Palestinian state: How to lose and still come out a winner

The Fatah-Hamas deal will never produce unity or two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace. What it actually embodies is one more not-so-stealthy attempt to wipe Israel off the face of the map.

May 5, 2011 20:39
Joint Fatah Hamas press conference

Fatah Hamas press conference 521. (photo credit: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)

A wise man once gave the formula for a struggling nation to become great: Start a war with the United States and lose. Sage advice once, but it may not apply anymore. Today there are never supposed to be clear winners. Conflict must stop short of humiliating either side so that losers can claim victory, and winners can fill the coffers of their former enemies with goodies.

Hamas-Fatah tensions return despite fresh unity deal

Sound absurd? Then consider what’s taking place today.

Martin Indyk, former US ambassador to Israel, recently declared, “Unless the US, Israel and the Palestinians have an alternative, the Palestinian [Quartet peace] plan can not [sic] be won. . . . If there isn’t anything else, then in September [2011] there will be a vote in the UN that will recognize a Palestinian state, just like the UN recognized Israel in 1948.”

“The real question,” Indyk opined, “is to find a way to return to the negotiating table”; and he recommended Israel recognize a Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders.

Pragmatically, on April 27, Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas hammered out an implausible deal to unify the PA with its former archenemies, Hamas, the terrorist rulers in Gaza. The deal was designed to create the illusion that the Palestinians have a regime capable of being, as one PA leader put it, ready for statehood.

Obvious to all who are not suffering from self-induced blindness is the fact that the deal will never produce unity or two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace. What it actually embodies is one more not-so-stealthy attempt to wipe Israel off the face of the map.

Truth be told, neither Hamas’s intractable thugs nor Abbas, a Yasser Arafat clone in a suit, have any intention of making peace with the Jewish state. Indyk’s position that Israel retreat to the pre-1967 “borders” is only the first slice of the proverbial salami before Islamists take Israel apart one piece at a time until there is no Jewish state left.

Prof. Barry Rubin observed,

"Hamas is probably quite happy with the idea that many countries - and perhaps the UN - will recognize an independent Palestinian state unconditionally. In other words, there will be a widely, or internationally, accepted Palestine without the need to make peace with Israel. No concessions need be made. The Palestinians will get everything and give up nothing. They will not be bound in any way by border changes or security guarantees. The struggle to wipe Israel off the map can continue. It’s Hamas’s dream come true."

Buoying the enthusiasm for making the move now must be the spontaneous crusade for freedom ostensibly sweeping the Middle East. However, the race for undefined change may, in fact, end up moving the region from partially regrettable regimes to insufferable, repressive Islamist dictatorships. The West has not yet caught on to the fact that the revolution in Egypt was not a win for democracy.

Ousted president Hosni Mubarak - a friend of America and Europe and a respecter of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel - now lives under the specter of a hangman’s noose. The radical Muslim Brotherhood, implicitly involved in the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat, Mubarak’s predecessor, has captured the flag; and the free world will have to live with what it naively cheered on.

The same will be true with a Palestinian state. Hamas terrorists will seize control, as they have in Gaza, and Islamist radicalism will enslave the nation. Western recognition of the tragic error will come too late.

Occupied or Forfeited Territory

The bulk of the argument for non-negotiated Israeli concessions is that the “occupation” of Arab and Palestinian lands must be redressed and the areas returned to their “rightful owners.” Unfortunately, most of the world’s political, social, and academic elitists have bought into the delusion that forcing Israel to surrender the territories and a hefty chunk of Jerusalem will atone for so-called Jewish transgressions.

In reality, the territories under dispute are not occupied. They are forfeited. The Arabs lost them in the course of executing wars to annihilate Israel. It is all but forgotten (and if not forgotten, certainly ignored) that little Israel was forced to fight for its survival multiple times and against overwhelming odds. The aggressors were over-confident Arab opportunists, such as Egypt, Syria, and (in 1967) Jordan, that launched attacks with one objective in mind: the total destruction of the Jewish state.

They lost; and, in the process, they forfeited the Golan Heights, Judea/Samaria (West Bank), and Jerusalem. They were the architects of their own defeat. Any other generation would have felt the bullies reaped their just reward. Not until the current crop of international surrealists took their seats, declaring the losers to be the winners, was the occupation issue even raised.

