Fred Maroun
A believer in peace and human dignity

1948-1967: The Years That Shall Not Be Named

In his latest speech at the United Nations (Full text of Mahmoud Abbas’s speech to the UN), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas repeated yet again a long list of unsubstantiated accusations against Israel, and he demanded yet again that Israel withdraw from territories occupied by Israel in 1967 in order to “support the establishment of a free and independent State of Palestine now”.  He claimed that “Israel refuses to end its occupation of the State of Palestine since 1967”, and he demanded “ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the two-State solution, of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the entire territory occupied in 1967, alongside the State of Israel”.

Now let’s imagine that someone landed from Mars, and he knew nothing about earth and even less about the Middle East.  Imagine that he heard Abbas’ speech at the UN.  His reaction would of course be to wonder what the heck happened to the Palestinian state in 1967 and why this hapless President is not allowed to have his state back?  The curious Martian would then dig a little more into the history, and would find out two stunning facts that Abbas seems to be totally oblivious to:  One, that there was no Palestinian state in 1967 or any time before that.  And two, that Israel did not occupy East Jerusalem, the West bank and Gaza any time between 1948 and 1967 (or before 1948 for that matter).

Our Martian would then wonder why Abbas or his predecessors did not declare a Palestinian state during the 19 years (or 6,961 days) between 1948 and 1967.  Does it take more than 6,961 days to write a declaration of establishment of the state of Palestine?  That would be strange because the state of Israel was declared on May 14, 1948, the very same day during which the British Mandate expired (Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel).  So why does one state get created in less than 24 hours while another state (whose constituents had exactly as much power to create a state as Israelis did) cannot be created in the space of 167,064 hours?  The Martian would then have to come to the only logical conclusion possible: The Israelis wanted their part of the two-state solution (that Abbas now pays lip service to), but the Palestinians didn’t.

Abbas, however, has no interest in speaking about the years between 1948 and 1967.  For him it is as if they never existed.  He only cares about 1967 when the big bad evil Israel invaded land that the Palestinians clearly did not want as a state, and on which Arab armies assembled to attack the state of Israel.  It is as if the years 1948 to 1967 never happened, and as if time jumped 601,430,400 seconds ahead instantly in some sort of Palestine-unfriendly time warp from May 14, 1948 to June 5, 1967.

To be fair, Abbas was not in charge of the Palestinians between 1948 and 1967, and he cannot exactly go back in time and repair the mistakes of his predecessors or the negative advice and pressure of his Arab friends.  However, what he can do is to be honest about Palestinian mistakes and the mistakes of Arab regimes that refused to create a Palestinian state when they could easily have done so and on exactly the territory that Abbas now claims he wants.  He can recognize that they screwed up.  He can stop pretending that every Palestinian problem (including the war in Gaza which he well knows is Hamas’ doing) is Israel’s fault when anyone can figure out very quickly that this is not the case.  He can show some contrition and some humility so that his demand for a Palestinian state will at least have a modicum of credibility.

Instead of all this, Abbas stood at the UN and mentioned 1948 and 1967 but made no mention of any events in between.  He claimed that Israel is perpetrating war crimes and even massacre and genocide against Palestinians even though he had previously admitted that Palestinians were at fault (Abbas blames Hamas for prolonging Gaza war).  He demanded that Israel stop defending itself against the very same terrorist who violently cleansed Gaza of his own Fatah members.  He claimed, without batting an eye, that Palestinian violence was justified.  He demanded that Israel resolve the refugee problem that Arabs created and Arabs maintained for 66 years.  He blamed Israel for failed peace negotiations which he participated in reluctantly and only after Israel agreed to release hundreds of criminals.  He pretended yet again to be a peaceful innocent leader who just wants a peace that Israel refuses to provide.  And for all these fabrications and omissions, Abbas was roundly applauded by most UN members.

The Palestinian leader continues to fail in advancing the interests of the Palestinian people.  He continues to choose lying and grandstanding at the UN and other red-carpet forums rather than real changes that would benefit Palestinians who not only have never been to the UN or any other world forum, but also have never been outside of their villages or refugee camps.  He continues to present a version of history that has no resemblance to reality, a version that no one at the UN believes but that most UN members are happy to pretend believing.  He continues to choose to line its pockets with international donations while always demanding more.  And he continues to demonize the tiny Jewish state, pleasing most members of the UN, in a macabre parade of idiocy, racism, and antisemitism that has transformed the UN general assembly into the most useless and most heinous money pit in the history of the world.  Abbas must be proud of himself.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and to defend itself. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities co-exist in peace with each other, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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