Why I back Abbas’s UN Initiative

I back Mahmoud Abbas’s initiative tomorrow at the UN for the recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state. 

I am against Hamas, against Islamic Jihad.

I am for the Palestinian people. They are my neighbors and we are going to live together side by side forever.

In the fight for peace, we have to strengthen the moderates, and I believe that the PLO under Mahmoud Abbas’s leadership is interested in peace. I also believe that he is a partner we can work with. I believe the exact opposite to be true about Hamas, which in my opinion is an extremist, anti semitic terrorist organization.

To weaken the extremists we have to strengthen the moderates. Tomorrow’s act will strengthen the moderates in Palestine which is the PLO and its associated candidates. We in Israel should have been doing this over the last few years, but instead Netanyahu and Co have done the opposite. They have weakened and discredited Abbas with continued settlement building.

I believe that tomorrow will give hope to a people who have been stateless for 64 years. They missed an opportunity in 1948 when Palestine which was divided by the UN (48% Palestine, 48% Israel, 4% international territory) as well as all Arab states rejected the recognition of Israel, and instead attacked her in order to drive the Jews to the sea.  But that was in 1948. I can’t make yesterday a better day. We have moved on. We have a peace partner in Ramallah, his name is Mahmoud Abbas. We never had anyone like him in 1948.

I also have my own selfish reasons as an Israeli to support Abbas’s initiative.

I believe that unless there is a Palestinian state based on the Clinton parametre of lands occupied after 1967, Israel could face serious challenges in the future.

I believe that we have to talk to the Palestinians and bring them to the table. Building settlements in their land is not going to bring them to the table to talk about peace. If the Palestinians were building illegally in Tel Aviv I would not want to talk peace with them.

I am not alone in Israel, quite a few people believe that talking with Palestinians is a crucial matter for the future of Israel.

This includes six former heads of Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, the SHABAK, also known as Shin Bet. A big chunk of its part of its job is to deal with the “Palestinian file”.
According to a recent documentary, all six living former heads of the Shin Bet believe that we have to reach accommodation with the Palestinians. According to The Times Of Israel, the documentary called the Gatekeepers shows them:

Strikingly, all six make plain, albeit with differing degrees of urgency and hope, their sense that an accommodation with the Palestinians is a security imperative for Israel. Avraham Shalom (1981-86), the oldest of the six, says Israel should try to negotiate with anyone — yes, anyone; yes, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, he repeats wearily — to break down stereotypes and give progress a chance. “And if they answer rudely, try again.”

The article concludes by saying the following about the six former heads of Shin Bet:

Their belief in the need for an accommodation then, is not born of softness. It is a hard-nosed assessment of where Israel’s interests lie. “We’re winning all the battles,” says Ayalon in the film’s final scene. “And we’re losing the war.”

I don’t want to lose the war. Giving a stateless people hope and strengthening the moderates who want to work with Israel will be the opposite of losing, for us and  for the Palestinian people.