Managing the conflict with the Palestinians even as Israel faces the ongoing threat on its northern border is no small feat. Despite being busy killing each other, the murderous Palestinian organizations keep making the absurd demand that Israel sign off on a unified Palestinian state that would seek to annihilate it.
Hamas wants to use Israel as a means of eradicating the crime syndicate known as the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria. This scheme is what led to the recent spate of terrorist attacks and constant riots against Israel on the Gaza Strip border. This is designed to trigger an Israeli response that would topple P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas’s regime and pave the way for a Hamas takeover in Ramallah.
Meanwhile, the P.A. would like to destroy the Hamas “emirate” in the Gaza Strip, which has undermined its claim that it can govern a Palestinian state that has one central government and one military force. Abbas has taken punitive measures against Hamas aimed at making the organization escalate its attacks against Israel, which would result in the Israel Defense Forces destroying the organization.
Hamas’s insistence on taking a violent path towards independence has undermined the narrative of a “unified” Palestinian people, reinforcing the notion that Gaza is a separatist enclave whose people have an Islamist-terrorist agenda with roots in Egypt. The global scorn towards radical Islam (except that propagated by Qatar and Turkey) has made Hamas realize that without its handouts from Doha and the help of the Zionist enemy, it will not survive.
Hamas fancies salvation from Hezbollah and Iran, and has tried to replicate its Gaza showdown with Israel in Judea and Samaria as a means of eradicating the P.A. senior Fatah officials in Judea and Samaria have yet to come to terms with the fact that the fairy tale known as the Palestinian people has been relegated to the sidelines due to the shifting geopolitical sands in the region. The Palestinians, who have long had the role of sharpening the Arab sword in its battle against Israel, are now a burden on the Arab world as it focuses on Iran and deals with the intra-Sunni divisions vis-à-vis Turkey and Qatar.
The Palestinian modus operandi of killing civilians and hijacking planes became a model for terrorist enclaves and Islamic groups worldwide until the world said enough is enough. Fatah knows that if it were to stop collaborating with Israel, Hamas would take over its cities in Judea and Samaria, just like it did in the Gaza Strip. That is why the P.A. is trying to have it both ways: Even as it collaborates with Israel, it is trying to outdo Hamas by inciting against Israel, hoping that this will improve its standing among the masses and shed its corrupt image.
The P.A. knows that getting embroiled in another intifada (“uprising”) against Israel is ill-advised. A senior Fatah official recently has condemned the targeted killing of terrorists by the IDF, calling them “executions,” but stressed that “the Palestinians will continue with their legal-political struggle under the auspices of the international law.” His views are shared by others in the P.A., and yet P.A. officials prefer having Israel destroy Hamas homes than taking on Hamas themselves.
The Palestinian national movement has been a troublemaker everywhere it has operated. The Palestinians fought against Jordan in Black September 1970, slaughtered their Lebanese hosts, betrayed their Kuwaiti employers by supporting Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s invasion, aligned with the rebels against Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria and aided the Islamic State group in the Sinai against Egypt.
The Palestinians have always been a tool that was used by others. In this reality, it is hard to fathom why the Joint Arab List and its supporters on the Israeli left—some funded by anti-Semites in Europe—want to import this model of destruction to Israel.
The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria cannot be described as two peas in a pod. They are a historical fraud. Modern-day Jordan comprises 70 percent of the territory of the original British Mandate for Palestine. The kingdom, whose population is overwhelmingly Palestinian, was designed to serve as the foundation for a future Palestinian federation.
Had the Palestinians truly lived in a unified entity and been content with Jordan being their homeland, the conflict would have been long resolved.
Israel should strive to realize the vision that would see the Gaza Strip return to Egypt, and the Palestinian enclave in Judea and Samaria become part of a Jordanian federation.
Dr. Reuven Berko was the adviser on Arab affairs to the Jerusalem district police and a writer for Israel Hayom.