Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas is in Europe this week seeking to convince the
Spanish and Norwegian governments to support the Palestinian bid to sidestep
negotiations with Israel and have the UN General Assembly recognize Palestinian
sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem in addition to Gaza.
Palestinians know that without US support, their initiative will fail to gain
Security Council support and therefore have no legal weight. But they believe
that if they push hard enough, Israel’s control over these areas will eventually
unravel and they will gain control over them without ever accepting Israel’s
right to exist.
Fatah’s UN gambit, along with its unity deal with Hamas,
makes clear that the time has come for Israel to finally face the facts: There
are only two realistic options for dealing with Judea and Samaria.
the Palestinians will take control of Judea and Samaria, or Israel will annex
If the Palestinians take control, they will establish a terror
state in the areas, which – like their terror state in Gaza – will use its
territory as a starting point for continued war against Israel.
only Israel’s experience with post-withdrawal Gaza and South Lebanon that make
it clear that a post-withdrawal Palestinian-controlled Judea and Samaria will
become a terror state. The Palestinians themselves make no bones about
In a Palestinian public opinion survey released last week by The
Israel Project, 65 percent of Palestinians said they believe that they should
conduct negotiations with Israel. But before we get excited, we need to read the
According to the survey, those two-thirds of Palestinians
believe that talks should not lead to the establishment of the State of
Palestine next to Israel and at peace with the Jewish state. They believe the
establishment of “Palestine” next to Israel should serve as a means for
continuing their war against Israel. The goal of that war is to destroy what’s
left of Israel after the “peace” treaty and gobble it into
That is, 66% of Palestinians believe “peace” talks with
Israel should be conducted in bad faith.
Moreover, three-quarters deny
Jewish ties to Jerusalem, and 80% support Islamic jihad against Jews as called
for in the Hamas charter; 73% support the annihilation of the Jewish people as
called for in the Hamas charter on the basis of Islamic scripture.
as Israel’s experience with post-withdrawal Gaza and South Lebanon has been,
Israel’s prospects with a post-withdrawal Judea and Samaria will be far worse.
It isn’t simply that withdrawal will invite aggression from Judea and Samaria.
It will invite foreign Arab armies to invade the rump Jewish
Unlike the post-withdrawal situation with Gaza and South Lebanon,
without Judea and Samaria, Israel would not have the territorial depth and
topographical advantage to defend itself from invasion from the
Moreover, the establishment of the second Palestinian terror state
after Gaza in Judea and Samaria would embolden some of Israel’s Arab citizens in
the Galilee and the Negev as well as in Jaffa, Lod, Haifa and beyond to escalate
their already declared irredentist plans to demand autonomy or unification with
whatever Palestinian terror state they choose.
Living under the constant
threat of invasion from the east (and the south, from a Muslim
Brotherhood-controlled Egyptian army moving through the Sinai and Gaza), Israel
would likely be deterred from taking concerted action against its treacherous
As then-prime minister Ariel Sharon warned in 2001, the
situation would be analogous to the plight of Czechoslovakia in the 1930s. Just
as the Nazis deterred the Czech government from acting against its traitorous
German minority in the Sudetenland in the 1930s, so Arab states (and a nuclear
Iran), supporting the Palestinian terror states in Judea and Samaria and in
Gaza, would make it impossible for Israel to enforce its sovereign rights on its
Israel’s destruction would be all but
The second option is for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria,
complete with its hostile Arab population.
Absorbing the Arab population
of Judea and Samaria would increase Israel’s Arab minority from 20% to 33% of
the overall population. This is true whether or not Israel grants them full
citizenship with voting rights or permanent residency without
Obviously such a scenario would present Israel with new and complex
legal, social and law enforcement challenges. But it would also provide Israel
with substantial advantages and opportunities.
Israel would have to
consider its electoral laws and weigh the prospect of moving from a proportional
representation system to a direct, district system. It would have to begin
enforcing its laws toward its Arab citizens in a manner identical to the way it
enforces its laws against its Jewish citizens. This includes everything from
administrative laws concerning building to criminal statutes related to treason.
It would have to ensure that Arab schoolchildren are no longer indoctrinated to
hate Jews, despite the fact that according to the Israel Project survey, 53% of
Palestinians support such anti-Semitic indoctrination in the
These steps would be difficult to enact.
On the other
side, annexing Judea and Samaria holds unmistakable advantages for Israel. For
instance, Israel would regain complete military control over the areas. Israel
ceded much of this control to the PLO in 1996.
