Gaza. It also ignored Jewish links to the Holy Land. [Cough-cough, excuse me? They want to take all of the Holy Land away from Israel? Of course not; they just want the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. Israel doesn't overlook the Palestinians' links to the Holy Land? It's been more than seven centuries since the Battle of La Forbie in 1244. Look it up. Do the math.]
Abbas' jubilant mood was matched by the exuberant celebration of thousands of Palestinians who thronged around outdoor screens in town squares across the West Bank on Friday to see their president submit his historic request for recognition of a state of Palestine to the United Nations.
"I am with the President," said Muayad Taha, a 36-year-old physician, who brought his two children, ages 7 and 10, to witness the moment. "After the failure of all other methods (to win independence) we reached a stage of desperation. This is a good attempt to put the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people on the map. Everyone is here to stand behind the leadership."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing the General Assembly shortly after Abbas, said his country was "willing to make painful compromises." [Painful? How painful?]
"I extend my hand to the Palestinian people, with whom we seek a just and lasting peace," Netanyahu said, to extended applause.
Palestinians, he added, "should live in a free state of their own, but they should be ready for compromise" and "start taking Israel's security concerns seriously." [Israel has security concerns because they continue to build settlements on Palestinian land. If they withdrew from the settlements, what would happen? Threats to their security would increase? Of course not. They have security concerns because of their own actions.]
I understand the necessity for the creation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, after the horrors of the Holocaust. I think anyone in the West who was against its creation at the time had to be completely devoid of a capacity for empathy. But in 1967, rather than having a Six-Day War, Israel and Jews worldwide should have taken stock of themselves and seen how well things were going for them then and realized that they didn't need modern Israel anymore. They had outgrown the need for it. (In 1967, Jews were ghettoized in New York? In L.A.? In Atlanta? In Dallas? What, Beverly Hills was a ghetto in 1967? Nice ghetto. Gays should have had to endure such ghettos in 1967.) Instead of ramping up the conflict, Israelis should have just lost interest in having a homeland that hadn't been their homeland for 19 centuries, since the Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136 ce). The land should have just drifted back to Palestinian possession over time as Israelis left to find nicer digs elsewhere.]