Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Thursday 1 December 2011

"It is still unclear whether they are inspired by the promise of building a new state, or the goal of destroying an existing one": Ron Prosor To The United Nations

Ron Prosor, the personable and popular (with Israel's friends, at least) diplomat who this year left the post of Israeli Ambassador to the Court of St James to become his country's envoy to the United Nations, has proved his mettle yet again as an outstanding representative of the beleaguered Jewish State.  His speech yesterday at the UN General Assembly on the occasion of the so-called International Day of Solidarity With The Palestinian People inaugurated by that Arab/pro-Arab-hijacked international body in 1977, bears witness to that.

 Declared Mr Prosor:

'A great Jewish sage once wrote, "The truth can hurt like a thorn, at first; but in the end it blossoms like a rose."
His words came to my mind today. His insight could really benefit many in this hall.
It takes a well of truth to water the seeds of peace. Yet, we continue to witness a drought of candour in this body’s discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. On this historic day, real facts in the General Assembly remain few and far between.

For any who have been here on November 29th before, today is déjà vu. Some of you may have noticed that some minor changes have been taking place in the Middle East lately, but any changes in this body’s resolutions condemning Israel are very, very rare.
Indeed, it didn’t take a creative writer to craft the language in these resolutions. The exact same text is copied and pasted, year after year – much of it dating back five decades.

The account we heard today is one-sided. It is unilateral. It is unjust. And it is unhelpful. It presents a distorted and impartial version of history.  It transforms the cause of Palestinian self-determination into a deliberate attempt to denigrate, defame, and delegitimize the State of Israel.

The political dynamics in this body are sadly predictable. Every November, the leaves change color in New York, but the automatic anti-Israel majority never changes its votes.

Each and every responsible member of the international community that affixes its seal of approval on this exact same set of resolutions – which are irrelevant at best, and damaging at worst— should do a little soul searching. Is this the message that you want the General Assembly to send to the world.... Let me take a moment to remind this Assembly about what actually occurred on this day 64 years ago – and in the days that followed.

On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition then British-Mandate Palestine into two states: one Jewish, one Arab. Two states for two peoples.

The Jewish population accepted that plan and declared a new state in its ancient homeland. It reflected the Zionist conviction that it was both necessary and possible to live in peace with our neighbors in the land of our forefathers.

The Arab inhabitants rejected the plan and launched a war of annihilation against the new Jewish state, joined by the armies of five Arab members of the United Nations.

One percent of Israel’s population died during this assault by five armies. Think about that price. It would be the equivalent of 650,000 dying in France today, or 3 million dying in the United States, or 13 million dying in China.

As a result of the war, there were Arabs who became refugees. A similar number of Jews, who lived in Arab countries, were forced to flee their homes as well. They, too, became refugees.
The difference between these two distinct populations was – and still is – that Israel absorbed the refugees into our society. Our neighbors did not.

Refugee camps in Israel gave birth to thriving towns and cities. Refugee camps in Arab Countries gave birth to more Palestinian refugees.

We unlocked our new immigrants’ vast potential. The Arab World knowingly and intentionally kept their Palestinian populations in the second class status of permanent refugees.

In Lebanon for many years and still today, the law prohibits Palestinians from owning land – and from working in the public sector or as doctors and lawyers. Palestinians are banned from these professions.

In Kuwait, the once significant Palestinian population was forcibly expelled from the country in 1991. Few remain.

In Syria, thousands of Palestinians had to flee refugee camps in Latakia last August when President Assad shelled their homes with naval gunboats.

In the vast majority of Arab Countries, Palestinians have no rights of citizenship. It is no coincidence that the Arab World’s responsibilities for the “inalienable rights” of these Palestinians never appear in the resolutions before you....

The basic question underlying our conflict for 64 years has not changed. That question is: has the Arab World – and particularly the Palestinians – internalized that Israel is here to stay and will remain the Nation-state of the Jewish People?

It is still unclear whether they are inspired by the promise of building a new state, or the goal of destroying an existing one. [My emphasis]

Two months ago, President Abbas stood at the podium in this very hall and tried to erase the unbroken and unbreakable connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel.

He said the following:
“I come before you today from the Holy Land, the land of Palestine, the land of divine messages, ascension of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the birthplace of Jesus Christ (peace be upon him).”
This was not an oversight. It was not a slip of the tongue. It was yet another deliberate attempt to deny and erase more than 3,000 years of Jewish history. The Arab leaders from those two nations that sought peace have offered a different message.

