Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama's Two-State Fantasy

Mark Silverberg

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, National Security Advisor General Jim Jones was quoted in a classified foreign ministry cable as having told a European foreign minister that unlike the Bush administration, Obama will be “forceful” with Israel. Jones is quoted as saying: "The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question" – meaning Israel will be forced into an expedited agreement on a Palestinian state. This was not a simple off-the-cuff remark. At the recent AIPAC Policy Conference on May 5th, Vice President Joe Biden also advised Israel to commit to a two-state solution in order to broker a "peace" with the Palestinians, and in Britain, Foreign Secretary David Miliband declared that "Palestinian statelessness is the biggest recruiting sergeant for Islamic extremism around the world" while Tony Blair announced that by mid-June, the U.S., EU, UN and Russia would unveil a new framework for establishing a Palestinian state.

The problem with all this insistence on a "two-state solution" is that a Palestinian peace partner doesn't exist and has never existed and no amount of rhetoric, Israeli concessions or pandering to Arab demands can make it so. The Palestinians have consistently rejected the concept of a Jewish state in the Middle East and until that changes, all talk of a two-state solution is not only irrelevant but dangerous. When will this Administration recognize that Palestinian statehood isn't the true obstacle to peace between Arabs and Israel? Peace requires confronting Islamic culture to publicly reform its dogma that Jews (and, by definition, Israel) are a religiously inferior culture, only meant to be subjugated. For that reason, the charters of Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian factions, both call for the liquidation of Israel and, by implication, the subjugation of its Jewish inhabitants to d'himmi status.

On March 31, 1977, PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein told the Dutch newspaper Trouw: "The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel. In reality, there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak about the existence of a Palestinian people since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism." This fiction has served them well over the decades by justifying their continuous rejection of an independent Jewish state on Arab lands – from the Arab rejection of the 1936-1937 Peel Commission Report on partition, to the Arab rejection of the 1947 partition into an Arab and Jewish state; to the 1967 Six-Day War when Israel offered to exchange land in return for a permanent peace with its neighbors leading to the Arab response of three No's in the 1967 Khartoum Declaration – no negotiation, no recognition, no peace; to the Israeli withdrawals from southern Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005) that left genocidal terrorists on Israel's northern and southern borders; to former Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer in 2000 of virtually everything the Arabs claimed they sought – a sovereign state with its capital in East Jerusalem, 97 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and tens of billions of dollars in "compensation" for the plight of Palestinian refugees – all of which was rejected by Arafat who then brought on the Second Intifada and the murder of over a thousand Israelis; to the covenant of Hamas declaring endless war not only against "the Zionist entity" but against Jews everywhere; to polls conducted recently by a reputable Norwegian polling institute showing conclusively that a majority of Palestinians are not only against a two-state solution but desire a single Arab state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean; to the Palestinian media and Palestinian textbooks that continue to promote a culture of martyrdom and hatred of Israel and Jews; to Palestinian "moderates" like Mahmoud Abbas who recently rejected any possibility that the Jews could or should be considered one of the "two peoples" in any proposed two-state solution………all of which leads to the question of how, in the face of such hatred, anyone could possibly believe that peace can be attained through the creation of another failed Arab state in the Middle East?

One would think after all this, that the European Union and the U.S. would have concluded that the concept of a two-state solution is, was and always has been an Arab ploy designed to destroy Israel incrementally rather than a panacea for an over-all Middle East "peace." Yet, pressure for a two-state “solution” is precisely what Prime Minister Netanyahu encountered in his May 18th meeting with the President and precisely what Pope Benedict XVI called for during his recent visit to the Middle East.

Palestinian sovereignty has never been the Arab objective. Time and again, a two-state solution has been proposed and time and again, the Arabs have rejected it. It is not simply that the Arabs have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity (which, by the way, they have) but that they remain more intent on annihilating the Jewish presence in Israel than on fulfilling the responsibilities of statehood for their people. Even if Israel removed its security fence, opened its West Bank checkpoints and roads, agreed to return to the pre-1967 borders, and acceded to Palestinian demands that sections of Jerusalem be internationalized, does any sentient person actually believe that this would signal the end the conflict? Of course not. Then why pressure Israel into what can only be described as a suicide pact with its enemies?

