On Palestinian Statehood and Its Advocates

Why should any rational person expect it to work?

Prof. Paul Eidelberg

OpEds Paul Eidelberg
Paul Eidelberg

On July 10, 2013, attorney Daniel Tauber, Director of Likud Anglos, authored an article that appeared in the Jerusalem Post under the title “It’s no bluff: Netanyahu means it.” Mr. Tauber explained that Netanyahu does indeed endorse the creation of a Palestinian state in the land of Israel, as he expressly avowed in his Bar-Ilan University speech of June 14, 2009.

On May 20, 2009, the month before Netanyahu delivered that speech, the present writer penned an article entitled “The Absurdity of a Palestinian State: The Lesson from Egypt” - as conveyed by Dr. Daniel Pipes.

Daniel Pipes is one of the foremost experts on the Middle East.  He lived and studied for three years in Egypt. He supported the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of March 1979. As a man of intellectual integrity, however, he admitted in a New York Sun article of November 21, 2006 that it is time to recognize ‘The Failure of the Israel-Egypt Treaty.’ He set forth the following facts:

 (1) “Ninety-two percent of respondents in a recent poll of one thousand Egyptians over 18 years of age called Israel an enemy state. In contrast, a meager 2% saw Israel as ‘a friend to Egypt.’”

(2) “These hostile sentiments express themselves in many ways, including a popular song titled ‘I Hate Israel,’ venomously anti-Semitic political cartoons … and terrorist attacks against visiting Israelis. Egypt's leading democracy movement, Kifaya, recently launched an initiative to collect a million signatures on a petition demanding the annulment of the March 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.”

(3) “Also, the Egyptian government has permitted large quantities of weapons to be smuggled into Gaza to use against Israeli border towns. Yuval Steinitz, an Israeli legislator specializing in Egypt-Israel relations, estimates that fully 90% of PLO and Hamas explosives come from Egypt.”

(4) “Cairo may have no apparent enemies, but the impoverished Egyptian state sinks massive resources into a military build up….”

(5) “This long, ugly record of hostility exists despite a peace treaty with Israel, hailed at the time by both Egypt's president Anwar El-Sadat and Israel's prime minister Menachem Begin as a ‘historic turning point.’… I too shared in this enthusiasm.” (Emphasis added.)

(6) “With the benefit of retrospect, however, we see that the treaty did palpable harm in at least two ways. First, it opened the American arsenal and provided American funding to purchase the latest in weaponry. As a result, for the first time in the Arab-Israeli conflict, an Arab armed force may have reached parity with its Israeli counterpart.”

(7) “Second, it spurred anti-Zionism. I lived … in Egypt in the 1970s, before Sadat's dramatic trip to Jerusalem in late 1977, and I recall the relatively low interest in Israel at that time. Israel was plastered all over the news but it hardly figured in conversations. Egyptians seemed happy to delegate this issue to their government. Only after the treaty, which many Egyptians saw as a betrayal, did they themselves take direct interest. The result was the emergence of a more personal, intense, and bitter form of anti-Zionism.”

The result [of the peace treaty with Egypt] was the emergence of a more personal, intense, and bitter form of anti-Zionism.”
(8) “The same pattern was replicated in Jordan, where the 1994 treaty with Israel soured popular attitudes. To a lesser extent, the 1993 Palestinian accords and even the aborted 1983 Lebanon treaty prompted similar responses. In all four of these cases, diplomatic agreements prompted a surge in hostility toward Israel.”

(9) “Defenders of the ‘peace process’ answer that, however hostile Egyptians' attitudes and however large their arsenal, the treaty has held; Cairo has in fact not made war on Israel since 1979. However frigid the peace, peace it has been. To which I [Daniel Pipes] reply: if the mere absence of active warfare counts as peace, then peace has also prevailed between Syria and Israel for decades, despite their formal state of war….”

(10) “Does an antique signature on a piece of paper offset Egypt's Abrams tanks, F-16 fighter jets, and Apache attack helicopters. I think not. In retrospect, it becomes apparent that multiple fallacies and wishful predictions fueled Arab-Israeli diplomacy among which is the naïve notion that War can be concluded through negotiations rather than by one side giving up.”

Pipes concludes:“The time has come to recognize the Egypt-Israel treaty usually portrayed as the glory and ornament of Arab-Israel diplomacy ­as the failure it has been, and to draw the appropriate lessons in order not to repeat its mistakes.”

The present author drew the following lesson from Dr. Pipes’ article: “…since the Israel-Egypt treaty of 1979 is a failure … [i.e., since] the Egyptians continue to hate Israel and the Egyptian government persists in its bellicose attitude toward the Jewish state—why should any rational person expect the Arab Palestinians to abide in peace with Israel if given an independent and sovereign state?" 

I therefore concluded [four years ago on May 20, 2009], that only fools and scoundrels—in Washington or elsewhere—would advocate Palestinian statehood. And all that has changed is the change for the worse marked by the instability in Egypt and the rest of the Arab world.