Herbert London: The War With Palestinians

Aug 20, 2014

The “Palestinian cause” is once again on the front burner of U.N. deliberations because of the war between Israel and Hamas. Moreover, this cause has for decades formed the pan Arab solidarity rallying cry. Yet, remarkably, Arab states rather than rectify “the problem” exacerbate it with perpetual conflict that serves a political goal, but no practical purpose for the hapless constituents in the area.

As longer as “Nakba” – the catastrophe of the 1948 War and population dislocation – energizes Arab nations, there isn’t any possible resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  In every negotiation between the two parties, Palestinian leadership has demonstrated an unwillingness for peace with Israel or even a modus vivendi. Ironically it is not clear that the Palestinians even want an independent state. Should either of these conditions actually occur, victimhood, which is the Palestinian trump card, would be rendered nugatory.

When former Prime Minister Barak was willing to cede 95 percent of the West Bank as a peace offering, Arafat still refused the concession. It is not simply that the Arabs miss an opportunity; it is the case, under existing circumstances, Palestinian leaders cannot approve an independent state. Unfortunately, Secretary of State Kerry doesn’t understand that.

The war in the Middle East is a perpetual war since Israel will not be recognized as a Jewish state. In fact, the unity government comprised of Hamas and Fatah has said publicly that its overarching goal is the destruction of Israel. That there are those in the U.N., the State Department and even within the state of Israel who deny this reality, is a morbid commentary on any understanding of the region.

Israel is not merely fighting against Hamas. It is at war with those Arab states that provide the rockets fired indiscriminately at Israeli citizens. It is at war with Fatah that cynically talks of peace and wages war with its Hamas brothers. And it is at war with those who impede the development of Palestinian civil authority that might serve as a counter – weight to the corrupt leadership that lines its pockets with proceeds from foreign governments.

Until the Palestinians abandon their rejectionist pathway, a stable independent state is a chimera. As of now, the Palestinians cannot take “yes” as an answer for their so-called desire. The impulse among Palestinian leadership is suicidal. War is fought on the backs of long suffering subjects and it is war without an apparent end.

The deliberations in the United Nations are a deception designed to create the illusion of an accommodationist Palestinian Authority, but this is far from the truth. In fact, the Arab states have embraced a lie as their policy narrative.

Simon Leys (the essayist) argued that “People have such a love for truth that when they happen to love something else, they want it to be the truth; and because they do not wish to be proven wrong, they refuse to be shown their mistake. And so, they end up hating the truth for the sake of the object which they have come to love instead of the truth.”

The truth is the Palestinian Authority is corrupt and inattentive to its own people. Using them as human shields in battle demonstrates this point. Yet victimization is the theme these leaders convey. And it is victimhood that one discusses in the U.N. General Assembly. The lie of the region has emerged as the “truth” and this lie perpetuates bloodshed and grief without an apparent end.

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research,  a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries atwww.londoncenter.org


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