We all want the Arab war against Israel to be finally resolved. But is establishing a Palestinian state the answer? Not when the Palestinians’ goal is Israel’s destruction, as opposed to a Palestinian state living in peace with Israel.
Every opportunity the Palestinians had to establish a state was rejected because it meant accepting Israel. The offers they rejected included: a 1937 Peel Commission proposal of a state on 95 percent of territory what is today all of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza; in 1947 a division of the land into Jewish and Arab states (U.N. Resolution 181); in 2000 the offer of 97 percent of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and eastern Jerusalem made by U.S. President Bill Clinton and endorsed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak; and in 2008 an offer of 98 percent of the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and billions in aid from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
These rejections clearly and painfully show that statehood is not the Palestinians’ goal. American Jews understand this. A recent American Jewish Committee poll shows that 76 percent of U.S. Jews believe the Palestinians’ goal is Israel’s destruction, and only 38 percent support a state.
The president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, makes his hatred toward Jews and the Jewish state clear. He and other PA officials proclaim the racist, anti-Semitic statement that no Jews will be permitted to live in a Palestinian state, and that he “do(es) not accept a Jewish state; call it what you will.” In a U.N. speech he condemned Israel for “63 years of occupation,” meaning all of Israel is illegal, and called Israel the “land of Mohammed and Jesus,” denying its Jewish connection. His official emblem shows all of Israel with an Arab headdress over it next to a Kalyshnakov rifle.
In the New York Times, Abbas openly wrote that a Palestinian state will not lead to peace, but will “internationalize the conflict as a legal matter… paving the way for us to pursue claims against Israel at the U.N. Human Rights Treaty bodies and the International Court of Justice.” Only this week, Abbas said he has made “no concessions” and still demands that the 1967 “Auschwitz” lines—as they have been called by Israeli Minister of Tourism Uzi Landau—be accepted (with minor changes) and that millions of so-called “refugees” be allowed to move into Israel, which would end Israel as a Jewish state.
Are Abbas and the PA presently acting as a democracy creating a civilized, peace-loving society? No. Abbas is a dictator who has not allowed elections for almost nine years. He promotes hate education against Jews and Israel in their media, schools and speeches—such as PA TV recently showing Arab children calling Jews “most evil among creations, barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs”; doesn’t arrest terrorists; doesn’t stop demanding that Israel release terrorists; doesn’t end relations with Hamas; glorifies terrorists and names schools, streets, and sports teams after Jew-killing terrorists; and continues his massive and relentless delegitimization and demonization of Israel.
We also need to understand that a sovereign state doesn’t necessarily create a civil and peace-loving society—it only strengthens the ability of the underlying culture to promote its agenda. Iran, Libya, North Korea, Egypt and Syria are sovereign states. Are they lovely and peaceful?
There is also no demographic issue for Israel if a Palestinian state is not created, since Israel has already given away 42 percent of the West Bank and all of Gaza, where 99 percent of all Palestinians live. Therefore, Palestinians are no longer under Israeli rule, except when it comes to some security issues, and Israel can maintain its Jewish character without the creation of a Palestinian state.
Additionally, if Abbas is acting this way now, when he still has concessions to demand, how will he act when he runs a Palestinian state with no more concessions to demand? No wonder Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview last week that Israel is worried “a Palestinian state will be another Iranian client state that is committed to our destruction,” a state that “arms itself with missiles and rockets.” Remember, Netanyahu said that after Israel left Gaza “and tore up the settlements,” the conflict continued. No wonder Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “There are those who are trying to market Abbas as relatively moderate, but his goals are the same as Hamas.”
Under prevailing conditions, not only would a Palestinian state not bring peace, but Israel would also be truly endangered. No remotely stable and peaceful Palestinian state is even possible when rivals Fatah and Hamas control the West Bank and Gaza, respectively. Hamas might one day topple the Fatah/PA in the West Bank, just as it did in Gaza in 2007. Jerusalem, Ben Gurion airport and 70 percent of Israel’s population would be placed in rocket, mortar and rifle range of Palestinian terrorists, as is the case for Israeli territory adjacent to Hamas-controlled Gaza today—something that has traumatized Israelis in towns like Sderot and which has led to repeated military clashes and bloodshed.
Advocates of Palestinian statehood claim such a state would be demilitarized. But there is no way to ensure that it would be. The Versailles agreement after World War I required Germany to be demilitarized—yet Germany built the most powerful army in Europe.
The last thing the world needs now is yet another anti-American, anti-Jewish, anti-Christian terrorist dictatorship. Yet that is exactly what a Palestinian state would be, judging by the behavior of the PA during the 20 years since its creation.
Peace doesn’t exist because the Palestinian culture of hatred and violence against Jews and the Jewish state continues unabated, and because, as Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “There is a fervent Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state within any border.” Palestinian statehood won’t resolve these issues. Until these things change, and the Palestinian Arabs accept the right of the Jewish people to have a state, peace will remain elusive.
Morton A. Klein is the national president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).