Tag: West Bank

WHITHER THE “WEST BANK”/GAZA: TWO STATE, THREE STATE, EIGHT STATE (EMIRATE) SOLUTIONS?

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Thoughts on Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Part II: Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 13, 2012

Palestine was a desolate, barely inhabited, backwater of the Ottoman Empire until the Mandate, the British and the Zionist movement that led to the creation of the State of Israel, brought it back to life.

 

What’s Really Going on in Gaza?: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Jewish Press, March 16th, 2012—A week of missiles was supposed to change the focus of interest in the Middle East from Homs to Gaza, from Syria to Israel, from Assad to Netanyahu. This was the plan of Iran and its few followers in Gaza. But it didn’t succeed, and for the usual reason – the sociological factors of the Middle East.

 

Who Wants a Palestinian State?: Moshe Dann, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 26, 2012—The Palestinian Authority’s moves at the United Nations for recognition of a Palestinian state have raised objections. Since many support the idea, however, including some Israeli politicians, and with little hope for successful negotiations, the PA’s move seems logical.

 

On Topic Links

 

 

Original Thinking: Palestinian Emirates (Part 1): Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2012

Moderate Proposals To Stop A Palestinian State: Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2012

The Eight State Solution: Mordechai Kedar, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Aug. 2, 2012

Corridor Of Controversy: Nadav Shragai, Jerusalem Post  Dec. 13, 2012

The New Palestinians: Angry Youth Are Proposing A Radical New Paradigm: Prof Menachem Klein, Jerusalem Report, Nov. 19, 2012

Israel Should Let the PA Collapse: Elad Benari, Israel National News, Dec. 2, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

THOUGHTS ON ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT: PART II

Barry Shaw

Jerusalem Post,  Dec. 13, 2012

 

Palestine was a desolate, barely inhabited, backwater of the Ottoman Empire until the Mandate, the British and the Zionist movement that led to the creation of the State of Israel, brought it back to life.

The anthropology of the Arab inhabitants in the disputed territories consisted of pastoral and static tribes or roaming Bedouin tribesmen. They were joined by a flow of Arab immigration from places such as Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon, attracted by the employment opportunities created by the Zionist enterprise….This is today’s mix in what is called the Palestinian Arab population in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but the basic original ingredient was the various tribes that still exist today.

 

Those who migrated to this region left behind artificial states that are, today, in conflict and disarray. We see the disintegration of states such as Iraq, Libya and Syria because they have been artificially concocted from rival tribes and ethnicities that are forced to live together, but with a generations-old hatred of one another, in one state under a rulership they do not accept. The Palestinians haven’t even got to that unhappy state yet. Would it, therefore, be wise to create such a mess now?

 

This short series of articles presents the concept and the architecture of the idea of a Palestinian Emirates. The concept leaves the engineering and maintenance to others, such as diplomats, leaders and think tanks, to construct the project. According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University, and formerly of IDF Military Intelligence, the creation of a series of city states based on traditional and legitimate tribal leadership, rather than an artificial, weak and dysfunctional nation state, is the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. The basis of successful local leaderships is inherent in its own population.

 

These states can decide their own form of government, make their own laws, educate their own people, and print their own currency if they wish, have their own media, develop their own industry and commerce, or have their people find employment within Israel. The structure gives control and responsibility to the local residents to decide their own future. In time, when a number of independent city states emerge, they can unite in a Palestinian Emirates body, similar in form to the Persian Gulf states. They can work together for their mutual benefit, including in commerce, tourism, security, regulations and other interconnecting interests.

 

Kedar visualizes eight such city states that will contain the majority of the Palestinian Arab population, with freedom of movement between them. They will be interconnected into a federation of Palestinian Emirates, if they wish. It’s in Israel’s interest to foster close cooperation with such city states. The leaders will be dependent on a cooperative neighbor for trade, employment, influence, contact with the outside world and security.

 

For Israel, these city states can be a source of local industry, trade and commerce, as well as be security buffer zones. Instead of the existing West Bank and Gaza blocs of enmity, it will be possible to develop mutually positive relations with these smaller independent entities. Once both sides feel confident and comfortable with the success of the working model, the city states can have their own security and police forces which could be trained and equipped by Israel. Until then they should be guaranteed the protection of Israel to keep them safe from external forces wishing to destroy their quest for independence.

 

Dr. Kedar walked me through the list of local tribes. Tulkarm residents belong to the Karmi tribe. Al-Masri is the leading family in Shechem (Nablus). Barghouti is the Ramallah tribe. Erekat is the ruling family in Jericho. The Jabaris are the prominent tribe in Hebron, although Hebron also has the Abusnena, Qawasme and Natche tribes.

 

Kadar points to Hebron as the perfect place to create the pilot model of a future Palestinian Emirates. Although there are several tribes there, they have coexisted due to the traditional tribal court in which they settle all their differences without the need for a police or security force. The fiercely independent Sheikh Farid al-Jabari has been critical of the Palestinian Authority. He has spoken and written strongly to Mahmoud Abbas, whom he refers to as “the foreigner” due to the fact that Abbas is not from the territories, but from Safed, and has no tribal roots in the area. This traditional environment gives Kedar the key to opening the box to a different future for Arabs living in the territories, and hope for Israel and the world for a better, peaceful world….

 

Each of the emirates could apply to the Israeli government for permits to expand its territory for industrial, commercial, residential or recreational development, just as the Israeli towns and villages apply for building extensions in their areas. Israel would supervise the development of the road and rail systems, water and electricity supplies, to supply the emirates just as they would to the nearby Israeli communities. A patchwork quilt of Palestinian city states and Israeli towns and villages would emerge in the territories, each giving allegiance to their own governing body. There would be coordination and cooperation between the federation of emirates and the Israeli government in a stronger form than the existing coordination between the PA and Israel.

 

Israel would use its influence within the European Union and America to bring foreign aid, development and commerce to each of the cooperating emirates. There would be less waste of funds and easier accountability in the city states than has been the case with the PA. Israel would approve the flow of emirate goods and products to Israeli ports for shipment abroad. Israeli entrepreneurs would be encouraged to partner with Palestinian Emirates businessman in joint ventures. The Israeli government would allow residents from each of the city states to find employment in Israel in preference to the many thousands of foreign laborers who work in our agriculture and on our building sites today.

