Oddly, we are a week into the alleged birth of a “Palestinian state,” as decreed by the UN General Assembly, and nothing seems to have changed. Life “after” the state is remarkably similar to life “before” the state, and his people must be suffering from even more frustration than is their norm.
For example, Israel’s announcement that it will build new housing right outside Jerusalem, between Jerusalem and its suburb (five minutes’ drive) of Maale Adumim was greeted with shrieks of horror and howls of protest from across the world – from the Americans, the Europeans, the Asians and of course the Arabs. There scarcely walks a terrestrial – an inhabitant of Planet Earth – who did not leap to criticize this decision allowing Jews to build new homes where Jews have lived for the last 3000 years. Why such dismay?
Ostensibly, as the new “state’s” media outlet put it, because the new construction will “kill any chance for the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state.” Hmmm… but wasn’t that state created already? How is it possible for a few thousand apartments and houses to “kill” any chance for the creation of a “contiguous Palestinian state?” Doesn’t a state – to be declared and recognized – have to have defined borders?
Well, yes, in the real world, or as real world as international law ever gets. Since 1648, there are more or less established procedures by which states are formed and gain international recognition. None are formed – or ever have been formed – by a UN General Assembly resolution, which are non-binding and have no force under international law. In fact, the standard procedure would have been for the Palestinian Authority to declare itself a state, and then apply for UN recognition. It did not do that. Their pretense is that they already declared statehood, either in 1988 or sometime in the last decade, and therefore need not do it again. But no one paid attention to their past declarations, and none should today.
Traditionally, a state is established when a lawful government exercises control over a distinct population within defined territory, and can conduct foreign relations accordingly. The PA does not qualify as a state even in diplomatic wonderland. It has no lawful government; Abbas’ term in office expired around the time that George W. Bush left the presidency. He has declined to have elections since then, because he knows he cannot win. Nor does the PA have a defined territory – for sure; if they did, they would not be protesting this new Israeli construction. Nor does the PA govern a defined population; it pretends to rule over Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria, and even those Arabs have tired of Abbas’ autocracy and failures. Arabs who live in Gaza do not accept the jurisdiction of the PA, and the primary absence of contiguity is not the construction outside of Jerusalem but the distance between Judea and Gaza. They have effective sovereign control over nothing. Some state.
Well, what kind of “state” is this? They are great in symbols but woefully lacking in substance. They are now seeking their own passports, but they do not have airports, seaports or control over any border that would allow them to leave. That has to be done under Israeli supervision. They have no indigenous economy, and their institutions are propped up by persistent infusions of cash from some Arab countries, the Europeans and the United States. Their primary exports are terror, incitement and Jew hatred, each serving a (malign) purpose in the world but not especially attractive foundations for a lucrative economy. Their national history is a complete fabrication. There is no Palestinian “identity” that is not inherently linked to the destruction of Israel. Try to name a “Palestinian” from the 19th century, let alone from the 16th century, and it becomes clear that they do not exist in the real world. Indeed, this mirrors the biblical admonition to the Jewish people that when we fall short of the national standard that G-d ordains for us, He will “provoke us with a non-people” (Devarim 32:21). The “Palestinians” are this “non-people.”
It is fascinating, and bizarre, that this new “state” is wholly incapable of self-sufficiency and is completely dependent on the enemy that it has sworn to destroy – Israel – for its energy, water, food and vital supplies. It remains weird that Israel continues to supply Gaza with fuel that enables it to mass produce the rockets and mortars that Gazans then fire at Israel, including the vicinity of the power plants that are the source of the energy in Gaza. Jews respond too quickly to tales of the “humanitarian crisis.” Those who create the “crisis” should be held responsible. That is the consequence of war. The Allied firebombing of Dresden and the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki created “humanitarian crises;” perhaps that is why those wars ended, as opposed to this interminable conflict. When the governments of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan could no longer tolerate the mass civilian casualties and devastation of their infrastructure, they surrendered.
Instead, Israel sustains its enemies, even in wartime. Little recognition is given, nor certainly is any gratitude ever expressed, for the medical care Israel offers to its Arab enemies, especially their children. In one infamous case, Soroka Hospital in Beersheba treated a pregnant Gazan woman – saving her pregnancy – only to have her show up a few weeks later with a bomb strapped around her large stomach in an attempt to blow up the maternity ward. She was caught at the entrance to the hospital and arrested before she could blow herself up. Often, the Jewish heart prevails over the Jewish head. One would think a “state” would be able to provide health care to its own citizens, but not in Abbas’ wonderland.
Israel is fully within its rights to renounce the Oslo Accords, as these unilateral moves strike at the very heart of the agreement. It should, and thereby partially rinse the stain of Oslo from its statecraft and from Jewish history. It should, but it won’t, all part of the dance of performers in this staged melodrama. It should, because only an abrupt reversal of the political dynamic can undo some of the damage of the last two decades.
Abbas’ declaration, and the UN farce, only has meaning in the context of the continuing attempt to delegitimize Israel’s very existence. That has become the primary weapon in the Arab world’s century –old effort to first thwart and then strangle Jewish statehood. Arabs today are thankfully incapable of defeating Israel on the battlefield. The primary Arab enemies of Israel – Egypt and Syria – are now engaged in civil wars and are cauldrons of instability. The Iranian threat looms large, and its aggressive designs are abetted by assertions of Palestinian “statehood” that are ill-disguised attempts to undermine Israeli statehood – and the sovereign existence of the Jewish people in the land of Israel.
The very essence of statehood is the notion of “self-determination.” But this new “state” can determine nothing by itself – not its existence, borders, prosperity, security, even authority. It is a chimera, a fantasy, a mirage – conceived in sin and born under intimidation and duress. Shame on Israel for acquiescing to the idea even in principle, and shame on those nations who supported the charade at the diplomatic world of make-believe known as the United Nations.
New construction in an area designated for Jewish homes for decades already is a start, but should not be a political tool. It should be done for nationalistic reasons, in line with Israel’s long-term interests. When it figures out what those interests are and prioritizes them – sovereignty over the land of Israel, security for its citizens, and the implementation of Torah values in the lives of the people and laws of the country – then their policies will become coherent and an era of stability will dawn. And even the Arabs who reside in the land of Israel will benefit from that prospect, certainly more than from the proclamations of Abbas in Wonderland.