The "bombshell" that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas threatened he was going to drop on the United Nations during his speech did not materialize.
This bombshell turned out to be a planned announcement of a Palestinian state "under Israeli occupation."
If one person can stand at the podium of the UN and unilaterally declare a state, then I advise the leader of the Kurds, the Catalans, the Druze and any other ethnic groups that feel entitled to have their independence to make their way to the building and do so.
Apparently the U.S. Administration advised Abbas against the announcement, and Abbas backed down.
Abbas has had limited success playing the official forums of the United Nations and the European Union. They seem aligned with his agenda, but with no thought to the regional devastation that supplanting Israel -- the region's only democracy that that grants full human rights and equality with to all its citizens, including its Arab ones -- with a corrupt and repressive regime would entail.
Polls repeatedly show that Israel's Arabs -- about a fifth if its population, and with their own political parties and members of parliament -- would evidently, if secretly (for communal loyalty), rather remain in Israel than be in any Arab country, including one of their own. The international community also does not seem to take into consideration what displacing Israel would do to furthering the agendas of political Islamists and creating even more instability in the area.
Had Abbas gone ahead and made his announcement, not only would it have been an empty gesture, it would also have been a clearly illegal breach of the Oslo Accords and other internationally approved agreements that gave validity to the Palestinian Authority in the first place.
Abbas made three false claims in talks with UN officials during his New York visit.
He blamed Israel for ongoing tensions on the Temple Mount, when the violent riots were, in reality, perpetrated by Palestinian Muslims; they have been desecrating their own mosques by wrecking the furniture and using it for barricades to hide behind, while hurling rocks, firebombs and other missiles at non-Muslims on the Mount.
Abbas also accused Israel of not reviving peace negotiations when it was Abbas himself who continually stalled and walked away from consecutive Israeli Prime Ministers and declined to respond to repeated pleas by Israel's current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to meet with him "anytime, anywhere." Netanyahu, in fact, invited Abbas to meet him while they were both in New York this week. The invitation was again declined.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the United Nations General Assembly, on September 26, 2014. (Image source: UN)
Abbas also complained about Israel's alleged failure to implement agreements with the Palestinians, but without specifying which agreements.
Ironically, it is only the constant protection by Israel's security forces that is keeping Abbas alive while rivals from Hamas and defectors from his own party attempt to kill him and take over the territories under his control.
At bottom, it is the European Union as well as the Palestinian Authority that are in violation of the many signed international agreements. Everyone is invited to come to Israel to witness the illegal construction of buildings in what, under the Oslo Accords, is known as "Area C." Area C means, according to the official Oslo Accords, that Israel has full administrative and military control of that area until such time as a permanent peace agreement is signed between the two parties. In other words, during that interim period, neither the PA, Israel, nor anyone else, has the right to construct or plant a flag anywhere designated as Area C. There have been, regrettably, countless breaches of this protocol. It is, therefore, the EU and several European governments, including France and the Netherlands, that are complicit with the PA in knowingly and purposefully violating their own, signed agreements.
It is Abbas's Palestinian Authority with the collusion of European governments that are failing to implement signed agreements with Israel. Moreover, according to the Oslo Accords, the PA was designated as an interim body, not a permanent one.
Lately, Abbas has been saying repeatedly that he will resign -- an empty threat directed at the international community, to suggest that without him, there would be chaos. The international community would do well not to fall for this or other ruses, often echoed by the BDS and other movements, which care more about hating Israel than helping Palestinians.
If one really would really like to help the Palestinians, one would try to help rid them of corrupt and repressive leaders; not reinforce them. The Palestinian people deserve better than this.
Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies. He is the author of "Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism."