It seems like the deeper the U.S. gets in the war against Islamist terrorism, the more energetically the Bush administration wants to promote the idea that Palestinian terrorism should be rewarded with “statehood.” In the midst of the battle against the Taliban, George W. Bush not only insists that he favors a “Palestinian state,” but asserts that the U.S. has always favored such — which might come as a bit of a surprise to the likes of Henry Kissinger and George Schultz. Tony Blair has hopped on the bandwagon too, issuing similar statements from Downing Street.
We’ve been hearing for so many years that the “Palestinians” and their “plight” are at the heart of the Middle East conflict — and that Palestinian statehood must be the nucleus of any resolution — that many have lost their ability to examine these apparent axioms. The simple fact is that the Middle East conflict is not and never was about “Palestinian self-determination,” but rather about Israeli self-determination; and a Palestinian state would simply escalate the conflict, not end it. No, Palestinians living under Israeli “occupation” are hardly “suffering” — never mind that most Palestinians were long ago released from such a “plight” and now enjoy the benign rule of the PLO fascist kleptocracy. Indeed, the only Arabs in the Middle East who are not mercilessly oppressed and tormented are those living under Israeli rule. In other words, as with most of the things “everyone knows” about the Middle East, it just ain’t so.
Of course, there was a time when serious and intelligent people might have believed these fictions with the best of intentions. After all, even Israel’s various governments of the Left were spouting such truisms, and presumably no one would be more reluctant to compromise Israeli security than Israeli’s own government. But that was an intifada or two ago.
Today I doubt there are any serious people, in Israel or anywhere else, who believe that a Palestinian state would serve any function other than to pursue and escalate the Arab war of aggression against Israeli self-determination. Well-meaning people may once have believed that a Palestinian state was the key to regional stability, and that Arafat and the PLO would use any such state to pursue economic and social well-being for their people. It was presumed that the PLO would be too busy resolving domestic problems to have any interest in irredentist armed conflict with the rump Israel.
But by now, it should be obvious to all that the only reason Arafat and his gang ever had any interest in the West Bank and Gaza was in order to use these areas as launch pads for the jihad against Israel itself. Arafat is increasingly candid in saying so. Even those remaining Israelis who favor dialogue and negotiations with the PLO agree, by enormous majorities, that Arafat will never comply with any agreement such talks might produce.
Arafat and the PLO have responded to each and every goodwill gesture and concession from Israel or the U.S. with escalated violence and atrocities. When Ehud Barak offered them essentially the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, plus financial tribute, plus territory within pre-1967 Israel, plus an agreement to absorb 150,000 Palestinian “refugees” within the rump Israel — Arafat responded with a year’s worth of intifada atrocities. Any future accord with any Palestinian state that may emerge will simply serve as a green light for opening new rounds of Palestinian terrorist aggression against Israel, designed to draw into the battle those same “moderate” Arab states currently going through the motions of supporting the U.S. assault on the Taliban. You know, “moderates” — like Syria and Egypt and Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
It should have been obvious that all this was coming. Arafat insisted on wearing military fatigues to all those “peace accord” signing ceremonies, and Bill Clinton recently revealed that Arafat had even demanded to carry a weapon in as well, to signal his real intentions to his followers. From the start, Shimon Peres and his Israeli Joan Baez clones decided to forego any “proving period,” in which Arafat’s intentions would be put to the test, and in which PLO compliance with the accords would be first manifested before moving anything along any further. Instead, Arafat and his goons violated each and every punctuation mark in every accord, with the Israeli Left insisting all along that accords were things that obligated only Israel, and that there was no real reason to demand PLO compliance. Led by Shimon Peres, the “peace camp” of Israeli Leftists has insisted from the start that no violation of Oslo by the PLO, and no atrocity by the Arafat’s Tanzim, will go unrewarded with new Israeli concessions. The U.S. State Department is not made up of the sort of people to second-guess such Israeli self-abasement.
There are serious doubts about whether there was ever a real strategic or moral basis for proposing Palestinian “statehood”; the Palestinians themselves never had any interest in such as long as the “Palestinian zones” were merely being ruled by “alien” Arab regimes, before 1967. There are already 22 Arab states on the planet, controlling lands larger than America’s lower 48. Yet the whole world suddenly believes that if Israel is bludgeoned into turning over the entirety of the “occupied territories” — whose area is smaller than Queens — this will somehow get the Arabs to pursue peace with Israel. Whatever dubious moral claims might once have been raised to justify Palestinian statehood have long been erased, thanks to decades of Palestinian atrocities — including eight years of violence since the “peace process” began and, especially, this past year’s nonstop atrocities following the Barak offer. Meanwhile, the claims that movement toward Palestinian statehood will dampen violence and produce moderation have been buried beneath the polls showing near-universal support for bin Laden and for atrocities against Jews amongst Palestinians. This fanaticism only grows with each new goodwill gesture from Israel.
The only reason Palestinians now want a state is so that Israel will be reduced to its 1949 borders, where its width would be about the same as the length of the San Francisco Bay Bridge with its on-ramps, and where a kids on bikes could slice the country in two in an hour. Where Iraqi and Iranian (and Afghan?) “volunteers” would be imported into the PLO state. Where Palestinians could shut down Israeli air traffic from their positions a few kilometers away, and cripple the country for the final showdown, with Syria and Egypt perhaps joining the fray. Or where the PLO simply goes it alone, with an ever-escalating campaign of atrocities until the Jews cry uncle. In short, any Palestinian state is a sure-fire recipe for violence, escalation and war. The only way the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will ever be resolved is if Israel finds the courage to reoccupy and denazify the Palestinian “autonomy zones” — hopefully with U.S. endorsement and support. A good time to begin doing so would have been the day the U.S. ground forces landed in Afghanistan.
Despite the cycle of endless violence, aggression, and terror it would mean, Bush, Powell, and Blair have become suddenly fixated on this scenario of a Palestinian “state.” They think it is a way to get the Arab regimes to play along in the war against bin Laden. They should think again.