There are many peoples on this planet which would do anything for their independence, sovereignty and a state of their own if offered to them. Just ask the Kurds, Tibetans, Basques, Chechens.
Yet there is one singular group which continues to spurn offers of statehood, missing and wasting numerous opportunities, and blaming others for its “victimhood”- and yet continues to whine, complain and then commit horrendous acts of terrorism and violence when offered almost all of what it wants. We are referring, of course, to the Palestinian Arabs- people who, unlike the Kurds, do not have their own religion, language, or culture that’s different in essence from their Arab brethren in neighboring Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The Palestinian Arabs have answered every peace offer of their own “Palestinian” state with one unequivocal word, “no,” and then initiated a wave of hatred, violence and terrorism—because it would also mean recognition of and co-existence with another non-Arab people, the Jews, who have had an even longer history in the region.
Actually, there has been a Palestinian Arab state in the region since 1921, located in the eastern 78% of the Palestine Mandate designated for a Jewish National Home: Jordan. Even today, over two-thirds of the people of Jordan are Palestinian Arabs. The offers of a second Arab state (which would be the 23rd Arab state) in the remaining western portion of the Palestine Mandate date back to the 1937 Peel Commission. That rejection began a consistent pattern of rejection through to the present: 1947 U.N. Partition Plan, 1967 at Khartoum, 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba, the 2008 Olmert Plan. The current Kerry-led negotiations also appear to be heading in that direction. Yet the Palestinian Arabs still adamantly reject the “two state solution” of an “Arab State” and “Jewish State” referenced in the 1947 UN partition resolution.
So, it is instructive to ask, what do the Palestinian Arabs really want? If we would only listen to what they persistently say and read their charters, we would understand: the eradication of Israel through armed struggle, replacing the Jewish state with a Palestinian Arab state. Just read the charters of the Palestinian Authority, PLO, Fatah, Hamas, and it is laid out in straightforward unambiguous terms. It really is no wonder they say “no” to a state if it also means that they have to recognize the tiny Jewish state alongside. There are already 22 Arab states with a population of 400 million and land mass 625 times that of Israel, versus 6.2 million Jews in a sliver of land the size of New Jersey.
We have seen a preview of what their state will be like: Gaza, which has become a terrorist launching pad for tens of thousands of rockets and missiles into Israel since Israel left and uprooted 8,000 citizens from their homes in 2005. It is a failed entity ruled by the corrupt, genocidal, terrorist entity Hamas, which steadfastly refuses to recognize Israel. A Palestinian Arab state in the West Bank/Judea-Samaria, the cradle of Jewish civilization, on the high ground overlooking the heart of Israel’s population centers from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, will only pose a more lethal danger to the safety and security of -Israel. And the Jewish claim does not rest just on security, but on a continuous three-
millennia presence half of which antedates the Arab invasion of 638.
The pathology of the Palestinian Arab movement, which is actually a part of the larger Arab war on Israel, is violent rejection, fueled by Islamic beliefs that any Jewish presence on the land is a crime against the Islamic “natural order of things,” the crime of a dhimmi people, the Jews, having sovereignty in their midst.
Yet,Westerners fantasize and delude themselves that the Palestinian Arabs actually want to live in peace alongside Israel. This was recently epitomized by Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni, who told Knesset members that they should “expect to be surprised” regarding Palestinian Authority willingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. But her fairy-tale beliefs defy reality, and the bubble burst immediately when PA negotiator Saeb Erekat reiterated yet again that the Palestinian Arabs would never accept Israel as a Jewish state.
Sheikh Jabari, the strongman of Hebron, put it concisely: “We can never recognize the Jewish state. I can’t. It goes against the Koran. Tel Aviv is Waqf [Muslim] holy land. I can’t recognize you de jure, but I also recognize that you’re not going anywhere. You’re here to stay.” (Times of Israel, 2-10-14: Bennett: Western Peace Efforts Keep Blowing Up in Our Faces)
Western intervention only makes things worse, emboldens the PA to believe it can maintain a culture of victimhood and pay no price for its maximalist, uncompromising beliefs. Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Arab culture of incitement, terrorism and resort to lawfare has only increased, in absolute violation of their commitments to teach and preach peace, dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, confiscate weapons and arrest terrorists. The PA has not kept those international commitments; so what gives Israel and Western diplomats confidence that any future accords- which will presumably involve Israel relinquishing vital land areas necessary for its security- will be honored? In Arab-Muslim culture, agreements tend to be broken when one side gains the strength to overcome the other, i.e. hudna. In the Middle East, the current status is what peace actually looks like: no paper agreements. At best, a détente, where only force and power prevail and are respected. That is what has enabled Israel to miraculously survive as an oasis of hope, democracy and freedom in the midst of Arab-Muslim dominated totalitarian states, military dictatorships, and theocracies.
Israel has no reliable “peace partner” in the Western sense, no matter how the mainstream media, E.U., diplomats and elites want to spin it. These apologists will always somehow find a way to rationalize and justify the Palestinian Arabs’ predictable resort to violence and in turn seek to delegitimize Israel for not making further concessions- regardless of whether it puts the Jewish state in deadly danger. The diplomatic process is not working. The goal should be stability. There must be far more onus on the PA to make true peace and prepare its own people for it. If and when Palestinian Arabs are ready, willing and able to say “yes,” Israel will be there – but not at the price of confinement in a fraction of a fraction of the Jewish national home that will leave it deprived of its historic center and heartland and in mortal peril.
Lee S. Bender and Jerome R. Verlin, are co-President and co-Vice President, respectively, of the Zionist Organization of America- Greater Philadelphia District. They are the authors of Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z (Pavilion Press, 2012). Verlin is the author of Israel 3000 Years: The Jewish People’s 3000 Year Presence in Palestine (Pavilion Press, 2011)