The decision by the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to claim a seat in the United Nations is a last ditch effort by one side of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to resolve the region's eternal crisis peacefully. The statement largely drafted by Tony Blair on behalf of the "Quartet," which essentially gave the Israelis everything they wanted – including acceptance of settlement expansion as "facts on the ground" – was "the final blow, the final straw," according to top Palestinian Authority official Nabil Shaath.
As the New York Times puts it,
"The Palestinian decision to apply for full United Nations membership at the Security Council, announced Friday by President Mahmoud Abbas, was the most viable of the only options possible: surrender, return to violence or appeal to the international community."
would like nothing better than a Palestinian surrender, and so,
it appears, would the "international community," supposedly represented
by the United Nations. The decision to appeal to
the Security Council, instead of taking the matter to the
Both sides are captives of their own extremists: the Israelis have to deal with the settlers, whose political violence has more than once had its tragic impact on the course of events. If the government gives up the settlements, what will they do with hundreds of thousands of radicalized settlers, whose activities they have avidly funded and encouraged? The Palestinian Authority, likewise, is facing a similar threat from Hamas, which has already seized not only Gaza but also the loyalty of the young and the embittered.
Hardened and driven to desperation by the circumstances of their helotry, the Palestinians who must live under Israeli rule in the occupied territories have no alternative but to turn to Hamas and the radicals. Besieged in their own land, they look around for some means to defend themselves – and find it in the camp of violent extremism.
The West, having succored the nascent Israeli state from the beginning, is now intent on going along with their progeny's expansionist designs: why else are "facts on the ground" considered sacrosanct – unless the Quartet sees its role as overseeing the creation of a "Greater Israel"? If the IDF should invade Jordan and annex it to Israel tomorrow, would these, too, be considered "facts on the ground," to be legitimized by the Quartet's imprimatur?
Seeking some defense against the daily aggression of their Israeli overlords, the Palestinians seek to create a state of their own – an agency with a monopoly on the use of force in Palestine, one that isn't of foreign provenance. Or, to say it in another way: they are preparing for war. Because warfare, against enemies foreign and domestic, is the essential function of any and all states. In theory, we are talking about defensive war: however, in practice, all too often these are wars of aggression. Their purpose, aside from diverting attention away from persistent internal problems – a bad economy, the corruption of the ruling elite, etc. – is to increase the power and glory of the almighty State, which we are all supposed to worship as a beneficent semi-deity that will take care of us when all else fails.
September 22, 2011
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.
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