Almost everyone involved in diplomacy aimed at a peaceful resolution of the Arab-Israel conflict thinks that the solution is a "two-state solution" -a state of Israel and a state of Palestine, living in mutual harmony, side by side, without terror or conflict between them. President Bush, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel, the leaders of the European Community, Russia, and the United Nations-all are advocates of the "two state solution." In effect, it is a call for a "three state solution" - Jordan, Israel and a terror state in between threatening the elimination of both.
However, I respectfully disagree with the view of these world leaders that a "two-state solution" is viable. The Palestinian Arab leadership has violated almost every agreement that it has signed with Israel since the "peace process" began in 1993, including and especially their repeated pledges to halt terror attacks on Israelis. Instead, these attacks have multiplied greatly in the past thirteen years, and Israeli casualties, especially civilian casualties, have increased sharply. Palestinian children are systematically indoctrinated in relentless hatred of Israel, Israelis and Jews in general in the Palestinian Authority schools. The mosques indoctrinate Palestinian adults in the same hatred, and openly incite terror and murder against Jews ("martyrdom"). And all this with the support of the U.S. State Department paid for by the U.S. taxpayer.
Plainly, Israel cannot coexist peacefully with a Palestinian state ruled by the dominant Palestinian factions in the PA-ruled territories (Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others). Even Israeli Arab leaders (such as Ahmed Tibi and Azmi Bishara) have increasingly endorsed war and hatred against Israel. Clearly, no "two-state solution" with a leadership possessed of this kind of mindset could possibly bring peace to Israel.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and some of his rapidly dwindling number of supporters say that they will accept a "two state solution" only if the 450,000 or so Israelis who live beyond the "green line" in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria are expelled, while the more than three million Palestinians who claim descent from the Palestinians who left the "green line" borders of Israel during the war of 1948 (most of them of their own volition, at the behest of Arab leaders who falsely promised them a quick return), are all allowed to "return" to Israel within its reduced frontiers. But before we take Abbas' reputation for "moderation" at face value, we should reflect on his remarks just a few days ago, at a rally commemorating his late mentor Yasser Arafat, when he openly called on Palestinians to "use their [American supplied] arms" against the "occupation" (meaning Israel).
Nor should we forget that the political-terrorist organization to which Abbas and his supporters belong, Fatah, continues to openly proclaim in its constitution, which is broadcast in both Arabic and English on its web site, that its goal is "complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence." (Article 12, "Goals" section), and that
"armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated" (Article 19, "Methods" section.)
As for Hamas, which now controls the Palestinian government, it has never said that it will accept a "two-state solution" or the existence of Israel in any shape or form. Its Covenant, also freely available in both Arabic and English on sympathetic web sites (its official website has apparently been taken off the web), calls not only for the destruction of Israel but for the extermination of all Jews, quoting a Muslim Hadith (or written tradition recording the sayings of the prophet Muhammad, the second holiest source of Muslim teaching after the Quran), to that effect: "The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: 'The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!"(Article Seven). "Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims."(Article Twenty-Eight.) Islamic Jihad and the smaller Palestinian terror groups all take similar positions.
Palestinian leaders have made statements suggesting that they are influenced by medieval Islamic conceptions about relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, such as the belief that peace agreements with non-Muslim states are only temporary truces,(hudna),which may be violated when it is convenient for the Muslims, as was the case with the truce between the early Muslim community and the Quraysh tribe, the peace of Hudabiyya . Other beliefs that have seemingly been embraced by the Palestinian leadership include the idea that Taquiyyah, or dissimulation, is an acceptable way to speak with non-Muslims, especially when the Muslims find themselves at a disadvantage with respect to relations of power with the "unbelievers".
However, ideology is not the only reason why the present crop of Palestinian leaders will never make peace with Israel and will never accept a "two-state solution" as more than an opportunity to have a safe base of operations for terror against Israel. There is also a practical reason. The vast sums of money that flow to them and their followers every year from the Arab states, from Iran, from the European Community and also from the United States are all predicated, in one way or another, on the continuation of the terror war, and the anti-terrorist measures that these attacks have compelled Israel to take in self-defense.
It is this constant violence that creates a Palestinian "problem" or "question" that the West thinks it can solve, or at least appease, by throwing money at it. And it is this "problem" that allows Arab governments to distract their peoples from the poverty, inequality, the oppression of women, and the general backwardness that afflict their societies, and that provides a ready-made excuse for not dealing with these problems ("we must solve the Palestinian problem and get justice for the Palestinians first").
Peace with Israel would cut off the gravy train that has made Palestinian leaders multimillionaires, including Arafat's widow and daughter. It would also cut off the international publicity and spotlight that Palestinian leaders thrive on and are addicted to. A peaceful Palestine would be off the world's radar screen and no longer a magnet for aid. Leaders used to the glamour and wealth conferred by their status as armed, dangerous revolutionaries would be reduced to managing garbage collection in an impoverished, 2,500 square-mile mini-state (the size of Delaware but without resources or contiguity), without even oil to make themselves important. Why in the world would they trade their present prominence and wealth for this?
Israel has already withdrawn from 90 per cent of the territory it acquired in the 1967 defensive war in return for a "cold peace" with Egypt. Egypt has violated the treaty by filling its state-owned media with anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate propaganda, and by giving arms and political support to Hamas. Israeli unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon (2000) and from large parts of the disputed "Palestinian" territories (1994-2005) have not brought about peace or even a reduction in the level of violence. Why should we expect still more Israeli territorial concessions to bring peace?
The West can never begin to think of a realistic prospect for peace until we extirpate the root cause of Islamic ideology and its terrorists infrastructure organizations (such as Fatah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hizb'allah, Muslim Brotherhood, and others) from the midst of the Middle East and elsewhere. There can never be peace with terrorists determined to destroy another nation or people. Nor can those willing to tolerate such terrorists contribute to peace.
* John Landau contributed to this article
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