Arlene KushnerArlene Kushner, an investigative journalist working in Jerusalem, provides material, including major reports, for the Center for Near East Policy Research and does regular postings on the political/security situation of Israel. Her work can be found at: www. arlenefromisrael. info.
It is good to be hopeful, but this is a hope built on air.
Here, in Israel, successive governments have tried -- ad nauseam -- to work towards giving the Palestinians a state. It is time to let go, and to acknowledge that this is not merely a failed plan, it is also a dangerous one, inimical to the true interests of Israel.
Within the North American Jewish community, it is time to confront the facts and what they tell us.
The Palestinian Authority is terrorist.
This means not only Hamas, but also Fatah -- the party of Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen). While they have different styles, and Fatah pretends to be more moderate, in fact, they have the same goal - the destruction of Israel. The Fatah constitution calls for this; their plan is to weaken Israel in stages.
Since becoming president of the PA in January 2005, Abbas has consistently indicated that he has no intention of taking on Hamas. It is not that he is incapable of doing it - his forces far outnumber Hamas forces - but that he does not want to. His theme, from the beginning, has been "brotherhood and unity." He invited Hamas into the political process; he invited Hamas into the PLO.
In late June 2006, Abbas, on behalf of Fatah, signed a "Prisoners' Document" that struck an agreement with Hamas and is supposed to be used as the basis for a unity government and for negotiations with Israel. This document: does not talk about final cessation of hostilities; promotes the "right of return" for 4.2 million "refugees"; sanctions terrorism - which it calls "the right of resistance by all means" - even within "Green Line" Israel; does not recognize Israel's right to exist.
On January 11, 2007, Mahmoud Abbas gave a major talk in Ramallah, commemorating the first attack by Fatah on Israel 42 years ago. He said: "Our rifles, all our rifles, are aimed at the Occupation."
That means at Israel. And remember, all of Israel - even within the Green Line - is considered part of the "Occupation." At the same time, he made it clear that Hamas was acceptable: "No one [here] is a criminal. All our people are as one hand to free our land.... No one [Palestinian] is outside our society."
Here, then, is the unvarnished reality. Abbas will not take on Hamas, even if he is given "sufficient" support and motivation. He will not form a unity government that is genuinely moderate. And he will not become genuinely peaceful.
A Palestinian state would be a terrorist state.
In 2006, 187 suicide bombings were thwarted by Israeli security forces. On January 8, 2007, a high-ranking IDF officer explained: "We succeeded in lowering the level of terrorism.... This was made possible by our continued presence and the non-stop operations that we carry out inside the [Palestinian] cities...."
Were there to be a Palestinian state, Israeli security forces would be blocked, and there would no longer be good intelligence and non-stop operations. Death of innocent Israelis would follow.
Forming a Palestinian state means requiring Israel to withdraw to untenable lines.
The 1949 armistice lines were never intended to be Israel's final borders. Yet, the notion has been floated that these lines - commonly called "the Green Line" - represent Israel's "true" borders, the borders to which Israel should withdraw in a peace accord.
Abba Eban called the Green Line "The Auschwitz Borders" - by which he meant that Jews caught within those lines would be at risk of destruction. Yet, these are the lines that the Palestinians are demanding as their right; they say they will not accept less.
(The claim is being made that UN Resolution 242, passed after the 1967 war, demanded return to those lines. This is demonstrably false.)
If all of Judea-Samaria (the West Bank), or even large portions of it, were surrendered, then Israel would be deprived of necessary strategic depth. Enemy forces entering Israel from the east would be able to reach population centers on the Mediterranean shore at the west of Israel in no time flat. What is more, high land to the east that would no longer be in Israeli control would provide excellent vantage points for shooting at Jewish communities and the airport below.
Even assuming (a huge assumption) that the Palestinians would not attack, there is still risk of attack from forces farther east. Suppose Jordan's monarchy falls and is supplanted by a terrorist regime. Suppose terrorists move across Jordan from Iraq.
The "demographic threat" is a myth.
For a long time, there was thought to be a demographic time-bomb that gave Israel no choice: as the Palestinian Arabs in Judea-Samaria, with a higher birthrate, were sure to outnumber the Jews in due course, Israel must divest herself of Judea-Samaria in order to retain the Jewish character of the state.
Turns out, however, that this concern was based on fallacious data. A team of Israeli and American researchers, who first presented their findings in early 2005, were able to demonstrate at least a million person gap between the number of Palestinians thought to be in PA areas and the number that truly exists. (See http://www.pademographics.com/).
This statistical gap occurred for a variety of reasons. Earlier numbers were based on Palestinian Bureau of Statistics projections from a 1997 census and not on actual population surveys done since then. The numbers in the original census were inflated because Palestinians living abroad were counted; the inflated numbers were compounded exponentially as projections were made. The Bureau had projected a growth rate of 4% to 5% a year through births and immigration. In fact, that percentage was never realized. A check of Palestinian Health Ministry records showed a lower birthrate than had been expected; and a check of exit-and-entry data showed a higher rate of Arab emigration than immigration.
Those who have projected that Jews will become a minority in Israel are simply wrong. Jews have maintained a solid 60% majority. Inside the Green Line, Jews comprise 80% of the population. The new data indicate that these percentages will persist.
© A. Kushner 2007