Israel’s case against a UN-sanctioned Palestinian independence isn’t wrong. The initiative all but scuttles the Oslo peace process and, newly reinforced by a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Egypt, very likely scuttles Camp David as well. It is not a two-state, but a one-state solution the Palestinians have in their sights.
Doubters need only listen to Palestinian Authority (PLO) President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN last fall: “They talk to us about the Jewish state, but I respond to them with a final answer: We shall not recognize a Jewish state.”
Responding to Abbas, senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (who rejects the UN process) doubled down: “[We] do not beg for a state. States are not built on UN resolutions. States liberate their land and establish their entities.”
The Palestinian seal shows a Palestine that has completely obliterated Israel. The PLO, today’s Palestinian Authority, was founded by the nephew of the Mufti of Jerusalem, a Nazi who collaborated with Hitler to carry out the “Final Solution”. Hamas, which controls Gaza, split from the PLO on the “principle” that half a century of gunning down Jewish schoolgirls was too “moderate.”
The charters of both organizations call for “the destruction of the Zionist entity” (Israel) and the death of every Jew. An average of five rocket or mortar attacks on Jewish homes per day — when supposedly at peace, as opposed to the recent short war — proves they’re serious.
These are not the sort of people who should have their own country.
Maybe the Palestinians have a point; or more precisely, maybe they haven’t thought this through as well as they think. Because the last thing Abbas and Haniyeh can afford is legal statehood. Indeed, maybe it’s time for Israel to give them what they want.
Few Americans understand the geography of this. “Palestine”, such as it is, consists in three very different places. The first is the 80% of Palestine which we call Jordan, independent since 1922 and always home to the overwhelming majority of Palestinians. It not only never dreamed of creating a “Palestinian state” in the West Bank, which it ruled until 1967: it fought a civil war in 1970 to drive the PLO (today’s Palestinian Authority) out of Jordan. No one speaks of this. Don’t expect them to now.
The second and third parts are the West Bank and Gaza. Gaza is a city-state with no commerce or industry occupied by 1.5 million largely unemployed and unemployable people whose primary skill is firing mortars at Jewish subdivisions. Such real jobs as exist are in Israel. The largely rural West Bank is better, but not by much, and about as excited about being forced to share power and interests with Gaza as Mississippi is about being dictated to from New York City, though with the added “bonus” that the secessionists in Palestine won.
So there is no one “Palestine”; and if “it” were suddenly to become independent, its primary employers — the terrorist groups — would have to start laying people off. There would still be some jobs in Israel of course, but wait: Israelis do not need and no longer would have any obligation to hire Palestinians, who would suddenly be the dangerous citizens of a foreign country.
Yes, “independence” means Palestine would instantly become vastly more dependent on Israel, not less. And who will invest in a country almost completely cut off by sea and air, populated largely by otherwise skill-less murderers who will inevitably be at war again before you blink?
Why war? Because neither Hamas nor the PLO can afford peace. Their “state” is only viable if reattached to Jordan or if Israel is obliterated and annexed. The former option is unlikely, the latter option doesn’t exist, but being a proxy army for Iran pays pretty well, and utilizes the population’s sole skill set. It also maintains both the PA’s and Hamas’ claims to power.
So how could independence possibly help Israel?
For the Palestinian oligarchy to remain in power (and well-lubricated with U.S. aid dollars), it must, however implausibly, continue to be seen as the oppressed victim. Statehood strips that away. They will have independence. They will have the two-state solution they claim (in English, though never in Arabic) to embrace, the land they say they want, the Israeli Army back in Israel.
The only thing they won’t have will be Jerusalem, and since their declaration of independence will be unilateral, they won’t be able to claim it: not without war.
So when they inevitably keep firing mortar rounds into Jewish elementary schools, those acts will be acts of war. By a sovereign state, not an occupied territory: an equal of Israel, with a seat at the UN.
And when an equal attacks another, we call that aggression. Aggressors are not “the victim”. Israel will be free to do whatever it jolly well pleases — including annexing territory it cannot annex today — in a peace treaty between sovereigns, after it thumps Hamas and the PLO back into the Stone Age.
Yes, it may just be time for an independent Palestine. Way past time.
Editor’s Note: This op-ed from Rod D. Martin was originally published at Jewish World Review.