Obama’s Curious Support for Palestinian Statehood

President Barack Obama has committed himself to the establishment of a Palestinian State on the pre-1967 lines, regardless of the consequences that might arise from such an unstable and failed state.  It is becoming more apparent every day that Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah leadership lack legitimacy among the majority of Palestinians.  Moreover, his Palestinian Authority (PA), which enjoys the largess of the American taxpayer, due primarily to Obama, is repressive and lacks the institutions that would insure a functioning state.  The PA is either incapable of, or unwilling to forge, a genuine peace with Israel, and it is therefore incumbent upon Israel to take the initiative in terms of border setting.

President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian ...
President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office Thursday, May 28, 2009. The man sitting between them is an interpreter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Obama authorized $192 Million to go the Palestinian Authority last month.  He lifted the ban on financial aid to the Palestinian Authority imposed by the U.S. Congress, claiming that it was “important to the security interests of the United States.” Almost simultaneously, the Obama administration imposed “U.S. sanctions on those who help Syria and Iran track dissidents through cell phones and computers, serving notice on technology providers that they could be held responsible for those governments’ human rights abuses.”

Americans should welcome the sanctions against Iran and Syria as ordered by President Obama but one wonders why Obama deliberately ignored the repression employed by Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, against journalists and human right activists in the Palestinian controlled territories.  Ma’an, the Palestinian news agency reported on April 23, 2012 that:

“The Palestinian Authority has quietly instructed Internet providers to block access to news websites whose reporting is critical of President Mahmoud Abbas, according to senior government officials and data analyzed by network security experts.”

Mahmoud Abbas is imposing a police state on the Palestinian people stemming clearly from the illegitimacy of his rule.  The last Palestinian presidential elections were held in 2005, the 2009 presidential elections were canceled, and since that time Abbas has claimed that he “will not run again.”  In the meantime, however, he is ordering his PA Preventive Security Service to harass, detain, and rough up all opposition.  The latest victim is Khaled Amayreh, 55, a reporter for the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper who criticized the PA leadership (meaning Abbas), and called the Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh, the “legitimate Prime Minister,” according to the Jerusalem Post.  The Post also reported that the Palestinian Journalist Forum “condemned the summoning of Amayreh,” and complained of a PA “crackdown on freedom of expression in the West Bank.”

Obama’s release of U.S. funds to the PA was not accompanied by conditions such as demanding that the PA guarantee free speech in the West Bank.  The only speech the PA allows is hatred against Israel and Jews, using Israel as a scapegoat for the PA failure to establish livable conditions in the territories they control.  Abbas’ actions notwithstanding, Obama is still determined to bring about a Palestinian State based on the 1967 lines.

The Palestinian failed state appears endemic as Shlomo Avineri, Political Science professor at the Hebrew University and former Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry observed in 2007.  “Every week, it seems, brings another backward step for Palestine. President Mahmoud Abbas’s failure to convene the Palestinian Legislative Assembly, due to a Hamas boycott, may lead inexorably to the final breakdown of the political structures created under the Oslo Accords. Sadly, this is only the latest chapter in the Palestinians’ tragic history of failed attempts to create a nation-state.”

Avineri goes on to say that “Arafat and his Fatah-based supporters established almost a dozen competing security services – sometimes indistinguishable from clan-based militias – which consumed more than 60% of the Palestinian Authority’s budget, at the expense of education, housing, welfare, and refugee rehabilitation. Into this vacuum burst Hamas, with its network of schools, welfare services, community centers, and support organizations. The Hamas takeover of Gaza was but the latest step in this development.” The Abbas presidency did little to change things.

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, wrote (Wall Street Journal-October 20, 2010) that Obama’s 2009 speech at the U.N. “supported aPalestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967.” Should the U.N. Security Council resolve to fix the 1967 lines as the border between Israel and Palestine, “it would call into question even Israel’s legitimacy, dramatically undercutting prospects for security and defensibility. By defining “Palestine” to include territory Israel considers its own, such a resolution would delegitimize both Israel’s authority and settlements beyond the 1967 lines, and its goal of an undivided Jerusalem as its capital.”

For Israel, the return to the 1967 borders would be catastrophic; it would have to uproot hundreds of thousands of Jews from areas in Judea and Samaria, as well as from Jerusalem.  Its security would be threatened by hostile Palestinians (a Hamas takeover of the West Bank is almost inevitable given the PA corruption and abuses) commanding the Samaritan high ridges and the Jordan Valley. Israeli cities and the civilian population would become targets for Iranian supplied Hamas rockets. Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, only 9 miles from the Samaritan hills would be paralyzed by the threat of rocket fire on airliners taking off or landing.

Arafat broke the Oslo Accords when he launched the Second Intifada (violent uprising) against Israel in September 2000.  Mahmoud Abbas, his successor, has had ample opportunities to reach an agreement with Israel.  Abbas has negotiated with three Israeli Prime Ministers.  Sharon (who withdrew Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip in 2005, and uprooted 9000 Jewish residents from their homes, handing the Strip to the Palestinians), Olmert (who made far-reaching concessions that included a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem, and bringing tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees into Israel) and Netanyahu (who agreed under pressure to a Two-State solution and a Palestinian State in the West Bank).  With Netanyahu, Abbas not only set preconditions to the negotiations, but refused to agree to a settlement that recognized Israel as a Jewish State.

To insure its security, Israel must annex Area C – the area currently under Israeli civilian and military control as designated by the Oslo Accords.  There will, no doubt, be an international outcry and broad condemnations of Israel, but this plan may be the only way to prevent a disaster for the Jewish State.  In annexing Area C to Israel, which includes the Samaritan mountain ridges, the Jordan Valley, and the Jewish settlement blocks, Israel will be required to provide Israeli citizenship to approximately 50,000 Palestinians who reside in the area.

Areas A and B under the Oslo Accords, called for full Palestinian control in A and civilian Palestinian control in B as well as Israeli military presence.  These areas include all of the West Bank cities and the villages surrounding them.  The Palestinians would then be able to declare a state unilaterally, and Israel would then withdraw its forces from area B.

To create a stable and durable government, the Palestinians should seek to form a federation with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Optimally, the Jordanian monarch would be above the government and would insure against corruption.  The Palestinians would be able to have full self-government in the West Bank or be part of a combined Jordanian-Palestinian government. This may not be Obama’s vision for a Palestinian State, but it is a viable solution to an intractable problem.  Israeli action as described above is the only way to break the current impasse between Israel and the Palestinians.By Joseph Puder

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