The nonviable notion of a Palestinian state

A Hamas-led state is the inevitable consequence of the proposed outcome of the peace process.

November 15, 2010 23:39
4 minute read.
Illustrative photo

Settlement building ceremony. (photo credit: Associated Press)

As the world continuously heaps pressure on Israel to make dangerous concessions in the name of a peace process which many recognize is already doomed to fail, it is time to remind ourselves of where such a process might lead – and the result would be anything but peaceful.

One thing is perfectly clear. The current peace process is explicitly intended to establish an independent Palestinian state.

Whenever the core issues of how this state might look are properly enumerated, they usually include borders, security, settlements, refugees, the status of Jerusalem and even water. Yet a key issue – perhaps the key issue – is routinely overlooked, specifically who or what would be the ruling entity of this supposed state.

At issue here are not only practical considerations of parliamentary structure and political systems of control. Rather the question is whether such a state could ever be a viable and trusted member of the community of nations and a peaceful neighbor for Israel.

Underlying this issue is the very real understanding that when – and there is no if in this matter – Hamas takes control, any hopes for real peace would collapse immediately.

Recent history provides us with all too many foreboding indicators of what would lie ahead. The close alliance between Israel and Iran ended with the fall of the shah. Even the friendship between Israel and Turkey ultimately gave way to heightening tension after a few years of rule by Recip Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party.

No one believes that peace between Israel and Egypt will survive even one day if the current pro-Western regime in Cairo is overthrown by the Muslim Brotherhood. Admittedly an Islamic fundamentalist regime in Egypt seems as improbable today as it did in 1979. On the other hand, a Hamas victory in free democratic elections in a Palestinian state is almost a certainty.

The thought that Gaza is pro- Hamas, while the population of Judea and Samaria is pro-Fatah is no more than a legend. In the last free parliamentary elections, in 2006, Hamas won both elections. Not only did it amass a majority of 74 out of the 132 seats in parliament, but its list also achieved a plurality in the districts of Jerusalem, Tulkarm, Nablus, Salfit, Ramallah and Hebron, in addition to Gaza.

With the creation of a Palestinian state, a mass influx of refugees from Lebanon, Syria and other countries would only further strengthen Hamas.

Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah faction still rule in Ramallah, but this is largely due to Israel’s presence. The moment Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, the clock started ticking toward the demise of his party’s control over that territory.

THE SIGNIFICANCE of all this, as difficult as it might be to accept, is that for peace to be stable and prevail, the Palestinian state would not be able to conduct free democratic elections. Moreover, a foreign force, committed to peace, would have to replace Israel to ensure that Hamas does not take power in a coup d’état, as it did in Gaza.

These represent two separate conditions which would be extremely difficult to impose and totally opposed to the democratic instinct. In fact, this foreign force – NATO, UN or other – would have as its task to ensure that the democratic free will of the Palestinian people does not prevail!

This would create a situation whereby mothers in Milwaukee and Marseille, fathers in Winnipeg and Liverpool, would be sending their sons and daughters to the Middle East to endanger their lives for a cause that would be dubious at best.

A similar effort was made in 1983, when a multinational force was deployed in Lebanon, largely to ensure the continuation of Maronite rule. The outcome was tragic. The bombings of the Beirut barracks left 299 American and French servicemen dead. A few months later the forces abandoned the country. Syria took over and made Lebanon into its puppet state.

When Hamas starts attacking the foreign forces in the Palestinian state, the outcome will ultimately be the same.

A Hamas-led state is the inevitable consequence of the proposed outcome of the peace process. War, the likes of which Israel has never seen before, will result. Despite all the remarkable accomplishments we have achieved over the past six-plus decades, our nation’s very existence would be called into serious question. Regardless of the specific final status agreements, the notion of a Hamas-led state would see Israel with extremely vulnerable borders and an adverse topography.

No security arrangements would be able to offset the existential threat posed by a hostile Iranian proxy state seated high on the hills only 12 miles from Tel Aviv and just three short miles from Ben- Gurion Airport.

This is not a risk, Israel, nor the international community, can afford to take. It would therefore be wise for all involved to take a long and hard look at this potential, and probable, future before it’s too late.

The writer is chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria.

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