 

The plan is fraught with dangers. Any chieftain or tribe willing to become an independent entity will be accused of treason by peace killers stubbornly determined to use the Palestinians as cannon fodder in their attempts to eradicate the Jewish State of Israel. It will take courage to declare an intention to attempt a brave new experiment in statehood. That is why the support of the United Arab Emirates may be an essential ingredient in implementing the project.

 

Surely it is to the benefit and credit of the UAE to promote and assist in the replication of their political system for the sake of their Palestinian Arab brethren? It would certainly strengthen their political model in the eyes of the world at a time of turmoil throughout the Middle East.  One thing the Palestinian Emirates concept has going for it is time. Maybe the time isn’t yet ripe, but Middle East conflicts aren’t going away any time soon. More time will be wasted before a death certificate is issued for the body of a dead two-state project, and other ideas will be considered.

 

During that time the seed of the Palestinian Emirates idea can be planted, cultivated and allowed to flower into a sensible solution that has a successful model elsewhere in the region. Just imagine the UAE duplicating its example by adopting the city states project. Just as Western countries adopt twin city projects, perhaps Dubai will twin with the Emirate of Hebron, or Abu Dhabi will adopt Tulkarm, and guide them into a confederation of Palestinian Emirates? Israel need have no fear of such a commitment. On the contrary, this could act to Israel’s benefit.

 

The idea of a Palestinian Emirates must be allowed out into the open to give it breathing space, thinking space, talking space, to allow it to germinate and spread, to be adopted by think tanks and policy-makers so they can assemble the nuts and bolts that will go into the construction of this project….The idea must be advanced cautiously, with discretion, and with courage. It can only succeed when men of influence and vision put their reputation on the line for its success.

 

None is better placed to do so than the rulers of the emirates of the Persian Gulf. They should step forward to raise their unfortunate Palestinian Arab brethren to a brighter future modeled on the framework of their own existence. By offering their best efforts in solving this seemingly impenetrable problem, crafted in their own image, they would elevate their prestige on the world stage. This may sound like wishful thinking, but so is a two-state solution that is going nowhere.

 

The notion of a Palestinian Emirates in no way negates the affirmation of a Palestine as a non-member of the United Nations. This resolution did not refer to a governmental construct of a future Palestine. Neither did it recognize any authority to govern over such an entity, neither for the PA nor for Hamas. The mention of a Palestinian entity within the pre-1967 borders does not negate the concept of a Palestinian Emirates within such boundaries.

 

Respect and honor are part of the Arab DNA. The Palestinian Emirates project should appeal to the local inhabitants because it goes to the heart of who they are, and not to some false narrative concocted by politicians and outsiders they do not respect. It honors their ancient tribal traditions. It gives respect and dignity to the head of each tribe. It respects the political and social system they have known for generations. Once proven, it will give them a better life, a better future for them, for Israel, for the region, and a peaceful resolution to the conflict bringing with it respect and cooperation with its neighbors, including Israel….

 

Barry Shaw is the author of Israel Reclaiming the Narrative. He is also the special consultant on delegitimization issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at the Netanya Academic College. 

 

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WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON IN GAZA?

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Jewish Press, March 16, 2012

 

A week of missiles was supposed to change the focus of interest in the Middle East from Homs to Gaza, from Syria to Israel, from Assad to Netanyahu. This was the plan of Iran and its few followers in Gaza. But it didn’t succeed, and for the usual reason – the sociological factors of the Middle East.

 

I have emphasized again and again the dominance of tribalism within Middle Eastern culture, and the important role played by traditional frameworks of relationship – such as ethnic, tribal, religious, sectarian – in private as well as in communal life. I downplay the influence of foreign ideologies that have been imported from Europe, from communism to democracy, and from nationalism to liberalism, which have all failed in the effort to formulate a culture of public domain in the Middle East. Dictatorship is the practical expression of the failure of these ideologies.

 

What remains is only the person, together with his family, extended family, clan, and tribe. This is the only thing which is real, alive and kicking, that functions as it always has, and the only framework that is capable of bestowing on an individual identity, a sense of belonging, a livelihood, and physical defense and security.

 

One of the foundation stones of tribal culture is the antagonism between the tribe and the modern state, a state which was imposed upon the tribe by foreign colonialism and its local derivatives. States have always tried to impose themselves upon the individual and upon the tribe; including their symbols, values, laws and leaders, and have tried to substitute these in the hearts of the people instead of those of the tribe, and its symbols, values, leaders, and laws. In Arab societies that have undergone dissolution and turned into more individualistic societies – Egypt and Tunisia for example – the state has succeeded in settling in the hearts of the people, and uprooting the loyalty to the tribe. In the tribal societies of most of the other Arab states, the state is forced to yield part of its sovereignty and to accept the existence and limited authority of the tribe. In order not to confront the tribe, the state compromises and comes to an understanding with the tribe, in an effort to placate its members.

 

The Gaza Strip is no different from the rest of the Arab world, so tribal culture is alive and kicking in the Gaza Strip too. Ever since the Hamas movement took control of Gaza trip in 2007, it has transformed itself from a gang of jihadists into a ruling organization which has a state, government, advisory council, legal system, police, military and economic bodies. Thus, Hamas has turned into a standard Arab state, which is attempting to impose its agenda upon the tribes and the clans that live in the Strip. The State of Hamas serves the interests of the group that leads it, and therefore it is in constant conflict with the tribes and the clans and must reach agreements with them.

 

The minor movements – Islamic Jihad, the PRC (Popular Resistance Committees), the Salah-a-Din Division, the Army of the Nation, the Army of Islam and others – function like tribes, challenging the authority of the state, which is in the hands of Hamas. Today, these groups are doing to Hamas what Hamas did to the PLO twenty years ago when the PLO was in power. The widespread corruption among the top echelons of Hamas strengthens the influence of the small organizations that oppose Hamas. What encourages these organizations is the fact that Hamas has “hung up the gloves” and is trying to reach a calm with Israel. Hamas has not become a Zionist organization, and has not changed its covenant or its sole goal: to eliminate Israel and bring an end to the “occupation” of Jaffa and Acre, not only Hebron and Nablus. However, in the present historic phase it is suspending its battle against Israel in order to establish a state which, when the time comes, will be the basis from which the war of the destruction of Israel will be waged. The small organizations do not accept this suspension of jihad and call Hamas derogatory names such as “The Israeli Border Guard” and the “South Lebanese Army”.

