It’s abundantly clear that the Palestinian elections, called for May, are a farce meant simply to placate the new U.S. administration.
The Palestinian Authority and its aging leader, Mahmoud Abbas, have not suddenly become democrats after abjectly refusing to hold presidential, parliamentary or municipal elections for 16 years. The whole exercise is purely a public-relations stunt.
Unfortunately, so far, the main target of the farce—the international community—is buying it.
A few days ago, the P.A. sent an official letter to the White House claiming that all factions, including Hamas, were committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
This has been held up as proof of a Palestinian commitment to a “two-state solution,” and of Hamas’s having signed on to such a commitment. Neither has made such a commitment, however. The rhetoric is merely a smokescreen mimicking an old Palestinian tactic that harks back decades.
In 1974, the Palestinian National Council approved the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Ten-Point Program, known as the Phased or Salami Plan. The program called for the establishment of a national authority “over every part of Palestinian territory that is liberated,” with the aim of “completing the liberation of all Palestinian territory.”
In other words, the program implied that the liberation of Palestine could be partial, in stages, using armed struggle, but that the ultimate goal remained the destruction of Israel in its entirety. This program has never been annulled or repudiated. On the contrary, it is still alive and well.
The agreement signed in 1974 was repeatedly used and mentioned by PLO chief Yasser Arafat to justify his involvement in the Oslo Accords. This slower and more phased destruction of Israel remains the Trojan Horse that the Palestinians have constantly and consistently used to disguise the simple fact that their long-term goal remains the same.
Then, as now, there is no mention of living alongside Israel peacefully or recognizing the Jewish people’s rights to sovereignty in their ancestral and indigenous homeland. Then, as now, large parts of the international community are claiming disingenuously that the latest agreement is a victory for moderation and a historic moment.
The State of Israel must not be confused; it has to act independently of international acquiescence.
Firstly, it must not allow Hamas to take part in the P.A. elections. Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections because of international pressure, most prominently from then-U.S. President George W. Bush, who pushed for the genocidal terrorist organization to be allowed to take part.
This was a major mistake for which the residents of Israel’s south are still paying. Hamas’s success in those elections emboldened and allowed it, through violence, to establish an Islamist stronghold on Israel’s southern border and—as it has shown repeatedly in the intermittent years—to create a sophisticated rocket arsenal capable of reaching most of the Jewish state.
Israel must not make the same mistake. It must declare loudly to the Palestinians and the international community that no armed group that threatens it will be allowed to take part in the elections. Any and every group that does want to take part must commit itself to explicitly recognizing the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, without equivocation.
To many in the international community, this will seem like bullying tactics, but if the Palestinians are truly committed to a “two-state solution,” this should be an easy commitment, as recognizing the nature and permanence of the other state is in line with previously signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.
Most importantly, it will put an end to the tactic formulated in 1974, which created the principle for Israel’s destruction in stages. It will mean that the more-than-100-year Palestinian war of violent rejectionism against Jewish sovereignty is finally at an end.
It will mean its defeat and Israel’s victory.
This is an important opportunity for Israel to establish this principle and expose Palestinian hypocrisy. The Palestinians have been very good at playing the international community, by manipulating language and persuading it of Palestinian moderation.
Israel needs to use this occasion to expose the Palestinian end game for what it remains—the ultimate destruction of the Jewish state. Israeli leaders should be using the country’s extensive diplomatic apparatus to send this message to the international community. Only groups who lay down their weapons and recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people will be allowed to participate in these upcoming Palestinian elections.
This must be a sine qua non.
It is a reasonable demand, but one that no Palestinian faction, regardless of its perceived moderation or pragmatism, will be able to achieve. It will expose, once and for all, the ultimate Palestinian war aims, regardless of tactical differences, which are still held by groups across the Palestinian political spectrum.
Then, when the true face of violent Palestinian rejectionism is exposed, Israel should be given a freer hand to forcefully use all of its diplomatic, economic and military power to impose its will and finally defeat this rejectionism.
Such a tactic will give the Palestinians a choice: either end their war against Israel of their own volition, or Israel will end it for them. Then, and only then, can negotiations begin to ensure a safer and more secure region for all.
Alex Nachumson is an IDF Military Commander (Res.) and CEO of Mivtachi Israel, an organization of former senior IDF Officers.