Five Basic Arguments Against a Palestinian Stateby Professor Paul Eidelberg
Contrary to the governments of the United States and Israel, various experts in both countries reject the “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I shall mention their views while developing five decisive arguments against a Palestinian state: Economic, Demographic, Political, Strategic, and Democratic. Let’s begin.
1. Economic Arguments
A RAND study indicates that a Palestinian state would not be economically viable. It would require $33 billion for the first ten years of its existence—and this study was made before the economic crisis now confronting the United States and the entire world.
Besides, to confine more than two million Arabs to the 2,323 square miles of the so-called West Bank, and to squeeze an-other million into the 141 square miles of Gaza, is to doom these Arabs to economic stagnation and discontent. The projected state would be a cauldron of envious hatred of Israel fueled by the leaders of one or another group of Arab clans or thugs parading under the banner of Allah.
Moreover, to compensate perhaps 300,000 Jews expelled from the “West Bank”—or even half that number—would bankrupt Israel’s government, to say nothing of the resulting trauma and civil discord.
2. Demographic Arguments
“Two-state” solution advocates warn that the Arabs between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean will soon outnumber the Jews, and that this necessitates a Palestinian state. The Sharon government, without public argumentation, used this demographic contention to justify its perfidious implementation of Labor’s policy of unilateral disengagement from Gaza in 2005. The Olmert-Livni government is using the same policy to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, including eastern Jerusalem.
However, a ground-breaking study by the American-Israel Demographic Research Group (www.aidrg.com) revealed in 2005 that Israel does not need to retreat from Judea and Samaria to secure Jewish demography. The study shows that the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics exaggerated the Arab population in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza by nearly 50%. Rather than 3.8 million Palestinians, it was no more than 2.4 million. Since those registered as Jews in Israel comprise almost 80% of Israel’s population, they make up a 59% majority with Gaza and Judea and Samaria, and a solid 67% majority with Judea and Samaria without Gaza!
The American and Israeli researchers also found that Jewish fertility rates are steadily increasing while Arab fertility rates are steadily decreasing. Not only is there no demographic time bomb necessitating the surrender of Judea and Samaria to Palestinian terrorists, but Israel’s demographic position should encourage its government to develop a strategy for annexing Judea and Samaria.
3. Political Arguments
According to Major General (res.) Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, “...the Palestinians do not truly desire the conventional two-state solution. The Arab world—especially Jordan and Egypt—does not truly support it either…” (Jerusalem Post, September 23, 2008).
Dr. Yuval Steinitz, former Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman, said that the idea of a two-state solution should be dead. “A Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria,” he said, “would bring about Israel’s demise.… Such a Palestinian state would immediately become an outpost for Iran” (Jerusalem Post, September 14, 2008).
Advocates of a Palestinian state live in a fantasy world or lack the intellectual courage to acknowledge the obvious: that Palestinians are committed to Israel’s annihilation. A generation of Arab children has been educated to hate Jews and emu-late suicide bombers. Daniel Pipes said it would take at least two generations to undo such indoctrination. (This would re-quire, among other things, basic changes in the Quran. Muslims would have to renounce the ethos of Jihad. No American or Israeli official has the guts to speak of this religious-cultural issue.)
4. Strategic Arguments
On December 29, 2002, the freighter Karin-A set sail from Iran en route to the Suez Canal. It was boarded by Israeli commandos without opposition from the four crewmen, who were members of the Palestinian naval force. When the commandoes examined the ship’s cargo, they discovered launchers and rockets, mortars, anti-tank weapons, mines, two tons of explosives, assault rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles with telescope lenses, hand grenades, and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition—enough weaponry to tilt the balance of terror against Israel. The destination of the Karin-A was Gaza. Consistent with Dr. Steinitz’s warning, this Iranian arms shipment signifies that Iran views the Palestinians as a battlefield in its 30-year war with Israel. (See Ronen Bergman, The Secret War with Iran, 2008, p. 270.)
Even if it were agreed that a Palestinian state would have to be demilitarized, only fools would believe that the Arabs would abide by such an agreement—no more than they adhered to the arms limitations in the Oslo Agreement.
Some 80 percent of Israel’s population is concentrated on the coastal plain. Arab control of the Judean and Samarian hills would expose those people to constant missile attack. Preoccupied with such attacks, Israel could no longer serve effectively as America’s strategic ally in the Middle East. No longer could it provide the U.S. with priceless intelligence and techno-logical assistance whose value far exceeds the value of U.S. military aid. And I have not mentioned the multibillion dollar economic market Israel provides the fifty states of the American Union.
Ponder also the fact that rewarding the Palestinians with statehood would promote irredentist movements or civil war and terrorism throughout the world.
5. Democratic Arguments
Doctrinaire adherence to the democratic principle of self-determination would encourage any ethnic group to seek independent statehood. It would endow any ethnic group with the right to elect a tyrannical form of government, whether fascist, communist, or Islamic.
Hamas, an Islamic terrorist group dedicated to Israel’s destruction, was victorious in the 2006 democratic elections. Lincoln echoed Jefferson when he said, “No people have a right to do what is wrong.” Ponder the American Declaration of In-dependence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Underlying these words is the Biblical conception of man’s creation in the image of God. The Declaration portrays man as a rational being possessing free will and capable of distinguishing right from wrong. Without such a conception of hu-man nature, the signers of the Declaration would have had no rational or moral grounds for rebelling against Britain, whose colonial governments violated the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”
This “Higher Law” doctrine of the Declaration provides a set of standards by which to determine whether granting national self-determination to any ethnic group can be justified. It can-not be justified among people steeped in ignorance or habituated to violence and servitude. In his classic, Representative Government, John Stuart Mill said that a people may lack the moderation that representative government requires of them: “Their passions may be too violent, or their personal pride too exacting, to forego private conflict, and leave to the laws the avenging of their real or supposed wrongs.”
The “Palestinians” have bungled every chance of self-government by making Fatah and Hamas terrorists their leaders. Having educated their children to emulate suicide bombers, the goal of these thugs is not statehood but Israel’s annihilation. The democratic principle of self-determination is not an absolute; it is limited by rational and ethical considerations. It would be irrational—indeed, criminal—to establish a Palestinian state on Israel’s doorstep.
Since it would be insane and destructive to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, many observers have said that the proper venue of such a state is Jordan, whose population is 60 percent Palestinian. I outline a phased solution to the problem in my book, A Jewish Philosophy of History.
Here I ask: What has prevented the U.S and Israel from developing a strategy to overcome the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians? Can it be, more than anything else, a lack of intellectual integrity and moral courage—preconditions of statesmanship? America’s decision-makers and opinion-makers have been stunted by the university-bred doctrine moral equivalence. Having abandoned the principles of Jeffer-son and Lincoln, they drift without steadfast conviction and purpose. Meanwhile, Israel’s ruling elites, having abandoned the Book that inspired Western civilization, behave like grass-hoppers. Mired in a Lilliputian politics, they permit barbarians to encroach on Jerusalem and mankind with a new dark age.
Both Israel and America need a very large dose of truth and courage.
Reprinted by permission of the author. Paul Eidelberg is a professor of political science (Ph.D. University of Chicago) and former officer in the United States Air Force. He is the founder and president of the Foundation for Constitutional Democracy (in Jerusalem) who has written many books on American and Israeli statesmanship.
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