The Jewish Press
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Governments around the world seem to believe the solution to the Arab war against Israel is to create a sovereign Palestinian Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza alongside Israel. The idea is completely flawed and mistaken. Under current conditions, a Palestinian state would be a terrorist state, bringing more war and terrorism. After all, sovereignty does not make a population and its leaders peaceful. Iran, North Korea and Syria are all sovereign states — are they peaceful and lovely?
Many leading military and intelligence figures are speaking out on this issue. The former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief-of-staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, has observed that “the establishment of a Palestinian state will lead, at some stage, to war … The idea that a Palestinian state will achieve stability is disconnected from reality and dangerous.”
Similarly, James Woolsey, CIA director under Bill Clinton, recently argued that “the Palestinians should not be granted the right to statehood until they start to treat Israeli Jews who settle in the West Bank as fairly as Israel treats its Muslim citizens … As long as Wahabbis are running Palestinian education, and little boys are taught to be suicide bombers, I don’t see any reasonable prospects for settlement.”
As former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Zalman Shoval has succinctly stated, “a Palestinian state is and never was in Israel’s interest.”
This is entirely correct. Since the Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in 1994, Palestinian Arab society has been educated for terrorism, war and the destruction of Israel. Remember, Palestinians turned down offers of statehood in 1937, 1947 and 2000. If they truly desire statehood, they could obtain it by stopping terrorism. They haven’t, because they prefer to pursue Israel’s elimination.
President Bush is again promoting Palestinian statehood. However, we should recall the conditions he himself laid out for that occurrence in his June 24, 2002 speech on the subject. Bush called for the Palestinians to elect new leaders “not compromised by terror.” But instead the Palestinians voted in the terrorist group Hamas. Bush called for Palestinian Arabs to “engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure.” But the PA has not jailed and disarmed terrorists, confiscated their weaponry or closed the bomb-making factories. The terrorist killings go on.
Bush also called for ending “incitement to violence in official media, and [to] publicly denounce homicide bombings.” But incitement and glorification of terror continue unabated in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps. In fact, PA president Mahmoud Abbas recently called at a rally of 250,000 Palestinians for Palestinian groups to turn their guns on Israelis, saying, “Our rifles, all our rifles are aimed at the Occupation.”
In the PA, schools, streets and sports teams are named in honor of suicide bombers and other mass-murderers of Israelis while in PA maps and atlases, a country called “Israel” is nowhere to be found. Instead, “Palestine” appears in is place.
Bush called on “Palestinians to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty.” But in PA-run areas Christians are persecuted, Jewish holy sites desecrated, women remain second-class citizens and liberty is as remote as ever.
It’s clear the Palestinians have not fulfilled a single one of President Bush’s conditions for statehood. Moreover, whether ruled by Abbas’s Fatah or by Hamas, the PA remains a terrorist regime.
Fatah, which was co-founded by Yasir Arafat and Abbas in 1959 and pioneered acts of international terrorism, to this day calls in its charter for the destruction of Israel (Article 12) and the use of terrorism as an indispensable part of the struggle to achieve that goal (Article 19). Since the outbreak of the Palestinian terror war in September 2000, Fatah has killed nearly 500 Israelis and maimed thousands more in acts of terrorism.
A Palestinian state would cost Israel strategic depth and high ground while shrinking it to indefensible borders, including a 9-mile width. Worse, a sovereign Palestinian state would have the ability to build up even larger armed forces and form alliances with other terrorists. A Palestinian state would also control a third of Israel’s vital water supply. This is not a prescription for peace.
The American public understands this — a June 2005 McLaughlin & Associates poll showed that, by 53% to 21%, Americans believe “a Palestinian state would be a terrorist state — not a peaceful democracy.” It is remarkable, however, that much of the world, which ignores statehood for Basques, Kurds and Tibetans, openly supports Palestinian statehood, sending a clear message that terrorism works. This will only encourage more terrorism.
Instead of working to create a Palestinian state, Israel should be using overwhelming force to punish Palestinians after every terrorist act, making it clear to them that there are enormous consequences for their actions. There should be no discussion of concessions and statehood until the Palestinians demonstrate, over a significant period of time, that they have abandoned terrorism and finally become part of the civilized world.
Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America.