The Palestinians are betting the farm. Or--Muslim friends, forgive me-- throwing a Hail Mary pass. They are doing everything they can to achieve world recognition of their state, with 1967 borders, a capitol in Jerusalem, and maybe something about refugees, without bothering to negotiate with Israel about what Palestinians might have to give up in order to achieve their wishes.

Their people are claiming that 130 countries already recognize a Palestinian state with 1967 borders. Now they are making a push to get the important countries on their side. American officials have said that a unilateral declaration is not a good idea. Britain, France, and Germany are not yet on board.

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And what if almost everyone comes to their side except Israel?

The Palestinians might have lost their farm.

There will be no working state; no access of foreigners without going through Israeli checkpoints; no currency of their own that any serious bank will accept; dependent on Israel for much of their electricity, water, and imports from other countries, as well as the capacity of Palestinian citizens and leaders to go overseas or travel from Ramallah to Bethlehem and Hebron. They will have to rely on the Palestinians of Gaza to gain entry to that part of Palestine, and those cousins have not been friendly to West Bankers.

Will the Netanyahu government express its apologies for being late, and agree to everything the world has accepted, without any of the concessions that Palestinians have not been willing to provide since negotiations began their on and off rituals in the 1990s?

Don''t bet your farm on that.

Something is happening in the Middle East, but it does not necessarily bode well for the Palestinians. Libya and Syria are in the latest headlines, in a way that suggests anything but governments strong enough to act decisively in behalf of another country''s population. Other Muslim countries are either doing what they can to forestall demonstrations, or trying to convince their people that reform is underway.

Palestine itself is short of being a Paradise, either in the West Bank or Gaza. While the leaderships of those segments routinely blame Israel for all their shortcomings, at least some of the people are suspicious. If they follow the examples of just about every other Arab population by rebelling against their leaders, there may not be a representative of the Palestine National Authority capable of catching the Hail Mary football that is in the air.

In light of great power actions in behalf of Libyan rebels and waffling with respect to actions of the Syrian authorities, one does not know what the current rules of international governance are. Israelis can hope that its most important allies still adhere to the principle that one side in a dispute cannot get everything it wants without giving something to the other side. It might be difficult for Israel if France, Britain, and Germany cave in, and the Obama administration goes along with the mob. If most members of that quartet do not go along with the Palestinians, or if it is only the United States that does not go along, the Palestinians will have lost more than they gained.

They will have shown that their farm is not worth what they estimated, and that the Hail Mary pass fell to the ground or was caught by Israel. What is left for them to threaten Israel if it continues without surrender? Violence is the option used in the past, but they should remember what Israel did from 2000 onward.

Israeli officials do not routinely threaten Palestinians. Their practice is to absorb verbal blows without responding in kind. The IDF and other security forces are preparing to meet various scenarios, and the Foreign Ministry is doing what it can to counter the political offensive.

The rest of us can only wait, and not bet too much on any firm projections.




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