The following article, by Henry Siegman in Foreign Policy is the best argument for why the US should not veto UN recognition of a Palestinian state this September. The author turns the tables on borders as well as concerns over ‘attacks’ on Israel’s legitimacy then links the Palestinians’ quest for UN recognition of a Palestinian state to Israel’s in 1948. Here’s some of what he has to say. Please read the whole article:
Shlomo Avineri, a leading Israeli intellectual and politically very much a centrist, is to be commended for dismissing Israeli fears that outside criticism of their country’s occupation policies is an effort to challenge Israel’s very right to exist. Writing in Ha’aretz, Avineri notes there is not a single country in the world that maintains diplomatic ties with Israel that has ever questioned the legitimacy of Israel’s existence…
…it is in fact Israel that is engaged in the “delegitimization” of the Palestinian people’s right to national self determination and statehood, not the reverse.
For proof of this one need look no further than Israel’s near-hysterical efforts to prevent the Palestinians from bringing their case to the United Nations, the institution that happens to be the source of Israel’s own legitimacy, as acknowledged in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. For what Israel’s current government apparently most fears is the legitimacy that the United Nations uniquely can confer not only on Palestinian statehood but on the 1967 borders.
A state that since 1967 (i.e. for most of its existence) has imposed a military occupation on its neighbor, confiscating its territory and dispossessing its population, is guilty not only of an abstract challenge to its neighbor’s claim to statehood but of violently preventing it on the ground.
Henry Siegman, President of the U.S./Middle East Project, is a non-resident visiting professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Program, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.