A lethal mantra for Palestinian statehood and Mideast peace

Any still-proposed “Two-State Solution” derives from an historical and conceptual misunderstanding of Israel and “Palestine.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri and Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby ahead of Gaza aid conference. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri and Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby ahead of Gaza aid conference.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In a recent letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 105 senior retired and reservist officers call for broader negotiations that would "initiate a political process" with Israel's many regional enemies."Lead," urge the ex-generals, former police chiefs, and a former Mossad head, "and we will stand behind you." In essence, in the words of main signatory (MG/res.) Amnon Reshef, the principled plea calls for Mr. Netanyahu to "establish a Palestinian state, and reach a comprehensive settlement with dozens of Arab states in the region." While certainly well-intentioned, this plea is inherently flawed and problematic. What follows below, in contrast to the letter, is rooted in verifiable history, and is meant to offer a tangibly informed response to these accomplished but misguided officers.
Incessantly, from the very beginning, even before their assorted movements were transformed into specifically religious instruments of sacrificial violence, Palestinian terrorists have sought only Israel's destruction. Now, understandably frustrated by so many years of doctrinal Arab hatred, certain senior ex-military and security figures are urging the prime minister to negotiate still-wider and deeper regional "peace settlements." The core problem here is that the Palestinian side remains utterly intransigent and entirely unwilling to allow Israel to even continue as a Jewish state. Although it may be true, for Israelis, that the current security situation is endlessly depressing and seemingly untenable, the particular alternatives sought by the recent letter would be substantially worse.
For the letter writers, their flawed product is essentially a textbook expression of incorrect reasoning. More precisely, in formal logic, as they fail to acknowledge, there can be no valid reason to assume that recommended alternatives to an admittedly unsatisfactory status quo would necessarily be better. Further, in complex and "synergistic" matters of international relations, there are also various relevant issues of power politics.
In this case, of course, special attention must be directed toward the American stance on "Palestine."
To the incontestably main point, there can be no reasonable justification for offering statehood to an unreconstructed Palestinian terror movement. For the United States, moreover, it simply makes no ethical, legal, or pragmatic geopolitical sense to wage war against the (Islamic State) IS Jihadis in Syria and Iraq, while simultaneously urging statehood for the Hamas/PA Jihadis in the West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza. The so-called "Two-State Solution" approach to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is still founded upon myriad errors. Most injuriously, it accepts the deviously concocted narrative of a sinister Israeli “occupation.”
Like logic, history here is clear. Organized Arab terrorism against Israel began on the first hour of Israel's independence.  Recurrent and virulent anti-Jewish terrorism during the British Mandate period actually began many years before Israel's de jure establishment of statehood. The Hebron riots and lynchings of 1929 are perhaps the best known, and are also the most flagrant example of religiously-based slaughters.
What about the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), forerunner to today’s Palestinian Authority (PA)? Does anyone still recall that it was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into its unintended control of West Bank and Gaza?
What, exactly, was the PLO planning to “liberate” between 1964 and 1967? The answer, of course, is all of Israel - all that was delineated within the "green" armistice lines of 1949. These are precisely the 1967-borders that US President Barack Obama and others have so insistently identified as the appropriate starting point for any future peace negotiations, and, at least until now, have generally been recognized by capable military experts (American, as well as Israeli) as “Auschwitz borders.”
Almost ten years ago, late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, desperately seeking peace with always-recalcitrant and endlessly-fratricidal Palestinian factions, forcibly expelled over 10,000 Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria. Immediately, these Israeli-"disengaged" or ethnically cleansed regions (fulfilling a relentless demand by the Palestinian side) were transformed by Hamas from productive growing and living areas to extended terrorist rocket launching sites. Since then, Israel has had to undertake several compensatory self-defense operations against Gaza-based Palestinian terrorism, most recently, of course, Operation Protective Edge.
To be sure, Israel's incontestable need to undertake such periodic operations is both frustrating and debilitating. Still, it does not follow that any Israeli concessions to "Palestine" would necessarily be rational or cost-effective. Not at all.
Why, exactly,  are the Palestinians never expected to absolutely cease their deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians, before being considered for admission to full statehood, and, as corollary, to membership in the civilized community of nations? Under authoritative international law, such violence is never protected as permissible, even if allegedly on behalf of "self-determination." Isn't it abundantly clear that the Palestinian side seeks something very different from an “end to occupation?” Isn't it finally quite plain that both Fatah and Hamas, irremediably irredentist, continue to regard all of Israel as “occupied” territory?
Even now, official Palestinian maps include all of Israel as a part of “Palestine.” Is such a carefully codified cartography not to be taken seriously?
For the Arab/Islamic world, the term "occupation" can never be discarded. Without an alleged Israeli “occupation,” there could remain no possible legal or moral justification for endlessly protracted Palestinian policies of accelerating terror. Nonetheless, the fact that the “occupation” has always been a contrivance or legal fiction, has had little or no real impact upon world public opinion, or on the so-called "international community." Should Israel's government simply agree to fall into line with such mob-based bewitchments of language?   
Over the years, Arab plans to fashion an expanding Palestinian state upon mountains of Israeli corpses has drawn upon achieving some prior linguistic victory. While patently untrue, the ritualistic canard of an Israeli "occupation" has now been repeated so often, and sometimes so authoritatively, that it is generally taken prima facie as an irrefutable "fact."
Today, Palestinian claims and policies concerning statehood are still fashioned not as purposeful material for any diplomatic negotiation, but rather as a purely propagandistic mantra, a lethal incantation, fixed, immutable, and not even superficially subject to any serious intellectual assessment.
