U.S. aid to Israel has always come with strings attached, and American assistance following Oct. 7, as great and welcome as it is, has been no different. The U.S. has pressured Israel to reduce its bombing of Gaza, “pause” military action against Hamas, permit the entry of humanitarian aid that may be diverted to Hamas, and more. While these demands may hamper Israel’s war effort, they are in line with U.S. pressure on Israel in previous conflicts.
One American demand, however, crosses the line.
It was only a week after Oct. 7 that President Joe Biden mused on “60 Minutes” that “There needs to be a … path to a Palestinian state.” Since then, the revival of the “two-state solution,” which requires major Israeli security and territorial concessions to the Palestinians, has become a major part of the administration’s post-Oct. 7 policy.
In particular, the Biden administration is pressing for the installation of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Gaza following Hamas’s expected downfall. As Biden wrote in The Washington Post, following hostilities, Gaza should be governed by “a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution.”
Biden may be sticking to decades-old U.S. policy, but with this demand, he is ignoring what has transpired in those decades and is laying the groundwork for the next Oct. 7. For it was in Gaza that the two-state solution was already implemented most fully. As part of the Oslo Accords, the P.A. was already granted rule over the Palestinian population in Gaza. It was during PA rule that Hamas became more popular and powerful than the Fatah-led PA. And once Israel fully withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas handily beat Fatah in P.A. parliamentary elections a few months later and proceeded to violently (and easily) expel Fatah from Gaza in 2007. Similarly, in P.A.-governed areas in Judea and Samaria, Hamas has long been building its organization. All the while, the P.A. and Fatah continue to indoctrinate Palestinian society against Israel.
Biden’s post-war policy also ignores the deep unpopularity of P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas and the PA itself. A Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research poll conducted in March had 52% of Palestinians agreeing that the P.A.’s dissolution would serve Palestinian interests and 63% saying the P.A. is a burden. Seventy-seven percent supported Abbas’s resignation. A September survey showed Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh beating Abbas 58%-37% in presidential elections. No wonder Abbas has refused to hold presidential or parliamentary elections for nearly two decades. Given all this, implanting the Fatah-led P.A. in Gaza might even hasten its demise or, more likely, make it again a tool for extremists there, whether from Fatah or Hamas.
Renewing the drive for Palestinian statehood after the Oct. 7 attack is also downright insulting. A popular Palestinian organization elected by Palestinians to a majority in their parliament, along with other Palestinian groups, just murdered 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped nearly 240 more, including women, children and Holocaust survivors. It has terrorized Israel with over 10,000 rockets in two months. Scores of Israeli soldiers have died and more will die in Gaza fighting these terrorists. The Fatah-led P.A. has not condemned the attack, has even denied it, while Fatah and its affiliates celebrated it. Biden’s push to reward such barbarism with land, money and power and to make such barbarism and the sacrifice of Israeli soldiers the foundation of Palestinian statehood is shocking.
The cycle of empowering and rewarding terror must end. It provides no hope of peace but sustains the fantasy of war against Israel. The onus must be on the P.A. and Palestinian society to demonstrate their desire for peace with Israel. End “pay-for-slay.” Remove terrorists’ names from streets and squares. Remove terror-supporting officials. Educate Palestinian children for coexistence. Stop worrying about Jewish housing numbers or Jews praying at Judaism’s holiest site. Give up the fantasy of Israel’s destruction as recently evidenced in a June poll showing that 66% of Palestinians believe Israel will not last until 2048 and 51% believe Palestinians can recover all territory west of the Jordan. Show us popular Palestinian coexistence movements like those in Israel, such as the annual kite festival put on by some of those slaughtered by Hamas.
Of course, the thought that this would occur is laughable. This is why Israel cannot outsource its security and, by extension, its future to a Palestinian state or the Palestinian Authority—revitalized or not.