The administration’s misguided idea of a Palestinian state would strengthen Iran and leave Israel weakened and encircled by Iranian proxy terror states and terrorist organizations.
By Morton A. Klein
(JANUARY 24, 2024 / JNS) During his interview with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Davos on Jan. 17, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman asked what a potential future book by Blinken would be named. Blinken answered: “Best Laid Plans?” and laughed.
How interesting. Did Blinken’s answer reveal that, deep down, he knows that—especially regarding the Middle East—his and President Joe Biden’s plans epitomize the proverb “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”? Does he know that these plans are not even “best-laid plans”?
Biden and Blinken’s plans over the past three years have repeatedly led to disaster. Failing to enforce sanctions gave Iran the funds to enrich proxies Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Houthis. Pressuring Israel to give up 330 square miles of maritime territory and valuable gas fields to Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon strengthened Hezbollah, which is now raining rockets down on northern Israel, displacing over 80,000 Jews. When Hamas launched 4,500 rockets at Israel in May 2021, the administration’s pressure on Israel to end the ensuing 10-day war before Israel could wipe out Hamas’s rockets, tunnels and terror infrastructure enabled Hamas to perpetrate the Oct. 7 massacre.
Biden’s removal of the Iranian-backed Houthis from the U.S. Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list three years ago over the objections of Middle Eastern allies, which resulted in the removal of accompanying sanctions, was yet another mistake. It strengthened the Houthis’ ability to attack U.S. interests, allies and international shipping. On Jan. 17, the Biden administration was forced to put the Houthis on the U.S. “Specially Designated Global Terrorist Groups” list.
Biden and Blinken’s latest plans will likewise lead to disaster. These include their plans, pressure and absurd demands for the terrorist Palestinian Authority to rule Gaza; a “stronger, reformed Palestinian state”; limitations on Israel’s war to eradicate Hamas; sending dual-use material into Gaza under the guise of humanitarian aid; giving more funds to UNRWA, the Hamas-controlled agency that hides Hamas’s weapons and teaches Palestinian children to kill Jews; preventing Palestinians from leaving Gaza; and returning hostile Palestinians to Israel’s Gaza border. All of this can only lead to more Palestinian Arab terror and more Oct. 7’s, which Hamas is threatening to commit.
Just look at the events of last week: After Israel withdrew its 36th Division from Gaza under pressure from Biden and Blinken, Hamas immediately moved in and used the vacated area to fire large barrages of missiles into Israel.
Blinken’s promotion of the Biden administration’s misbegotten plans reached a new crescendo during his Davos interview. Blinken said that the United States, and Arab and Muslim countries, hold the “absolute conviction” that normalization with Israel “has to include a pathway to a Palestinian state”; insisted that a Palestinian state “has to be part of the equation”; and falsely portrayed Israel as the obstacle to peace without mentioning continuing Hamas rocket attacks and daily terror attacks perpetrated by Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria, or the fact that approximately 80% of Palestinian Arabs support Hamas and the Oct. 7 massacre. Blinken also absurdly claimed that Israeli capitulation to a Palestinian state would somehow “isolate Iran and its proxies” and “give Israel the security it needs.”
In reality, if a Palestinian state, especially a stronger one, is “part of the equation,” this will strengthen Iran and its proxies, leaving Israel weakened, isolated and at greater security risks. Israel will be encircled by Iranian proxy terror states and terror organizations Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and more.
Iran’s terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is likely to quickly establish bases in a Palestinian state, just as the IRGC has done in Syria. Iran will also arm a Palestinian state to the teeth, just as Iran has armed Hamas, PIJ and Hezbollah. Hezbollah has 200,000 missiles pointed at Israel and is launching them at Israeli communities every day. A Palestinian state will make this situation far worse: Israel will face constant rocket and terror attacks from all sides. No normalization with an Arab or Muslim state will change the reality that an encircled Israel would ultimately be indefensible.
Blinken is also wrong that Arab and Muslim states have an “absolute conviction” that there must be a pathway to a Palestinian state. Arab and Muslim states want strong allies against Iran, not an ally that is weakened, encircled and constantly fighting for its life while subjected to terror and missile attacks from all sides. In other words, the Biden/Blinken plan for a strong Palestinian state is a disaster in the making.
Moreover, during his Davos interview, Blinken once again failed to mention even a single Palestinian reform that could bring peace. For example, he never mentioned ending the P.A.’s “pay to slay” rewards to Arab terrorists who murder Jews.
Blinken also never mentioned reforming the P.A. and UNRWA schools and textbooks that teach Palestinian children to aspire to murder Jewish children. He never mentioned changing the names of schools, streets, sports teams and children’s camps that are named after Palestinian Arab Jew-killers. He never mentioned ending the non-stop drumbeat of incitement against Jews and Israel in and by the P.A. Blinken’s only planned “reform” was a vague statement about a “Palestinian Authority that can more effectively deliver for its own people.” Deliver what? More hate-filled indoctrination?
It’s time for Biden and Blinken to adopt better plans, such as de-Nazifying the P.A., changing antisemitic textbooks, stopping imams’ sermons calling for the murder of Jews, and demanding an end to the P.A.’s policy of honoring terrorists and terrorism (and paying them). This type of program transformed the Germans after World War II and can transform the Palestinian terrorist regime today.
Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).
This op-ed was originally published in JNS and can be viewed here.