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A Disaster Foretold:
The Strategic Dangers of a Palestinian State

Aharon Levran
Policy Paper No. 56, from the book,
Israel and a Palestinian State: Zero Sum Game?, 2001


The strategic dangers emanating from a Palestinian state are numerous. Each of them is sufficiently dangerous on its own, let alone all of them taken together. This paper deals with eight such strategic perils for Israel, namely those ensuing from:

  1. The success of the intifada,
  2. The Palestinian "Phased Plan" as a concept for endless struggle,
  3. The realization of the "Right of Return",
  4. The risks emanating from Israeli Arabs,
  5. The threat of terror and violence as a strategic danger (and not only a security danger),
  6. The specific enhanced perils of terror and violence emerging from a Palestinian state,
  7. The threats to Israel's power base and national strength, and
  8. "Surrounding risks" to the kingdom of Jordan and coming from Syria and Iran.

These eight dangers are gravely augmented by two additional risks:

  1. The non-value of a Palestinian commitment, and
  2. The non-existence of a remedy or point of return in case the Palestinian state emerges as a bad bargain.

Only one weighty conclusion results from our discussion. Better not to reach a situation where we enable the establishment of a Palestinian state, which will be "a disaster foretold". If this stems only from analyzing its strategic dangers, consider what will be the true overall consequences when the military-operational dangers are added, such as:

  1. Losing the Judea-Samaria mountain ridge and

  2. Abandoning "strategic depth", i.e., Israel's territorial shrinking into the coastal plain with the width and breadth of 10-15 kilometers only, and

  3. The difficulties of mobilizing its military reserves in case of a surprise attack, etc.

It is claimed that already today a Palestinian state does exist. But this is at an embryonic stage and such a distorted entity can still be thwarted. Secondly, today the PA still does not have the aura and full status of a sovereign standing. Above all, Israel should not acquiesce to a crooked reality even if it starts "forming some crust". The experience with the Palestinians since Oslo is a successive failure story and there is no reason in the world that this will change "if only a Palestinian state will be established". On the contrary, the cure will only be worse than the disease. And a tiny state like Israel cannot allow itself to blunder or gamble.

As a final word, what is more fitting than quoting Senator Connie Mack's (R-FL) most telling lines from a speech to the US Senate on March 3, 1999:

How is it possible to engage in peace negotiations with people who maintain the right to obliterate you, who are filled with hatred toward you, and who harbor the dream of one day destroying your homeland? Peace is a matter of the heart... But what I saw, which was the outcome of the Palestinian Authority rule, convinced me that their hearts and minds are set on other goals. The Palestinian leadership does not want peace. They want, first, their own state which they can control with total power. Then they want to use that state to eliminate the State of Israel.

...if the Palestinian leadership fails to abandon incitement of hatred, persecution and terrorism, then we are all dreaming, only dreaming... There will not be peace until hearts and minds are changed... The United States' role...stand up for peace - real peace based upon security, freedom and a change of heart.

For the complete article, click here.