TEL AVIV — UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited Ramallah on Tuesday, where he made public remarks about the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict and key issues related to the region.
Below, in no particular order, are six significant problems with the views and ideology expressed by the UN chief on his visit to the West Bank city.
1 – Guterres promoted the failed so-called two-state solution.
“I want to express very strongly the total commitment of the United Nations but my personal total commitment to do everything for a two-state solution to materialise,” he said. “I have said several times there is no Plan B to a two-state solution.”
The two-state solution refers to creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
Guterres ignored that a central problem with finalizing any two-state solution is that the Palestinian Authority has rejected every single Israeli offer of a state. State offers were made at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007 and more offers were made in 2008. It was recently reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quietly made another such offer in 2014. In each of these cases, the PA refused generous Israeli offers of statehood and bolted negotiations without counteroffers. There is no evidence to suggest that the Palestinians would accept any future Israeli offer.
2 – Guterres wrongly assumes that there is a Palestinian partner for peace.
Guterres made his remarks today after meeting Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah. The PA would lead any talks aimed at creating a future Palestinian state. However, the PA and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, support terrorism, incite violence against Israel and routinely promote the delegitimization of the Jewish state.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group responsible for scores of suicide bombings and deadly shooting attacks, is closely aligned with Abbas’s Fatah party and is routinely referred to as Fatah’s so-called military wing.
Only yesterday, Abbas exclaimed that he would continue official PA payments to convicted terrorists “until my dying day.” Earlier this month, it was reported that the PA’s 2017 budget for payments to terrorists and their families amounts to about half of all foreign aid the PA expects to receive this year.
Abbas’s official PA organs and media outlets routinely glorify murderous terrorists. Breitbart Jerusalem recently reported on a Fatah summer camp named after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in which 38 people — including 13 children – were murdered.
3 – A Palestinian state would be at war with Israel and would not advance moderate interests.
The very basis for Guterres’s efforts to create a Palestinian state are flawed. There is no significant evidence to suggest that such a state would be moderate and a force against regional radicalism.
The PA’s official support for terrorism indicates that a Palestinian state would be an extremist entity in a constant state of war with Israel. This is highlighted by the PA’s repeated use of maps that erase Israel and PA propaganda calling for the dismantling of the Jewish state. Today, Breitbart Jerusalem reported on a song featured on a children’s program on official PA television calling the entire State of Israel, including major Israeli cities, “my country Palestine.”
The ailing 82-year-old Abbas, meanwhile, is unpopular and hasn’t held a presidential election since 2005. He is at odds with Hamas and a slew of other radical Palestinian factions that are either outright terrorist groups or support terror ideology. Hamas itself is under threat by the even more extremist Islamic State. There is no known moderate Palestinian leader or political party viewed as capable of taking over the PA. Indeed, there is no known moderate leader in any senior position in the Palestinian arena.
4 – Guterres promoted the falsehood that settlements are an impediment to peace.
Guterres specifically singled out Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace in his statements in Ramallah today.
Settlements refer to any construction of Jewish homes beyond the so-called 1967 borders, meaning in the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City, which houses the Western Wall, Temple Mount and the ancient Jewish quarter.
The reference to “settlement building” has become so routine that few notice the anti-Semitic undertones of singling out Jewish construction, promoting the concept that Jews should not be allowed to build in certain territories.
The idea that “settlements” are an impediment to peace is contradicted by history. In 1948, even before Israel controlled the areas referred to as “settlements,” Arab states formed a coalition and went to war to destroy the newly established state of Israel.
The PA walked away from numerous statehood offers, which would have included the evacuation of major Israeli settlements and the creation of a state in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
If “settlements” were the obstacle, then why did the PA fail to respond to Netanyahu’s unprecedented attempts to jump-start negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state, including the freezing of Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem?
5 – Guterres promoted the disputed charge that settlements are “illegal under international law.”
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw under a future final-status solution “from territories occupied” as a result of the 1967 Six Day War. The resolution does not call for a withdrawal from “all territories,” a designation deliberately left out to ensure Israel’s ability to retain some territory for security purposes under a future deal.
The Jewish Virtual Library explains:
The Security Council did not say Israel must withdraw from “all the” territories occupied after the Six-Day War. This was quite deliberate. The Soviet delegate wanted the inclusion of those words and said that their exclusion meant “that part of these territories can remain in Israeli hands.” The Arab states pushed for the word “all” to be included, but this was rejected. They nevertheless asserted that they would read the resolution as if it included the word “all.” The British ambassador who drafted the approved resolution, Lord Caradon, declared after the vote: “It is only the resolution that will bind us, and we regard its wording as clear.”
Also, as the Committee for Accuracy for Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) pointed out in an email blast, international law does not make Israeli settlements illegal:
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, which is relied upon by those who claim the settlements are illegal, does not apply in the case of the West Bank. This is because the West Bank was never under self-rule by a nation that was a party to the Convention, and therefore there is no “partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party,” as Article 2 of the Convention specifies. Moreover, even if it did apply, by its plain terms, it applies only to forcible transfers, and not to voluntary movement. Therefore, it can’t prohibit Jews from choosing to move to areas of great historical and religious significance to them.
6 – Guterres ignored rampant illegal Palestinian construction.
Guterres’s statements about Israeli settlements, which Israel maintains are not illegal but disputed, ignores undisputedly rampant illegal Palestinian construction taking place in key areas of eastern Jerusalem.
The illegal Palestinian construction has worked to generate facts on the ground, creating de facto Palestinian neighborhoods inside peripheral Jerusalem that are virtual no-go zones for Israeli civilians. The illegal housing has impacted previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Numerous Israeli-Palestinian peace proposals designated these very areas future Palestinian territory due to the large concentrations of Palestinians living in them.
Lost in the news media coverage of eastern Jerusalem is that major swaths of land there are legally owned by Jews, including at the Atarot Airport and in Qalandia where the plans for the new Jewish homes are centered.
In 2007, this reporter extensively investigated those areas and found Jewish-owned land was utilized to illegally construct Palestinian apartment buildings, a refugee camp and a United Nations school.
I reported at the time:
The properties in question include about 270 acres in the northern Jerusalem neighborhoods of Qalandia and Kfar Akev, located near an old Israeli airport, and about 50 acres in a north Jerusalem suburb known as Shoafat, which is adjacent to the Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev.
The lands were legally purchased on behalf of JNF using Jewish donations in the early 1900s, immediately after the organization was founded in 1901 with the specific charge of repurchasing and developing the land of Israel for Jewish settlement.
A tour of Qalandiya and Kfar Akev found dozens of Arab apartment complexes, a Palestinian refugee camp and a United Nations school for Palestinians constructed on the land.
I also further reported in 2009 that these de facto Palestinian enclaves in peripheral Jerusalem neighborhoods have become virtual no-go zones for Jewish Israelis due to security concerns. The Jerusalem police confirmed at the time that security arrangements discourage Israeli Jews from entering the neighborhoods. Those security arrangements are still in effect today.
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.