Israel Report

December 2002         

Twelve Bad Arguments for a State of Palestine

By P.J. Berlyn - December 12, 2002
In 1991, the United States, during the administration of President George Bush, sponsored the Madrid Conference at which Israel is invited to meet with Jordan and other Arab States to negotiate peace. In a letter to the Government of Israel, the Government of the United States pledged:
"In accordance with the United States traditional policy, we do not support the creation of an independent Palestinian state. [...] Moreover, it is not the United States' aim to bring the PLO into the process or to make Israel enter a dialogue or negotiations with the PLO."
This pledge was indeed consonant with history, strategy, justice and common sense. It was not, however, to be honored. In 2001, President George W. Bush announced that it was a "vision of long standing" of U.S. policy to create a Palestinian State west of the Jordan River. Such a state would, of course, be under the rule of the PLO and must be recognized by Israel. The United States proceeded swiftly to have this newly-discovered long-standing vision ensconced in a resolution of the United Nations Security Council.

It is now conventional to suppose that the invention of a PLO State in the Land of Israel is wise, just and desirable, even inevitable. Among the platitudes strung into a mantra:

1] It will rectify an historic injustice to the Arabs. On the contrary: Of all that Arabs have demanded for themselves since the end of World War I, they have been given 99.5 percent. In 1921 the League of Nations defined Mandate Palestine, as The Jewish National Home, to be "open to close Jewish Settlement."

In 1922, the British Mandatory Government subtracted the entire region east of the Jordan River, 76 percent of the Jewish National Home to create the Arab Kingdom of.{Trans}-Jordan. It then progressively restricted or banned Jewish immigration and settlement even west of the Jordan River, rigidly blockading the Land of their fathers to Jews trying to escape the gas chambers of Europe.

In 1947, the United Nations attempted to whittle away the remnant of the Jewish National Home with a second partition. If the Arabs had accepted that offer, they would have had 83 percent of the Land of Israel-Jewish National Home, even though the bulk of them had no roots and no history there.

The real injustice is depriving Israel of its historic homeland, in order to invent a 23rd Arab state where none ever existed.

2] It will end Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory. On the contrary: There is no such thing as "Palestinian territory" and there is no "occupation" of what never belonged to any Arab nation. [See, especially, Issues 2, 6 and 8] Furthermore, of the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, 98 percent now live under the rule of the PLO.

3] Israel must comply with United Nations resolutions. On the contrary: The Arab attack on Israel in June 1967 left Israel in possession of Judea, Samaria, the Golan, Gaza and Sinai. Then, the U.N. Security Council, that had done nothing to prevent or even deplore the Arab attack, took it upon itself to pass a resolution to guide a future settlement. That was Resolution 242, that calls on Israel to withdraw from "territories" to "agreed and secure borders."

This was very specifically not a demand for a return to the borders of June 4, 1967 -- which were themselves merely the ceasefire lines of the War of Independence launched by the Arabs to destroy Israel in 1948.

The author of Resolution 242 was Lord Caradon, representative of the United Kingdom. He explained to the British Parliament: "It would be wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial."

The United States was a co-sponsor of Resolution 242, and its representative stated: "The notable omissions -- which were not accidental -- in regard to withdrawal are the words 'the' or 'all' and 'the June 5, 1967 lines'."

It is now widely and repeatedly alleged that this resolution demands that Israel withdraw from all the territories. That is a lie. It is alleged that this withdrawal is unconditional. That is a lie. It is even alleged that it calls for an independent Palestine-Arab state in the territories. That is a lie.

In accordance with the Israel-Egypt treaty of 1978, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai peninsula, 91 percent of the "territories". That may well be considered more than sufficient to satisfy the terms of Resolution 242.

In more recent resolutions, the sponsors of No. 242 have reneged on their own positions. The United States has reversed all previous policy statements and promises to Israel and called for a PLO state. Great Britain has turned its own resolution upside down by demanding full withdrawal as well as a PLO state.

These fickle flip-flops show that the authors and sponsors of the resolution cannot be trusted to stand by their own creation. Israel thus betrayed should not be expected to bow to every new whim of the moment. Add to that betrayal the role of the United Nations as the world epicenter for hatred of Israel and Jews, and it is absurd to argue that Israel has any obligation to submit to its demands.

4] It will bring peace and stability to the Middle East. On the contrary: It will establish a Middle Eastern national base for terror that will spread incitement, bloodshed, and mortal danger not only to Israel but also to Arab regimes in the neighborhood.

The citizens supposed to build this peaceful and stable state will be the ones that the PLO regime of the last eight years has programmed to hatred and contempt, to yearn to earn martyrdom by murdering Jews. They will be the hysterics who run through the streets, some in costumes to rival the Ku Klux Klan, brandishing weapons and shrieking curses and threats.

5] It will satisfy the demands of the Palestinian Arabs, who will give up terrorism and war and settle down to building a society. On the contrary: The PLO Charter of 1964 defines its sole purpose as the destruction of Israel. (That was three years before 1967, when there were no "occupied territories" to liberate.) Despite flimflam to the contrary, that Charter still stands un-amended, and so does the goal.

The PLO openly and repeatedly proclaims that it will never settle for less than every inch between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea - including all of what it now the State of Israel. If it condescends to accept a smaller state it will be only as an interim measure, to facilitate the future destruction of Israel. [See Issue 5.]

