Friday, February 22, 2002

There Will Never Be A Palestinian State

As I look out my window over the dusty desert city of Be’er Sheva, I try to imagine what life would be like if the Palestinians could live their dream. What would life be like if the Palestinian Authority were to achieve its declared goal of eradicating the State of Israel? What would post-Jewish Palestine look like?

I imagine the crisp, beautiful Jerusalem-stone faced buildings covered in graffiti and portraits of suicide bombers. Yitzhak Rager Street, Be’er Sheva’s main boulevard, is pockmarked and covered with potholes with burned-out cars left for dead on the curb. The warm desert breeze blows heaps of garbage through the main intersection. The scent of urine and excrement wafts through Be’er Sheva as chickens pluck through the piles of refuse for food. Various Palestinian warlords have taken control of the different neighborhoods and are constantly engaged in street-battles and turf wars. Neighborhood Alef, where Hamas took control after the Jews were exiled, is constantly shelling neighborhood Gimmel, where Islamic Jihad has taken control, and Fatah is trying to hold it’s own in the stronghold of the Old City. Teenage punks with jeans and AK-47s man checkpoints between each neighborhood, collecting tolls from the beaten up vehicles that pass through. The beautiful Be’er Sheva Government Square with its handcrafted stonework and modern architecture is used as a place for three-minute trials followed by public torture and execution. The State of Palestine will be just another Arab dictatorship like Libya and Iraq, it will be a destination for hijacked airliners and a source of endless terror. The State of Palestine is going to be the type of country that the United States ends up either invading or bombing from time to time.

But that’s not going to happen. There will never be a truly sovereign Palestinian State because every trapping of sovereignty which the Palestinians attain is immediately put to use in an all-out war against Israel. A truly sovereign state has control over its borders. However, during the last ten years while the Palestinians had this control, it was used to smuggle mortars, missiles, and rockets, which are now being used against Israel. Israel therefore had to reassert control over all borders and seaports to protect the lives of its citizens. A truly sovereign state has control over its budget, but during the last ten years the Palestinian warlords have embezzled and stolen virtually all of the hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid earmarked for building a country. Today, the United States and even Saudi Arabia have stopped making payments until the Palestinian Authority makes its budget transparent. A truly sovereign state has control over its airspace, but today, because of unrelenting terrorism, Israel has had to violate this airspace almost daily to strike at the terrorist infrastructure. A truly sovereign state has control over its water resources, but today Israel is being forced to reassert control over these resources as the Palestinian Authority intentionally dumps toxic wastes and raw sewage into Israel’s major waterways. In a sovereign state, citizens have freedom of movement, yet Israel has been forced to set up checkpoints throughout the territories to apprehend terrorists and prevent the movement of Qassam missiles. A sovereign state has the ability to make alliances, yet the Palestinians have allied themselves with Iran, forcing the United States to effectively cut relations and thus delegitimize the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinians will never have true sovereignty because it simply doesn’t interest them. The Palestinians (or Syrians as they were called before 1948 and Egyptians and Jordanians as they were called from 1948 until 1967) have, in fact, repeatedly and violently rejected sovereignty at every opportunity. Four times in the last half century have they been offered sovereignty, by the Peel Commission in 1937, the United Nations Partition Plan in 1947, the Palestinian Autonomy Clause of Israel’s peace treaty with Egypt in 1978, and the sovereignty offer of Camp David II in 2000, and each time they have reacted violently. No counter-offers or negotiations, only terror and war. Palestinian Nationalism is the only movement of national liberation whose goal, as is proven by both word and deed, is simply the destruction of another state; the State of Israel.

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