Why, it is time to inquire, has it been so widely disregarded that Israeli “occupation” followed the multistate Arab aggressions of 1967?  Egypt, Syria, and Jordan have never bothered to deny these aggressions. Quite the contrary.
And who troubles to recall that these same Arab states were also principal aggressors in the expressly genocidal Arab attacks that began on May 15, 1948, only moments after the new Jewish State’s UN-backed declaration of independent statehood had entered into force?
A sovereign state of Palestine did not exist before 1967, or before 1948. Nor did UN Security Council Resolution 242 promise a state of Palestine. Significantly, a state of Palestine has never existed.
Even as a nonstate legal entity, "Palestine" ceased to exist in 1948, when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate. During the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence, West Bank and Gaza came under illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively. Plainly, these conspicuous Arab aggressions did not put an end to any already-existing state, or to any ongoing trust territory. What these aggressions did manage to accomplish was the deliberate prevention of an Arab state of "Palestine." 
In other words, from the start, it was the major Arab states – not Israel - that represented a conclusive impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
From the Biblical Period (ca. 1350 BCE to 586 BCE) to the British Mandate (1918 - 1948), the land named vengefully by the Romans after the ancient Philistines was controlled only by non-Palestinian elements. On the other hand, a continuous chain of Jewish possession of the land was already legally recognized after World War I. At the San Remo Peace Conference in April 1920, a binding treaty was signed in which Great Britain was given mandatory authority over "Palestine." This authority was based on the fully identified expectation that Britain would consciously prepare the area to become a “national home for the Jewish People.”
Previously, beginning in 1516, the Ottoman Turks had ruled the area with blatant indifference and conspicuous cruelty. In the Ottoman Empire, all of this now contested land represented little more than an undesirable provincial backwater. The current government of Turkey is not doing more to bring peace and reconciliation to the Islamic Middle East.
"Palestine," according to the San Remo Treaty, comprised territories encompassing what are now the states of Jordan and Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza.  Present day Israel comprises only 22 percent of "Palestine," as jurisprudentially defined and properly ratified at the San Remo Peace Conference.
In 1922, Great Britain, unilaterally, and without any lawful authority, split off 78% of the lands promised to the Jews, all of "Palestine" east of the Jordan River, and gave it to Abdullah, the non-Palestinian son of the Sharif of Mecca. Eastern "Palestine" now took the name “Transjordan,” which it retained until April 1949, when it was renamed as Jordan. From the moment of its creation, Transjordan was closed to all Jewish migration and settlement, a clear betrayal of the British promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and a patent contravention of its core Mandatory obligations under international law.
On July 20, 1951, a Palestinian Arab assassinated King Abdullah in reprisal for the latter's alleged hostility to Palestinian aspirations and concerns. Regarding these aspirations, Jordan's “moderate” King Hussein, nineteen years later, during September 1970, killed thousands of defenseless Palestinians under his jurisdiction. Does anyone still remember “Black September?” At no moment in history were so many Palestinians so systematically murdered.
In 1947, several years prior to Abdullah's killing, the newly formed United Nations, rather than designate the entire land west of the Jordan River as the long-promised Jewish national homeland, enacted a second partition. Ironically, because this second fission again gave complete advantage to Arab interests, Jewish leaders reluctantly accepted the painful and unjust division. The Arab states did not. 
On May 15, 1948, exactly 24 hours after the State of Israel came into existence, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, declared to a tiny new country founded upon the still-glowing ashes of Holocaust:  "This will be a war of extermination, and a momentous massacre." 
This unambiguously genocidal declaration has been at the very heart of all subsequent Arab/Islamist (now including Iranian) orientations toward Israel, including those of “moderate” and US-supported Fatah. Even by the strict legal standards of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Arab actions and attitudes toward the microscopic Jewish state in their midst have remained authentically genocidal. In law, what they have in mind for Israel has a formal name. It is called, since the London Charter of August 8, 1945,  "crimes against humanity."
In 1967, Israel gained unintended control over West Bank and Gaza. To be sure, there then existed no authoritative sovereign to whom the Territories could ever be properly "returned." The notion of Palestinian "self-determination" had only emerged after the Six Day War. Further, it had not been incorporated into UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was formally adopted on November 22, 1967.
The Arab states offered a unified and lawless response to Israel. They convened a summit in Khartoum in August 1967, declaring:  "No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it...." The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had been formed three years earlier, in 1964, before there were any “Israeli Occupied Territories.”
Any still-proposed “Two-State Solution” derives from an historical and conceptual misunderstanding of Israel and “Palestine.” Even if Prime Minister Netanyahu could somehow agree to a complete cessation of all so-called Jewish “settlement activity," no compromise or reciprocal concession of any kind would conceivably emerge from the Arab/Islamic world. For Israel's enemies, and expectedly all of them, the residual Jewish State would then merely circumscribe or define that part of Palestine still to be "liberated." As for those declared portions of Palestine located in West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza, these already "liberated" lands would be  "Judenrein." That is, they would be permanently "free of Jews."
Is this really the "peace" to which Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu should now affix his binding seal of approval?
LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971)  is the author of many books and articles dealing with military affairs and international law. Born in Zürich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945, his columns appear regularly in several major US, European and Israeli publications, including The Atlantic; US News & World Report; The Jerusalem Post; Haaretz; Israel National News; and The Washington Times.  Professor Beres’ latest journal articles on these subjects were published in The Harvard National Security Journal (Harvard Law School); The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs; The Brown Journal of World Affairs; International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence; Parameters: Journal of the US Army War College; and Oxford University Press.