“Restrain us, or we will declare our independence.” This has become a regular Palestinian declaration that is uttered once every few years, usually when negotiations are at a dead end. This week, it was the threat uttered by Yasser Abed Rabbo, who returned from oblivion full of fighting spirit and proceeded to read words dictated to him by Mahmoud Abbas.
The backdrop to this statement was Muslim Kosovo’s addition to the family of nations. For a moment, Palestinian Authority leaders attempted to amuse themselves with the illusion that a mere declaration separates the dream of Palestinian independence from the reality of sovereignty in the territories. “Kosovo enjoys less international support then us, so why don’t we also declare our independence?” the Palestinians wondered.
Had I been Kosovo’s leader Hashim Thaci I would tell Abed Rabbo to show some respect before he makes such comparison.
As long as we are only dealing with declarations, the Palestinians are certainly world champions. Twenty years ago already, on November 15, 1988 the Palestinian National Council in Algeria declared the establishment of the state of Palestine within the 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital. This declaration was recognized by more than 100 countries! And again, on May 4th, 1999 the Palestinian National Council ratified the declaration of independence “in accordance with international conventions,” and again the Palestinians enjoyed overwhelming international backing.
Why then have the Palestinians failed to establish a state of their own, despite these declarations? There are three main reasons for this.
First, an “Israeli and international reason.” The conditions for the creation of a sovereign state do not only include a political entity that declares itself to be independent and enjoys broad international support. There is yet another basic condition that the Palestinians must fulfill: Displaying effective control and capabilities by the new state, in what is termed “de facto authority” over the area under its jurisdiction.
Yet according to Israel
and many world nations, Palestinian leaders over the years have completely failed on this front, unless the relationship between the “exiled leader” Abbas and the territories, and particularly Gaza, can be termed “control.”
The economic front is yet another reason why there is no independent Palestinian state. The PA’s history since the Oslo agreement shows that there is good reason why the Palestinians are in love with the peace process more than they are in love with peace itself. The process is profitable, while peace could lead to losses. In other words, the Palestinians (belonging to the PLO) fully exploit their status as an underdog requiring nurturing, the darling of the UN and of the West, and the darling of donor nations, by ceaselessly eliciting more resources, financial and otherwise.
In fact, Kosovo would be able to erase its 50% unemployment rate if it only received a fraction of the funds donated to the Palestinians. Yes, Kosovo can only be jealous of the puzzling pampering treatment enjoyed by Abbas and Abed Rabbo between one declaration of independence and another.
Another reason pertains to the very heart of the Palestinian problem. The Palestinians can keep on saying that what prevents them from establishing a state is the implementation of the core issues. Oh well, let them fool themselves and their fans. Even those who are engaged in talks with them know that the PA will not be able to rid itself of the image of a failed state, which it earned honestly. Based on any international standard, one of the most blatant indications of a failed state is terrorism, and those who currently pamper the Palestinians with corrupt money are responsible for it.
The seeds of the failed Palestinian state were sown in the West’s original sin, which granted the PLO the precedence of simultaneously being both a legitimate entity and a terror group.
It is no wonder then that Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni announced that “negotiations with Abbas will continue even if terror persists.” Livni is right. She indeed was referring to Hamas
terror, yet intelligence information shows that the al-Aqsa Brigades, which belong to Abbas and Fatah, are not trailing far behind Khaled Mashaal and his Hamas men.
As befits a terror state, the closest and most effective cooperation taking place in the territories these days is among rival terror groups. To our regret, Israel too was swept into this terror-peace-terror whirlpool.
In the past, a declaration such as the one made by Abed Rabbo would be followed by a planned tactical move: A signal to the Western and Arab world that talks with Israel are going nowhere and that Israel should be pressed to make more concessions on the core issues. Today, it is at most a media spin or pathetic gimmick. In the past, following such declarations, western leaders flooded the territories with solidarity visits. Today, they stay away. We can certainly understand them – they’ve become fed up with only visiting the government enclave in Ramallah.