Indyk also called the pre-1967 lines “borders,” which, of course, they were not. They were armistice lines, drawn in 1949 when the exhausted Arabs conceded their inability to destroy the fledgling Jewish entity populated by impoverished Holocaust survivors. So it was agreed that future negotiations between the parties, Jews and Arabs, would be conducted to establish permanent, secure, and defined borders.

The partition plan adopted by the UN in November 1947 created Jewish and Arab territories, with the Arabs getting the lion’s share. The Arabs, however, rejected the offer. Israel agreed and became a bona fide member of the international community. Thus, when Mr. Indyk stated that, in September, the UN “will recognize a Palestinian state, just like the UN recognized Israel in 1948,” he neglected to say the UN already did so—in 1948. It was the Arabs, now dubbed Palestinians, who rejected statehood and opted instead for war.

Now, 63 years, four wars, two intifadas, and innumerable deadly skirmishes later, the Arabs are back. This time, however, they bring with them a gang of anti-Israel UN compatriots in an attempt to obtain what could not be bought with bombs.

Charging Israel with intransigence and accusing it of blocking the way to peace will not wash. Israel has demonstrated its sincerity time and again.

● In 1979 it ceded the vital Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt in exchange for a “cool” peace. 

● In 2000 Israel abandoned the security zone in South Lebanon, only to see it seized by Iranian-inspired Hezbollah terrorists armed to the teeth.

● In August 2005 it gifted the Palestinians with beautiful homes, thriving farms, and greenhouses when it evacuated the Gaza Strip. Hamas took control and dismantled everything.

Western leaders, far from the scene and farther from having a clue about the situation, keep insisting Israel must make hard decisions for peace. The concessions Israel has already made were hard decisions. Each was followed by demands to cede even more land in exchange for promises that Arabs have never honored in the past and are not likely to honor in the future.

I’ve heard it sung, “All or nothing at all.” The Arab/Islamic world and UN are cooking up another version: “All [from Israel] for nothing at all [from the Palestinians].”

A Blossom in the Desert

When all is said and done, what will the result be? Israel will remain the Jewish homeland, while Arab radicals will continue huffing and puffing about orchestrating its demise. This will, of course, be nothing new. It’s been going on since before Israel was miraculously reborn as a modern state.

Therein is an inscrutable irony. The history of the Jewish state can be summed up by the phrase against all odds. Scattered to the four winds for 2,000 years of exile, the Jewish people should not have survived. After the horrors of the 1930s and ’40s, the tattered remnant of Jewry struggled back to its infant state only to be attacked by five Arab nations. Humanly speaking, these people should not have made it through. And after six decades of bellicose promises to wipe out what justice and sanity has restored, Israel, against all odds, not only has survived but thrived!

Journalist Caroline Glick validated the point that, despite the ballyhooed pariah-state nonsense leveled against it, Israel is far ahead of the game where the ability to compete and succeed counts:

"According to the latest data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s economy grew 7.8 percent in the last quarter of 2010. International trade is rising steeply. In the first quarter of 2011, exports rose 27.3%. They grew 19.9% in the final quarter of last year. Imports rose 34.7% between January and March, and 38.9% in the last quarter of 2010. The Israel-bashing EU remains Israel’s largest trading partner. And even as Turkey embraced Hamas and Iran as allies, its trade with Israel reached an all time high last year. These trade data expose a truth that the doom and gloomers are unwilling to notice: For the vast majority of Israelis the threat of international isolation is empty."

So why is the most progressive, entrepreneurial, technologically superior, economically stable, Western-oriented, democratic country in the Middle East odiously accused of apartheid behavior by the very countries that should, in fact, admire and emulate its achievements?

Furthermore, why do the democratic nations that benefit most from Israel’s industry, loyalty, and standing as the only real force for freedom in the region choose to coddle its most notorious enemies? Why do they ask Israel to honor repressive regimes by surrendering its security? Why do they want to put the nation in a perpetual state of war?

Beyond all of the politics, posturing, and wrongheaded thinking, the reality is that the Jewish state endures as a perennial blossom in the arid desert of the Middle East. That fact brings to mind God’s promise that someday Israel will be fully restored to its place of places and will at last live the vision of Isaiah 35:1: “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

In this day of faint hearts and failing spirits, we can all be reminded that, against all odds, God’s promises endure forever.

The writer is executive editor for The Friends of Israel.

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