Why obnoxious? Any Israeli spokesman (not to mention spokeswoman) will tell you readily: because it is a "unilateral" move. How dare they proclaim a state unilaterally? How dare they do so without the consent of the other party to the conflict -- us?
A stickler for detail might ask at this point: "But was the State of Israel not proclaimed unilaterally?" Our state, it may be remembered, was declared by David Ben-Gurion and his colleagues on Mai 14, 1948, without asking anyone.
But who would dare to compare?
Furthermore, these dastardly Palestinians are going to the UN General Assembly, trying to circumvent the UN Security Council where the US can block them with its veto. Dirty trick!
But just a moment! Was the State of Israel not proclaimed on the basis of a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly? To be precise: Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, on the partition of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state?
As a matter of fact, this resolution is still in force. It served as the centerpiece of Israel's Declaration of Independence, and serves now as a basis for the Palestinian demand that the State of Palestine be accepted as a full-fledged member of the United Nations.
But again, how can one compare?
IN SHORT, the Palestinians must be condemned for their impertinent effort to resort to "unilateral" action. Binyamin Netanyahu says so. Barack Obama says so. Hillary Clinton says so. Angela Merkel says so. It has become a mantra.
One more mantra. It might have been thought that the Israeli-Palestinian arena is so full of mantras, that there is no room for more. But there always is.
Shlomo Avineri, a much respected Zionist professor, has dredged up one of the oldest. In a recent article entitled "Narratives and Truth" he claimed that there are two narratives about our conflict, but only one truth. The truth consists of incontestable facts.
For example: there are several narratives about the UN partition resolution, but only one truth. As it so happens, this truth coincides with the Israeli narrative, which has become a sacred mantra.
It goes like this: in 1947, the Zionist leadership accepted the UN partition plan, and the Palestinian Arabs rejected it. Instead, they attacked the Jewish community in the country and were later joined by the regular armies of the neighboring Arab states. They wanted to throw us into the sea. They lost the war and paid the price.
Facts? Incontestable? Well...
IT IS indeed a fact that the Zionist leadership accepted the partition plan -- formally. Many Zionist leaders objected, but were persuaded by David Ben-Gurion to agree to the official acceptance. However, in several secret meetings Ben-Gurion made it clear that the partition borders were unacceptable and must be rectified at the first opportunity. The minutes of these meetings are there for all to read.
The other side of the mantra -- "the Palestinian Arabs rejected" -- is more complex. There was no democratically elected Palestinian Arab leadership. In the 1936-39 Arab revolt, the Arab leadership -- such as it was - was destroyed, partly by the British but mostly by the foremost Palestinian leader, the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini. He had most of his competitors killed off.
During World War II, Hajj Amin fled to Nazi Germany and the rest of the "leaders" were deported by the British. After the war, the discredited Hajj stayed abroad. A distant relative of his headed the so-called "Arab Higher Committee," which was unelected and had shallow roots among the population. There was no effective Palestinian leadership in existence.
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