According to Israeli daily Haaretz, National Security Advisor General Jim Jones was quoted in a classified foreign ministry cable as having told his European interlocutor, “The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question. We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush.”
The compromise Gen. Jones is speaking forcing Israel into an expedited agreement on a Palestinian state. Jones has spoken in the recent pass of stationing NATO forces to oversee the implementation of the peace accords, a re-run of the U.S. involvement in the Balkan (Dayton) peace agreements.
In Jerusalem, the new Netanyahu government has been rattled by the voices coming out of the Obama administration. Israeli TV stations reported last week that Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief-of-Staff, had actually linked progress on a two-state solution to dealing with Iran’s rush to get a nuclear bomb. Emanuel said that the efforts to stop Iran hinged on peace talks with the Palestinians. The remarks were reportedly made in a closed-door meeting with 300 major AIPAC donors.
At the AIPAC Policy Conference on May 5, 2009, Vice President Joseph Biden advised Israel to commit to a two-state solution in order to broker peace with the Palestinians and warned the 6,000 pro-Israel delegates, “You're not going to like my saying this, but it's important to not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow Palestinians freedom of movement.”
To the pro-Israel community both Jewish and Christian, the prospect of a Palestinian state in the biblical heartland, and close to Israel’s population centers, is a nightmare scenario. The experience Israelis had in Gaza following the uprooting of the Jewish communities of Gush Katif by Ariel Sharon’s Likud government, which made Gaza Judenrein, coupled with the establishment in Gaza of a terrorist state - Hamastan, has ended all illusions about ‘land for peace’ schemes.
A widening majority of Israelis have come to realize that a paper agreement with the Palestinians is worthless, and that once Israel has withdrawn from the West Bank and the attacks against Israel renew, the world - including the U.S. - will find excuses for Palestinian bad behavior. The Palestinians are certain to renege on key provisions of any agreement as they did under the Oslo Accords, and the Obama administration, intent on keeping the Arab and Muslim world happy, is unlikely to give Israel a green light to reoccupy the West Bank. One has to be a fool to believe that Mahmoud Abbas or any other Palestinian-Arab chieftain would settle for a demilitarized West Bank, or would seriously consider uprooting the terrorist infrastructure.
Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, responded to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s April 27, 2009, request for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” by saying “I do not accept it.” What Abbas does accept however is evidenced in official Palestinian maps that show Palestine as the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea -in other words, all of Israel.
It would be naïve to imagine the Palestinians would be content with a tiny “statelet” confined to the West Bank and. possibly. Gaza. Arafat never accepted it and neither will Abbas or his successors. The demand for the “right of return” of Palestinian-Arab refugees to Israel will be used as the pretext to keep the armed struggle on and off until Israel is either dissolved as a Jewish state demographically or physically through war, terrorism and attrition.
A two-state solution is not viable either economically or politically. Currently the Palestinian Authority (PA) survives on charity from the U.S., EU, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. Its economy is dysfunctional as is its ability to serve its constituents. The rule-of- law is non-existent; instead there are armed gangs who render “justice.” The needy Palestinian Arab population has turned to Hamas, because neither Arafat the former president of the PA, nor the current one Abbas, have addressed issues of unemployment and real job creation, proper health and sanitary services, building adequate housing for the people in refugee camps, and a functional government educational system that prepares children to be citizens of the world with proper skills demanded in a modern economy.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) functioned as a revolutionary armed struggle group without creating civil departments of a government in the making. Conversely, the Jewish Agency in pre-independence Israel, addressed all the functions a government is responsible for, including education, welfare, employment, justice, health, and housing. Arafat, according to Israel’s Military Intelligence perpetrated the Second Intifada in September 2000 because, when pressed by President Clinton and Prime Minister Barak to “end the Palestinian conflict with Israel,” and having been offered territorial as well as economic incentives, he preferred the role of a revolutionary leader rather than a president that must provide among other things, a functioning sewer system for Gaza…Abbas, is similarly inclined.
Lacking a tradition of a functional self government, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza would be a destabilizing factor in the region. In addition to a continued “armed struggle” against Israel and most likely against the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as well, the Palestinian internal conflict between Islamists and secularists would intensify as will the struggle for leadership in the Fatah movement, when the younger generation who came of age in the Palestinian territories during the Intifadas seeks to replace the older leaders who were with Arafat in Tunis.
The only workable and durable solution is for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to retake responsibility over the Palestinians in the West Bank, and eventually Gaza. Although King Abdullah of Jordan has paid lip service to the two-state solution, Jordanians are worried about its actualization.
The Jordan River being a natural border would separate Israel from Jordan while the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza will be conferred Jordanian citizenship similar to 75 percent of the Jordanian citizens who are Palestinians. Jordan would provide law and order and a workable judicial system for the Palestinians in the territories. Industrial incubators in the West bank and Gaza under an Israeli-Jordanian partnership and with financial help from the U.S. and the EU would provide job training and employment for local Palestinians. West Bank and Gaza Palestinians would constitutionally be able to form political parties, and become Prime Ministers in Jordan.
The Obama administration’s linkage between the need for Israeli concessions regarding the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, and addressing the Iranian nuclear threat, as inferred by Rahm Emanual, is counter-productive. A nuclear Iran is a global threat, which mortifies the “moderate” Arab states as much as it does Israel. A Palestinian state at this historical juncture would strengthen the Iranian influence in the region and endanger Israel and Jordan.