Joseph Puder said as much in a recent article in FrontPageMagazine: "A widening majority of Israelis have come to realize that a paper agreement with the Palestinians is worthless, and that once Israel has withdrawn from the West Bank and the attacks against Israel renew, the world – including the US – will find excuses for Palestinian bad behavior. The Palestinians are certain to renege on key provisions of any agreement as they did under the Oslo Accords, and the Obama administration, intent on keeping the Arab and Muslim world happy, is unlikely to give Israel a green light to reoccupy the West Bank. One has to be a fool to believe that Mahmoud Abbas or any other Palestinian-Arab chieftain would settle for a demilitarized West Bank, or would seriously consider uprooting the terrorist infrastructure."

More to the point, the European Union's 1993 Copenhagen Criteria for new members states: "Membership criteria require that the candidate country must have achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, rule of law, human rights, and respect for and protection of minorities"? Clearly a Palestinian state will not even remotely meet such criteria.

Furthermore, the linkage between the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and “progress” on the Iranian nuclear threat as suggested by Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanual and re-affirmed by both Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry at the recent AIPAC Policy Conference is preposterous. In a recent article in the UK Spectator, Melanie Phillips, tongue-in-cheek, wrote: “Palestinian statelessness was obviously uppermost in the minds of the Islamists who blew up Mumbai; it was obviously the reason they bombed Spain to help the restoration of the caliphate. It's obviously the driving passion of the Chechen Islamist separatists; it's obviously the rallying cry of the Islamists in Indonesia who intend to Islamize southern Asia. It's obviously the reason Islamists are persecuting, murdering and driving out Christians across the Third World from Sudan and Nigeria to Bethlehem.”

Does the Obama administration actually believe that the moment a Palestinian state is created in Gaza and the West Bank, Syria will cease transferring terrorists to Iraq, cease its concealed chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs, reduce its ties with Iran and cease meddling in Lebanese affairs?

Does the Obama administration actually believe that after years of deception and billions spent on developing a covert nuclear weapons program, the Iranian mullahs will suddenly become less apocalyptic, less messianic, less inclined to establish their caliphate throughout the Middle East, and more prepared to turn their swords into plowshares once a Palestinian state has been established?

Truth is, Iran will not react to the establishment of a Palestinian state by recognizing Israel any more than will Hamas or Hezbollah. Quite the opposite will occur. The creation of a new Palestinian state will embolden Iran, undermine U.S. interests in the Middle East, diminish American influence in the Persian Gulf, and endanger Israel and the entire Sunni Arab world. The Arabs know it, the Israelis know it, and, I suspect, many realists in the Obama administration know it as well. Unfortunately, Obama's Middle East foreign policy appears to be based more on ideology than reality. Consequently, it is immune to rational argument and appears unmoved by objective facts that expose as folly its single-minded devotion to the idea that Israel is responsible for the absence of peace in the Middle East.

By forcing Israel to accept another terrorist state on its borders, President Obama will not only fail to build his Arab coalition against Iran, but he will be fulfilling Iran's mission in the Middle East. History has already told us that making nice with genocidal fanatics will not convert them into apostles of peace. The unfortunate reality he refuses to accept is that peace has never been up to the Israelis. It has always been up to its enemies. The 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project found that 77 percent of Palestinians do not believe they can live side-by-side with Israel. That being the case, so long as fewer than two in ten Palestinians believe in Israel's right to exist as a nation with a Jewish majority, there can be no successful peace based on a two-state solution. That is reality…which raises an even more disturbing question. How can those who direct U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East be so incredibly stupid?

Time for a reality check.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Mark Silverberg is a foreign policy analyst for the Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel), a Contributing Editor for Family Security Matters, Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) and the New Media Journal and is a member of Hadassah’s National Academic Advisory Board. His book The Quartermasters of Terror: Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Jihad and his articles have been archived under www.marksilverberg.com and www.analyst-network.com.

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