Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s attempt to avoid recognizing the Palestinian Authority as a state by calling it an “entity” does not address the question of its goal: Israel’s destruction. On the contrary, calling it an “entity” complicates the issue by creating yet another layer of ambiguity to disguise what the P.A. really is—a collection of terrorist organizations ruled by the PLO in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza.
In other words, “entity” is a rhetorical mask that enables “kicking the can down the road” for the terrorist quasi-state dedicated to destroying Israel. This isn’t a “solution;” it perpetuates the conflict and poses a threat to regional stability. Nor does it help the Palestinians, most of whom do not support terrorism. Yet, Israel’s government continues to back and fund the P.A. without demanding an end to its incitement.
The so-called “two-state solution” is promoted by those who support Palestinian demands for “self-determination,” and claim that Israel is a racist, apartheid nation illegally “occupying Palestinian territory.” Ignoring the risks, advocates of the “two-state solution” also declare that it’s the only alternative to one state under Israeli or Palestinian-Arab sovereignty “from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”
There are other and better alternatives, however, such as the “Jordanian option”—the recognition that Jordan is, in fact, a Palestinian state. Jordan is mostly uninhabited and has vast areas that can be developed. Most of the people who live in Jordan consider themselves Palestinian.
Jordan was carved out of what was designated as Palestine by the League of Nations in 1922. Jordan also has a large Bedouin population, and historically was a Bedouin country. For Israeli Bedouin who are unhappy living under Israeli rule, Jordan offers a reasonable alternative.
This could also resolve the problem of the more than 5 million descendants of Arab refugees living in UNRWA-supported towns and villages in Lebanon and Syria; they, too, like those in Jordan, deserve civil and humanitarian rights. That can only be accomplished by allowing them to become citizens of countries where they live and by implementing the Jordanian option.
Another alternative has emerged through the Abraham Accords, which have illustrated to many Arabs and some Arab countries that their best option is to accept Israel’s existence and recognize its legitimacy and sovereignty. This presents an alternative to the growing power of Islamists who seek Israel’s destruction.
The most important alternative, moreover, is not political, but one that anyone can exercise: free will. Those who don’t like living under Israeli rules can choose to move—as many do. But no alternative is possible as long as the PLO, Hamas and Islamists are in power.
Gantz’s terminology must be seen in the context of Arabs who move from areas under P.A. control to those under full Israeli control and, funded by European Union countries, and create facts on the ground through illegal construction.
Gantz has not only ignored this reality; he has legitimized it. Instead of protecting Israel’s strategic interests by expanding Jewish communities (“settlements”) in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem (the “West Bank”), the current government in which he serves has restricted new building projects for Jews.
Additionally, instead of reversing the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s policy of eliminating Jewish communities in Samaria, such as those in Homesh, Migron, Sa-Nur and Kadim, the current government is pursuing their destruction, while allowing Palestinian-Arab towns to expand. This undermines all Jewish communities that were built in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem and supports Palestinian claims over these areas. It also supports Palestinian demands for an embassy in Jerusalem and for Israel to withdraw to the 1949 Armistice Lines.
Essential questions remain. To whom do these areas belong? What should be done with the Jewish communities that are there? And who has the right to decide? Are all “settlements illegal under international law?” Who decides what is a law? When the International Committee of the Red Cross arbitrarily determined that Israel violated the Fourth Geneva Convention, is that based on law?
Calling the P.A. an “entity” keeps these questions from being answered.
Promoting a Palestinian state that threatens Israel’s existence is neither moral nor humanitarian. It denies the legal and historic rights of the Jewish people in the land of Israel.
Moshe Dann, Ph.D., is a historian, writer and journalist living in Israel.