Prime Minister Netanyahu should bow to reality and recognize the “State of Palestine.”
By Alan Stein
As an oleh chadash, or new immigrant to Israel, I recognize one of my responsibilities is to tell the prime minister how to run the country. I feel somewhat derelict, as my teudat zehut (I.D. card) is already nine days old and I have yet to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu any advice, but I will try to rectify that starting here and now. I herein provide my advice on how to deal with the nefarious effort by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, in violation of the solemn commitments made by the Palestinian Arab leadership in the failed Oslo accords, to obtain international recognition of the non-existent Palestinian state of which he is president.
Prime Minister Netanyahu should bow to reality and recognize the “State of Palestine.” Although it does not meet the internationally accepted criteria for statehood, generally accepted standards are never applied to entities fighting Israel and the PA has, for most practical if not legal purposes, been a state for nearly two decades. Fighting international recognition is a costly and losing battle and there can be benefits for Israel if it can treat Palestine as a state.
Besides giving Netanyahu this advice, I am happy to offer additional assistance in the form of the following letter to be sent by him to Mahmoud Abbas:
My Dear Friend Mahmoud,
I wish to apologize for not immediately and enthusiastically agreeing to your insistence on having the Palestinian Authority recognized as a state. In my own defense, it was somewhat difficult, since you have been assiduously avoiding speaking with me during my term as prime minister of the Zionist entity. I hope you’ll accept my apology and join with me in ironing out the technical details necessary for our states to live side by side.
I invite you, at your convenience, to come and speak to our Knesset in our capital of Jerusalem. I welcome your expeditious appointment of an ambassador to Israel. My government will cooperate fully in enabling you to find a suitable location for your embassy in our capital.
I hope you will reciprocate by inviting me to address your legislature in your capital of Ramallah. I will soon choose our ambassador to your state and expect you to similarly help us find a suitable location for our Israeli embassy to be built in Ramallah, the capital of Palestine.
We do still have technical details to negotiate, as we are both obligated by the Oslo accords, which remain in effect until superseded by an agreement between our states.
While we accept in advance your sovereignty over Area A, Israel still has overall security responsibility there, while we have joint responsibilities over Area B and Israel retains full responsibility for Area C. We also need to negotiate the allocation of Areas B and C between our states.
We should be able to agree on the general principle enunciated once by president Clinton in another context, that as much as possible predominantly Arab areas should be allocated to the Arab entity, predominantly Jewish areas should remain with the Jewish State of Israel, and the rest of the disputed territory should be divided between our states rationally and in a way which keeps the border between us as natural as possible.
I don’t have to remind you that there are certain unsociable acts, including launching missiles at kindergartens in Sderot, building tunnels into Israel and using them to launch terror attacks, bombing pizzerias and various other activities which have been popular with your people the past few decades, which are acts of war and, in some cases, war crimes. I trust that you, as president of Palestine, will work assiduously to prevent all such acts and will understand if, despite your best efforts, your citizens continue these popular activities and we in Israel will be forced to defend ourselves.
On a personal level, let me express my admiration for the way you have maintained your role as president into the tenth year of your four-year term. Here in Israel, we are inconvenienced by something called “democratic elections.” Every few years we elect a new Knesset and if the people don’t like what I’m doing I can be kicked out on my tuches. Perhaps we can get together one day over a nice plate of hummus and you can give me some advice on how to avoid calling elections.
It’s possible the prime minister may wish to make some small changes before sending this letter to Mr. Abbas; I am prepared to offer any additional assistance he requests.
Personally, I am delighted to finally be a citizen in a country where everyone is the prime minister.
The author just made aliya (October 22) and even on the plane was thinking about submitting this sort of op-ed to The Jerusalem Post. He’s been busy with other things, such as the wonderful Israeli bureaucracy, but finally got around to composing it last evening.