 

From a practical point of view, Hamas is capable of eliminating the organizations, just as it dealt with the Army of Islam, of the Dughmush clan in August of 2008, and as it eliminated Sheikh Abd Al-Latif Moussa’s Islamic Emirate of Jerusalem in cold blood in August of 2009 in a mosque in Rafah, murdering him, his wives and children and 24 followers. As of today, in the year 2012, Hamas refrains from imposing itself on the small organizations by force of arms so that it will not become the “Israeli Border Guard”in the eyes of Gazans, and prefers to come to an agreement with them; to compromise with them and to calm them down….

 

Iran, which would like Gaza to be a constant battlefront, no longer supports Hamas, and has transferred its support to organizations that undermine the hegemony of Hamas in Gaza. Right now, when the world is focused on the slaughter of citizens in Homs, Syria…Iran is encouraging its underling organizations to stoke the fire in Gaza….

 

Israel need not tamper with the Gazan social structure or try to re-engineer the tribal map and its interests. The State of Hamas – with all its problems of terrorism and jihadism – serves the interests of Israel, because it breaks the Palestinian dream into pieces, and also proves to Israelis who are captivated by the dream of peace, that what’s happening now in Gaza may happen again, but in a larger, more dangerous version, in Judea and Samaria, if Israel transfers control of that area to Middle Eastern culture. Many of the Israeli cities of the center are within range of the mortars, the kassams and the missiles that might be launched from the hills of Judea and Samaria. Therefore, Israel must find a solution that will free us from the majority of the Arab population in Judea and Samaria but allow us to remain in the rural areas. The eight-state solution, which is based on the tribes living in the Arab cities in Judea and Samaria is the only solution that is based on the extant social framework of the Middle East, and will provide Israel with security. Not absolute peace, because there is no such thing in the Middle East, but relative peace, that will need some maintenance from time to time. In the Middle East, only the invincible can have peace because only if a group is strong, will the other groups leave it be.

 

Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.

 

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WHO WANTS A PALESTINIAN STATE?

Moshe Dann

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 26, 2012

 

The Palestinian Authority’s moves at the United Nations for recognition of a Palestinian state have raised objections. Since many support the idea, however, including some Israeli politicians, and with little hope for successful negotiations, the PA’s move seems logical. They can continue to attack Israel diplomatically and legally, continue incitement, raise their stature, and avoid recognizing Israel.

 

However, Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties with Israel, why can’t the Palestinians? Simply put, because Israel’s existence contradicts theirs. Pushing a “peace process” that requires Palestinian Arabs to give up their opposition to a Jewish state, the international community can’t figure out why it doesn’t work. The answer is that the dispute is not over territory; it’s about ideology.

 

Palestinianism, the basis of the Arab/Muslim war against Zionism, the State of Israel as the national historic homeland of the Jewish People, is part of a broad Islamist revolution throughout the world against non-Muslim infidels. Understanding the mission of Islamism explains why efforts to impose a Palestinian state, the “two-state” proposal and the “peace process” are doomed to fail. Palestinians don’t want a state alongside Israel, but one that replaces Israel. The primary goal of Palestinian nationalism is to wipe out the State of Israel, not to permit its existence.

 

Any form of Palestinian statehood, therefore, that accepts Israeli sovereignty in what Muslims believe is their land stolen by Jews, is, by their definition, heretical. That is clear in both the PLO and Hamas Charters and the position of Arab leaders (in Arabic). Palestinianism is not a national identity, but a political construct developed as part of a terrorist agenda when the PLO was formed in 1964. Palestinian identity means the struggle to “liberate Palestine from the Zionists,” not to accept them. An international cause, it bound Arabs and Muslims together, as part of jihad throughout the world.

 

“Two-state” proposals, therefore, with Palestinian statehood alongside Israel as a territorial goal, means the end of Palestinianism and an end to the struggle to eradicate Israel. This explains why no Palestinian leader will agree to surrender to Western and Israeli interests, and why making compromises is anathema. Statehood in only part of Palestine means a denial of the “Nakba” (catastrophe), the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It means admitting that everything for which they fought and sacrificed was in vain.

 

Statehood means abandoning millions of Arabs who live in 58 UNRWA-sponsored “refugee camps” in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and those living throughout the world; they will no longer be considered “refugees.” UNRWA will be out of business. Statehood means “the armed struggle,” the crux of Palestinian identity, is over. It means that the concept of Palestinianism created by the PLO, accepted by much of the international community and the media, the struggle to “liberate Palestine,” is finished, and that their suffering was for naught.

 

Statehood involves taking responsibility – ending incitement and violence, corruption and lawlessness, and building just and transparent institutions, the establishment of a truly democratic government. Accepting Israel means ending the Palestinian revolution, a national betrayal and an Islamic heresy. In this context, for Palestinians and their supporters, the “peace process” is a metaphor for defeat.

 

The PA’s move at the UN is a way to achieve recognition and legitimacy without compromising their opposition to Israel.

 

The author is a PhD historian, writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.

 

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Original Thinking: Palestinian Emirates (Part 1): Barry Shaw, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 6, 2012 —Mahmoud Abbas may have had the support of a mass of UN members to ram through a “non-member” status for “Palestine,” whatever “non-member status” means. Surely you’re either a member, or not? Non-member status is like being almost pregnant.

 

Moderate Proposals To Stop A Palestinian State: Daniel Tauber, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 11, 2012—The UN recognition of a Palestinian state is a wake-up call to those who think we can continue to pass the buck down the years. At some point, Israel must put the brakes on the train to Palestinian statehood, and the sooner the better, as the more time passes the greater the sense of inevitability and the weaker our negotiating position.

 

'Incitement against Israel in PA is getting worse': Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 2, 2012—Incitement and inflammatory language against Israel in the Palestinian Authority is at the worst level since Jerusalem began systematically measuring it in 2009, Strategic Affairs Ministry director-general Yossi Kuperwasser told the cabinet Sunday.

 

Israel Should Let the PA Collapse: Elad Benari, Israel National News, Dec. 2, 2012—Israel should let the Palestinian Authority collapse, particularly in the wake of its unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations, says Professor Efraim Inbar. Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) at Bar-Ilan University.

