The centrality of a past track record
Western foreign policy and national security establishments – government, media and academia – have been overwhelmingly preoccupied with assessments of future track record of the proposed Palestinian state. They have sidestepped the Palestinian past track record.
While a future track record is subjective, intangible, precarious and speculative, a past track record is objective, tangible, proven, and certain.
Major decisions – such as medical reports, investing, hiring, recruiting, buying and job application – are based, primarily, on well-documented past track records. They are not centered around hypothetical future track records.
A confirmed past track record – rather than a conjectural future track record - is critical to making well-grounded, trust-worthy decisions. This is certainly pivotal to responsible foreign policy-making, which attempts to enhance future national security by avoiding past mistakes.
Dr. Albert Ellis, one of the world’s top psychologists, considered the study of past track records as an essential undertaking for an improved future: “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.” This is as applicable to foreign policy and national security policy-making as it is to psychology.
Western conventional wisdom
Western foreign policy and national security establishments tend to assume that the issue of the proposed Palestinian Arab state is mostly relevant to Israel and the Arabs, and marginally relevant to
The proposed Palestinian Arab state would generate a series of regional ripple effects, impacting the survival of the pro-US Hashemite regime in Jordan, and subsequently the continued existence of all pro-US Arab regimes in the Arabian Peninsula and throughout the Middle East...
vital US national security interests. However, the proposed Palestinian Arab state would generate a series of regional ripple effects, impacting the survival of the pro-US Hashemite regime in Jordan, and subsequently the continued existence of all pro-US Arab regimes in the Arabian Peninsula and throughout the Middle East, as well as the regional stature of Russia, China, Iran’s Ayatollahs, Turkey’s Erdogan, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS, all of which would influence US national security interests.
Moreover, Western governments, media and academia tend to rely heavily on the Palestinian-related Arab talk, rather than the Arab walk. Therefore, they misperceive the Palestinian issue as a primary Arab concern, a core cause of regional turbulence and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Thus, they conclude that a Palestinian Arab state would tone down the intensity of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the regional conflicts in the Middle East, and consequently advance the cause of stability, moderation, peace and possibly democracy. Previously, they defined the 2010/11 eruption of the Arab Tsunami as an “Arab Spring,” “a march of democracy” and “Facebook and youth revolution.”
Supposedly, this is an astute, common sense and convenient approach to the Palestinian issue, which could resolve rough crises by bypassing the violent, intolerant, unpredictable, frustrating and inconvenient features of the Middle East.
But, this approach subordinates the well-documented Palestinian past track record to a presumptive Palestinian future track record.
How credible is this approach, which sacrifices inconvenient and frustrating reality on the altar of convenient assumptions and solution?
What would be the nature of the proposed Palestinian Arab state and its impact on the region and on vital US national security interests?
Why has Arab policy-making demonstrated a sharp contradiction between a hostile/indifferent walk and an embracing talk on the Palestinian issue?
What do Arabs know about the Palestinian past and present track record, which the West still does not get?
The Palestinian past/present track record
- *The most intense Arab collaborator with Nazi Germany. Mein Kampf is still a best seller on the Palestinian Arab street.
- *Close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood – the largest Islamic terror organization – since their joint collaboration with Nazi Germany and concerted perpetration of subversion and terrorism in Egypt during the 1950s.
- *Systematic collaboration with the Soviet Bloc/Russia since the end of WW2. Mahmoud Abbas was trained by the KGB and his Ph.D. (“The Myth of the Jewish Holocaust”) was from Moscow University.
- *Since 1966, the Palestinian Arab leadership has maintained close ties with North Korea. The Palestinian Embassy is one of a mere 25 embassies in Pyongyang.
- *Systematic alliance with the anti-US Cuba and Venezuela.
- *An early supporter of Iran’s Ayatollahs – the arch threat to Saudi Arabia and all pro-US Arab regimes – during their rise to power in 1979.
- *During the 1970s and 1980s, Palestinian Arab terror organizations (led by Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah and PLO) were a global epicenter of anti-US international terrorism, training terrorists from Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
- *On March 1, 1973, the PLO-controlled Black September organization murdered the US Ambassador and Deputy Ambassador to the Sudan, as well as the Belgian Charge’ d’affairs to the Sudan.
- *On April 18 and October 23, 1983, 260 Americans and 58 Frenchmen were murdered, when the US Embassy and US Marine barracks in Beirut were car-bombed by Islamic Jihad terrorists, assisted by Palestinian terrorists.
- *Palestinian Arab terrorists were among those who fought US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- *Palestinian terrorism (1987-1991) and control (since Oslo 1993) of the Christian enclaves in Bethlehem, Beit Jallah, Beit Sahur and Ramallah transformed these Christian communities from majority to tiny minority.
- *Palestinian terrorism and hate-education intensified dramatically in response to Israel’s dramatic concessions in 1993 (the Oslo Accord), 2000 (Prime Minister Barak’s proposal to retreat to the 1949 ceasefire lines) and 2005 (disengagement from Gaza).
- *Anti-Israel Palestinian terrorism was not triggered by the 1967 War. It has been an integral feature of the region since the 1920s. Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah and PLO organizations were established in 1959 and 1964 with official charters and seals calling for the “liberation” of pre-1967 Israel. The “liberation” of pre-1967 Israel has been the core theme of the Palestinian Arab education curriculum (K-12) and mosque incitement.
- *Palestinian Arab leaders have excelled in the usage of the Islamic Taqqiyah (dissimulation), as evidenced by Arafat, who enunciated peaceful statements, which made him a frequent visitor to the White House and a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace, while fueling unprecedented terrorism and hate-education.
- *Arabs consider Palestinians to be a role-model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and ingratitude. This is the result of Palestinian terrorism (led by Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and their colleagues) against Arab host countries, such as Egypt (mid-1950s), Syria (1966), Jordan (1970), Lebanon (1970-1982) and Kuwait (1990), as well as Palestinian collaboration with the Assad and Saddam Hussein regimes in Syria and Iraq and the Ayatollahs of Iran.
- *Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the other pro-US Arab regimes don’t forget and don’t forgive. They consider the proposed Palestinian Arab state a potential rogue regime, threatening their survival.
- *During the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty signing ceremony, Jordanian generals told their Israeli colleagues that a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River would doom the Hashemite regime east of the river.
- *Against the aforementioned data, a Palestinian state could expand the Russian, Chinese, Iranian, Turkish and possibly North Korean foothold in the Middle East, including conceivable land, air and sea access/bases.
- *The aforementioned data guarantees another anti-US vote at the UN.
Bearing in mind that leopards don’t change spots, only tactics, the proposed Palestinian state, on the one hand, and US values and national security interests, on the other hand, constitutes a classic oxymoron.
Will the US foreign and national security policy establishments adhere to Dr. Albert Ellis’ advice on the centrality of past track records: “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”?
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of "Second Thought: a U.S.-Israel initiative." A writer, lecturer and consultant on US affairs, he is former Minister for Congressional Affairs and former Consul General in Houston, Texas.