An ex-State Department official’s obsession with creating ‘Palestine’

David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Project on the Middle East Peace Process and a former U.S. State Department official. Credit: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy Project on the Middle East Peace Process and a former U.S. State Department official. Credit: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

By Stephen M. Flatow/JNS

“Creating a full-blown Palestinian state in virtually all the West Bank…would be a reward to the suicide bombers who have terrorized Israel…It would invite more terrorism…It would send the terrible message that terrorism pays.”

That’s what journalist-turned-State Department “peace processor” David Makovsky once wrote. Yet today, the very same Makovsky is campaigning for the creation of a full-blown Palestinian state in virtually all of that region and the mass expulsion of 100,000 Jews from their homes.

What gives?

Makovsky’s declaration opposing a Palestinian state appeared on the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times on June 14, 2002. The problem with demanding a Palestinian state, Makovsky wrote, was that it ignored the behavior of the Palestinian leadership—“the terrorism, smuggling, lying, corruption and mismanagement” of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

He ridiculed Palestinian statehood advocates for saying, in effect, “let’s wipe the slate clean and give the Palestinians everything [they are demanding]—a virtual return to the 1967 borders.” Doing that would “reward” terrorists and thereby “invite more terrorism,” Makovsky wrote. And, of course, he was right.

In the years since then, the PA has continued its terrorism, smuggling, lying, corruption and mismanagement. In fact, the PA’s track record is even worse now, because at the time Makovsky was writing, it had been doing those things for only eight years. Now the PA has a 23-year record of terrorism and corruption.

Based on the lengthy and severity of the PA’s record, one must conclude that a Palestinian state today would be ever more dangerous to Israel than in 2002.

Yet 10 days ago, Makovsky unveiled his latest “peace plan,” which involves creating a Palestinian state in virtually all of Judea and Samaria. He claims to have discovered that most Israeli residents of those areas live close to Israel’s old border, so it would be necessary to expel “only” 100,000 Jews from their homes in order to make way for the new “State of Palestine.”

But if the Palestinian leadership has not changed since the time of Makovsky’s Los Angeles Times article, why is he now advocating exactly what he previously opposed?

The answer is that it’s Makovsky who changed. Changed jobs, that is. He had been a journalist, then a think tank wonk. But in 2013, he suddenly became the right-hand man of Martin Indyk, a former ambassador to Israel and the Obama administration’s chief Mideast peace negotiator. Indyk is widely recognized as one of the most pro-Palestinian American diplomats in the history of U.S. diplomacy in that region. Makovsky spent 2013-2014 working with Indyk to try to force Israel to accept the creation of a Palestinian state.

Despite the ongoing Palestinian terrorism against Israel, despite the non-stop PA incitement to murder, despite the PA corruption and totalitarianism that prove it cannot run a civilized state—Makovsky and Indyk devoted themselves to trying to become the godfathers of “Palestine.”

Makovsky claims to be an expert on maps of the region. If so, he knows that creating a Palestinian state means that Israel would be reduced to just nine miles wide at its vulnerable mid-section. An enemy tank column could cut Israel in half in less time than it takes Makovsky to commute to work each morning.

And he knows that a Palestinian terrorist with a shoulder-fired missile would be able to shoot down planes taking off from Ben Gurion Airport. That’s just one small sample of what life would be like with “Palestine” next door.

The Indyk-Makovsky mission of 2013-2014 failed, but Makovsky’s crusade to create “Palestine” continues. His obsession is as dangerous as it is disheartening.

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He may be contacted at

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