 

The New Palestinians: Angry Youth Are Proposing A Radical New Paradigm: Prof Menachem Klein, Jerusalem Report, Nov. 19, 2012—It’s not the economy, stupid, that’s shaking the foundations of the Palestinian Authority. On the contrary: For the new, angry, disillusioned young generation of Palestinians, the economy is a tool Israel uses to perpetuate PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s tottering regime.

 

The Liberman Proposal: Dan Gordon, Jerusalem Post Dec 17, 2012—Israel’s diplomatic standing opposite the international community is at the lowest it has been in recent memory. At best, Israel is viewed as a neo-colonialist occupying power of a downtrodden and homeless people. At worst, it is seen as a racist apartheid state oppressing the Palestinian ethnic minority and guilty of numerous war crimes against them.

 

Corridor Of Controversy: Nadav Shragai, Jerusalem Post  Dec. 13, 2012—The site called E1 (East 1) is an area immediately adjacent to Jerusalem to the east, which covers an area of 1,200 hectares of largely uninhabited and mostly state-owned land. It is within the municipal boundary of Ma’aleh Adumim.

 

The Eight State Solution: Mordechai Kedar, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Aug. 2, 2012—Palestinian territorial contiguity is dangerous for Israeli national security. For security and demographic reason, Israel must retain as much land as possible in the West Bank. Evacuation of these areas will create a dangerous situation for Israeli security and eventually will necessitate reconquering extensive parts of the West Bank. 

 

 

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THE EIGHT STATE SOLUTION by Mordechai Kedar

 

Palestinian territorial contiguity is dangerous for Israeli national security. For security and demographic reason, Israel must retain as much land as possible in the West Bank. Evacuation of these areas will create a dangerous situation for Israeli security and eventually will necessitate reconquering extensive parts of the West Bank. There is no reason to dismantle and destroy the existing settlements, rather we propose the creation of seven independent and separate city-states within the West Bank, in addition to Gaza.

 

Premise:

 

There is no reason to assume that a Palestinian state will not become another failing Arab state, due to the fragmented society in the West Bank and Gaza, tribalism and the lack of awareness of nationhood as demonstrated by the failing performance of the Palestinian Authority since its establishment in 1994.

 

Since nobody in the world can assure that a Palestinian state will never turn – like Gaza – into an Islamic terror state, any solution for the Palestinians must minimize its potential threats on Israel, on the region and on the world.

 

Social stability is the key for political stability. Many existing Arab states are models only of ineffectual governance; the only successful model for an Arab state is the one which is based on a single consolidated traditional group such as each of the individual Arab Gulf Emirates. The standard Arab states – Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, which are conglomerates of tribes, religions, sects and ethnic groups – present the opposite picture. It is our belief that the successful Emirate model can be implemented in the Palestinian case more easily and successfully than the failing Arab model.

 

Problems with Territorial Contiguity:

 

Over the years, many Israelis and others have adopted the Arab-Palestinian narrative that views territorial contiguity as a condition for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. As a result of this narrative and its pervasiveness worldwide, efforts are made to insure that the West Bank Palestinians will have an integral territory from Mount Gilboa in the north to the outskirts of Beersheba in the south. Thus, the large Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank become thin “fingers,” with no ability to expand, and their inhabitants, easy targets.

 

Meanwhile, the central strategic goal of the state of Israel should be to permanently remain in Judea and Samaria and to prevent Palestinian territorial contiguity. There are dangers of maintaining territorial contiguity in the West Bank. While it will facilitate the Palestinians’ movement and allow them a better life, the repercussions are impractical for Israel. Territorial contiguity will compromise Israel’s security for the following reasons:

 

Rockets. Territorial contiguity will enable weapons smuggled from Gaza to easily reach all parts of the West Bank and to be used against the surrounding major Israeli landmarks and cities. For example, Israel’s only international airport, nuclear reactor, and towns such as Petah Tikva, Kfar Saba, and Afula in addition to Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv will fall within rocket range.

 

Non-viability of Palestinian governments. Experience has shown that Palestinian governments do not resolutely and consistently act against terrorists. Political and media messages since 1994 have proven that neither the PLO nor Hamas have prevented terrorism and the proliferation of weapons. There also is no evidence that any Palestinian government will prevent terrorism, even if Israel withdraws all the way to the Green Line. A further danger is the possibility of a Hamas takeover in Judea and Samaria and the creation of a terror state like the one in the Gaza Strip.

 

Tunnels. After the completion of the security fence in the West Bank, the Palestinians are likely to dig tunnels along the perimeter, as they have done along the Gaza-Egyptian border. These tunnels can be used to smuggle explosives and terrorists in and out of Israel. Palestinian territorial contiguity will make it easier for terrorists to bring explosives into Israel via the tunnels.

 

Territory. Transferring land to the Palestinians will remove the IDF presence from Palestinian towns. Two problems arise with this scenario. First, every strategic location Israel evacuates is at risk of becoming an arms depot and a haven for launching missiles into Israel. Second, any IDF operation against terror in these towns will require movement through hostile territory. This eliminates the element of surprise, essential for an operation’s success and forces the IDF to cope with explosives, mines and ambushes on the way to the target. By remaining in the rural areas of the West Bank, the IDF will more easily have the capacity to collect intelligence and to perform military operations against terrorists, if needed.

 

Water. Most of Israel’s water comes from an aquifer located under the Judea and Samaria. Palestinian sovereignty over the aquifer will create a grave water problem, compounded by the presence of tens of thousands of Israelis who will need to be evacuated from the settlements of Judea and Samaria.

 

Arab neighbors to the East. Palestinian territorial contiguity will cut off the strategically vital Jordan Valley from Israel, exposing it to dangers from the east – Jordan, Iraq and Iran. The threat posed by Iraq and Iran is thus greatly magnified by the loss of this territory.

 

Settlements. Retaining the rural areas in Judea and Samaria will significantly reduce the number of settlements to be dismantled, increase the chances that evacuation of settlements will be accomplished by agreement, decrease the expenditures for compensation and rebuilding, and limit the destructive repercussions on Israeli society. At present, there are serious social disruptions resulting from the events of Gush Katif, northern Samaria, and Amona. There is also a growing distrust and the resultant alienation from the political establishment and the democratic system by religious Zionists and settlers. Efforts should be made so that further withdrawals will be conducted in cooperation with the settlers and not in opposition to them.

