Widely publicised across Europe and North America during the recent Israeli General Election was the remark by Benjamin Netanyahu that there would be no Palestinian state if he prevailed in the closely-fought 2015 Election. Pundits latched onto how this had been the first time that the country’s prime minister had explicitly rejected such an outcome.
So… what was it that Benjamin Netanyahu actually said to create all the media excitement, and the upset, particularly among those who regard the establishment of a second Moslem Palestinian state (the first Palestinian state for Moslems having been created in 1922 and is today known as Jordan) as the one ‘moment’ most likely to return the world to peace and equilibrium and restored order, and to complete the world family of nations? Well… he said: ‘I think that anyone who goes about establishing a Palestinian state today and vacating territory is giving attack territory to extremist Islam to be used against the state of Israel. That is the real reality that has been created here in recent years. Whoever ignores this is putting his head in the sand’.
If you really examine the words, all that Netanyahu is doing is simply stating the obvious. He doesn’t state that he is against a (second Moslem) Palestinian state, indeed his statement is framed from the point of view of ‘anyone who goes about establishing’ such a state. That doesn’t sound negative, but rather positive. But… of course there cannot be a Palestinian state under the circumstances he then outlines… i.e. the creation of attack territory in that state which can be used by extreme Islamists to attack Israel.
Netanyahu is simply stating reality.
The conditions are not ripe. The Arabs of Gaza and Judaea and Samaria have lost the momentum. They have long missed their chance. Having refused the offers and concessions made by Israeli Prime Ministers Ehud Barak in 2000 and Ehud Olmert in 2007, and in light of the new and catastrophic strategic environment in the Middle East and the danger it poses to Israel, a second Moslem Palestinian state is off the table. Should it be on the table? How can it be? What IS this state? This Palestine. Certainly nothing conceived of by those plenipotentiaries drawing up and concluding the Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States which was signed in 1933 and came into force in 1934. Almost immediately this ‘Palestine’ fails to measure up to the Montevideo Convention.
Article I of the Convention defines a state as possessing: a permanent population; a defined territory; a government; and capacity to enter into relations with the other states. What is the ‘defined territory’ of ‘Palestine’? It hasn’t yet agreed the border of the disputed territory with its neighbour, or indeed what its actual territory is. What is its government? The one in Gaza, or in Ramallah, or the imagined ‘unity’ one. Then there is Article X of the Convention which defines the primary interest of a state as being ‘the conservation of peace’. How does this equate with the Constitutions of both Fatah and Hamas which write of eliminating Israel, and with the aggression against Israel from Hamas and other militant groups?
So indeed… Off the table for now… No state for now… Nix… Not for some time to come… Not a state like any other known to us today, that is. Is this something to lament? No. Probably not. The world and UN agencies seem to operate quite comfortably without Biafra and Tibet and Tamil Eelam… and they’ll work fine without a second Moslem Palestinian state.
That is not to say never of course. There ARE models of independent micro-statehood like that of Andorra, or Monaco, or San Marino, or Vatican City that could be emulated in Judaea and Samaria and Gaza. With Israel and its IDF defending a secure border down the Jordan River Valley, small independent demilitarised City-states might perhaps be established, or an independent confederation of demilitarised town and city states, or clusters of the same, each with its own agri-hinterlands – some contiguous, some not – all coming together in a parliament in Ramallah, or Hebron, or Nablus, or Jenin. A demilitarised Confederation of Palestinian City-States? Something to consider?
For now though, gather yourself for the next round of hostility from Gaza against Israel and further setback for the Palestinian people as a result. Use the same script as last time…: Missiles and rocket-propelled-grenades lobbed indiscriminately at Israeli civilians… retaliation from Israel… deaths… international puffing and frothing… tears from celebrities… wailing about proportionality of response… representatives of the many totalitarian states in the UN speak with one voice etc etc…