Who Needs a New Negotiating Process?

Palestinian Arabs - a Genuine Danger to World Peace


November 30, 2006 | Eli E. Hertz


The United States seems to be ready to re-start the Israeli-Palestinian 'peace process.' American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit Israel this week to demonstrate American support for the new 'negotiating process' that with any luck will lead to negotiations between Israel and the PA.


Should the U.S. Europe, and the United Nations learn something from a 'dependable' historical experience?


Since 1917 and for over 30 years, the British Government ruled the land known as Palestine and ruled its inhabitants, both Arabs and Jews. That British in-depth knowledge and experience, has been reported to the League of Nations (Equivalent to today's United Nations) on the Administration of Palestine, and the 1936-1937 report by the [British] Palestine Royal Commission:


This is what the British reported to the League of Nations 70 years ago:


"Nor is the [Arab-Jewish] conflict in its essence an interracial conflict, arising from any old instinctive antipathy of Arabs towards Jews. There was little or no friction, as we have seen, between Arab and Jew in the rest of the Arab world until the strife in Palestine engendered it... . The only difference is that in Palestine Arab nationalism is inextricably interwoven with antagonism to the Jews. ... That is why it is difficult to be an Arab patriot and not to hate the Jews."


The 1937 report concludes:


"We find ourselves reluctantly convinced that no prospect of a lasting settlement can be founded on moderate Arab nationalism. At every successive crisis in the past that hope has been entertained. In each case it has proved illusory."


From the Oslo Accords (September 13 1993) through the Quartet's Roadmap that never got to square one (May 1, 2003), and the Aqaba Summit (June 4, 2003), 14 agreements and memorandums have been signed by the Palestinian Arabs.


At each juncture, when attempts to reach a 'live-and-let-live' solution have been advanced, Arab responses have boiled down to a two-pronged offensive that dovetails diplomacy with violence. In short, the Arabs, and particularly the Palestinians, have refused to recognize Israel as a legitimate Jewish entity or to negotiate genuine compromise. Instead, they have tried to drive the Jews out through violence and terror.


Palestinians continue to cling to a political culture of empty diplomacy, violence, and a policy of rejectionism, just like countless agreements since September 2000 and countless attempts since the 1920s to cajole Palestinians into accepting Jews as something other than a subordinated so-called 'tolerated minority.'


The promises continue. The hostility continues, and rejectionism and violence remains the most salient feature of Palestinian discourse. Palestinians believe that terror pays and expect the world support for the creation of a Palestinian state. A Palestinian state that has good chances of becoming a rogue state - the kind of polity the United States is currently grappling with in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, North Korea , and elsewhere.


Back in 1971 Hebrew University social scientist Professor Yehezkel Dror wrote a short volume entitled Crazy States, solicited by the Rand Corporation. Decades before Libya 's Momar Kadafi began sending contraband by diplomatic pouch and Paul Pot 'invented' the killing fields, the author envisioned the emergence of polities that 'don't play by the rules' and therefore seem crazy to westerners. At the time he was roundly criticized as an extremist and a prophet of doom - his book labeled a brilliant intellectual exercise but off the mark in terms of reality. The volume gained new respect after the 1991 Gulf War.


Today no one denies the existence of 'crazy states', or as they are now labeled: rogue states.


More recently, in a 1999 article devoted to how U.S. foreign policy has addressed the problem of rogue states, Professor Barry Rabin of Bar-Ilan  University defined the rogue state:


"[A polity] that puts a high priority on subverting other states and sponsoring non-conventional types of violence against them. It does not react predictably to deterrence or other tools of diplomacy and statecraft."


This definition seems to fit the Palestinian Authority like a glove even in the pre-state 'test' stage prior to gaining full sovereignty.


A rogue state, said the author "requires special treatment and high levels of international pressure in order to prevent it from wrecking public order, setting off wars, and subverting whole areas of the world" - a treatment regime Rabin labels "an international equivalent of incarceration or commitment to a mental institution, until there is sufficient recovery to permit reentry into the international system."


The European Union for example envisage that for a state, such as Turkey - a peaceful Moslem state - joining the EU might take 10 to 15 years of negotiation and 'good behavior' on-the-ground, before being granted a conditional membership in the Union.  


Unfortunately, the world community has been ignoring the prospect that a full-blown independent Palestinian state will become just the kind of rogue states and renegade organizations the world is grappling with today.


In light of the Palestinians' history of violence, and its poor performance coping with limited freedom or autonomy - the equivalent of a 'half-way house' to test their readiness to join the family of nations should be devised. Because of the support (rather than pressure to 'toe the line') that Palestinians enjoy in the international arena, Palestinians independence could very well turn into a genuine nightmare.


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