 

Solution: Palestinian City-States

 

For all the reasons mentioned above, Israel must strive to block the territorial contiguity of the West Bank while maintaining the Israeli presence in the area between Ramallah and Nablus, including the settlements of Ofra, Shilo, Eli, Yizhar, Itamar, and the region of Ma’ale Efraim.

 

Therefore, the proposed plan is the creation of eight independent and separate city-states within the West Bank, having a limited rural periphery, that will enable future expansion and the establishment of industrial zones. The towns that will receive independence are under this plan are Hebron (the Arab part), Jericho, Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin, Tul-karem and Qalqilya. Bethlehem will require further consideration. At the same time, Israel must create a situation of de facto annexation of the majority of the rural areas, while granting Israeli citizenship to those Arab residents of the villages who want it.

 

Such a de facto division, sustained over time, will foster the development of local rule and facilitate the establishment of political entities based on each separate city-state.

 

In its public relations outreach, Israel will put forth and explicate the concept that size alone does not determine the success or failure of a state. For example, Monaco, Lichtenstein, San Marino and Luxembourg are small states with a high quality of life, while Algeria, Libya, and Sudan are large states with poor quality of life. Thus, it is demonstrable that size is less important than effective government. So far, the Palestinians have shown their inability to manage an orderly, peaceful political system that has renounced terror. Until this happens, Israel must retain as much territory as possible to defend its citizens.

 

Hurdles

 

There are three major hurdles for Israel regarding the question of territorial contiguity. The first deals with the differences in social characteristics between Gaza and the West Bank. In Gaza, there is a high percentage of refugees and Bedouins, while by contrast, their concentrations in the West Bank are smaller. The levels of education and income are also unequal, and even the spoken language differs. As a result, it appears that the political separation between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will continue. Considering that the prevailing historical competition and tensions between Nablus and Hebron have created friction within the Palestinian Authority, it can be reasonably assumed that their separation into two states will be tacitly accepted.

 

A second hurdle that Israel must overcome is the Supreme Court. Currently, the Supreme Court has taken on the role of demarcating the country’s borders. To undo this role, the Knesset must pass a basic law, by which the government declares that the setting of borders is a political rather than a judicial act. Indeed, defining a state’s borders has political (not legal) significance, and it is inappropriate for the Supreme Court to continue managing Israel’s relations with its enemies.

 

The third and highest hurdle is Israeli public opinion, which has adopted the terms “Palestinian territories” and “occupied territories.” This terminology is taken from the Arab-Palestinian narrative that Europe has so enthusiastically adopted and espoused. These terms are problematic because there still is no Palestinian state and, therefore, no “Palestinian territory.” The region of Judea and Samaria is a territory without sovereignty, and the ability to claim sovereignty over it exists for any state that borders it, including Israel. The existence of Israeli settlements over dozens of years is sufficient for claiming sovereignty. Moreover, the residents of the territory are Israeli citizens. The settlements do not infringe on the sovereignty of any existing state. Since these territories are vital to Israel’s security, the government needs to construct and propagate a new and different narrative. They should use these arguments to inform and so, combat, negative public opinion.

 

From the standpoint of demography, the rural areas in the West Bank constitute a small burden relative to the size of the territory that will be added to the state through annexation. Hence, there is almost no need to relinquish these areas out of demographic considerations. Israel will provide these residents a choice between citizenship and residency, the same choice possessed by the Arab residents of East Jerusalem.

 

Taking into consideration Israel’s security requirements, it is imperative to block the territorial contiguity of any future Palestinian entity. Israel should encourage and assist the establishment of eight “city-states” in the towns of Judea and Samaria, which will be independent and separate. Technical problems arising from the separation between them can be solved if their residents maintain good neighborly relations with Israel.

 

Israel must retain as much rural land in the West Bank as possible, particularly the area between Ramallah and Nablus, for security and demographic reasons. Evacuation of these areas will create a dangerous situation for Israeli security and will necessitate reconquering extensive parts of the West Bank. According to this scenario, there is no reason to dismantle and destroy most of the existing settlements.

 

It would be a dangerous folly to relinquish these areas of the West Bank and would result in undermining Israel’s security and economy. Such ideas stem from the adoption of Arab-Palestinian, anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli rhetoric would must be strongly refuted. It is imperative that Israel do everything possible to thwart such an outcome.


 

Mordechai Kedar, PhD, the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation); a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies; a lecturer at the Department of Arabic,  Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.   Mordechai.kedar@biu.ac.il

CIJR TO WELCOME MOSHE ARENS— UN FOLLY & OBAMA’S “TWO STATE” SHENANIGANS

 

 

 

The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research cordially invites you to its

23rd Anniversary Gala

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Congregation Shaar Hashomayim
450 Avenue Kensington, Westmount, Quebec, Canada

 

DISTINGUISHED KEYNOTE SPEAKER

MOSHE ARENS
Former Israeli Defense Minister and Ambassador to the U.S.

 

Also Featuring

Prof. Barry Rubin

Outstanding internationally-renowned Middle East analyst

 

Tax receipts will be issued for the maximum allowable amount

 

For additional information. or to register for the 23rd Anniversary Gala,
please call Yvonne at 514-486-5544 or contact us by e-mail at yvonne@isranet.org
.

 

 

BREAKING NEWS:

 

“Palestinian Ambassador to Russia Fayyad Mustafa said that a deal to release kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit will soon be finalized.… ‘The negotiations between Israel and Hamas, ongoing in Cairo with Egyptian mediation, are close to completion,’ Mustafa said, without providing further details. Commander of Hamas’s military wing in the Gaza Strip Ahmed Jabri [is currently] in Cairo to discuss the release of Schalit with senior Egyptian officials.… According to Palestinian sources, Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security Bureau Amos Gilad [is] also in Cairo participating in discussions.… Former Egyptian ambassador to Israel Muhammad Bassiouni was quoted in Egyptian paper Al Masry Al Youm on Thursday as saying that an agreement to release Schalit could be reached within hours.…” (Jerusalem Post, June3.)

