What do the Palestinians want?

What do the Palestinians want?

On Sunday, demonstrators from Syria, Lebanon, the west bank, and Gaza converged in what appeared to be a coordinated attack on Israel, simultaneously breaching multiple borders and accosting IDF troops, in some cases throwing rocks and bottles. The clashes, which took the Israel Defense Forces off guard, reportedly left 15 people dead.

In a New York Times opinion piece on Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas argued for “all friendly, peace-loving nations” to support a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations – this from a man whose PA recently joined forces with Hamas, a terrorist organization.

While most Israelis have long accepted the likelihood of a Palestinian state and the Israeli government has made numerous serious attempts, including at Camp David in 2000, to propose terms, Palestinian leaders have yet to accept them or make a serious, viable counter-offer. Perhaps it is time to ask a painful question: Is the Palestinian campaign about independence, or about the desire to destroy Israel?

In his op-ed, Abbas refers to modern Israel’s inception in May1948 as “the nakba, or catastrophe,” and writes, “Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs to ensure a decisive Jewish majority in the future state of Israel, and Arab armies intervened.”

Coming from a man who is lobbying the United Nations to impose a unilateral solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this statement, and its exclusive blame of Israel for Palestinian displacement, is remarkable – and a revision of history. In 1948, the United Nations, which Abbas is now eager to acknowledge as the arbiter of nations and their borders, established modern Israel. It divided British mandate Palestine into two countries: one for the Palestinian Arabs, one for the Jews. Five Arab nations attacked Israel the next day, not the other way around. Arab armies – not Israel – took military action that disregarded the U.N. partition plan and resulted in the Palestinians’ loss of face, dignity, and a homeland.

Unlike the protestors in Egypt and Tunisia, who earlier this year brought down dictatorships through more or less peaceful means, the demonstrators who breached Israel’s borders on Sunday were violent.

Palestinians have rights and they have their side of the story. But so do Israelis. If a Palestinian state were likely to be peaceful, Israelis should – and most would – be proud to have it as a neighbor. But if – and unfortunately, the signs point this way – a majority of Palestinians are either bent on destroying Israel or unable to stand up to forces in their society that are so determined, “friendly, peace-loving nations” and peoples worldwide would frankly be crazy to support formation of such a state. At this point, it would likely be a terrorist state on Israel’s borders – surely the last thing the Jewish state, or the rest of the world in this age of global terrorism – needs.

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