February 25, 2020

Palestinians in Ramallah demonstrate against the U.S. peace plan prior to Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the U.N. in mid-February. Abbas called the plan, which promised Palestinian statehood and $50 billion in development funds, “illegal”—another among many missed opportunities over the decades to achieve sovereignty.

Palestinians in Ramallah demonstrate against the U.S. peace plan prior to Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the U.N. in mid-February. Abbas called the plan, which promised Palestinian statehood and $50 billion in development funds, “illegal”—another among many missed opportunities over the decades to achieve sovereignty.

Mahmoud Abbas Flounders at the U.N.: Last Gasp for Palestinian Statehood?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

Despite his lack of meaningful achievement as President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas has been a formidable, pugnacious opponent of Israel over the last 15 years of his four-year elected term.

However, Abbas’ appearance at the U.N. earlier this month marked a desperate, sad—even pathetic—low mark in the 57-year Palestinian Arab movement for sovereignty.

His message confirmed that further expenditure of U.S. diplomatic capital to rescue the Palestinians currently is misplaced. It surely seems time for the octogenarian leader to step down.

Abbas’ speech to U.N. delegates was impassioned, but effete. He also failed in his attempt to promote a Security Council resolution decrying President Trump’s Peace Deal—which calls for a sovereign Palestinian state—as illegal.

First, Abbas attacked the Trump plan, accusing members of the U.S. administration of duping the President: “I don’t know who is giving Trump such horrid advice. Trump is not like this. Trump that I know is not like this.”

Such analysis sounds hopelessly naïve, considering that the Trump plan is entirely consistent with a President who has already moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, declared settlements in Judea-Samaria legal, and cut hundreds of millions of dollars in support to the Palestinian Arabs. Indeed, the idea that Abbas, of all people, could truly “know” the unknowable Trump seems absurd.

Abbas also displayed a series of five fake maps allegedly showing how “Palestinian” territory has been eaten up by the U.S.- and U.N.-supported Israeli juggernaut since 1917.

While the Palestinians have certainly lost virtually all leverage in their bid for statehood—and the potential of their future territory is indeed shrinking—the problem has not been encroachment on sovereign or even promised Palestinian territory.

The reality is, the Palestinian Arabs have never managed to assert sovereignty over a square inch of Palestine—not in 1917, before they called themselves Palestinians; not in 1948 when the Arabs unanimously refused the U.N. proposal to partition the Holy Land into Arab (not Palestinian) and Jewish states; and at no time in the last 72 years since Israel’s declaration of independence.

It’s useful to remember: Had the Arabs accepted the U.N. partition in 1948, the Palestinians, too, could have been celebrating 72 years of independence.

Instead, Arab claims to any of the Holy Land have diminished ever since—following Israel’s defeat of five attacking Arab armies in 1948, its defeat of three attacking Arab armies in 1967, and its defeat of two attacking Arab armies in 1973.

Palestinian Arabs have squandered many opportunities for statehood ever since—refusing Israel’s generous offers of a state with a capital in Jerusalem in 2000, 2001 and 2008 . . . and now spurning Trump’s highly realistic and possibly final U.S. offer, just a few months ago.

In addition to Abbas’ U.N. diatribe against the Trump plan (though not his friend Trump), the Palestinian leader also made declarations of warm acceptance of the Jewish people and his willingness to negotiate for peace immediately.

Of course, it was Abbas just a few years ago who warned Jews (spit, spit) not to “contaminate” holy Muslim ground by entering the Temple Mount, the most sacred of Jewish sites. He also declined in the U.N. speech to voice simple acceptance of the Jewish state, the easiest, most basic requirement for entering peace talks.

In short, Abbas’ appearance at the U.N. only underscored the moribund condition of the Palestinian Arab movement for statehood. His tired complaints, his familiar lies, his empty promises—together communicated a sad desperation, exhaustion and hopelessness.

Until the Palestinians move beyond the Arafat-Abbas era—replacing this failed old guard with new blood who are sincerely and courageously committed to peace and prosperity for the Palestinian people, rather than conquest of Israel—there seems no sense in the U.S. (or any other body) investing time, money or opportunity by conjuring up futile offers of money and diplomatic assistance.

I urge you, in conversations with friends, family and colleagues, to clarify that the Palestinians have wasted every chance to form a state, and with that, over the decades, allowed the size of their potential territory to diminish—a trend likely to continue. Indeed, the best course for the Palestinians today would be to seize upon the Trump plan and make the most of it.

In addition, I hope you’ll also take a minute, while you have this material front and center, to visit FLAME’s lively new Facebook page and review the P.S. immediately below. It describes FLAME’s new hasbarah campaign—outspokenly questioning the validity and wisdom of the so-called two-state solution.

Best regards,

Jim Sinkinson
President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)

P.S. Many politicians in the U.S., as well as in Western Europe, hold steadfastly to the notion of a two-state solution for resolving the Palestinians’ conflict with Israel. However, it’s become clear as stability in the Middle East deteriorates, power balances shift and the Palestinians themselves continue to reject peace initiatives, that a two-state solution may be no solution at all. That’s why FLAME has created a new hasbarah message called “Is a Two-State Solution Still Possible?” I hope you’ll review this hard-hitting paid editorial, which will run in coming months in the New York Times and Washington Post. It lays out seven tough questions that must be answered before two states can seriously be considered. This piece will also be sent to all members of Congress, Vice President Pence and President Trump. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel’s behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME’s powerful ability to influence public opinion—and U.S. support of Israel—comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you’ll consider giving a donation now, as you’re able—with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to donate now. Now, more than ever, we need your support to ensure that the American people, the U.S. Congress and President Trump stay focused on realistic policies in relation to Israel, the Palestinians and the entire Middle East.

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