by John Hawkins | March 19, 2003 2:42 pm
The Problem With Land For Peace: I haven’t talked a lot about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict lately. However, since the “Roadmap to Peace” is back in the news, I thought the issue deserved a bit more attention. There are a lot of people who believe that if the Palestinians are given a state, then there will be peace. I believe that is exactly backwards. Let me explain why I am of that opinion.
Let’s us say that the US really leaned on the Israelis and got a sweet deal for the Palestinians. Let’s assume that the Palestinians get their own completely autonomous state, that all the Israeli settlements are moved out of this new nation, and that the United States and Europe pour tens of billions of dollars worth of aid into Palestine. If we’re talking about the real world and not Utopian fantasies, that’s about as good as it’s going to get, right?
The problem is that even if that “dream scenario” were to happen, there would still be major issues that would have to be addressed. For example, what do you do about the 3.7 – 6 million (the numbers vary) Palestinians who claim the “Right of Return”? The Palestinians absolutely insist on taking them in while the Israelis believe (quite correctly I might add) it would be suicide to allow that many hostile Palestinians into their country.
Then there are terrorist groups like Islamic Jihad and Hamas that have said they intend to drive Israel into the sea no matter what happens with Palestinian statehood. There’s not one iota of evidence that the Palestinian people have the will or even the desire to go after these terrorist groups, whether the Palestinians get a state or not. To the contrary, these terrorist groups are widely admired by much of the population. Moreover, in poll after poll (Adobe Acrobat), the majority of Palestinians say that they approve of the terrorist’s methods. These same polls usually show that roughly half the Palestinian people do not believe that Israel is a legitimate state that has a right to exist. That opinion is shared by most of Israel’s neighbors and it’s no coincidence that the only two nations that have peace treaties with Israel (Egypt & Jordan) also get hefty amounts of US aid every year.
So in essence, giving the Palestinians a state only addresses one side of the issue. Yes, the Palestinians can get their “land” to form a state. But, how are the Israelis going to get their “peace”? If the Palestinians get their state and yet the terrorist attacks continue — then what? Suppose the Palestinians immediately start destroying Jewish holy sites on their land? What if Syria and Iran continue to support terrorists who take aim at Israel? Might the Palestinians allow armies from neighboring countries to come into the heart of their territory and set up shop? If you consider the Naziesque level of hatred for Jews in the region (and that’s not an exaggeration), you have to realize that those are LIKELY scenarios.
So then Israel would have to deal with the whole situation much as they do today. Then most of the world would condemn Israel and not the Palestinians, and the Israelis would be right back to where they started except that they would have given up a lot of land and received nothing in return. That’s why the Israelis have no interest in giving the Palestinians a State. Can you blame them?
That was a loaded question because I know some of you do indeed blame them. That’s fine, you can blame the Israelis if you want. But, if you want a real world solution to this issue, there is going to have to be something put on the table that guarantees Israel’s security just as surely as it guarantees a State for the Palestinians. Quite frankly, there’s nothing like that on the horizon right now and so I have little hope for the “peace process” — such as it is — in the near future.
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