The United Nations General Assembly once again demonstrated a lack of common sense in the pursuit of Middle East peace.
On the 65th anniversary of Resolution 181, which partitioned Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, it handed the Palestinian Authority a worthless victory. Comments made by the representatives of various member states made it clear that the date was significant because the Jewish state stifled the birth of the Arab state, and now matters were being set right.
That is a lie. The members of the General Assembly know it is a lie. They know that Israel accepted Resolution 181 and that the Arab states did not. They know that Egypt, Jordan, and Syria invaded the proposed Jewish state and lost, then chose to occupy portions of the territory meant for the Palestinian Arabs. It was they who shut down the hopes of the Palestinians.
What was, of course, is irrelevant to what is. There is a Palestinian state in formation and it exists beside Israel. Israel’s continuing administration of that territory is not in its own best interest. A two-state solution is the only truly viable solution.
That solution, however, cannot come by lying about the past. It also cannot be brought about by United Nations fiat. Only through negotiations can it be achieved and can peace be given a chance.
As we said last week, even nominally granting statehood status to the PA is to set back the peace process, perhaps by years.
Israel’s response, however, is no more helpful. What benefit is there to threatening to build more settlements on the west bank? Will that end the killing? Will that obliterate the hate? Will that help build the kind of confidence necessary to achieve concord?
In a statement earlier this week, the White House said, “We urge the parties to cease unilateral actions and take concrete steps to return to direct negotiations, so all the issues can be discussed and the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security can be realized.”
We second that. We second this statement by a former president of the United States, as well. Civility, John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address, “is not a sign of weakness; sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
It is time to put sincerity of both sides to the test. It is time to negotiate.