The Question of Palestine

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Ambassador Dan Gillerman - Today the General Assembly, in an annual ritual of supreme irony, celebrates Palestinian rejectionism by taking up the "Question of Palestine" on the anniversary of the adoption of UN Resolution 181 (1947). One can easily forget that the Arab world rejected this resolution out of hand, for it contained a concomitant proposal of a Jewish state as well. Today, however, the "Question of Palestine" is not a question about Israel's acceptance of Palestinian self-determination or even a Palestinian state, but rather a question of the Palestinian acceptance of the right of Israel to continue to exist as a state where the Jewish people can continue to concurrently realize their own right to self-determination, side by side with their Palestinian and Arab neighbors. Throughout its history, Israel has demonstrated its willingness to compromise and make tremendous sacrifices for the sake of peace. When Israel met Arab leaders, like President Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan - leaders who spoke the language of peace to their own people and were willing to take concrete steps for peace - Israel reached agreements with them and peace was achieved. In his signed agreements with Israel, Arafat undertook to resolve all issues through negotiations, stop all violence, arrest terrorists, dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, collect illegal weapons, and end incitement to violence. Yet in more than a decade since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PA has done almost nothing to fulfill these obligations. Instead, in these past ten years over 1,100 Israelis have been murdered in acts of terrorism. Terrorism is not the tool of peacemakers and nation-builders. It is the tool of rejectionists and cowards. By creating alliances with brutal terrorist groups, the Palestinian leadership has sent every Israeli a chilling message that states: "Killing Israelis is more important to us than creating our own democratic state." Peace requires a language and culture of peace, but that is not the reality we see today. Those Palestinians accused of cooperating with Israel are lynched in public squares, while those who kill themselves in suicide attacks against Israeli civilians are given unparalleled public praise. The international community cannot and will not countenance the establishment of yet another repressive, terrorist state in the Middle East.

2003-12-04 00:00:00

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