UN Recognizes Palestine

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Yesterday, despite pleas from Israel, the US and Canada, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state.  The vote falls short of full-fledged recognition since that requires the unanimous approval of the Security Council.

But it upgrades the Palestinian Authority — it can now legitimately call itself “Palestine” and it now has access to the levers of statehood at the UN.  The United States voted against it, as did Israel, Canada, the Czech Republic, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, but notably, both the UK and Australia abstained.

Canada was so shocked at the UN vote that it recalled its diplomats from Israel, the West Bank and the UN missions in New York and Geneva to consult with the government and assess the situation going forward.

    “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the General Assembly shortly before the vote “defamatory and venomous,” saying it was “full of mendacious propaganda” against Israel. Abbas had told the General Assembly that it was “being asked today to issue the birth certificate of Palestine.” Abbas said the vote is the last chance to save the two-state solution. After the vote, Netanyahu said the UN move violated past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and that Israel would act accordingly, without elaborating what steps it might take.”

In the end, only nine countries opposed extending recognition to the State of Palestine, while 138 supported it.  Forty-eight countries, including the two mentioned, abstained.{pub}To read this entire article, please register and it will be opened up to you{/pub} {reg} 

Noted the Israeli Ha’aratz in a column entitled, “How Israel Lost Europe’s Support”:

    “As the hours wore on Thursday, the magnitude of the Israeli defeat in the United Nations General Assembly became continually clearer. One after another, the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office received reports from Israeli embassies in Europe that countries were changing their votes at the last minute and leaning toward the Palestinians. A few hours before the vote, officials in Jerusalem understood that Israel was left without any Western support except for the United States, Canada and the Czech Republic.”

    “We lost Europe,” said a senior Foreign Ministry official. The erosion of Israeli support and shift to the Palestinians started a few days ago in France. President Francois Hollande’s words at a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris a month ago, in which he expressed doubts about the Palestinian move in the UN, disappeared as if he never spoke them.”

Assessment:

    “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)

A bit over nineteen years ago, the world was still absorbing the implications behind the signing of the Oslo Agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Rose Garden of the White House.

The original agreement as set forth on September 13, 1993 aimed at establishing an autonomous, self-governing Palestinian Authority consisting of an elected Council for the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank.

The agreement was in three parts; two years of limited autonomy over the West Bank areas around Jericho; to be followed (if successful) by three years of limited autonomy over a wider area of the West Bank and Gaza.  

This was clearly set forth by the Declaration of Principles:

    The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, the elected Council (the “Council”), for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years, leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

    It is understood that the interim arrangements are an integral part of the whole peace process and that the negotiations on the permanent status will lead to the implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

Jerusalem was off the table, there was to be no discussion of statehood and only after the autonomous period was deemed a success were the parties to enter into a two year period of “final status negotiations” regarding Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to satisfy UN Resolutions 242 and 338.

The agreement has been bent, broken, rewritten, renegotiated and oftentimes simply unilaterally modified many times since, but the original deal was two years of probation, three years of observation and finally two years of final status talks, with the whole thing to culminate in a big celebration on September 13, 2000.

I know that to be the case, despite the historical revision to have taken place since.  I read the original cable the day it was made public.  On September 13, 1993 I was summoned to the office of the Israeli Consul-General to Canada in Toronto.

I had written a number of pro-Israel articles and video documentaries when working with the “This Week in Bible Prophecy” television program and through this, had come to know and become friends with Consul-General Dror Zeigerman.

Dror summoned me to his office and showed me the cable because he said wanted to make sure that the Christian audience ‘got it right’.

(Dror took me to lunch at the coolest restaurant I’d ever seen; the car drove into an underground garage and then right up INTO the restaurant.  The menu had no prices and although there were two dozen tables, we were the only ones there.  Duh — I found out later it was a secure restaurant belonging to the Israel government for use by its diplomatic staff.)

Anyway, over lunch, Dror outlined the agreement from the cable as I’ve outlined it here; two years, then three years, Jerusalem off the table, then two years for final status negotiations and a big two-state party in September 2000.

Of course, Arafat began modifying its terms unilaterally almost before the ink was dry.  He stood on the Jericho road leading up to Jerusalem and declared the existence of a Palestinian State.  He set up his first governmental offices at Orient House in Jerusalem.

He kept on demanding more land for peace, even though he had promised peace in exchange for what he had agreed to in 1993, and seven years (to the day) after making the promise, instead of a joyous celebration, he launched the Second Intifada, or what Israelis came to call “the Oslo War”.

    “Starting as early as September 13, 2000, members of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement carried out a number of attacks on Israeli military and civilian targets, in violation of Oslo Accords. In addition, the Israeli agency Palestinian Media Watch alleged that the Palestinian official TV broadcasts became increasingly militant during the summer of 2000, as Camp David negotiations faltered.”

And so, to summarize for clarity and conciseness, the Oslo Agreement was originally a three-stage autonomy agreement based on the formula of land-for-peace.  It was signed on September 13, 1993 and was due to be completed with the success of the final status negotiations on September 13, 2000 — a grand total of seven years.

Instead, exactly seven years to the day after the signing, Yasser Arafat ordered the first wave of attacks against the Israeli military, violating the Oslo Accords.

That is the actual unrevised history — not the revised history the UN General Assembly was basing its vote on.  Oslo is not dead — Western governments, as well the government of Israel, still recognize the validity of the Oslo Accords.  The following paragraph is from today’s Jerusalem Post:

    “In recent weeks, following appeals by the US and other international players not to respond in an overly harsh manner that would make a future return to negotiations even more difficult, Israel has moved from suggestions that it immediately annul the Oslo Accords and annex the large settlement blocs, to “tamer” measures, such as deducting money from taxes collected on behalf of the PA to cover the estimated NIS 800 million owed to the Israeli Electric Cooperation.”

Oslo is a seven year covenant that divides the land for gain.  But since it was based on land-for-peace and the Palestinians have the land, until Israel has the peace that it already paid for, it is a covenant that as yet remains confirmed.

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By Jack Kinsella

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