For months, a Facebook page called “The third Intifadah” has been calling for Palestinian sympathizers to do exactly what these infiltrators did: ignore the existence of the border and walk into Israel. The message they are trying to send is simple: Israel is illegal, therefore the border is illegal, and therefore we (meaning demonstrators) have the right to just walk in. The potential ramifications are also deceptively simple: if Israel doesn't react, it is a victory for the Arabs; if Israel does defend itself and somebody is hurt or killed (some dead already in the Golan), then it is a P.R. Victory for the Arabs by showing Israel as the aggressor. While so far this is the only report (only 7:30 am on Sunday here; 2:30 pm in Israel) more might come in (or not). But whether more people heed the call for ignoring the border or not, the incident reveals some aspects of the Israeli Palestinian conflict that people normally do not see.
Many Palestinians (most according to their own polls) have not given up on the right of return to what is today Israel; a fact that was reinforced on the one hand by PLO leader and PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and on the other by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Abu Mazen, the “moderate” leader of Fatah, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority said to a park full of demonstrators during “Nakba Day” ceremonies in Ramallah that “The sacred Right of Return should not be abandoned” and that “come September we will achieve our goal”. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said to 10,000 demonstrators in Gaza that Palestinians are getting prepared for the “end of the Zionist Project”.
As for the reaction of the Palestinian street it is very revealing the interview conducted by HaAretz and published on May 14. The interview was with a Hamas activist in Jenin, in the West Bank (therefore his identity was withheld for his protection). This Palestinian claim that the so-called “Unity Government” is a tactical move and it will not last because while Fatah is seeking Peace with Israel, Hamas is only interested in a “Hudna” . So what is a “Hudna”?
Mohammed's escape from the Quraysh tribe leadership in Mecca to Medina is considered the founding event of the Muslim calendar. Mohammed escaped because the leaders of the tribe (which was his own) opposed him and were stronger than he was. After settling in Yatrib (renamed Medina), he proposed a “hudna” (truce) with the Quraysh. After ten years of proselytizing he felt he was strong enough to defeat them, so he broke the truce. This story was interpreted by later Muslim scholars as meaning that it is permissible for Muslims to sign an agreement with the enemy when Muslims are not strong enough to overcome them, but that such truce (Hudna) cannot last more than ten years. When Islamists in the Arab world use the term “Hudna”, their meaning is this time-limited truce, not peace, not even a cease fire as a prelude of peace, but a simple truce so they can build up their strength to overcome the enemy, in this case Israel.
Of course it is also important to see the reaction of the world...UN under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos is visiting the region and scheduled meetings with Palestinian leaders but not with Israelis, with whom “she hoped to meet when she visits Tel-Aviv”. During her visit to Jerusalem she called for the Israeli Security Fence to be “taken down” because “it divides communities and inhibits the provision of services”, something she considers totally unacceptable. She further said “I am horrified by Israeli policies”. No mention was made of Hamas bombardment of civilian populations nor of the millions of descendants of Jews expelled from Arab lands – only of Palestinian refugees.
In a way, this blog is good news...while I write it, 10,000 demonstrators gathered in Jordan near the Allenby bridge, but they have not crossed (and I hope they will not). Hopefully the rest of the day will continue in this vein. Should it not, should demonstrators decide to ignore the border as the Syrian demonstrators did, the consequences could be terrible for both sides.
All this is also on what Palestinians are calling “the road to September” when Palestinians will seek UN recognition of a Palestinian State along the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, that is 100% of their maximalist demands during their negotiations with Israel. Interesting enough, the UN has refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital because it was supposed to be a “corpus separatum” according to the 1947 Resolution on Partition.
Make no mistake: the mechanism that the Palestinians are planning to use in September calls for a vote on the General Assembly, where no veto is possible. While General Assembly resolutions do not have the same teeth as Security Council Resolutions, a GA resolution recognizing a Palestinian State along the 1967 border will put Israel against the wall in the Diplomatic front, taking away from Israel all its negotiation chips and even validating further unilateral actions by the Palestinians that can only lead to more violence and deaths.
On June 5, the American Jewish community is coming together in NYC in the Salute to Israel Parade. Many other American groups are joining in the Parade, a major public expression of support for the Jewish State. Our community will take a contingent to be part of it...log to http://www.jewishdutchess.org and click on Ben Gurion for more information.