Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is determined to do more than simply not recognize Israel as the Jewish state, he is determined to rewrite recent history in the region.
In an op-ed piece published by the New York Times on Tuesday, Abbas claimed that after the UN decided to partition "Palestine" into Jewish and Arab states in 1947, the "Zionists" launched an unprovoked military offensive forcing surrounding Arab states to intervene.
Abbas was arguing that in September, the UN must right that alleged historic wrong by recognizing an independent Palestinian state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately responded, calling Abbas' article a "Stalinit-style rewriting of history" and a "gross distortion of well-known and documented facts."
Netanyahu reminded the world that "it was the Palestinians who rejected the partition plan for two states, while the Jewish leadership accepted it."
Furthermore, stated Netanyahu, it was the Arabs armies and local Palestinian Arabs who "attacked the Jewish state in order to destroy it," not the other way around.
It should also be pointed out that following the 1948 Israeli-Arab war, the Arab armies were in control of much of the territories the UN had slated for a Palestinian state. But, instead of establishing such a state, Jordan illegally annexed the territories, with little or no objection from local Arabs.
Netanyahu went on to take issue with another part of Abbas' article where the Palestinian leader stated that creating a Palestinian state at the UN in September would "pave the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the United Nations."
Netanyahu noted that since 1993, Israel has been taking part in the peace process under the guarantee that a Palestinian state would mark the end of the conflict. Instead, "one could conclude from the article that the Palestinian leadership views the establishment of a Palestinian state as a means to continue the conflict with Israel," said Netanyahu.
The Israeli leader insisted that level-headed people in the international community (which apparently excludes the Times editors) would see through Abbas' deception.
On Wednesday, journalist Jeffery Goldberg backed up Netanyahu in an editorial for the Atlanic.
"There is no particular reason to hope for a successful peace process when the leader of the Palestinians is selling a false history of Israel's independence," according to Goldberg.
Another important, though often ignored, aspect of all this is that a good many (perhaps even most) average Palestinians do not want an independent Palestinian state.
Israel Today recently spoke to a number of Palestinian Arabs who said that such a state would be disastrous, and that they prefer to remain under Israeli rule.