The New York Times accidentally points out the elephant in the living roomThe New York Times has an editorial in this morning's editions that criticizes Hamas, Ehud Olmert and George Bush for their respective actions that have made the 'hill' of creating a 'viable Palestinian state' into a 'mountain'. Olmert's plan is wrong, if President Bush really supports it (which is not clear) he's wrong, Hamas is always wrong and the New York Times thinks its wrong for all the wrong reasons. But none of that is the point.
What I wanted to point out to you is the editorial's first sentence and three paragraphs towards the end. Between them, the Times accidentally points out the elephant in the living room of the 'viable Palestinian state:'
It's long been clear that getting a workable, feasible Palestinian state out of two geographically separate masses of land in the desert will be an uphill battle.
Anyone who has ever really looked at a map of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza can see how hard it will be to form a Palestinian state. Even a future Palestine that includes all of the West Bank and Gaza is still going to be in two pieces with Israel in the middle, separating Gaza from the West Bank.
To get an idea of this, imagine a map of Manhattan. The West Bank would be, very roughly, East Harlem and the Upper East Side. Gaza would be Battery Park City, far to the southwest. Now imagine trying to create a fully functioning city with its own economy out of those pieces while an entirely independent, antagonistic city remained in between. [Please note that my lack of response below to the word 'antagonistic' does not mean that I don't object to Israel's characterization as 'antagonistic.' Israelis won't be involved in terror attacks if R"L the 'Palestinians' pass through between the two separate parts of their 'state.' But that's not my point today. CiJ]
Yet that is what the Palestinians will have to do if they even manage to get back to the 1967 borders. (If the Sharon-Olmert plan, now tentatively blessed by Mr. Bush, goes into effect, they won't achieve that.) If Mr. Olmert moves forward with his plan to retain large settlement blocs in the West Bank, the Palestinians may well lose huge parts of their "Upper East Side" and be left trying to form a country out of what's left, and their "Battery Park City." [Not so huge. About 8%. But that's also not the point. CiJ]
That's it folks. The elephant in the room is that even if the 'Palestinians' get all of the 'West Bank' and Gaza, they still won't have a contiguous 'state'. Judea and Samaria (the 'West Bank') are landlocked. How are they going to develop an economy (assuming that they have any interest in doing so)? Either they ship through Jordan or they ship through Israel and Gaza. How are they going to travel from one to the other? Well, during the heyday of Oslo there was talk of tunnels and 'safe passage' routes and trains - but no matter how you solve that problem (if it can be solved) every time a 'Palestinian' travels from Gaza to the 'West Bank' they are going to pass through Israel, and given the only 'Palestinian' export to the world - the terror attack - there is going to be a risk of terror attacks against Israelis because that's what the 'Palestinians' do.
The truth is that there cannot be a 'viable Palestinian state' in the 'West Bank' and Gaza. The territory is not suitable for it. And by the way, they are a lot further from each other than the Upper East side is from Battery Park City (and I lived in New York City itself from 1974-78 and 1980-83 and worked there from 1983-91, so I know exactly how far apart those points are). Does anyone really believe that this is what the 'Palestinians' want: a 'state' that has two parts with another country's territory in the middle? Even the 'moderate Palestinians' themselves have talked about the need for continuity, although they have never said explicitly what that means.
No, my friends, the truth is that the 'Palestinians' want something else and that is why there has been no 'Palestinian state' until now. The 'Palestinians' want to destroy the State of Israel. They want to undo the results of the 1948 War of Independence and not just the results of the Six Day War of 1967. The 'Palestine Liberation Organization' exists since 1964 - before there was an 'occupation,' because for the 'Palestinians,' every inch of Israel is 'occupied' by Jews. There is no difference between Tel Aviv and Hebron - for the 'Palestinians' they are all the same. When Ariel Sharon famously equated between Netzarim (in the Gaza Strip) and Tel Aviv, he was right (unfortunately he forgot the comparison and betrayed Netzarim).
So how did we get to this point? And why are the 'Palestinians' trying to convince the world that they will be satisfied with the 'West Bank' and the Gaza Strip? The answer is in an interview given by Zuhair Mohsen to the Dutch newspaper Trouw in March 1977:
- The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct "Palestinian people" to oppose Zionism.
- For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.