The present Palestinian leadership has never repudiated al-Husseini’s legacy of Nazism and Jew hatred, so one must assume they find something positive in that legacy. Unfortunately, many liberal Jews and even Israelis shy away from linking al-Husseini to the Palestinian cause, lest they be accused of using the tragedy of the Holocaust to gain political advantage in the conflict with the Palestinians. I think this is a grave mistake, and I wish the Palestinians – who are constantly equating Zionism with Nazism — were half as scrupulous.
FP: The Palestinians have been offered a state numerous times on many accommodating conditions. Why do they keep rejecting one if they (supposedly) want a state so much?
Stern: In the years before the 1948 war the Palestinians rejected a state simply because they didn’t want to acknowledge that the Jews also had a right to statehood, even on the tiniest little strip of Palestine – as the British offered in 1937. Since the establishment of Israel, the Palestinians have rejected every offer of a two state solution – from the Clinton parameters in 2000, to the offer by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in September 2008 – because accepting a state for themselves would have required giving up the Right of Return of the 1948 Palestinian refugees. This Mahmoud Abbas cannot do, because he cannot admit to the millions of refugees that they have been lied to by their own leaders for 60 years and that they are not going back to their homes in Jaffa, Haifa and to Mahmoud Abbas’ home town of Safed.
FP: What may result if the U.N. recognizes an independent Palestinian state?
Stern: Not much will happen from a legal point of view, except that the Palestinians will be able to press claims against Israel at the International Court of Justice. But this whole episode will surely inflame the situation on the ground. With Egypt’s descent into chaos and Turkey going steadily Islamist, and with Hamas itching for another war, we are headed for a very explosive situation. This could be the Guns of September in the Middle East, with any little confrontation along Israel’s borders providing a spark that turns into another conflagration, this time with devastating weaponry on both sides. The only question is what our feckless American President will do to honor America’s historic commitment to maintain Israel’s security. Obama’s record so far is not very promising.
FP: What do you hope your book will help achieve?
Stern: I hope this little book helps readers see through the lies about the conflict told by the Palestinian leaders and their liberal allies in the West. Other than the material about Mahmoud Abbas’ fabrications about his “expulsion” from Safed and the eyewitness testimony from Izzy Stone during the 1948 war, there isn’t much that is new in my essay. But I hope that by putting it all together in a concise historical narrative I can help arm pro-Israel Americans with the facts and arguments they will need to combat the hateful propaganda barrage coming from the UN in the coming weeks and months.
FP: Sol Stern, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview and thank you for writing this important book.
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