 

 

 

MOSHE ARENS TO SPEAK AT CIJR BENEFIT
Janice Arnold
Canadian Jewish News, June 2, 2011

 

Moshe Arens, Israel’s Defence and Foreign Affairs minister in the 1980s and ‘90s, will make a rare public appearance in North America to speak in Montreal. Now 85, Arens will be the keynote speaker at a dinner benefiting the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research (CIJR) June 15 at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim.

The independent Israel advocacy organization was thrilled when Arens accepted its invitation. “I think it’s a clear endorsement of the efforts of CIJR,” said associate director David Pariser.…

First elected to the Knesset in 1974, Arens chaired its committee on foreign affairs and security from 1977 to 1982. He was then ambassador to Washington for a year before entering the cabinet. Born in Lithuania, he spent his youth in the United States before making aliyah in 1948.…

[Mideast analyst Barry Rubin, the Gala’s other guest speaker], is director of Israel’s Gloria Center, edits Middle East Review of International Affairs and has written a number of books, including his most recent, Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis. He’s a frequent commentator in newspapers and on U.S. and British TV.…

The CIJR, founded 23 years ago by Concordia University professor Frederick Krantz, runs activities aimed at defending Israel and the Jewish People against delegitimization and keeping the Zionist spirit alive.…

The gala is usually held in August, but the CIJR decided June might be better because fewer people are away. The daytime conference that usually precedes it will be held separately this year, in November, on combating the delegitimization of Israel.

The evening will introduce CIJR’s new national chair, Joseph Shier of Toronto, who succeeds Irwin Beutel. With its first-ever non-Montreal lay leader, the CIJR hopes to increase its presence in Toronto and across Canada.

Charles Bybelezer, who joined the CIJR last year, is responsible for its publishing activities: the e-mailed Daily Briefing, a digest of articles related to Israel or the Middle East, as well as Israfax and Israzine, and the student periodical Dateline: Middle East.

He and volunteer Baruch Cohen comb through 75 to 100 articles a day for the Briefing and for a databank. Now available online, the databank contains thousands of articles on the Mideast and Jewish issues.

Among the CIJR’s new projects is retooling its website to include a weekly interactive blog and live streaming of regular roundtable discussions. Another is training students to counter anti-Israel activity on campus. Its Student Israel Advocacy Seminar, a training series given by volunteer professors from Montreal universities, will be revamped and hopefully become a credit course through Concordia.

The CIJR also hopes to raise funds to appoint a resident Israel studies professor, a paid position that would oversee its academic program.

 

NETANYAHU HAD THE COURAGE TO STAND UP TO OBAMA
Moshe Arens

Haaretz, May 31, 2011

 

It’s been a long time since these words were spoken by an Israeli prime minister. “In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers,” Benjamin Netanyahu said in his address to both houses of the U.S. Congress, and the representatives of the American people rose and cheered. Former Israeli prime ministers passively accepted the slurs hurled at Israel over the years at home and abroad that Israel was an “occupier” in the areas beyond the 1949 armistice lines. Even Ariel Sharon in his last years in office began referring to the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria as the “occupation.”

This false role that Israeli prime ministers regretfully assumed in the name of the people of Israel, causing inestimable damage to Israel’s image throughout the world, helped embed the concept that this “occupation” was an evil that had to be eliminated. It was no mean feat that Netanyahu had the courage to deny the falsehood of the “occupation” in speaking to Congress.…

The many disappointed Israeli commentators who had hoped that Netanyahu would herald the end of the “occupation” had no difficulty finding excuses for the rousing reception his words received in Washington. One went so far as to write that even if Netanyahu had been reading from the telephone book he would have received standing ovations. Others remarked that no significance should be attached to the enthusiastic reception his words received in Congress, reminding the reader that all Israeli prime ministers had been greeted by standing ovations when addressing Congress.

But they just forgot to mention that those former Israeli prime ministers addressed Congress on occasions when their policy was completely coordinated with the White House. This time it was different. Netanyahu spoke to Congress after he had made it clear that he did not agree with Barack Obama’s call for Israel to withdraw to the “1967 lines,” and he reiterated that position in his speech.

So now come the self-anointed Israeli experts on the American system of government and explain to their readers that in the United States, foreign policy is made by the president and Congress plays no part. So it really doesn’t matter if the present Congress is especially friendly and supportive of Israel and the positions of the democratically elected government of Israel if it has no voice in making foreign policy.

But these “experts” are only displaying their ignorance of the checks and balances in the United States between the president and Congress, a system that extends to foreign policy. While executive authority rests with the president, he is limited in pursuing a foreign policy that runs counter to the position of the majority in Congress.

In any case, even these “experts” must understand that Netanyahu’s reception in Congress was an impressive demonstration of the strong bond between the people of America and the people of Israel. They might also take a look at the Washington Post headline the day after Netanyahu’s appearance in Congress, which stated that senior Democrats had criticized the president. When a few days later Obama took part in the G8 meeting in Europe, he was probably surprised when the prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, objected to the inclusion of the “1967 lines” in the G8’s resolution on the Middle East. North of the U.S. border there is another great friend of Israel who seems to agree with Netanyahu.

Obama probably realizes by now that he made a mistake when he said the “1967 lines” should serve as the baseline for territorial negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Somebody should have told him that for most Israelis the “1967 lines,” those that Abba Eban in his famous UN speech referred to as the “Auschwitz borders,” are like a red rag to a bull.

Another person probably made a mistake on this occasion. The leader of the Israeli opposition, Tzipi Livni, without giving it a moment’s thought, used the opportunity to criticize the prime minister, announcing that Netanyahu should have accepted Obama’s proposal. She is likely to discover that withdrawal to the “1967 lines” is going to make for an unpopular Kadima platform in the next election.

(Mr. Arens is Israel’s former Defense Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Ambassador to Washington. He will be the keynote speaker at CIJR’s upcoming Gala, scheduled for June 15.)

 

MR. PRESIDENT, THERE CAN BE NO ‘TWO-STATE SOLUTION’
Louis Rene Beres

FrontPage, June 3, 2011

 

Mr. President, the “two-state” approach to peace between Israel and “Palestine,” strongly reaffirmed in your recent meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accepts the position of an Israeli “occupation.” Yet, even the most cursory look at pertinent world history would reveal several compelling reasons to reject any such position. Organized Arab terrorism against Israel began on the very first hour of Israel’s independence, in May 1948. Indeed, virulent anti-Jewish terrorism in the British Mandate period had even taken place many years before Israel’s statehood.

