We often hear that the Palestinians deserve a state of their own, but one must wonder just what that means? On what basis do we decide who deserves statehood? Do all peoples everywhere deserve a state of their own? Is statehood something people deserve merely by virtue of being a people or are their other contributing factors? Is it possible that some peoples deserve statehood while others do not or that some peoples deserve statehood more than others? And if it is true that all peoples deserve statehood how is it that the international community seems not to care about Tibetan statehood or Kurdish statehood or Basque statehood? Surely if all peoples deserve statehood the Tibetans and Kurds and Basque have at least as much claim as the Palestinian Arabs.
In a recent piece for the Times of Israel, Judea Pearl, the father of slain American journalist Daniel Pearl, addresses this question. He writes:
Ironically, there was no reason for us to avoid the moral aspect of the issue, as this aspect has been and remains Israel’s strongest point in the debate. It can be summarized in one sentence: “A nation deserves a state to the extent that its children are taught that their neighbors deserve one too. In other words, no society, however in need, is entitled to what it denies to others.”
Since the Palestinians generally deny that the Jews deserve a state on our historical homeland, there is absolutely no reason why they deserve a state in… our historical homeland. The area which the Jordanians dubbed the “West Bank” has been known as Judea and Samaria for at least thirty-five hundred years. The Romans may have renamed it Syria-Palestina, but that doesn’t erase the millenia long Jewish presence on that land. The Jews were in Judea and Samaria for thousands of years before Muhammed’s armies showed up in the 7th century and starting kicking in skulls.
The Arab-Muslim world has been persecuting the Jews of the Middle East for fourteen centuries and they continue to do so. The recently created “Palestinians” are a subset of the larger Arab nation and the focal point of Arab-Muslim aggression against the Jews. From my perspective, as a Jew, I fail to see just how it is that the Jews owe the Arabs anything. Justice would suggest that the Arabs deserve a measure of retribution for the way they’ve treated the Jews under the imperial rule of Arab-Muslim conquest, but since the Jews are a highly civilized people we seek no such justice for ourselves because what we mainly want is to be left in peace.
Does this mean that I think that the Palestinians should not get a state? No, it does not. If Israel wishes to be so gracious as to give over the heart of our ancestral homeland to a terrorist organization hell-bent on our destruction, so be it, but it is entirely up to the Israelis. It is not up to the Americans, nor the Europeans, nor the United Nations, nor the Arab world. It is up to the Jews as represented, in this instance, by the government of the State of Israel. If you Israelis think that it’s in your own best interest to give up that land, or some of that land, to the Palestinians in the hopes that they will then cease teaching their children that we are the sons of apes and pigs and that Allah enjoys nothing so much as seeing us slaughtered, I would not object.
For a long time I labored under the delusion that the Palestinians wanted autonomy. One need only glance at the history of Palestinian rejectionism of a Palestinian state in peace next to the Jewish one, going all the way back to the Peel Commission of 1937, to conclude that autonomy is not what the Palestinians want. Or, more precisely, they want autonomy on all of our land and therefore the abolishment, by any means necessary, of the Jewish State of Israel. This, needless to say, we simply will not allow. Perhaps if the Arab-Muslim world had been a somewhat more hospitable place to the Jewish people under their rule, for all those centuries, we might feel differently on this matter. Sadly, it wasn’t and we don’t.
The Palestinians can offer their children meaningful and productive lives and even meaningful and productive lives in a Palestinian state, but this will never come so long as they continue their aggression against the Jewish people. So long as the Palestinians continue to raise up little suicide bombers or teach their children to despise both Jews and the Jewish state, then Israel will continue to put up check-points and barriers and blockades for the purpose of protecting their own children. There was a time, not so long ago, when the Jewish people were helpless in the face of Arab, Muslim, or European aggression, but those days are over.
The day of the dhimmi is done.
The sooner that the Palestinians accept that fact the better off things will be for everyone, particularly their own children.
The United Nations just bestowed “non-member state” status onto the Palestinian Authority, but the United Nations cannot bestow a state upon anyone. The reason for this is because statehood is not something which can be deserved or bestowed, but something which must be earned through the arduous process of its very creation. On November 29, 1947, the UN did not bestow statehood upon the Jews because the Jews deserved autonomy. What the UN did do was simply recognize a condition that already existed. The Zionists of the late nineteenth and early-mid twentieth century built the material, economic, and political infrastructure of a state. They did the hard work necessary for the emergence of that state. Until the Palestinians do likewise there will be no state for the UN to actually recognize.
What the UN recognized in its recent vote, sadly, is merely the ghost of the Palestinian state that might have been.
Mike Lumish is the proprietor of the pro-Israel blog, Israel Thrives.