Op-Ed: A New Paradigm
Moshe DannMoshe Dann is a writer and journalist with a Ph.d in history, who lives in Jerusalem.
Palestinians are unwilling and incapable of achieving and maintaining statehood.
The Palestinians have rejected every viable proposal that would have afforded them a state - from the 1947 partition plan to the 2000 proposals by Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
The Palestinian national movement has enjoyed conditions far more favorable than almost any other national independence movement since World War II: widespread international endorsement of their cause; unmitigated and generous support from the United Nations, the European Union and world superpowers; highly sympathetic coverage by all major media organizations; and over a decade of Israeli administrations who have acknowledged (and at times even identified with) the national aspirations of the Palestinians.
In spite of this, the Palestinian national movement has been unable to go beyond terrorism and Jew-hatred. No other national independence movement has brought such failure, privation and penury to its people and disappointment to its supporters.
The reason for these failures is that Palestinian nationalism is driven less by lack of Palestinian self-determination and more by the very the existence of Jewish self-determination; less by the aspiration to establish a Palestinian state and more by the aspiration to destroy a Jewish state.
Rejecting the right of Jewish self determination and attempting to destroy Israel is unacceptable by any international standards and, thus, must be considered illegitimate.
In order to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, therefore, the establishment of a Palestinian State must be removed from the international agenda. The humanitarian predicament of Palestinians residing in Israeli-administered areas must be resolved in humanitarian, not political, terms.
The Humanitarian Paradigm must replace the Political Paradigm. This can only be done if the current Palestinian narrative, which fuels the Political Paradigm is delegitimized. The delegitimization of the Palestinian narrative is a vital prerequisite to any comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue.
A comprehensive humanitarian solution to the Palestinian issue entails three major elements: 1. The dissolution of UNRWA. This is an essential prerequisite for any comprehensive, durable solution of the Palestinian issue. UNRWA exists solely to assist Palestinian "refugees," while all other refugees in the world are dealt with by the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Only UNRWA offers "refugee" status to all Palestinians and their descendants.
This results in a constantly increasing number of "Palestinian refugees"; whereas, in other cases, the number of refugees declines over time. In fact, if the UNHCR's otherwise universal definition were applied to the Palestinian case, the number of refugees would decline from 4-5 million to a few hundred thousand (at most); i.e., by over 90%.
UNWRA is perpetuating the very problem it should have eliminated.
2. The dissolution of UNWRA will end the ethnic discrimination of Palestinians as refugees, most of whom have been living in the Arab countries without rights. They must be allowed to become citizens of the countries in which they now reside or in another Arab country of their choice.
3. Generous relocation and resettlement grants will be offered to Palestinians living in Israeli administered territories on an individual basis, and not via corrupt and terrorist-based official Palestinian organizations. The remaining - and drastically reduced - numbers of Palestinian refugees should be placed under the auspices of UNHCR, in accordance with the accepted practice for all other refugee groups.
This will: a) extricate them from their humanitarian plight; b) free them from the yoke of generations of misrule by their leadership; and c) ensure the survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews.
A survey conducted among the Palestinians in Nov. 2004 indicates that only about 15% of the Palestinian population resident in Israeli-administered areas would reject such an offer. By contrast, over 70% would accept some form of material compensation as an inducement to emigrate permanently from the areas currently under Israeli administration.
The economic cost of such a policy of humanitarian relocation and resettlement would be far less expensive than any other proposal. It would also eliminate dependence on terrorist groups.
The proposed initiative is a "win-win" initiative that will:
* alleviate, and even eliminate, the humanitarian plight of individual Palestinians;
* ensure the continued security and survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people;
* provide a significant boost to the economies of the developing world; and
* transform poverty-stricken refugees into affluent emigres.