What about the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)? It was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came to control the West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza. Mr. President, what was the PLO planning to “liberate” between 1964 and 1967? The answer, of course, must be all of Israel within the “green” armistice lines” of 1949. These are precisely the 1967-borders that you have recently identified as the appropriate starting point for current peace negotiations.

What should we now know about the PLO? Significantly, it was declared a “terrorist organization” in a number of U.S. federal court decisions, including Tel-Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic (1984).

More than five years ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, seeking peace with the always-recalcitrant Palestinians, forcibly expelled over 10,000 Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria. Immediately, these areas were transformed by Hamas from productive growing and living areas to terrorist rocket launching sites. Today, in obvious synergy with a new regime in Cairo—a military governing council soon to be intimate with powerful elements of the Muslim Brotherhood—Egypt’s newly reopened Rafah border is creating an unobstructed terrorist path directly into Israel.

Mr. President, why aren’t the Palestinians reasonably expected to cease deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being admitted into the community of nations? Isn’t it already clear that they seek something other than an “end to occupation.” Isn’t it already very likely that both Fatah and Hamas still regard all of Israel as “occupied” territory. After all, their official maps, long familiar in Washington, still include all of Israel as part of “Palestine.”

Mr. President, without an alleged “occupation,” there could remain no possible legal or moral justification for Palestinian policies of relentless terror. Nonetheless, the fact that “occupation” is a contrived legal fiction has had little or no impact upon your own administration’s position on Palestinian statehood. Nor, somehow, has it occurred to your administration that both Hamas and Fatah still find their common ideological mentors in Hitler and Goebbels, two figures for whom the prospective rulers of a nascent “Palestine” are ardent objects of unhidden admiration.

Mr. President, at its core, your policy toward Israel and “Palestine” reveals certain incremental bewitchments of language. Over the years, Arab patience in building an expanding Palestinian state upon mountains of Israeli corpses has been achieved systematically by linguistic victories. However untrue, the ritualistic canard of an Israeli “occupation” has been repeated so often that it is now generally taken as irrefutable fact.

Mr. President, why is it simply disregarded that Israeli “occupation” followed the multistate Arab aggression of 1967. Egypt, Syria and Jordan (now in the throes of a so-called “Arab Spring”) have never even denied this aggression. And who bothers to recall that these very same Arab states were also the principal aggressors in the explicitly genocidal Arab attacks that began on May 15, 1948, literally moments after the new Jewish State’s UN-backed declaration of independent statehood.

Mr. President, please recall that a sovereign state of Palestine did not exist before 1967, or before 1948. Nor did UN Security Council Resolution 242 ever promise a state of Palestine. A state of Palestine has never existed. Never.

Even as a non-state legal entity, “Palestine” ceased to exist in 1948, when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate. During the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence, West Bank and Gaza came under incontestably illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively. These Arab conquests did not put an end to an already-existing state or to an ongoing trust territory. What these aggressions did accomplish was the intentional prevention of any Arab state of Palestine.

From the Biblical Period (ca. 1350 BCE to 586 BCE) to the British Mandate (1918—1948), the land named vengefully by the Romans after the ancient Philistines was controlled only by non-Palestinian elements. A continuous chain of Jewish possession of the land was legally recognized after World War I. At the San Remo Peace Conference in April 1920, a binding treaty was signed in which Great Britain was given mandatory authority over “Palestine.” This authority was based on the expectation that Britain would prepare the area to become the “national home for the Jewish People.” Previously, since 1516, the Ottoman Turks had ruled the area cruelly, as an undesirable provincial backwater.

Palestine, according to the Treaty, comprised territories encompassing what are now the states of Jordan and Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza. Present day Israel, Mr. President, comprises only twenty-two percent of Palestine as defined and ratified at the San Remo Peace Conference.

In 1922, Great Britain, unilaterally and without any lawful authority, split off seventy-eight percent of the lands promised to the Jews, all of Palestine east of the Jordan River, and gave it to Abdullah, the non-Palestinian son of the Sharif of Mecca. Eastern Palestine now took the name “Transjordan,” which it retained until April 1949, when it was renamed “Jordan.” From the moment of its creation, Transjordan was closed to all Jewish migration and settlement, a clear betrayal of the British promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and a patent contravention of its Mandatory obligations under international law.

On July 20, 1951, a Palestinian Arab assassinated King Abdullah in reprisal for the latter’s hostility to Palestinian aspirations and concerns. Regarding these aspirations, Jordan’s “moderate” King Hussein, nineteen years later, during September 1970, murdered thousands of Palestinians under his jurisdiction.

In 1947, several years prior to Abdullah’s killing, the newly formed United Nations, rather than designate the entire land west of the Jordan River as the long-promised Jewish national homeland, enacted a second partition. Ironically, because this second fission again gave complete advantage to Arab interests, Jewish leaders reluctantly accepted the painful and unjust division. The Arab states did not. On May 15, 1948, exactly twenty-four hours after the State of Israel came into existence, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, declared to a tiny new country founded upon the still-glowing ashes of the Holocaust: “This will be a war of extermination, and a momentous massacre.”

This declaration has been at the very heart of all subsequent Arab/Islamist (now including Iranian) orientations toward Israel, including those of the “moderate” and U.S.-supported Fatah. Even by the strict legal standards of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Arab actions and attitudes toward the microscopic Jewish state in their midst have remained authentically genocidal. Jurisprudentially, what they have in mind for Israel is formally called crimes against humanity.

In 1967, the Jewish State, as a result of its unexpected military victory over Arab aggressor states, gained unintended control over West Bank and Gaza. Although the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war is codified in the UN Charter, there still existed no authoritative sovereign to whom the Territories could possibly be “returned.” Israel could hardly have been expected to transfer them back to Jordan and Egypt, which had exercised unauthorized and terribly harsh control since the Arab-initiated “war of extermination” in 1948-49. Moreover, the idea of Palestinian “self-determination” had only just begun to emerge after the Six Day War; it had not even been included in UN Security Council Resolution 242, which was adopted on November 22, 1967.

