by Dr. Moshe Dann
A Palestinian state ruled by its current leaders or by a pro-Iranian junta will become a proxy of more powerful forces, if not simply devoured by one or the other of them.
Containing Iran is no longer practical or possible. Obama has fulfilled his promise to change the world. The State of Israel has been abandoned and whatever regional stability undermined. That is Obama’s legacy.
The danger of Obama’s deal with Iran is not only that it enables Iran to become a nuclear power, but that it empowers Iranian proxies, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Alawite regime in Syria led by Assad, Shiites in Iraq, Houthis in Yemen and terrorist organizations everywhere. Given access to the international banking system, moreover, the deal also allows Iran to transfer funds directly into bank accounts; no more need to smuggle suitcases full of cash. This will provide Hamas and other terrorist groups in the Palestinian Authority (PA) with resources to overthrow the current ruling clique, led by Pres Mahmud Abbas.
Despite what appears to be a victory for Iran, however, there is one paradoxical effect: it increases the danger of allowing the establishment of an Arab Palestinian state west of the Jordan River.
Surrounded by two Islamist behemoths, ISIS and Iran, a Palestinian state ruled by its current leaders or by a pro-Iranian junta will become a proxy of more powerful forces, if not simply devoured by one or the other of them.
The implosion of Syria, ongoing war and chaos in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sinai and regional nuclear proliferation make the prospects of an Arab Palestinian state more dangerous than ever. No Israeli government, even one that is sympathetic to Arab Palestinian interests would risk Israel’s security by making further territorial concessions.
Four precedents should be ample warning.
Withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula, withdrawals under the Oslo Agreements, withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, and the “Disengagement” withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Northern Shomron empowered terrorist groups. With Israel’s survival at stake, proposals for further withdrawals and Palestinian statehood would seem irrational. Yet, strangely, until this week, there have been no recent polls on the subject.
On Monday, July 20, 2015, a Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies poll found that 46% of Israelis opposed any withdrawal from Judea and Samaria; 39% said that they would consider a partial withdrawal under certain conditions; only 12 % supported withdrawal.
On August 6, 2013, a TAU/IDI poll found that 63% of Israeli Jews oppose withdrawal. On October 30, 2013, a poll by Mina Tzemach (Migdam) found that 63% of all Israelis oppose withdrawal from the Jordan Valley. A JCPA at the same time revealed that 74% of Israeli Jews oppose replacing IDF with an international force. On June 5, 2014, a TAU/IDI poll found that 60% of Israeli Jews oppose annexation; among all Israelis, 49% oppose a settlement freeze and only 3% support unilateral withdrawal.
A Rafi Smith poll on December 23, 2012 for Gilead Sher’s Blue and White Future found that 45% of all Israelis favor unilateral withdrawal which does not include settlement blocs (including areas in Samaria); 80% support the IDF remaining in Judea and Samaria. On March 29, 2014, a Knesset Channel poll found that 61% of Israelis oppose territorial concessions to the PA. On March 21, 2014, a Channel 99 poll found that 39% of Israelis supported such concessions. On October 19, 2014, a United With Israel poll found that 74% of Israeli Jews oppose an Arab Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria.
Factoring out Israeli Arabs, there seems to be a consensus against withdrawal. This reality must be translated into Israel’s foreign and domestic policy.
President Obama and his administration have proven that they are not friends of Israel; European governments, including Russia are worse. Media in the European community is biased and hostile towards Israel, and at times ant-Semitic. The Government of Israel (GOI) – especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) --have ignored this phenomenon and have not protested or prevented the direct intervention of European governments, the EU and European churches in supporting anti-Israel NGOs, Vast amounts of funding for “humanitarian projects” for Arab Palestinians and Bedouin are subversive, meant to undermine Israel.
The MFA has not only failed to represent Israel properly, it often sabotages Israeli interests. For example, although UNRWA has been widely criticized for its bias, incompetence and complicity with terrorist groups, the MFA opposes replacing UNRWA with other organizations, like the UNHCR which serve all other refugees, or even restructuring UNRWA. It also opposes efforts by the US Congress to withhold and/or reduce aid to UNRWA.
Having failed to stop Obama’s deal with Iran, Prime Minister Netanyahu must therefore move to protect Israel’s national interests. That means
(1) asserting Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, and
(2) protecting and strengthening settlements by adopting the Edmund Levy report and annexing Area C which is under Israeli control.
While more than 350,000 Jews live in Area C, the estimated Arab population in Area C (according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics) is about 47,000. Nearly all Arab Palestinians are citizens of the Palestinian Authority and most hold Jordanian passports, including PA President Mahmud Abbas. They enjoy civil and religious rights; they don’t pay Israeli taxes and few, if any pay taxes to the PA.
Although the issue of settlements remains divisive in Israel, a clear consensus among Israeli Jews supports Israeli settlements. The prospect of turning over territory to a declared enemy is simply unthinkable. Obama’s deal with Iran has made this reality more apparent.
Dr. Moshe Dann is a historian, writer and journalist living in Israel.
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.