This week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is heading to New York in order to seek the United Nations approval for upgrading the PA’s status to being a non-member observer, despite the fact that it is a clear violation of the Oslo Agreements to bypass a negotiated settlement. The PA is evidently undeterred, because Arab states have promised to compensate the PA for any Israeli and American financial losses. Meanwhile, Jamal Muhaissen, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, warned that his group would not hesitate to resort to “armed struggle” in light of Israeli threats to take punitive measures against the PA.

However, while Abbas is seeking that Palestine be recognized based on the 1967 borders, Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has voiced its opposition to Abbas’ plans because Hamas believes that by Abbas specifying the 1967 boundaries, it implies that the Palestinian state should only exist within the 1967 borders, which is a de facto recognition of Israel from Hamas’ perspective. As Khalid Mashaal told CNN, “Palestine, from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, it is my land. And the land of my fathers and grandfathers, inhabited by the Palestinian people for a long time ago. This is my land, my right.”

As the Jerusalem Post reported, “Hamas views each round of armed conflict with Israel as a stage in a long-term war of attrition. Refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and liberating Palestine “from the river to the sea,” remains the ultimate aim of the Islamist organization – boosted now by the results of the ‘Arab Spring.’” Indeed, Hamas has considered the possibility of declaring Gaza to be a “liberated part of Palestine” and to cut all financial ties with Israel. While Hamas had refrained from doing so in the past due to Egyptian opposition, with the Muslim Brotherhood now controlling Egypt, the political situation has been altered.

The position of Hamas renders Abbas’ declaration of statehood in Judea and Samaria, East Jerusalem, and Gaza to be devoid of meaning. Hamas, according to Palestinian National Council Khaled Mesmar, would prefer to have their own unilateral declaration of independence in Gaza rather than unite with Abbas at the UN against Israel. For Hamas, Abbas’ government lacks legitimacy and does not represent the will of the Palestinian people. Indeed, Hamas continues to do every thing in its power to undermine Abbas in Judea and Samaria, and the only thing really preserving Abbas’ regime there is the use of force by PA security forces and Israel.

Thus, in essence, while Abbas will most likely succeed in getting the UN General Assembly to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority, the chances that any upgraded Palestinian status at the UN will lead to a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders are quite remote given that Abbas does not control Gaza and does not have the backing of Hamas. Furthermore, Abbas does not even have effective control over East Jerusalem and large sections of Judea and Samaria, which is something that Israel is unlikely to give up on in the absence of peace negotiations, especially given that the UN General Assembly does not have the legal power to compel Israel to do so.

Reported by Rachel Avraham for United With Israel

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