In September, the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas will attempt to pass a resolution of the UN General Assembly in recognition of a Palestinian state. This would be their unilaterally initiated declaration. Israel and the US publicly are against such a course of action, touting the need instead to negotiate for two states according to the 1993 Oslo Accords.
But might Israel surprise them by supporting such a UN resolution, or at least support it in some fashion?
Although contrary to conventional wisdom, that is the astonishing opinion of Paul Danish, a well-known long-time politico and writer in the Boulder community. A former Boulder City Council member and Boulder County Commissioner, he is perhaps best remembered for his 1970s slow growth initiative, the Danish Plan. Danish currently writes a column for Boulder Weekly, and was editor and writer for the Colorado Daily. An expert on military history and affairs, he also wrote for Soldier of Fortune magazine.
On Wednesday, August 31 at 7:00 pm, he will talk about his assessment of the contentious UN vote in a public address sponsored by Stand by Israel at the Meadows Branch of the Boulder Public Library, 4800 Baseline Road.
In a wide-ranging interview prior to his talk, Danish made it clear that he is entirely serious about this potential surprise move by Israel.
He expects the resolution calling for Palestinian statehood based on the 1967 borders to be passed by 120 to 140 votes. A General Assembly resolution does not have the force of international law, but that may not matter in this case. Normally, formally recognized statehood would necessitate a passage first at the Security Council level. The US has promised a veto on that.
However, Danish thinks Israel could actually gain by such a move and the Palestinians could lose because the declaration of a Palestinian state would also constitute a system of responsibilities imposed vis-à-vis Israel. Israel may no longer have to collect and pay taxes to the Palestinian state and could respond to Palestinian terror with the force of state-to-state relations as an act of war.
Among the many such changes in Israeli-Palestinian relations would be Israel’s right to redefine the 1967 armistice lines as actual borders, annexing about 500 square miles of the West Bank in the process. The world is not expected to support Palestinian war over 500 square miles of disputed land from that point forward. And any attacks on such land or settlements would be, under international rules, acts of war allowing Israeli defense and containment of Palestinian armies.
Israel could then cut off the West Bank from potential military arms supplied from outside the Palestinian territories, such as from Iran. They in fact already do this in the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas.
The Palestinians would face a whole host of problems other than the ones already mentioned.
When asked why the Palestinians would deliberately step into such a trap, Danish comments that Mahmoud Abbas, is now so publicly committed to this bold establishment of statehood that he would be unable to resist the demands of the Palestinian street to move forward with this strategy. He points out that Egypt’s Abdul Nasser did not really intend to go to war with Israel in 1967, but having pushed their public to a frenzy, the Egyptian President, although aware of the huge downsides, quite accidentally set off a war with Israel. Indeed, the 1967 War was a disaster for Egypt, causing them to lose the entirety of the Sinai Peninsula to Israeli control. Egypt gained it back later in a trade for a peace treaty with Israel initiated by their succeeding President, Anwar Sadat.
The diplomatic world itself would also lose in such a UN recognition of a Palestinian state, according to Danish, who points out that there are a bevy of ethnic groups that could then demand their own state as breakaways of land masses already contained in existing recognized international borders. He points out, for instance, the Turkish Anatolia, the Kurdish ethnic minority stretching across Iran, Iraq and Turkey; the Armenians; Germany’s claim on pieces of Poland in Pomerania; or South Yemen against North Yemen. Danish says there are dozens of such animosities waiting to explode in an international context that would mimic the Palestinian one.
He surmises that Israeli diplomats are now probably taking this line of reasoning to the diplomatic corps of countries affected in the hopes of deterring their support for Abbas’s UN initiative.
Danish, who lived in Israel for two years and is obviously well-versed in such matters, also holds strong views on tangential but important topics such as Israeli settlements, the Obama administration and legacy, Democrats and Republicans, and the prospects for another world war.
You can tap directly into his mind on all these provocative topics in his upcoming public address.