a thought on the two-state solution
Too many people make the classic, naive assumption: just give the Palestinians some land and autonomy, and there will be peace!
…No. In reality, this would create an even stronger Iranian puppet to do whatever Ahmadinejad pleases in the region with little to no regulation by the Israeli government. Iran already funds most of Hamas’ violent struggle, provides the terrorist organization with weapons, and trains Palestinian militants (1). If Israel is unable to regulate the territories’ borders and prevent Iran’s support for Hamas, it would result in a huge security issue for Israel and even more warfare. Iran and other Middle Eastern allies would more easily be able to support them and they would undoubtedly become the puppet to anti-Zionist foreign policy. And to be honest, do we really need another Islamic fundamentalist country that uses terrorist tactics and is overrun by poverty in the world?
Do the Palestinians really need their own country because of their claim that they have been living there for centuries and that they are their own ethnic group?
Even PLO leaders and King Hussein of Jordan have admitted that Jordan is Palestine; Palestine is Jordan. Over 70% of the 2.8 million population of the kingdom are Palestinian Arabs. The Arabs of Jordan are exactly the same people as the Arabs living in the “West Bank” — as alike as Americans from Iowa and from Wisconsin. There is no difference between them in language, ethnicity, or social customs. Before the Six Day war, the concept of a second Palestinian state located in the West Bank had never occurred to anybody. Over 2 million Palestinians live in Jordan, and only 800,000 in the occupied territories (2). Do they need another country? Wouldn’t allowing another Palestinian state to exist inside of Israel be redundant and suicidal? The Hungarians living in Romania don’t have another country; neither do the Turks living in Bulgaria, nor do the Swedes living in Finland. Then why should the Jordanians/Palestinians living in the occupied territories have another country, since they have a country of their own right next door?
According to Arab-American columnist Joseph Farah,
“Palestine has never existed - before or since - as an autonomous entity. It was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire, and briefly by the British after World War I. The British agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their homeland. There was no language known as Palestinian. There was no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a Palestine governed by the Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.”
Imagine if Israel actually conceded and Palestine were to become a country. You think that would be the answer to the conflict? No. You’ve still got a terrorist organization now running a COUNTRY rather than a territory with a lot more autonomy and less regulation. They would take advantage of that, and you’d have to be extremely naive to believe that they would stop terrorizing Israel. They would still want to wipe Israel off the map, but having their own country, they’d be stronger.
That being said, I think that if Palestine has to become a country, then it should only achieve its independence once both sides recognize each other’s right to exist and once constant attacks aren’t the Palestinian governing authorities’ major strategy. Only when these qualifications are met, and when Hamas is no longer in power, Palestine can become its own country. But for Israel to concede and allow Palestine to exist under current circumstances would be practically suicidal.
a thought about the israeli-palestinian conflict
I am a Zionist American Jew who will live in Israel for half a year come January. That being said, I’ve been an especially avid reader of the news lately because of the recent spotlight on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Abbas’ current efforts at the UN. Unless you live under a rock, you probably know about what’s going on (but if you don’t, you could easily look it up. Maybe if I had more Tumblr followers, I’d take the time to summarize it, lol).
I whole-heartedly support Israel, but I also think that the Palestinians should have a right to their own country. This two-state solution is almost unanimous throughout the world, as having the two nations living side by side seems to be a peaceful negotiation (albeit there would undoubtedly be extremists on both sides who won’t rest until ALL of the land is under their respective people’s control).
But the real questions remain: Are the Palestinians ready to be completely autonomous and have their own nation? And is an unilateral declaration of independence via the United Nations the best way to achieve that?
I’m not so sure.
According to the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group, about 30% of the Palestinian territories’ GDP comes from foreign aid, and according to the Washington Post, the US is only second to the EU in contributions. If Palestine were to become a country, Congress would most likely freeze those funds and pressure other countries to do so as well, and the already extremely poor Palestinian territories would be hit hard in an already tough time in the world economy. When a less extreme case of this happened in 2006, the number of Palestinians living in poverty nearly doubled. Over half of Palestinians live in poverty, and they can’t afford to lose the foreign aid that they depend on. (1)
Here in the US, we think it’s great that so many countries in the Middle East have experienced revolutions to overturn dictators and attempt to establish democracies. We recognize the Palestinian Authority as the legitimate Palestinian governing institution, but we should also remember that Hamas, which the US, EU, Canada, etc. classify as a terrorist organization, was legitimately elected to govern the Gaza Strip. Remember when we celebrated Egypt’s regime change and desire to start anew and democratically elect a new government? But then we were a bit apprehensive about the uncertainty it caused - what if a terrorist or anti-US party were instated? Likewise, a dramatic change in the Palestinian government could result in similar uncertainty, and in the worst case scenario, to a more powerful Hamas. A more powerful Hamas would ensure an even stronger alliance with Iran. And a stronger alliance with Iran would surely mean more weapons and terrorism. This could be a far-fetched hypothetical or it could be detrimental to Israel and the US; either way, it’s risky. (2)
When the economic and Hamas issues are under control, maybe then the Palestinians would be ready for their own country - but a unilateral declaration of independence via the United Nations Security Council is certainly not the way to achieve that. A huge unilateral step such as UN recognition would probably only lead to tension, as it doesn’t guarantee Israel’s recognition of Palestine’s right to exist. Israel has attempted unilateral steps in the past, such as withdrawing from Southern Lebanon and disengaging from Gaza, and what were the disastrous results? Hezbollah and Hamas gained influence/took control in their respective regions. Negotiations and direct talks are the ways to achieve a lasting resolution to the conflict. (3)
So those are my sentiments about the potential establishment of Palestine. But let me take a minute to criticize Obama (who I normally applaud):
About year ago, President Obama chided Israel for continuing settlement in the West Bank, as it is against international law and seen as a major roadblock in the path for peace. He also promoted the emergence of a Palestinian state in the near future. He then met much criticism from many Zionists and was accused of being anti-Israel. Fast-forward to now: it’s campaign season, and what does he do? He aligns himself with Israel as much as he can, hoping to appear as pro-Israel as he can to win back AIPAC; countless influential Jews so important in the media that present him to the world and the businesses that fund his campaign; anti-Muslim Americans who emphasize the president’s middle name and don’t want to see another Arab country on the planet arise; and anyone else he possibly can. To me, it’s not whether he believes that Palestine should be established now, later, or never that’s the issue; the issue to me is that he undermines his previous stances for the sake of politics. And as a pro-Obama Democratic pro-Israel Zionist American Jew, even I think it’s a shame.
Read more about:
(1) The Palestinian economy:
(2) The Hamas-Iran relationship:
(3) Why a Unilateral Declaration of Independence is bad (an awesome Cornell article):
(4) Obama criticism*:
*This is the most legitimate article I’ve ever read about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from an Arab news source. The only huge mistake the article makes is that it claims that the only war against Israel launched by Arabs was the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when there were actually others (including the 1948 War for Independence).