Prof. Louis René BeresThe writer (Ph.D, Princeton, 1971) is emeritus professor of Political Science and International Law at Purdue University. He is the author of many books, monographs, and articles dealing with Israeli security matters, nuclear strategy and nuclear war.
President Obama favors the creation of a Palestinian state. Such a creation, of course, remains the core of his oft-proposed Road Map to Peace in the Middle East. Ironically, any state of Palestine would quickly become a primary launching point for both "ordinary" terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, or mega-terrorism. Such terror-violence, in fact, could be directed not only at Israel, but also at the United States.
The Arab/Islamic world uniformly commends only a one-state solution, even among the "moderates." This is evident in all official maps. For Israel, which has been replaced cartographically with "Palestine," this can mean only a "final solution."
Gaza is the site of close and growing cooperation between Hamas and al Qaeda. The "good offices" of Iran make much of this tactical and strategic cooperation possible.
Judea, Samaria (West Bank) and Lebanon are witnessing a determined al Qaeda push to establish more terror bases. In the West Bank, American military units, vainly seeking to blunt Hamas and al Qaeda, are actively assisting Fatah in the training of its "security forces." Led by U.S. Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton, this self-defeating program will significantly enhance the effectiveness of Fatah terrorists once they inevitably begin to turn their weapons against both Americans and Israelis in any Hamas-ruled "Palestine."
For some time, al Qaeda has been asserting its commitment to wage jihad against the Jewish state and against Jews in general. Only recently, however, has this explicitly genocidal intent begun to elicit serious Western attention. In a jihadi website posting, Osama bin Laden warned: "We will not recognize a state for the Jews, not even one inch of the land of Palestine."
The physical destruction of Israel has always been Hamas' unhidden objective, but al Qaeda, which has proved more adept at inserting itself into multiple local conflicts around the world and then incorporating them into the broader Wahhabi-Salafi war against the West, has now also fixed its primary operational sights on "Palestine."
A two-state solution? The fragmented and fratricidal Palestinian Territories are not about to morph into a tolerant and democratic national society. Instead, they have become the newest major front in a well-organized international jihad movement. With Gaza an active forward base for global terrorism, Shiite Iran, long a close partner of Hamas as well as an al Qaeda ally, is steadily intensifying and diversifying its own existential threat to Israel.
The threat posed by Iran is not "only" nuclear. Moreover, close collaboration between various Shi'ite and Sunni groups will not be prevented because of religious differences.
While Israel was engaged reluctantly in Operation Cast Lead, Palestinian civil warfare revealed expanding concentric circles of jihadi alignment. Already, in a February 2008 interview with the al-Hayat Arab-language newspaper, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas repeated claims that al Qaeda's growing presence in both Gaza and the West Bank would destabilize the entire region. Mr. Abbas, who quickly became an object of ridicule and vilification in Gaza, had warned earlier that Hamas was enhancing al Qaeda's power.
The January 2008 breach in the Gaza border with Egypt along the Philadelphi Corridor represented a pivotal development. This well-coordinated attack not only permitted large quantities of Iranian-made weapons to enter Gaza; it also admitted scores of al Qaeda operatives. This breach has enabled Hamas to bring back those who had left for training in Syria and Iran, including snipers, explosives experts, rocket experts and engineers.
After the Sharm el Sheikh attacks of July 2005, al Qaeda terrorists moved to the West Bank and Gaza from their forward bases in the Sinai. Backed by Iran, al Qaeda is moving in on Israel from the north, but first by establishing a secure tactical presence in Lebanon. Despite their religious differences, Sunni al Qaeda and Shi'ite Hezbollah were able to form a true partnership, led by Iran, whose common goal is the destruction of Israel, the toppling of less radical Arab-Muslim regimes (such as that of the Palestinian Authority's Mr. Abbas) and the establishment of a core territory around which a new Islamist caliphate ultimately might be formed.
Radical Islamist behavior has become de rigueur in Gaza. Several al Qaeda-linked groups have emerged openly, such as the Army of Islam and the Swords of Islamic Righteousness. Several are clan-based and affiliated with Fatah and/or Hamas. They also are reliably reported to be offshoots of al Qaeda.
Mr. Obama should finally understand that any Palestinian state would be wholly contrary to the basic security interests of the United States. Sobering, too, would be the inevitable competition for control of such a fragile and anarchic state by the various Sunni Arab regimes, now still being armed by Washington, and by Shi'ite Iran, now still being armed by Russia. Naturally, a Palestinian state would most clearly endanger Israel, creating irresistible new opportunities for both conventional and unconventional acts of aggression in the region.
New wars could be launched by enemy states directly or by their proxies from Gaza. The attackers might assume the posture of suicide bombers, thus immobilizing the normal security requirements of rationality and deterrence. Under even the most optimistic assumptions, a Palestinian state, any Palestinian state, could spawn a grievously unstable balance of power in the area.
Any Palestinian state would embolden and strengthen al Qaeda and other terrorist enemies of the United States. What once was a basically secular nationalist territorial dispute between Israel and its Arab neighbors has become a primary battlefront in a no-holds-barred international jihad. Failure to understand this could render moot all current U.S.-led counterterrorist operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and altogether mock both wars' objectives.Perhaps that would be the final irony of another "final solution."