Big obstacles to Palestinian state

The Obama Administration is pushing hard for a Palestinian state. But as Khaled Abu Toameh explains so well,

If the Obama administration is serious about promoting the two-state solution, it must focus its efforts first and foremost on helping the Palestinians solve the dispute between the Fatah-run state in the West Bank and the Hamas-controlled entity in the Gaza Strip.

The divisions among the Palestinians, as well as failure to establish proper and credible institutions, are the main obstacle to the realization of the two-state solution.

Less than half of the West Bank is controlled by the corruption-riddled Fatah faction, which seems to have lost much of its credibility among the Palestinians, largely because of its failure to reform itself in the aftermath of its defeat to Hamas in the January 2006 parliamentary election.

The Gaza Strip, on the other hand, is entirely controlled by the radical Islamic movement that has, through its extremist ideology, wreaked havoc on the majority of the Palestinians living there.

The Obama administration is mistaken if it thinks the power struggle between these two groups is a fight between good guys and bad guys. This is a confrontation between bad guys and bad guys, since they are not fighting over promoting democracy or boosting the economy, but over money and power.

There is also another problem — which Obama’s envoy George Mitchell seems to be putting aside to solve later, after the establishment of the Palestinian state — that even if a Palestinian government could be put together out of the aforementioned bad guys, it would be unstable and shortly thereafter controlled by Hamas. Such an entity would be born at war with Israel.

Mitchell and others seem to think that US pressure can keep the ‘good guys’ in power — the moderates who are more interested in creating a prosperous Palestinian state than in destroying Israel.

But as Abu Toameh implies, the ‘moderates’ are only moderate in that they put their personal enrichment ahead of killing Jews. So even if they can be kept in power — and the evidence of Gaza shows that they cannot — a functioning state based on primarily on larceny is highly unlikely.

But there’s more: the ‘moderates’ of Fatah — that is, the ones who do not officially call for armed jihad against Israel — even now permit antisemitic incitement in the Palestinian media, and refuse to accept Israel as a Jewish state. And of course Fatah has its own terrorist wing, the al-Aksa Brigades.

I think this is really the most telling point: after all, Mitchell is talking about setting up a Palestinian state which will satisfy the nationalistic aspirations of the Palestinians. As such, why should it care about the self-definition of its neighbor, Israel?

The simple answer is that they think ‘Palestine’ should include all of Israel, “from the river to the sea” as they are fond of saying. But there’s more to it than this.

If this were all, why would they not also claim Jordan? Jordan has a Palestinian majority and was part of historic ‘Palestine’. In 1922, imperialist Britain, the colonial power in control of the area sliced off more than half of ‘Palestine’ and gave it to the Hashemite Abdullah, who became the first king of what was then called Transjordan. No Palestinians were consulted! And in 1948, Jordanian troops marched into the West Bank, into the area set aside by the UN for a Palestinian state, which they then illegally occupied for 19 years. But neither of these injustices generated one-tenth of the outrage reserved for the Jews who bought land or obtained it as the result of a war started and lost by Palestinians and their allies.

Occupation, therefore, is not a problem unless it is Jewish occupation. Indeed, even Jewish presence is a problem, as illustrated by the insistence of ‘moderates’ like Mahmoud Abbas, that all Jewish residents must be removed from the territories that will become the Palestinian state (although he demands that the descendants of Arab refugees who fled the 1948 war be allowed to ‘return’ to Israel).

So even for the moderates the real issue is not that there isn’t a Palestinian state, but that there is a Jewish one.

Nevertheless, most of the world seems to think that the solution is to pressure Israel!

Technorati Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.