6] A State of Palestine will honor a pledge to respect Israel's right to exist. On the contrary: The PLO has to date made six formal agreements with Israel, and in the past year alone it has pledged seven ceasefires. Not a single term or clause of any of them has been kept for a single day. To expect any other behavior in the future defies basic common sense.

Repeated statements by officials of the Fatah, Hamas, and other member bodies of the PLO declare over and over again that their goal is the end of Israel, the expulsion of the Jews, and an Arab Palestinian State from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

7] A State of Palestine will be demilitarized and thus no danger to Israel. On the contrary: There were limitations in the Oslo Accords - a police force of no more than 8,000 and no heavy weapons. Today the PLO has a military force of at least 50,000 with heavy weapons. More are smuggled in constantly, from Egypt, Syria and elsewhere.

If Israel is deprived of the strategic defense line of the Jordan valley and the highlands to the west, then its width will be reduced to nine miles. The PLO state can become militarized in mere hours (as was the "demilitarized" Sinai in 1967), and forces from Iraq and Syria can sweep in without hindrance.

8] It will secure the human rights of the Palestinian Arabs. On the contrary: The PLO regime in the areas it controls in Judea, Samaria and Gaza has nothing at all to its credit in human rights, and everything to its discredit. (This should have been expected from the example of its rule over southern Lebanon in the 1980s.) Overseers of human rights who used to keep captious watch on the administration of these areas have been on an extended vacation since September 1993.

9] It will solve the Arab refugee problem. On the contrary: The PLO insists that it will not absorb these exploited people, but will demand their "return" to Israel - meaning the destruction of Israel. The residents of the UN refugee camps also insist they will settle for nothing less than "return", and the UN that runs the camps makes sure the residents do not budge from this determination.

10] It will encourage civic and economic development, raise the standard of living and bring contentment to the people. On the contrary: In areas administered by the PLO, the standard of living drops and hardship increases. Economic development is strangled by graft and corruption, and revenues are squandered. The United States and the European Union have given large donations for development, but the bulk of the money melts away or ends up in private foreign bank accounts.

11] It will win the respect of world opinion for Israel. On the contrary: "World opinion" is a jigsaw of many mismatched pieces. It includes a professional contempt for Israel, conspicuous especially in journalism and academia. It includes taste-makers of Europe that have been trying to crush the Jews for two millennia and have not yet given up the habit. It has ancient roots in religious convictions, and in history, and new shoots of resentment and envy. There are even a few examples here and there of good sense and fair play.

The good sense and fair play are not found in that portion of "world opinion" that makes relentless demands on Israel -- sometimes masquerading as "friendly advice in your own best interest." Israel is not obliged to satisfy those demands by making itself shrunken, demoralized, discredited, and vulnerable, nor would it be any better liked if it did.

That is not to say this "world opinion" never approves of anything Israel does. It did welcome with delight the self-demeaning and self-destructive Oslo Accords.

12] If a State of Palestine commits aggression against Israel, then Israel can fight its military forces and win back what it gave away. On the contrary: The supporters of the Oslo Accords in 1993 also said "If they [the PLO] do not keep their commitment to peace, we will just take the land back." But those who said it took their words back -- or ignored that they ever said them.

Now these areas are used as bases for terrorism against Israel. When the IDF goes in even briefly, to close down terror bases and weapons factories and dumps, the world -- including even the United States -- howls for Israel to "get out of Palestinian territory immediately." If those areas were to become territory of an Arab "State of Palestine" any defensive actions by Israel would be branded aggression against a sovereign state. It would be condemned and threatened even more harshly than when it moved against terrorism when these areas were held by Jordan and Egypt -- without sovereignty.

If these areas of the Land of Israel became a PLO state, Israel would lose even minimal control. It could not restrict import of heavy weapons, destroy weapons factories and depots, intercept terrorist activities or arrest terrorists. It could not even prevent the entry of foreign troops from other Muslim countries.

Israel, drastically restricted geographically, will be exposed and vulnerable. When the PLO and its allies launch all-out war, the cost to Israel will be horrendous.

If Israel wins a battle for survival, it still will not be able to regain what it gave away. Even if a PLO State is defeated in battle, it will not cease to exist. In all of the Arab wars against Israel, outside powers have intervened to save them from total defeat. A PLO state can thus survive defeats and repeat its aggressions.

Giving up Judea-Samaria would also mean that Jews would be cut off from the cities and sites that are the heart of their historic homeland. Israel could not prevent Arabs from destroying ancient Jewish sites and relics. There would be no chance to make new discoveries that shed new light on the history of Israel and its people.

Some who are made aware of all these circumstances nevertheless say: "It is useless to oppose a State of Palestine -- it is inevitable." Such passive submission, such moral indolence, is tacit consent to an act inimical to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. It is a limp surrender of both the past and the future.

For 2000 years, the Jewish people did not despair of restoration to its Land. When the restoration has at last come, those who toss it away betray both their ancestors and their descendants.

P.J. Berlyn moved to Israel from the United States. In New York, she worked for the Council on Foreign Relations and its journal "Foreign Affairs." In Jerusalem she was an associate editor for the "Jewish Bible Quarterly." She writes articles on Israelite history and culture and is the co-Author of a children's book "Shani -- Her Adventures Beyond the Sambatyon" published by En-Gedi Books.

©2002 -

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