by Eldad Tzioni
Posted on May 12 2011 2:00 pm
Since World War II, Europeans have been understandably skittish about doing anything that could lead to armed conflict. Europe, and later the EU, has generally stuck to using negotiations and (in extreme cases) sanctions as the only tools in their arsenal to cajole dictators and despots to get in line.
Not surprisingly, this strategy often fails.
Nevertheless, one can understand the European fear of conflict. Europe was devastated by WWII and the collective memory of the horrors of that war are still raw. Medium-sized towns in Europe lost more people in the war than America lost on 9/11.
All of this makes the recent flurry of stories about European countries being eager to recognize a Palestinian state all the more puzzling.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Britain is prepared to formally recognize an independent Palestinian state in September unless Israel opens peace talks with the Palestinians. (He somehow didn’t seem to notice that it has been “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas who has resisted negotiations, not Israel.)
French President Sarkozy has made a similar statement. So has Norway’s foreign minister. Spain doesn’t look too far behind.
Such a unilateral move is a recipe for disaster.
Negotiations are meant to solve the biggest issues between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs: Israeli towns and villages in Judea and Samaria, Arab prisoners in Israeli jails, water resources, Palestinian Arabs who live in other countries wanting to “return” to Israel, incitement to terrorism in the Palestinian Arab media and schoolbooks, Israel’s security, and Jerusalem. By recognizing a state, Europe would not be solving a single one of these issues. On the contrary, they will be exacerbating them.
Today, despite these outstanding issues, there is relative peace. Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank are doing well economically, they are not worried about Israeli army actions, their travel restrictions have been consistently diminishing, and they have more autonomy than they have ever had in their history. Even in Gaza, under the autocratic rule of Hamas, as long as Hamas is stopping rocket fire the Gazans can start to gain a semblance of normal lives.
If “Palestine” is unilaterally declared, all of the gains over the past two decades would disappear in an instant.
Israel’s Oslo obligations would no longer exist. Security cooperation between Israel and the new “Palestine” would disappear. The Palestinian state would consider Israel to be its enemy (this language is used daily in mainstream Palestinian Arab media). The peace treaty that the PLO signed with Israel would be null and void because the PLO would no longer exist. Israel would no longer provide electricity to Gaza – part of an enemy state. Tax revenue collected by Israel that make up 70% of the PA budget would disappear.
Most importantly, it would solve none of the issues that are outstanding in the conflict. On the contrary, it will encourage Israel to make its own unilateral moves concerning land, water, Jerusalem and so forth.
“Palestine” would not want to naturalize millions of Arabs of Palestinian descent who now live in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and their problem of being forced to remain stateless by the Arab League will remain. In fact, the Palestinian entity would continue to insist that they move to Israel, destroying the Jewish state demographically–a negotiating position that they have never wavered on, and a problem that is kept artificially alive by the Arab states.
Any of these issues–”refugees,” land, water, Jerusalem–is enough to spark a regional conflict. Together, such a conflict is inevitable.
Only Israel has made real, concrete concessions during the long Oslo process. The PLO has not only not budged–they have bragged about their own intransigence. If the Europeans decide to recognize a Palestinian Arab state, they would be rewarding intransigence. And if that state includes Hamas, then the EU will also be explicitly rewarding terror.
One thing is certain: if a Palestinian Arab state becomes generally recognized by thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhe world community in September 2011, then the Palestinian Arabs who such a state is supposedly meant to help will be in a much worse situation for years, if not decades, afterwards. Terrorism–which has been successfully fought by Israel over the past eight years–will return, as the Palestinian Arab security forces would abandon all cooperation with Israel. Hezbollah and Hamas would be emboldened to increase rocket fire and other terror attacks.
More likely than not, European recognition of a Palestinian Arab state will culminate in another major Middle East war–and possibly a series of them.
Is this what the EU really wants?
Elder of Ziyon
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -