Writing at National Review Online, Andrew McCarthy declares in static-cutting, clarion prose that "It is high time to acknowledge the failure of the fantasy that the Palestinians are legitimate actors worthy of statehood and its privileges."
Amen, brother. No hand-wringing for him.
Contrary to the prevailing elite view, legitimacy is not conferred by such facile exercises as the holding of popular elections — though such exercises are not without consequences, which we will come to momentarily. There are certain minimal requirements for statehood, not least of which is accepting the right of one’s sovereign neighbor to exist.
At present, no representative of the Palestinian people concedes this right to Israel. As its 1988 charter makes plain, Hamas unapologetically seeks Israel’s destruction. This is why Hamas was formed: to eradicate the Jewish state as a preliminary step in the jihadist quest for global hegemony.
That leaves Fatah, the legacy of Yasser Arafat and Hamas’s rival. In their foolish desperation to “solve” the currently unsolvable Israeli/Palestinian dispute, our rose-tinted solons portray Fatah as a “moderate” party which seeks peaceful coexistence with Israel. It’s a dangerous illusion.
Regardless of what Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas may say to Western audiences, his message to the Arab world is that Palestinians should put aside their internal divisions and, as he put it in 2007, “direct our guns against Israeli occupation.” To anyone outside Brussels or Foggy Bottom, that cannot be a surprise: Fatah, Abbas’s organization, is pledged by its constitution to the destruction of Israel. (See, e.g., Article 12: Fatah’s first stated “Goal” is the “Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence”; see also, e.g., Article 19: “Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.”)
When we appraise hostile countries, it has become de rigueur in our foreign policy circles to distinguish the “people” (always good) from their nasty governments. So it is with the noble Palestinians. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted in a 2006 interview, for instance, that the “great majority” of them — i.e., upwards of “70 percent” — are “perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace.”
This is preposterous. Palestinians are weaned on Jew-hatred through schools and media controlled by the competing factions and other jihadists. Their national heroes are those dedicated to killing Jews, most especially the “martyrs” (or shaheed) who self-implode in suicide attacks. It is to be expected, then, that when the public is polled in the actual Palestinian territories, rather than in Condi-world, a very different reality is reflected: About three in four Palestinians deny Israel’s right to exist, a figure that soars to over nine in ten when only the fighting-age demographic (between 18 and 25) is considered.
It is, moreover, only natural that Palestinians would choose Hamas in a free election, as they did in 2006. Of course, no shortage of delusional gibberish has been spouted about this outcome by democracy devotees — who typically twaddle about elections having consequences right up until the moment when the election happens and they don’t like the consequences. So, to maintain the fiction that we are dealing with decent, peace-loving people, we are urged to blinker the Palestinians’ choice to be led by unabashed mass-murderers. That, we are told, merely indicates a desire for less corruption and better social services — metrics by which Hamas is putatively superior to Fatah. I somehow doubt we’d be so nuanced if a cognate electoral choice were made by our neighbors in Canada or Mexico.
In any event, we must halt the mindless “two state solution” rhetoric. Before the Israelis finally acted, Palestinian forces had launched over six thousand missiles at Israel from Gaza since 2005 — when Israel bowed to international pressure and ceded control of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority. And that onslaught must be considered in context, both with Hamas’s provocations that led to the 2006 war and with the two intifadas orchestrated by Arafat’s Fatah — including one commenced after a breathtaking settlement offer which would have awarded the Palestinians about 90 percent of their land demands.
Those are not the actions of a people who will be ready to function as a legitimate state anytime soon.
Let’s be blunt: we are looking at a generation or more before the Palestinians might be prepared to assume the obligations of sovereignty. So we should stop talking about it. Doing so only indicates to the Palestinians that we are more interested in the simulacrum of a settlement than in cultivating a mature statehood that is stable, hopefully democratic, and respectful of its peers — such that it is capable of negotiating with them absent the notion of annihilating them. “Roadmaps” and “peace processes” which hold out the possibility (indeed, the likelihood) of near-term statehood tell the Palestinians that terrorism succeeds and that they can reap enormous benefits while continuing to work toward Israel’s demise.
In short, we can help Israel enormously in the here and now — while simultaneously setting the Palestinians on their only realistic path toward long-term prosperity — by making clear that statehood is absolutely off the table until the Palestinians convincingly abandon terrorism, acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, rescind or amend all covenants to the contrary, and demonstrably overhaul their institutions (especially their media and education systems) in a manner that conveys their commitment to this new state of affairs.
Given that even these minimal criteria for Palestinian statehood are likely to be achieved only in the event that hell ever does freeze over, statehood should not only be taken "absolutely off the table," as Andy says, but also out to the trash and be done with it. Such a move on the part of what is known as the "international community," of course, is probably even less likely than the Palestinians ever hitting their markers for statehood.
So, OK. "Absolutely off the table" until they achieve McCarthy's markers or hell freezes over--whichever comes first.
Read the rest of Andy's article here.