For example, in 1995, King Hussein came to the United States and said (quote): “For our part, we shall continue to work for the new dawn when all the Children of Abraham and their descendants are living together in the birthplace of their three great monotheistic religions.”
In 1977, President Sadat came to Israel’s Knesset and quoted this verse from the Koran: “We believe in God and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes and in the books given to Moses, Jesus, and the prophets from their lord.”

President Sadat and King Hussein spoke of THREE monotheistic religions, not ONE or TWO.Mr. President,

The resolution that gives the 29th of November significance – General Assembly resolution 181 – speaks of the creation of a “Jewish State” no less than 25 times. We still do not hear Palestinian leaders utter the term. 

The Palestinian leadership refuses to acknowledge Israel’s character as a Jewish state. You will never hear them say “two states for two peoples”. If you ever hear a Palestinian leader say “two states for two peoples”, please phone me immediately. My office has set up the equivalent of a 9/11 number in the event of such an unprecedented occurrence.
Palestinian leaders call for an independent Palestinian state, but insist that the Palestinian people return to the Jewish state. This is a proposition that no one who believes in the right of Israel to exist could ever accept.The idea that Israel will be flooded with millions of Palestinians is a non-starter. The international community knows it. The Palestinian leadership knows it. But the Palestinian people aren’t hearing it. At this very moment, the gap between their perception and reality remains the major obstacle to peace.

Let me repeat that: the so-called right of return is and will remain the major obstacle to peace. It is not settlements. It is not the laundry list of baseless accusations launched against Israel in today’s resolutions.

I’ll repeat it again: the so-called right of return is the major obstacle to peace. Everyone knows it.
Yet, all of those who were so vocal today in telling Israel what is has to do for peace – mumbled, stuttered and conveniently lost their voices when it came to telling the Palestinians that the so-called right of return is a non-starter.

For decades, this body has rubberstamped nearly every Palestinian whim, no matter how counter-factual or counter-productive. What has this accomplished? The lip service of this body has only done a disservice for peace....

True friends of the Palestinians have a responsibility to tell them the truth.
They will stop promoting the distorted version of history that characterizes this day, and start delivering the real lessons of history that the Palestinian leadership now refuses to heed.

These lessons are clear: bilateral negotiations are the only route to two states, for two peoples – living side-by-side in peace and security; negotiations that resolve the outstanding concerns of both sides.
While bypass maneuvers may work for heart surgery and highway construction, they will not bring peace or security to our region.

Direct negotiations were the way of President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin, the way of Prime Minister Rabin and King Hussein. It has been the framework for advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinians for the past two decades.

Time and again, we have extended our hand in peace to the Palestinians. Prime Minister Netanyahu stood in this very hall last September and declared his commitment to the cause of Palestinian self-determination – and his vision for establishing a Palestinian state, alongside the Jewish State of Israel – two states for two peoples.

Yet, today we wait for the Palestinians to give up the false idol of unilateralism – and get back to the real hard work of direct negotiations.  And – as they continue to run away from the negotiating table, the Palestinian leadership continues to move closer into their embrace of Hamas – an internationally recognized terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

This development brings to my mind Groucho Marx’s famous line: "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them … well, I have others." The Quartet has long applied three principles that Hamas must adopt.  It must renounce violence, recognize Israel and abide by prior agreements. At no point has Hamas satisfied these conditions – or indicated any intention to do so.

Those who advocate recognizing a Government that includes Hamas are urging a Groucho-Marxist policy in a complex, unstable region. If Hamas is too extreme to accept these principles, they argue, we must tailor our principles to match Hamas's extremism.The bar has been set very low. On these basic requirements for peace, there can be no adjustments. There can be no bargaining. There can be no Holiday Season discounts – in this hall or anywhere else....

Even more than the words spoken in the speeches here today – or the words in the resolutions before you— it is the words not spoken that speak volumes. This Assembly has made clear that it does not stand in solidarity with many people in our region today.

In this hall, I hear no solidarity with the one million Israeli men, women and children who live under the constant rain rockets, mortars and missiles from the Gaza Strip.

I hear no solidarity with the 16-year old boy who was killed last April when a Hamas anti-Tank Missile struck his school bus. Or the thousands of other Israeli civilians who have been killed and injured.

I hear no solidarity with the Israeli children who learn the alphabet at the same time that they learn the names Kassam, Grad, and Katyusha – the rockets that keep them out of school for weeks at a time.

I hear no solidarity with the Palestinians who are victims of brutal Hamas rule – with the political opponents who are tortured, the women who are subjugated, or the children who are used as suicide bombers and human shields.  [My emphasis]

And – ... today I hear no solidarity with the many people in the Middle East who are being repressed and slaughtered every single day for demanding their freedom. From Syria to Iran to Yemen, these people are no longer content with their leader’s explanations that Israel is to blame for all the problems of the Middle East – a fiction that is advanced through resolutions like those before us today.
Today the People of the Middle East demand real answers for their plight.

