From The Australian, December 03, 2012, by Ron Prosor:
FOR more than a year, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has attempted to bypass peace negotiations with Israel by unilaterally seeking state recognition at the UN.
Instead of pulling him back from this cliff, the UN's General Assembly this week may push him over the edge.
Many nations in the assembly are taking a far more Pavlovian than Washingtonian approach to Palestinian statehood. Perhaps this should not come as a surprise. For decades the body has rubber-stamped any Palestinian whim, no matter how ill-advised, ill-conceived or illogical.
The time is right to break this habit. It doesn't take an architect to recognise how poorly Palestinians have laid the foundations for statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. UN members considering Palestinian statehood have a duty to inspect these foundations and ask: Exactly what kind of state are we voting for?
• A state with no control over its territory: the Palestinian Authority has zero authority in Gaza today. Out of concern for his personal safety, Mr Abbas has not even seen this area with binoculars since 2007, when the Hamas terrorist organisation seized control of it in a bloody coup.
Demonstrating their affection for Mr Abbas, Hamas threw members of his political party off 12-storey rooftops. While members of the US congress visit their constituents on a weekly basis, Mr Abbas hasn't laid eyes on almost half of the Palestinian population for six years.
• A terrorist state: states recognised by the UN must pledge to be "peace-loving". This month, Hamas showed its commitment to peace and love in Gaza by firing more than 1200 rockets into Israeli cities.
The terrorist group has used every resource at its disposal to repress its own population or attack Israel's. It has transformed Gaza into a haven for global jihadist organisations such as al-Qa'ida. The family of nations does not need another member whose primary import is deadly weapons and whose chief exports are extremism, hatred and terror.
• An undemocratic state: Hamas has imposed brutal tyranny in Gaza, and Palestinian democracy in the West Bank is also far from Jeffersonian.
Mr Abbas's mandate to rule expired three years ago. He continues to personally extend it without elections or consultation from his people. He may have a flexible view of his own term limits, but his ideas about freedom of speech are more rigid. Journalists, bloggers and activists continue to be jailed and tortured in the West Bank for crimes such as "extending their tongues against the Palestinian President".
• A bankrupt state: Palestinian Authority institutions remain completely dependent on foreign aid, limping from crisis to crisis.
Yet this year, as the PA threatened to delay payroll for many employees, it tripled payments to convicted terrorists. Today the PA devotes 6 per cent of its yearly budget to payments for imprisoned terrorists and the families of suicide bombers, and less than 1 per cent to higher education.
In mosques, schools and official media, the PA glorifies terror and promotes incitement against Israelis. Instead of using budgets for nation-building, it uses them for nation-sinking.
Before placing its seal of approval on a Palestinian non-state, the UN should consider the consequences. Virtual statehood might earn Mr Abbas a better seat in the General Assembly, but it will not change anything on the ground. It will only raise expectations for the Palestinian people that cannot be met.
In our very volatile region, the results could be tragic.
Israel is urging the Palestinian leadership to give up its destructive march of folly at the UN and work with us to forge constructive solutions at the negotiating table, which the PA leadership has avoided for years. The foundations for real Palestinian statehood and peace can only be laid through hard work on the ground and direct talks with Israel.
Then, Israel will be the first to welcome Palestinians to the UN.
*Ron Prosor is Israel's ambassador to the UN