Judging from the reactions of many Palestinians this week to Turkey’s decision to expel the Israeli ambassador and freeze security contracts with Israel, it does not seem that the future state of Palestine will have peaceful relations with its Jewish neighbors.
In fact, the joy that many Palestinians belonging to various political groups expressed over the Turkish decision is a sign that even if the United Nations votes in favor of a Palestinian state later this month, the «two-state solution» is not going to bring peace, stability and coexistence to the Middle East.
How can the Palestinians have diplomatic and peaceful relations with Israel when many are calling on Jordan and Egypt to close down the Israeli embassies in Amman and Cairo and expel the ambassadors?
The Palestinian Authority is now saying that after the UN vote on the proposed Palestinian state, it will start talking with Hamas and other groups about the need to hold presidential and parliamentary elections in the Palestinian territories.
But can anyone provide guarantees that Hamas, or a more radical group, would not win the vote? In January 2006, many Palestinian Authority officials and Western «experts» assured the Americans and Europeans that Hamas would never win the parliamentary election.
Abbas is well aware of the fact that the state that he is seeking from the UN will have jurisdiction only over those areas in the West Bank that are under his control today.
Ironically, he knows that his mini-state would not be able to survive without the help of Israel, which has security and civilian presence in the West Bank. In many ways, it is Israel’s presence in these territories that is keeping Abbas in power and preventing Hamas from extending its control beyond the Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian state controlled by Hamas and its allies would undoubtedly serve as a launching pad for attacks on Israel, particularly if the border between Israel and Jordan falls into their hands. This is exactly what has been happening in the Gaza Strip since 2007. Ever since Israel abandoned the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, various types of weapons continue to flow freely into the Gaza Strip.
Although it is not hard to understand why the most radical Palestinians, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, would welcome the Turkish decision and call on Jordan and Egypt to follow suit and cut off all relations with Israel, one cannot ignore the large degree of hypocrisy in the position of the Palestinian Authority, whose representatives also rushed to voice great happiness over the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.
This is the same Palestinian Authority that conducts security coordination with Israel and whose leaders hold Israeli-issued VIP cards that enable them to travel freely — a privilege denied to ordinary Palestinians.
The jubilation over the Turkish measures, however, shows that nearly two decades after the signing of the Oslo peace Accords, the Palestinians continue to regard Israel as an enemy, not a peace partner.
The Palestinians should seek to convince Israel and the rest of the world world that their future state wants to live in peace alongside Israel and is not seeking to delegitimize, isolate and punish Israel.
Radical Palestinians who are opposed to any peace with Israel do not hide their desire to seek the destruction of the Jewish state. They are opposed to a state on the pre-1967 lines because they want to «liberate all Palestine, from the sea to the river.»
The radicals are openly saying that even if a Palestinian state is established in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, they will pursue the «armed struggle» against Israel until they achieve all their goals, first and foremost the destruction of Israel. A Palestinian state could actually facilitate their mission, especially if they come to power, either through free elections or through violence, as has been the case in the Gaza Strip.
Hence it would be advisable for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas not to repeat the same mistake he made in 2006, when he insisted on holding the election, ignoring warnings from some Palestinians that his corruption-riddled and discredited ruling Fatah faction was set to lose.
By welcoming the Turkish decision and urging other countries to punish Israel, the Palestinians are sending the wrong message to Israelis — a message that clearly states Palestine would be a hostile neighbor.
Why Palestine Will Not Have Peaceful Relations with Israel
by Khaled Abu Toameh
September 6, 2011 at 5:00 am