The Arab states convened a summit in Khartoum in August 1967, concluding: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it[.]” The Palestine Liberation Organization had been formed three years earlier, in 1964, before there were any “Israeli Occupied Territories.”

Mr. President, your proposed two-state solution derives from an historical misunderstanding of Israel and “Palestine.” Even if Prime Minister Netanyahu were to agree to a complete cessation of all so-called “settlement” activity, no quid pro quo of any kind would be forthcoming from any quarter of the Arab/Islamic world. On the contrary, for Israel, any two-state solution would conclusively codify another Final Solution.

(Louis Rene Beres [Ph.D., Princeton, 1971] is the author of many books
and articles dealing with military affairs and international law.
)

 

THE U.N. CAN’T DELIVER A PALESTINIAN STATE
Fouad Ajami
Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2011

 

It had been quite a scramble, the prelude to the vote on Nov. 29, 1947, on the question of the partition of Palestine. The United Nations itself was only two years old and had just 56 member states; the Cold War was gathering force, and no one was exactly sure how the two pre-eminent powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, would vote. The Arab and Muslim states were of course unalterably opposed, for partition was a warrant for a Jewish state.

In the end, the vote broke for partition, the U.S. backed the resolution, and two days later the Soviet Union followed suit. It was a close call: 10 states had abstained, 13 had voted against, 33 were in favor, only two votes over the required two-thirds majority.

Now, some six decades later, the Palestinians are calling for a vote in the next session of the General Assembly, in September, to ratify a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. In part, this is an appropriation by the Palestinians of the narrative of Zionism. The vote in 1947 was viewed as Israel’s basic title to independence and statehood. The Palestinians and the Arab powers had rejected partition and chosen the path of war. Their choice was to prove calamitous.

By the time the guns had fallen silent, the Yishuv, the Jewish community in Palestine, had held its ground against the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Its forces stood on the shores of the Red Sea in the south, and at the foot of the Golan Heights in the north. Palestinian society had collapsed under the pressure of war. The elites had made their way to neighboring lands. Rural communities had been left atomized and leaderless. The cities had fought, and fallen, alone.

Palestine had become a great Arab shame. Few Arabs were willing to tell the story truthfully, to face its harsh verdict. Henceforth the Palestinians would live on a vague idea of restoration and return. No leader had the courage to tell the refugees who had left Acre and Jaffa and Haifa that they could not recover the homes and orchards of their imagination.

Some had taken the keys to their houses with them to Syria and Lebanon and across the river to Jordan. They were no more likely to find political satisfaction than the Jews who had been banished from Baghdad and Beirut and Cairo, and Casablanca and Fez, but the idea of return, enshrined into a “right of return,” would persist. (Wadi Abu Jamil, the Jewish quarter of the Beirut of my boyhood, is now a Hezbollah stronghold, and no narrative exalts or recalls that old presence.)

History hadn’t stood still. The world was remade. In 1947-48, when the Zionists had secured their statehood, empires were coming apart, borders were fluid, the international system of states as we know it quite new. India and Pakistan had emerged as independent, hostile states out of the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, and Israel had secured its place in the order of nations a year later. Many of the Arab states were still in their infancy.

But the world is a vastly different place today. The odds might favor the Palestinians in the General Assembly, but any victory would be hollow.

The Palestinians have misread what transpired at the General Assembly in 1947. True, the cause of Jewish statehood had been served by the vote on partition, but the Zionist project had already prevailed on the ground. Jewish statehood was a fait accompli perhaps a decade before that vote. All the ingredients had been secured by Labor Zionism. There was a military formation powerful enough to defeat the Arab armies, there were political institutions in place, and there were gifted leaders, David Ben-Gurion pre-eminent among them, who knew what can be had in the world of nations.

The vote at the General Assembly was of immense help, but it wasn’t the decisive factor in the founding of the Jewish state. The hard work had been done in the three decades between the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the vote on partition. Realism had guided the Zionist project. We will take a state even if it is the size of a tablecloth, said Chaim Weizmann, one of the founding fathers of the Zionist endeavor.

Sadly, the Palestinian national movement has known a different kind of leadership, unique in its mix of maximalism and sense of entitlement, in its refusal to accept what can and can’t be had in the world of nations. Leadership is often about luck, the kind of individuals a people’s history brings forth. It was the distinct misfortune of the Palestinians that when it truly mattered, and for nearly four decades, they were led by a juggler, Yasser Arafat, a man fated to waste his people’s chances.

Arafat was neither a Ben-Gurion leading his people to statehood, nor an Anwar Sadat accepting the logic of peace and compromise. He had been an enemy of Israel, but Israel had reached an accord with him in 1993, made room for him, and for a regime of his choice in Gaza. He had warred against the United States, but American diplomacy had fallen under his spell, and the years of the Clinton presidency were devoted to the delusion that the man could summon the courage to accept a practical peace.

But Arafat would do nothing of the kind. Until his death in 2004, he refrained from telling the Palestinians the harsh truths they needed to hear about the urgency of practicality and compromise. Instead, he held out the illusion that the Palestinians can have it all, from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean. His real constituents were in the refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria and Jordan, and among the Palestinians in Kuwait. So he peddled the dream that history’s verdict could be overturned, that the “right of return” was theirs.

There was hope that the Arafat legacy would go with him to the grave.The new Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas had been a lieutenant of Arafat’s, but there were hints of a break with the Arafat legacy. The alliance between Fatah and Hamas that Mr. Abbas has opted for put these hopes to rest. And the illusion that the U.N. can break the stalemate in the Holy Land is vintage Arafat. It was Arafat who turned up at the General Assembly in 1974 with a holster on his hip, and who proclaimed that he had come bearing a freedom fighter’s gun and an olive branch, and that it was up to the U.N. not to let the olive branch fall from his hand.

For the Palestinians there can be no escape from negotiations with Israel. The other Arabs shall not redeem Palestinian rights. They have their own burdens to bear. In this Arab Spring, this season of popular uprisings, little has been said in Tunis and Cairo and Damascus and Sanaa about Palestine.

The General Assembly may, in September, vote to ratify a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood. But true Palestinian statehood requires convincing a decisive Israeli majority that statehood is a herald for normalcy in that contested land, for Arabs and Jews alike.

(Mr. Ajami is a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.)