The Palestinian armies
Israel agreed to allow the PLO to field have played a central role in the
Palestinian terror machine. They have also played a key role in indoctrinating
Palestinian society to seek and work toward Israel’s destruction. By bringing
about the disbanding of these terror forces, Israel would go a long way toward
securing its citizens from attack.
Furthermore, by asserting its
sovereign rights to its heartland, for the first time since 1967, Israel would
be adopting an unambiguous position around which its citizens and supporters
could rally. Annexation would also finally free Israel’s politicians and
diplomats to tell the truth about the pathological nature of Palestinian
nationalism and about the rank hypocrisy and anti-Semitism at the heart of much
of the international Left’s campaigns on behalf of the Palestinians.
annexation won’t be easy. But then again, the alternative is national
And again, these are the only options. Either the Palestinians
form a terror state from which it will wage war against the shrunken,
indefensible Jewish state, or Israel expands the size of the Jewish
Since 1967, Israel has refused to accept the fact that these are
the only two options available. Instead, successive governments and the nation
as a whole have set their hopes on imaginary third options. For the Left, this
option has been the fantasy of a two-state solution. This “solution” involves
the Palestinians controlling some or all of the lands Israel took over from
Jordan and Egypt in the Six Day War, establishing a state, and all of us living
happily ever after.
Given the Palestinians’ overwhelming, consistent and
violent support for the destruction of Israel in any size, this leftist fantasy
never had a leg to stand on.
And since 1993, when the Rabin government
adopted the Left’s fantasy as state policy, more than 2,000 Israelis have been
killed in its pursuit.
Not only has the Left’s third option fantasy
facilitated the Palestinian terror machine’s ability to kill Jews, it has
empowered their propaganda war against Israel.
Israel’s pursuit of the
nonexistent two-state solution has eroded its own international position to a
degree unprecedented in its history.
Last week’s meeting of the so-called
Middle East Quartet ended without a final statement. It isn’t that its members
couldn’t agree on the need to establish “Palestine” in Judea and Samaria and
Jerusalem. That was a no-brainer. The Quartet members couldn’t agree on the need
to accept the Jewish state. Russia reportedly rejected wording that would have
enjoined the Palestinians to accept the Jewish state’s right to exist as part of
a peace treaty.
And this was eminently foreseeable. The unhinged
two-state solution makes Israel’s legitimacy contingent on the establishment of
a Palestinian state. And it put the burden to establish a Palestinian state on
Since everyone except Israel and the US always accepted the
establishment of a Palestinian state, and no one except Israel and the US always
accepted the existence of the Jewish state, by making its own legitimacy
dependent on Palestinian statehood, Israel started the clock running on its own
The longer Israel allows its very right to exist to be
contingent on the establishment of another terror state committed to its
destruction, the less the nations of the world will feel obliged to accept its
right to exist.
As for the Right, its leaders have embraced imaginary
third options of their own. Either Jordan would come in and save us, or the
Palestinians would come to like us, or something.
The one thing that both
the Left’s fantasy option and the Right’s fantasy option share is their belief
that the Palestinians or the Arabs as a whole will eventually change. Both
sides’ imaginary third options maintain that with sufficient inducements or
time, the Arabs will change their behavior and drop their goal of destroying
Our 44-year dalliance in fantasyland has not simply weakened us
militarily and diplomatically. It has torn us apart internally by surrendering
the debate to the two ideological fringes of the political spectrum. Actually,
to be precise, we have surrendered 99% of our public discourse to the radical
Left and 1% to the radical Right.
The Left’s control over the discourse
has caused its ideological opposite’s numbers to increasingly disengage from the
state. That would be bad enough, but the Palestinians’ inarguable bad faith and
continued commitment to Israel’s destruction have driven the far Left far off
the cliff of reason and rationality.
Unable to convince their fellow
Israelis that their two-state pipe dream will bring peace, the Israeli Left has
joined forces with the international Left in its increasingly shrill campaigns
to delegitimize the country’s right to exist and undermine its ability to defend
This sorry state of affairs is exemplified today by the radical
Left’s hysterical response to the Knesset’s passage last week of the
anti-boycott law. The comparatively mild law makes it a civil offense to solicit
boycotts against Israel. It bars people engaged in economic warfare against
Israel from getting government benefits and makes them liable to punitive
damages in civil suits.
The Left’s hysterical public relations campaign
to demonize the law and its supporters as fascists and seek its overthrow
through the Supreme Court makes clear that the Left will wage war against its
own country in pursuit of its delusion.
But aside from driving the public
discourse into the depths of ideological madness, Israel’s embrace of fantasy
has made it impossible for us to conduct a sober-minded discussion of our only
real options. The time has come to debate these two options, choose one, and
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