I also heard no discussion today about the incitement that continues to fill the West Bank and Gaza, where the next generation of Palestinian children is being taught that suicide bombers are heroes, that Jews have no connection to the Holy Land, and that they must seek to annihilate the State of Israel.

From cradles to kindergarten classrooms; from the grounds of summer camps to the stands of football stadiums; from the names of public squares to the public pronouncements of Palestinian leaders, these messages are everywhere.

Just last month, President Abbas declared that the Palestinian Authority would provide a grant of up to $5,000 to every terrorist released in exchange for Gilad Shalit, Israel’s kidnapped soldier.
These are people like Ibrahim Shammasina, who helped to murder four Israelis, including two teenagers. People like Walid Anajas, who planned bombings in the heart of Jerusalem and Rishon Lezion, which killed 32.

People like Wafa-al Bis, who unsuccessfully tried to blow herself up in an Israeli hospital.Washed in the blood of innocents, these terrorists are being held up as role models for the next generation of Palestinian children.

Palestinian Authority television broadcast President Abbas’ remarks to these released terrorists last October. He said, “You are people of struggle and Jihad fighters for Allah and the homeland... Your sacrifice and your effort and your actions were not in vain.”....

Sustainable peace must take root in homes, schools, and media that teach tolerance and understanding so that it can grow in hearts and minds.

It must come from a Palestinian leadership willing to tell its people about the difficult compromises that they will have to make for statehood.

It will come through the hard work of state-building, not the old habit of state-bashing.

Today none of these truths have been spoken.

Today I hear no solidarity with the principles of peace.

I know that the truth can be a burden. I know that old habits die-hard. I know that the convenience of the moment sometimes weighs heavy on the interests of the future.

Yet, only the truth will set us free. After years of darkness, I call on this Assembly to bring new light to this debate.

I call on each and every delegate in this hall to embrace pragmatic solutions, not automatic resolutions; to speak with candor, and not slander; to grapple for a new vision, and not old divisions.

I call on this Assembly to finally glean truth from this historic day, nourishing the seeds of peace in our region that can blossom into a brighter future.'

(Hat tip: Challah)
Update: see Michelle Huberman's interesting blog about this speech, specifically in relation to the refugee issue, here


  1. I actually don't like this speech, b/c Prosor's words give the appearance of legitimizing Res 181 (at the very time that Palestinians are now claiming it again), and that is a very dangerous thing to do.
    First, Prosor says that the Gen Assembly voted to partition the land, when it would have been much better to say they voted to *recommend* a partition of the land (the world must be repeatedly instructed that the UN Gen Assembly not only never created the state, but they never partitioned the land, nor had power to).
    Second, Prosor cites Res 181 to push for support for a "Jewish state." He could have chosen different wording to make the same point while yet telling the world that Res 181 was null and void, rejected, & in any case only a recommendation, but he did not.

    I fear Prosor's choice in words may have been deliberate, a move towards willingness to submit to the resurrection of Res 181, or at least parts of it (internationalization of Jerusalem), in order to gain support for a "Jewish state" recognition.

  2. An excellent speech. Prosor is a worthy successor to Dan Gillerman, who did such great work for Israel at the time of the Second Lebanon War. But (sigh...) it will go unheeded and unread by most.

    Truth to power, indeed.

  3. Two rather different views here - thanks for your comments, ER and Rob.

  4. I didn't understand ER's comments.

  5. Well, now that you mention it - neither did I!

  6. Rob & Daphne, sorry, I'll try to explain -- first by recalling Res 181, and then explaining why it's significant today.

    I perceive fear, weakness, and bad direction in Prosor's speech, because of his remarks about UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947, it *suggested* how a partition should go, with one part suggesting internationalization of Jerusalem).

    B/c Res 181 was not a Security Council resolution, it was not legally binding, but only a recommendation, as it itself noted -- so that resolution did not partition the land, so a vote for it was not a vote to partition it. Furthermore, even though Israel accepted the *recommendation,* the Arabs explicitly rejected it, first in words, then in action, when they attacked in '48. As a consequence, even the suggested timeline passed, and of course, it never vested. (btw, the international community did zippo when appealed to for help as Jerusalem was under seige, something to remember when surrendering Jerusalem to outside control).

    Ok, so that's the backdrop. Next comment I'll put where Prosor's speech fails...

