Palestinian interests

Palestinians have received hundreds of billions of dollars in aid, which, if used properly, could have laid the foundation for a stable, free Palestinian state-in-the-making.

December 31, 2014 22:02
3 minute read.
Mahmoud Abbas‏

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas heads attends a joint meeting of the Palestinian Liberation Organization.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The Palestinian Authority failed on Tuesday to get the UN Security Council’s support for a resolution calling for the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank within a year.

The resolution was shot down when the Palestinians failed to receive the requisite nine out of 15 votes – thanks in part to the abstention of Nigeria and Rwanda.

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If it had passed, the Security Council would have set the borders of the putative Palestinian state along the 1949 Armistice Lines. East Jerusalem would be its capital. Israel would be ordered to withdraw from the West Bank and east Jerusalem by December 31, 2017.

By turning to the council, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his administration are acting as if all that is needed for a Palestinian state to come into being is for Israel to withdraw behind the Green Line. UN recognition would then be a formality, giving de jure recognition to a de facto reality.

If what Abbas and the other PA officials envision is the creation of yet another unstable, kleptocratic, autocratic state in the Middle East that would collapse without massive foreign aid, they should proceed on this path.

But if what Palestinians have in mind when they dream of a state of their own is something approaching a corruption- free liberal democracy, they have a long way to go.

Though the Palestinian political leadership claims otherwise, it is not because of the “occupation” that businessmen in the PA fail or succeed not on the basis of their economic vitality, but thanks to their political connections; it is not because of the “occupation” that journalists and bloggers are punished for criticizing PA politicians; it is not because of the “occupation” that political leadership is corrupt and there is neither an independent judicial system that can judge them nor an honest law enforcement agency that can punish them.

On November 29, 1947, when the UN General Assembly voted to create both a Jewish and an Arab state in what was the British Mandate of Palestine – a proposal the Arabs rejected – Israel was already a full-fledged nation.

Yishuv Jews had put in place a web of institutions collectively known as the “state-in-the-making.” Business, industry and agricultural were organized under a combination of free market enterprises and centrally planned socialist-structured institutions that were necessary in the first stages of state-building such as the Histadrut labor federation, kibbutzim and moshavim and the construction corporation Solel Boneh.

A health system for Histadrut workers called Kupat Holim Clalit was so well developed that by the time the State of Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948, well over half the population had health insurance.

There had already been tremendous, unprecedented cultural revolutions, such as the revival of the ancient language of Hebrew and the transformation of the Jewish self-image.

Most important, the Jewish state was led by an honest, selfless political leadership with a vision of the Jewish people living in freedom as a sovereign, self-sufficient people in its historical homeland. Thanks to a combination of meticulous planning and ambitious goals and against tremendous odds, Israel has become an amazing success story. Few, if any, other nations born into the 20th century as a third-world countries have risen to be on par with the most developed Western nations as Israel has, with one of the world’s most innovative economies and most vibrant democracies that protects freedom of the press, gay rights, religious rights and women’s rights.

Those countries in the UN Security Council that voted in favor of the Palestinian motion – France and Luxembourg particularly – should ask themselves if they want to bring into being a corrupt Palestinian state in which basic human rights are trampled and the institutions capable of protecting them are nonexistent.

Palestinians have received hundreds of billions of dollars in aid, which, if used properly, could have laid the foundation for a stable, free Palestinian state-in-the-making that would have broken with the direction taken by the 21 existing Arab states.

Perhaps it is still not too late. But by pushing for the creation of yet another failed Arab state that would become an existential threat to a thriving, successful liberal democracy – the only in the Middle East – France, Luxembourg and the other countries that voted in favor of Tuesday’s proposal (such as those luminaries of human rights China and Russia) are not just working against the interests of Israel, they are working against the interests of the Palestinian people.

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