The UN Is Against Peace

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 2,284, June 20, 2024

by Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Bartal

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The UN decision on May 10, 2024 to upgrade the status of the Palestinian state is not surprising. It is a direct continuation of previous UN decisions, most notably that of November 29, 2012, which granted the Palestinian Authority the status of non-member observer state. Since the 1970s, there has been an almost automatic majority for anti-Israel resolutions in the UN. This majority includes Muslim countries and countries that define themselves as part of the “Global South”, such as African countries and some South American countries, all of which are known for their invariably critical approach towards Israel. The UN’s recognition of the Palestinian Authority grants the Palestinians an independent state without a negotiated peace process or clearly defined and agreed borders between it and Israel. This is precisely the situation the PLO has been striving for since 1974. The establishment of a Palestinian state without peace with Israel is a sure recipe for instability and perpetual war in the Middle East, and those negative consequences are being deliberately fomented by the UN.

In June 1974, the Palestine Liberation Organization approved a ten-point plan known as the Phased Plan. The plan was presented at the time as a considerable moderation of the PLO, which at the time was considered Israel’s most bitter enemy. The 1970s were full of bloody terrorist incidents committed by Palestinian organizations, including airplane hijackings. The leading terrorist organizations at that time were the Fatah organization headed by Yasser Arafat, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) organization headed by George Habash, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) organization headed since its inception by Nayef Hawatmeh.

The reason why the PLO’s ten-point plan was considered a political advancement was that for the first time since the adoption of the revised Palestinian treaty of 1968, the activists of the Palestinian organizations seemed to have agreed to an incomplete “liberation” of Palestine. A careful reading of the plan, however, shows that its goal remained the destruction of the entire State of Israel – “from the river to the sea”.

The second section of the plan says: “The PLO will fight by all means, primarily the armed struggle, to liberate the Palestinian land and establish an independent national government over any part of the Palestinian territory that will be liberated.” This clause was allegedly fulfilled – not through armed struggle but mainly through diplomacy via the Oslo Accords of the 1990s.

Another section of the phased plan defines the establishment of self-government on part of the territory as only one step on the way to the total “liberation” of the entire land of Palestine. According to the phased plan, the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip was a temporary solution that was never meant to stop the war between the two national movements. The phased plan was designed to promote a continuation of the fight for the other “rights” the Palestinians demand, such as the complete “liberation” of, and purported right of return to, the entire land of Israel.

Despite lengthy negotiations between Israel and the PLO on the permanent agreement, the parties were unable to reach a satisfactory settlement. The most intense attempts were in July 2000 at Camp David with the mediation of President Bill Clinton, and in 2008 with the mediation of President George Bush, Jr.

Dr. (Lt. Col.) Shaul Bartal is a senior researcher at the BESA Center and a research fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Lisbon. During his military service, he served in various roles in the West Bank. He has also taught in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of Political Science at Bar-Ilan University.

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