The Middle East merry-go-round spun a little more out of control this week when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that his government would return to negotiations with Israel only after the international community recognizes a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 ceasefire lines.
To what negotiations, we must now ask, would the Palestinians return if that demand is met? Since the Oslo Accords, the goal of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians has been to forge a lasting peace through the creation of a Palestinian state. If the borders are predetermined then Israel is pushed out of the equation and there is little left to negotiate.
Abbas, in effect, is attempting to sideline Israel and, unfortunately, he appears to be gaining support among some European nations. Recall Sweden’s recent suggestion to declare Jerusalem the divided capital of Palestine and Israel, for example.
Even more dangerous than this predetermination of the outcome of negotiations, however, is the Palestinian maneuver to rewrite history. The American and British diplomats who crafted U.N. Resolution 242 after the 1967 war are on record about their specific word choices ensuring that Israel is not required to give up all of the territory it captured. Nor is Israel required to relinquish any land without negotiations.
The Palestinians have placed a roadblock to peace far bigger than any settlement. Abbas is in effect asking the United Nations to overrule its past resolution and impose the Palestinians’ solution to the conflict. The Jewish state would lose its right to determine its own borders or capital and it would become the first country in the world to be forced to hand over land it won in a defensive war.
We must not allow history to be rewritten. Just as we publicize the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Temple, we must publicize an accurate history of the Middle East conflict to protect against the revisionism of those who want to delegitimize Israel.