  7. Thanks for taking the trouble to clarify, ER.

  8. (continued) now, present day, the Palestinians and global community (just now, Iceland) are talking about (at a minimum) Pal "state" recognition on -- to use their revisionist language -- "'67 borders" (though of course, there was no such thing, just the armistice lines after the '48 war of self-defense. Now, that would refer to the time when Jordan gained & occupied (illegally) Jerusalem after its aggression. But lately they've gone back to before that, to Res. 181, under which Jerusalem was treated separately and internationalized.

    Now, for decades, such internationalization has been part of the schemes (PLO-Vatican, Clinton, etc), and contrary to all the talk against "dividing" Jerusalem (even falsely saying Obama spoke of this), that is not really the concern, the concern should be over "sharing" Jerusalem, this is what will almost assuredly happen (I'm just speaking up for conscience sake, b/c it's wrong to do it), and Prosor's comments conribute to that direction.

    The law, history, and basic morality are on Israel's side over Jerusalem, but again & again in talking to Israeli's I get comments that indicate fear and lack of faith in the Almighty who returned Jerusalem to them. Prosor gives credence to all the latest Palestinian talk about Res 181, citing it the way he did to support case for recognition of a "Jewish state" (the popular suggested solution by scared Israeli's).

    And he did worse, on the anniversary of that Resolution, he did not tell the world that the Resolution is null and void -- THAT is what should have been the message, NOT giving an appearance consistent with the Pal narrative that the UN partitioned the land.

    Why would Prosor do such stupid, suicidal things? Don't know, I suspect fear, begging for that "Jewish state" again.

  9. ER,

    I too fail to see your point.

    Whilst you are correct in saying that United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions are non-binding, they are not “recommendations”, unless a resolution actually says so.

    The UNGA Resolution 181 is a PLAN for the partition of Palestine into two an “Arab and Jewish states”. Indeed it includes ONE recommendation “to the United Kingdom, as the mandatory Power for Palestine, and to all other Members of the United Nations the adoption and implementation, with regard to the future Government of Palestine, of the Plan of Partition with Economic Union set out [in the plan]”

    By passing the resolution and in fact taking steps to implement the plan, the only recommendation in the resolution was adopted by the General Assembly and the majority of its members. The plan was rejected by all MUSLIM (not Arab only) members countries at the time and Cuba.

    Further, I can allay your fears that Israel will ever seek to readopt the partition plan of Palestine, it ain’t going to happen! – Ambassador Prosor merely referred to the Palestinians intransigence in not accepting the term “Jewish State” a term that was used by the UN in the resolution 25 times according to him.

    If anything, Ambassador Prosor was diplomatic in not citing the REAL reason why the Palestinians CANNOT accept the term “Jewish State” and that is because to do so would be to countermand the Koran that, according to Islam, is Allah’s word:

    “But because of their [the children of Israel] breaking their covenant [with Allah], We [Allah] have cursed them and made their hearts hard. They altered the words from their context and they omit the part whereof they were admonished. Thou wilt not cease to discover treachery from all of them save a few of them [who convert to Islam]. But bear with them [the converts] and Pardon them. Lo Allah loveth the kindly.”

    The Koran 5:13
    [Square brackets added for clarity]

    In fact, the Koran provides ample reasons as to why Muslims should not accept Israel, but to bring the issue of the Koran into the UN would not be very smart.

    UN Resolution 181 Text:

  10. Jacob, of course Israel will not adopt the Res 181 recommendation in its entirety at this point given new realities on the ground for 1 thing, but it would be nice if Israel would delay the eventual foolish decision they will make to internatioanlize Jerusalem, an idea that hearkens back to Res 181, which should be treated as totally irrelevant, but Prosor's doing the opposite. It is truly absurd that with all the emphasis on a "Jewish state" (an emphasis I strongly oppose), Israelis are so willing to do stuff like surrender Hebron and the Temple Mount, and internationalize Jerusalem. I disagree with nearly all of what you said, but appreciate having heard it, even if it makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration. Thx

  11. ER,

    I am at the loss to see on what basis you suggest that there is a plan or even willingness in Israel part to contemplate as much as discuss the internalisation of Jerusalem based on Res 181, let alone agree to it.

    Perhaps you be good enough to enlighten me what makes you think that “Israelis are so willing to …. Internationalise Jerusalem”.

    That said, I see nothing sacred in a few Arab neighbourhoods, currently within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem but OUTSIDE the Old City being given to the Palestinians as part of a comprehensive peace agreement but we are still very far from it as things stand now.

    Israel IS a Jewish state whether or not the Palestinians agree to recognise it as such; like yourself I do not care one bit what the Palestinians, or anyone else for that matter, think – I feel that Netanyahu’s demand in this respect is a mere symbolism and perhaps a negotiating tactics, in other words, a side issue.


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