Cliff May

The truth is that despite years of peace processing, handshakes and agreements, Palestinian leaders – those we call moderates quite as much as those we call extremists --- remain intent not on a two-state solution but on a two-stage execution: Israel is to be weakened and then annihilated. From 1949 to now, the strategies have changed but not the goal.

The Palestinian state Abbas and Shaath envision would be, to use the apt German word, judenrein, ethnically cleansed of Jews. Meanwhile, they hope, the international community will exert pressure on Israel to accept a “right of return” The opening of Israel’s doors to Palestinian refugees, their descendants and relatives would leave Jews as a minority in Israel. They would then enjoy the same minority rights that the Bahai enjoy in Iran, Christians enjoy in Pakistan and other religious minorities enjoy in other OIC states. That is to say, they would enjoy no rights. Those who could emigrate, would do so. Some, perhaps a very large number, would be killed. A remnant might remain as dhimmis -- most accurately defined as a permanently submissive, oppressed and humiliated minority.

Many Western leaders choose to disregard these facts. That may become more difficult to do following G.A. approval of the UDI. At that point, terrorist attacks on Israel are likely to accelerate. Abbas has said he wants peaceful protests not an armed intifadah (the third if you’re keeping count). But if Hamas and Hezbollah add fuel to the fires, Israel will have no choice but to respond. Another war will be the result.

Those Europeans who are reflexively supporting Palestinian unilateralism and rejectionism will bear some responsibility for the carnage – though don’t expect them to shed salty tears. Instead, assuming Israelis successfully defend themselves, the Europeans will once again charge them with carrying out a “disproportionate response.”

There is still time to prevent this -- if there is the will to do so. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, announced last weekend that she will introduce legislation cutting off U.S. taxpayer funding to “any UN entity that grants membership or any other upgraded status” to the Palestinians following G.A. approval of a UDI.

President Obama could do much more. To start, he could make a strong statement explaining why unilateralism must be opposed and why negotiations must be resumed. He could order a diplomatic surge – instructing American ambassadors to advise our allies in Europe and our aid recipients elsewhere that he will view a vote for the UDI with extreme disfavor.

At the very least, he could,, as my colleague Jonathan Schanzer recently argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, push for a revised UDI, one that would make international recognition of a Palestinian state contingent on Palestinian recognition of the Jewish state – with borders to be established through negotiations rather than terrorism or the rulings of international entities controlled by the OIC and openly hostile toward Israel.

Is that not the outcome that American presidents, Democratic and Republican alike, have for decades worked to achieve? Does President Obama really want history to record that, on his watch, it all crashed and burned?


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.