politics, history and the war on terror
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Palestinian Statehood? 

Do the Palestinians deserve a state in Gaza and the West Bank?

The Israeli – Palestinian conflict and the question of Palestinian statehood are perhaps the most controversial issues when discussing the problems of the Middle East. Most of the problems concerning the question of Palestinian statehood arise from the distortion of the facts in relation to the establishment of Israel, the acquisition of Gaza and the West Bank during the Six Days War, how the territories have been administered since 1967 and the status of the negotiations between the Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The Jewish Virtual Library provides an excellent Myths and Facts section which addresses the issues of this conflict, and the Boundaries segment explains the issues stated above. The relevant U.N. resolutions, peace treaties and histories are all documented. It is highly recommended reading for those interested in the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

By their nature, democracies do not function well when administering external territories for extended periods of time. For Israel to remain a successful democracy it must decide how to address the status of Gaza and the West Bank, as the uncertain status of the Palestinians cannot exist indefinitely. Israel has two options concerning the outcome of the status of Gaza and the West Bank:

-Annex the Gaza and the West Bank and give those living there full citizenship.
-Allow the Palestinians to create the state of Palestine from Gaza and the West Bank.

Annexing the Gaza and the West Bank is not an option. This would cause multiple problems for Israel, as it would destroy the uniqueness of the Jewish state and lead to civil war as a large segment of the population of Palestinians would outright reject living under Israeli rule. Therefore, the only realistic option is to allow for the creation of the state of Palestine. The establishment of a viable Palestinian state is not possible at this time as Palestinian Authority has been unwilling to act in good faith on its agreements to reign in terrorists (the Oslo Peace Process & the Road Map) or walked away from the negotiating table (Camp David, 2000). As the PA has demonstrated it is uninterested in finding a peaceful solution with Israel (unwilling to compromise on the right of return and borders of a new Palestinian State, sponsoring the Intifada & supporting terror organizations), Israel has embarked on a project to unilaterally create its own conditions for peace. Israel has decided to build a security fence (wall) between Israel and the Palestinian territories, with the lines drawn of their own choosing, started to withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank (while leaving several settlements in the West Bank) and targeted Hamas leadership in the Palestinian territories. These are measures which President Bush has recently decided to support, a radical change in U.S. policy. The effects of this strategy are as follows:

-Removes PA from bargaining process
-Creates chaos in terror organizations by removing leadership
-Shows Palestinians they will get less than they want without negotiating

The best result of this strategy would be to promote moderate Palestinian leadership to step forward and negotiate the final settlement. The obstacles to peace (the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups) must be removed before a moderate Palestinian voice can step forward. The Palestinians should be given their own state, but not until they renounce terror as a tool of negotiation, arrest and prosecute Palestinian terrorists, and demonstrate a commitment to live peacefully side by side with their Israeli neighbor.

Additional Links:

Daniel Pipes, the director of the Middle East Forum, believes the Palestinians are becoming disillusioned with the Intifada.

Tony Blankley of the Washington Times further documents how the Palestinians are losing by refusing to negotiate a settlement.

Posted by bill roggio @ 12:17 PM