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Decision 2334/23.12.16 of the UN’s Security Council Print E-mail
Friday, 13 January 2017 11:12

The following article by Victor Isaak Eliezer, on the Decision 2334/23.12.16 of the UN’s Security Council, was published on the Greek daily “Kathimerini”, on January 12, 2017  (printed and on line editions): 

Victor Isaak Eliezer*

KATHIMERINI, Jan. 12, 2017: The decision, which was by many simply interpreted as a condemnation of Israel for the settlements on the West Bank of the River Jordan and in Jerusalem, undermines all existing peace plans between Israelis and Palestinians. Why? Because it basically undermines decision 242/11/1967 of the UN’s Security Council, which clearly stated the right of all countries to live in peace "within secure and recognised borders" and called on Israel to abandon "occupied territories". Decision 242 does not include the phrase "from all occupied territories" nor the phrase "from the occupied territories" which fell under Israeli occupation during the six-day war in June 1967. The international community had since recognised the need for "Israeli secure and recognised borders", which had suffered the attack from 4 Arab armies and, for this reason, did not impose total withdrawal to its lines prior to 5th June 1967. Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian President, realised this, and based on this decision signed the peace treaty with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin; King Hussein of Jordan, who also realised this, signed a peace treaty with Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat also realising it signed the agreements of Oslo, which foresee the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West coast next to Israel, with secure borders.

Decision 2334/23.12.16 regards "all occupied territories" as "Palestinian territories", including even East Jerusalem. Of course, Israeli settlements beyond the agreed security line as mapped in the Oslo agreements and later in the "Road Map", constitute an obstacle to the promotion and advancement of negotiations for the solution "Two states for two nations." But from this point up to the establishment of East Jerusalem’s Jewish sector and the Wailing Wall (Western Wall) as Palestinian territory, the difference is enormous and the decision was rightfully condemned by both the Netanyahu government and the centrist and leftist opposition in Israel.

It is true that the majority of Israelis is in favour of the idea of ​​two states for two nations. At the same time though, the same surveys reveal the fear of the vast majority of Israelis that the final goal of the Palestinians is the disappearance of Israel. Are Israelis schizophrenics? Given the environment in the Middle East, no they aren’t. On the one hand, they hope that such a solution could put an end to this perennial conflict, but on the other hand, they see what is happening in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Libya and other countries, and are worried. So, they will trust the Palestinian leaders in Ramallah, and then what? If the Palestinian state fails and the Palestinian Authority is destabilised, as was the case with neighbouring regimes, what will happen in a year or in five years? And what will the attitude of Hamas be, which is in power in the Gaza Strip and is vehemently opposed to the "Two states for two nations" solution?

Did it never occur to the 14 countries that voted for the resolution at the UN Security Council, and the United States which did not veto, why Israeli voters are increasingly moving to the right wing in their electoral behaviour? In 2000, the then-Israeli (Labour) Minister Ehud Barak, backed by US President Bill Clinton, offered Yasser Arafat 96% of what he asked for, in order to sign a peace agreement in the framework of which an independent Palestinian state would be established. Yasser Arafat rejected the proposal and responded with the second Intifada. The Israelis withdrew from southern Lebanon, and instead of calm prevailing in the Northwest frontier, they realised that Hezbollah created a state within a state in Lebanon which threatened the security of Israeli civilians by firing short and long-range missiles. Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip unilaterally, Hamas drives the forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas away from the area, there is not even one Israeli soldier in Gaza, but still, Israeli citizens receive a rainfall of missiles which reach as far as Tel Aviv, every two years. Ehud Olmert even offered Mahmoud Abbas the division of Jerusalem, and yet again the Palestinians reject the proposals. This is an experience which causes frustration to the Israeli society, the majority of which still supports the two-state solution.

Decision 2334/23.12.16 encourages the Palestinian intransigence, aims at Israel’s international isolation, and certainly does not contribute to the formation of an international climate which would allow achieving the necessary compromises from both sides in order to implement the two states for two nations solution. A solution which is necessary not only in order for the Palestinians to acquire their own state but also in order for Israel to remain a Jewish and democratic state. Because the solution of one state for two nations, will either alter Israel’s demographic composition in the long term, "generating" a Palestinian majority, or will lead the Israeli government to discriminatory measures against a large minority, which is contrary to the values ​​of the Israeli Republic.

In the end though, as written by David Haris, Director of the Jewish American Committee, "Just like Shimon Peres, I will not cease hoping either…, I am well aware that we must have the ability not only to imagine the best but also to be concerned about the worst". So the international community must contribute to a climate of trust between Israelis and Palestinians instead of reaching unilateral decisions that encourage suspicion and intolerance.

 * Journalist, reporter for Israeli newspaper “Yedioth Ahronoth” in Greece.             


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