Why Palestine Wasn't Born - Again
A brief summary of decades of failed attempts
The Land of Canaan subsequently became known as Eretz Yisrael, which became Judea, which the Romans then named Palestine (but not as a nation-state of Arabs), and which eventually became the State of Israel. Over the last few decades, many have attempted to create a nation-state called Palestine in the areas known to the Jews as Judea and Samaria and known to the wider world as the West Bank. And there’s certainly very good reason to do so - there are millions of Arabs living west of the Jordan River who want such a state (and many of whom are descendants of people that have lived here for centuries). So why hasn’t this happened?
The answer is that there are two reasons, which are known to most Israelis but less so to those outside of Israel. I think it’s helpful to succinctly present them.
The first is Arab rejectionism, the same reason that caused the majority of Arabs in 1948 to reject any form of Partition Plan. On a political level, there has never been a Palestinian leader who was willing to suffer the shame (and personal risk) of compromising, accepting the existence of Israel, and declaring an end to the conflict. On a national level, the Palestinian people has, for the most part, never accepted the factual reality of the Jewish People’s ancestral history in the Land of Israel. Accordingly, they see us as being nothing more than European colonialists, they see no reason to ever compromise, and they would rather wait for the State of Israel to eventually collapse (which, unfortunately, is indeed a possibility).
Many Israelis originally deluded themselves into refusing to acknowledge Arab rejectionism. However, following Arafat’s rejection of the Camp David offer, and the subsequent horrific Second Intifada which killed a thousand Israeli civilians, most Israelis came to realize that no peaceful compromise would ever be possible, that far too many Palestinians fundamentally rejected any Jewish presence here.
This is the reason why no peace deal was ever reached, or will be reached in our lifetime. But what about a unilateral disengagement, as happened with Gaza? The reason why that won’t happen is simple: Gaza.
In part, this is because of the Hamas takeover of Gaza and their preference for firing rockets at towns rather than improving the lives of Gazans. The following illustration shows exactly why Israel dare not risk the West Bank becoming another Gaza:
Life in Sderot is immensely difficult. If most of the country were to become Sderot, that would be the end of the country.
But there’s another reason why Gaza killed Palestine. Rarely do all Israelis agree about anything. But if there’s one thing that pretty much everyone in Israel agrees on, it’s the justification for attacking the rocket-launching apparatus in Gaza. And yet, much of the world condemns Israel for it.
Before the disengagement, Sharon assured Israel that if rockets are ever fired from Gaza, the IDF will go in and do whatever it takes to ensure that such a thing will never happen again - and will have the international legitimacy to do so. Nowadays, nobody would ever claim such a thing. Israelis understand that the world will never accept the legitimacy of Israel ensuring security for its citizens, if such actions would result in large numbers of Palestinian casualties. It would be madness to put ourselves in such a situation.
And so Israel and the Palestinians are doomed, for the forseeable future, to live in a low-intensity conflict. Because as bad as the situation is, it’s vastly better than the alternative. We’ve suffered much worse periods in our history, and on the whole, the current situation is pretty good for us.
As for the Gazans and Palestinians - you reap what you sow. We suffered for centuries due to our mistakes, and now they are suffering the consequences of theirs. Hopefully one day they will focus more on improving their own society than on trying to destroy ours.
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