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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

April 21, 2003

PALESTINIAN REALITY

This piece in The New York Post asks what might be the consequences of establishing a Palestinian state

IN the aftermath of the allied victory in Iraq, the international pressure to create an independent Palestinian state will be irresistible. And the Palestinian people unquestionably deserve a government and homeland of their own.
Israel's vital interests must be protected, but even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon recognizes that some West Bank settlements must be vacated. Despite legitimate misgivings in Jerusalem, Palestinian statehood is on the way.

We may hope that this new state will honor the dignity of its own people and the security needs of its neighbors, that democracy - and peace - will be given a chance.

But extravagant optimism guarantees disappointment. This politically independent, but financially dependent Palestinian state is likely to disappoint everyone except the most corrupt Arabs and the most cynical Europeans.


For the United States and Israel, the greatest disappointment will be that Palestinian statehood will not put an end to anti-Israeli terrorism. There may be an initial drop in suicide bombings, but terrorism will remain a fact of life. Palestinian authorities will sign the treaties and make the right noises, but will take only limited action - under duress - to suppress violent extremists.

Even were a Palestinian government to behave with flawless integrity, terrorists would simply stage their operations from Lebanon or elsewhere. The key fact that Western advocates for the Palestinian cause refuse to recognize is that the terrorism directed toward Israel is only superficially about Palestinian independence. At its core, it is about the old passion for killing Jews.

Once there is an independent Palestinian state, Israel will be accused of countless other sins - among them hindering the economic and political development of the new entity. While many Palestinians do, indeed, yearn for freedom and a just society, the hardline killers desire the complete destruction of Israel. Nothing less will do.

For the profoundly unscrupulous Arab governments of the region, the Palestinian cause has been a cherished convenience. All home-grown ills could be blamed on the need to sacrifice for the Palestinians - although the Palestinians never received sufficient aid from other Arabs to build decent lives. The image of Palestinian poverty and deprivation has been essential to the Arab world's myth-making.

Now Arab insistence and rhetoric have backed the myth-makers into a corner: For the region's decayed regimes, continuing Palestinian misery and powerlessness remain preferable to a Palestinian state. But the United States and even Israel now seem to accept the inevitability of Free Palestine. The Arabs have gotten their public wish, but will regret it in private.

The Arabs still need someone to blame for their failures. And they will continue to blame Israel and the United States. The Arabs will find countless faults with Israel's implementation of any accords. Then they will attack the accords themselves as unjust.

The Arab world is as addicted to blame as any junkie was ever addicted to heroin[more]