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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why the 'moderate' Arab states don't want a 'Palestinian' state

There's a fascinating op-ed in Wednesday's JPost by Hillel Frisch that explains why the 'moderate' Arab states - Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia - don't want a 'Palestinian' state within the State of Israel right now. In a nutshell, even they are afraid that it will turn into a reichlet.
Obama will be most surprised to discover that objection to any substantial movement on a Palestinian state will come less from Israel, and more from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan - which fear that under the present circumstances Hamas would probably take over Judea and Samaria via an expanded Palestinian state. As far as they are concerned, Israel did not batter Hamas sufficiently to allay their suspicions. These states prefer "process" over meaningful movement regarding the Palestinian problem.

Nor will these Arab countries be pleased about the newfound American desire to engage Iran and Syria. Saudi Arabia remains committed to seeing Bashar Assad tried in an international court, not letting him off the hook by engaging him. All the moderate Arab states would like to see a US that wields a big enough stick at Iran - short of war - to compel it to desist from its nuclear program.

Needless to say, a rapid US military withdrawal from Iraq is hardly the way to wield the big stick at Iran.

President George W. Bush also angered moderate Arab countries, but for a different reason. With Bush, moderate Arab states felt threatened by his focus on democratization.

Obama, however, now threatens them with a policy of engaging the Muslim enemy.

Thus, the mainstream Arab countries, like Israel, seek US resolve in confronting the Iranian-led axis, not an "outstretched American hand" to the radical part of the Muslim world. An America that "engages" this radical axis could turn the Muslim cold war into something far more ominous.
And Turki al-Faisal's op-ed in the Financial Times of London last week? Frisch might chock that up to a show to keep the 'Arab street' in check. The Egyptian, Jordanian and Saudi ruling cliques fear those that they govern more than they fear anything else.

If Frisch is correct, the Israeli government looks wiser for not destroying Hamas completely. But where the government is mistaken is in its apparent belief that Fatah is any better. Fatah is no better than Hamas and has no less desire to destroy the Jewish state. The Fatah leadership that will eventually follow Abu Mazen may not be any more Islamic than he is, but it is likely to assume a more openly confrontational stance with Israel. While the 'moderate' Arab states may be willing to wait to destroy the Jewish state, the 'Palestinians' are tired of waiting. They want to get rid of us now. If they start to show that more openly, at least all the cards will be on the table. And let's hope the cards are on the table before Israel starts making territorial concessions for a 'Palestinian' reichlet.


At 6:09 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

See my previous post. Before long, I don't think Israel will have a Palestinian "partner" with whom to negotiate, whether its Abbas or someone else. Israel's enemy is doing the Jewish State a big favor by allowing the scales to fall off its eyes. There will never be a Palestinian reichlet because no one really wants it.


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