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The myth of a ‘demilitarized’ Palestinian state

How sad that a long-established and respected organization, the American Jewish Committee, is knowingly perpetuating the dangerous myth that a Palestinian state could be demilitarized.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with members of the Central Committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Jan. 14, 2018. Credit: Photo by Flash90.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas speaks during a meeting with members of the Central Committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Jan. 14, 2018. Credit: Photo by Flash90.
Stephen M. Flatow. Credit: Courtesy.
Stephen M. Flatow
Stephen M. Flatow is president of the Religious Zionists of America. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995, and author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror. (The RZA is not affiliated with any American or Israeli political party.)

The phrase “demilitarized Palestinian state” is the very definition of an oxymoron—“a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.”

Proponents of Palestinian statehood use the term “demilitarized” as a propaganda weapon. They know that Palestinian Authority spokesmen have consistently rejected the idea that a state would be demilitarized. And they know that the idea of demilitarizing a dictatorship has never been successfully implemented in history. But they use the phrase because it’s the only way to sell their awful plan.

The creation of a Palestinian state in most or all of Judea-Samaria means that Israel would be nine miles wide at one point. The idea that a Palestinian state would have an army of its own is nothing less than terrifying. It means that Israel would be in mortal danger from the moment “Palestine” is created.

So, the only way for Palestinian advocates to push their cause is to pretend that somehow, it would be demilitarized. Look at the new poll carried out by the American Jewish Committee about attitudes among American Jews and Israelis.

The appropriate wording for a question about a Palestinian state would have been: “Do you support the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, which would then be nine miles wide?”

At a very minimum, the wording could have been: “Do you support the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel?”

Instead, here’s how the American Jewish Committee phrased it: “In the current situation, do you favor or oppose a two-state solution through the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state on the West Bank?”

Well, when you phrase it that way, it doesn’t sound too bad—and sure enough, 31 percent of American Jews “strongly favor” such a state, and another 28 percent “somewhat” favor it. Thus, the headline: “59 percent of American Jews Support Palestinian State!”

But that’s a lie. They don’t “support a Palestinian state.” They support a mythical state that can never come into being because it’s an impossibility.

The truth, in fact, is that the P.A. regime is already militarized. The Oslo II accord of 1995 permitted the P.A. to have a 12,000-man security force in Judea-Samaria. That force now numbers more than 30,000 men.

A new report from the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, which leans left with regard to Israel, analyzes the history and the status of the P.A. security forces. The report was authored by a former senior P.A. official, Ghaith Al-Omari, together with journalist Neri Zilber.

“By late 1998,” according to the report, “the P.A. security services, as they were then known, had in almost every regard violated the letter of the agreements reached with Israel … [The P.A. became] one of the most heavily policed territories in the world.” The P.A. was supposed to show Israel lists of those whom it was hiring for the forces, so Israel could veto known terrorists. Instead, “Israeli government officials were also aware that the P.A. was not submitting complete lists of these security personnel, to obfuscate the total number under arms and to bypass Israeli background checks for those with terrorist backgrounds.”

The report continues: “Similarly, a proliferation of weapons was occurring, both in quantity and quality, well beyond that stipulated in Oslo II. By one estimate, there were at least 40,000 more weapons than allowed in the agreement, including RPGs, mortars, mines, grenade launchers and sniper rifles; also being developed was a small-scale indigenous manufacturing capacity for hand grenades and other ammunition. ”

The P.A.’s security forces already constitute the nucleus of an army. If the P.A. were to become a sovereign state, there would be no way for Israel to prevent it from turning those forces into a full-fledged army, except by invading. What is the likelihood that any Israeli government would order an invasion of “Palestine,” knowing the international sanctions and pressure Israel would then face?

Of course, in such a scenario, all the “peace” activists who are now claiming there could be a demilitarized state would be the first to argue that “Palestine” needs tanks, planes and missiles to “defend itself.”

How sad that a long-established and respected organization, the American Jewish Committee, is knowingly perpetuating the dangerous myth that a Palestinian state could be demilitarized.

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is a Vice President of the Religious Zionists of America. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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