Guardian group leads UK charge on reckless Palestinian bid for unilateral statehood at the UN

No mainstream media outfit in the Western world has been more hostile to Israel than the Guardian group. On Sunday it ramped up the vitriol yet again. Stupidity or bigotry? Take your pick.

The heart of Jerusalem
Robin Shepherd, Owner / Publisher
On 18 September 2011 11:29

On Friday this coming week, the Palestinian leadership will ask the United Nations Security Council for recognition of a Palestinian state on the basis of 1967 borders which are entirely indefensible for the State of Israel.

Anyone but a fool can see that this is a blatant attempt to avoid direct negotiations with Israel so as to obviate the need for the kind of concessions that meaningful negotiations always entail.

And anyone but a bone-headed imbecile or an implacable anti-Zionist can see that the whole enterprise is fraught with extreme dangers both for Israel itself and for the peace and stability of the entire region.

The move at the Security Council will fail due to the promised American veto. It will then move to the UN General Assembly where the inbuilt anti-Israeli majority will ensure that it passes, granting symbolic (though not legal) recognition to a Palestinian state entirely on Palestinian terms.

Israel will have no choice but to ignore it. But the consequences could still be dire. That symbolic recognition is an obvious gift to every violent anti-Semitic bigot in the region, and the region is jam packed full of them as all the available evidence shows.

It is a gift to Bashar al-Assad in Syria who has already tried to use the Palestinian cause as a diversion from the appalling repression he is visiting on his own people.

It is a gift to Hezbollah who, having rearmed following the 2006 Lebanon conflict, can be activated by their masters in Tehran at any moment.

It is a gift to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt ahead of the country’s elections.

It is a gift to the men of violence in Fatah, the supposedly “moderate” Palestinian faction which consistently names public squares after terrorists and which could all too easily use it as justification for a third Intifada.

In short it is a gift to anyone looking for a rallying cry against Israel.

So, here comes an editorial in the Observer, sister paper on Sunday to the Guardian, with all guns blazing in support of the Palestinian move.

“The idea of a Palestinian state should be uncontroversial,” the paper says.

With one exception, that’s right. Britain supports a Palestinian state. So does the US. So does the EU. In fact, so does Israel.

But here’s the problem, a problem which forms the absolute root cause of this entire conflict. There is one party to this dispute that most emphatically does not support a Palestinian state, if that means long-term acceptance of the State of Israel: the Palestinians themselves.

If you watch the BBC or read the Guardian you obviously won’t be aware of this, but opinion polls have consistently shown that the Palestinians only support the idea of a Palestinian state sitting side by side with Israel as a stepping stone to a future one state solution in which they rule over the Jews (assuming they are ruled over and not slaughtered or “driven into the sea” as they are wont to say).

As I noted in an article in May, a comprehensive poll by the Israel Project in November 2010 showed 60 percent of Palestinians agreeing with the proposition that: “The real goal should be to start with two states but then move to it all being one Palestinian state”.

Two thirds supported the proposition that: “Over time Palestinians must work to get back all the land for a Palestinian state”. And 71 percent said Yasser Arafat was right to reject Bill Clinton’s two-state peace proposals in 2000 and 2001.

In other words, the Israelis have always been in the near impossible situation of being asked to negotiate with people who plainly don’t want any long term peace involving the acceptance of Israel as a legitimate state with a secure future, whatever their leaders say about recognising Israel to gullible Western media.

But this is how the Observer characterises matters. Referring to the alternative to the UN vote – Israel’s call for a return to the negotiating table – it talks of “a moribund peace process, which Israel has done its best to smother under the obstructionist leadership of Binyamin Netanyahu.

“Equally contentious is the claim by some supporters of Israel that in seeking their own state through the declaration of the international community rather than direct talks, Palestinians are seeking to "delegitimise" Israel.”

It’s difficult to know whether to laugh or cry. It’s not that this move seeks to “deligitimise” Israel as some sort of new departure. The core issue is that the Palestinians have never recognised the legitimacy of Israel and have never prepared their people for a lasting peace.

Israel – as the paper somewhat absurdly acknowledges without drawing the obvious conclusion – accepted a two state solution as far back as 1947 in the form of the UN partition plan, while the Palestinian/Arab side rejected it.

The Jewish state was also ready for a two-state solution under the afore-mentioned Clinton formula just over a decade ago. Again, the Palestinians rejected it.

I could go on, and on. But, in the end there is a significant constituency in the Western media and the wider political intelligentsia that is simply inaccessible to reason on this issue.

It is important, of course, to keep confronting them. But the real targets must be above, below and around them – the political and diplomatic classes above; the broader public below; and the more reasonable sections of the media around them.

This week will in all likelihood end up with yet another shameful anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations.

Britain and our allies in NATO and the EU should now make it clear that they, at least, will not be a part of it and will oppose this reckless move with all the power and influence at their disposal.

Robin Shepherd is owner/publisher of the Commentator. His book, A State Beyond the Pale: Europe's Problem with Israel, is out in paperback.

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