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Hagai Segal Photo: Zoom 77
Hagai Segal Photo: Zoom 77

The crazy ‘Palestine project’

Op-ed: Are Israelis indeed mad enough to support establishment of Palestinian state?

Hagai Segal
Published: 10.02.11, 10:17 / Israel Opinion

It’s hard to believe, but up until not too many years ago most Israeli Jews objected to the establishment of a Palestinian state. It was considered the worst thing that could happen to us between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.


Politicians from across the Zionist spectrum spoke with horror about Arab artillery to be deployed a stone’s throw away from Afula and about shoulder-held missiles near Ben-Gurion Airport. Hence, when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin embarked on the Oslo adventure he made an effort to make it clear to Israelis that he has no plans to grant the Palestinians a state, but rather, only some kind of self-government.

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“This won’t be a Palestinian state,” Rabin pledged in a Yedioth Ahronoth interview right after the agreement was revealed (August 29, 1993). In my view, he believed what he said.


Yet some things changed around here ever since then. We got tired, became rusted, and our memory is not what it used to be. Even though the distance between Afula and Ben-Gurion Airport to the Green Line remained exactly the same, most of Israel’s public no longer rejects the notion of a Palestinian state.


The “Palestine project” underwent a sweeping process of romanticism. A bunch of radical leftists possessing immense public relations talent managed to paint this terrible danger in rosy colors. We are allowed to suspect that some of them whispered the idea of a September UN bid in Mahmoud Abbas’ ear.


Beware the Iranian model

Paradoxically, the Palestinian UN bid could be utilized for the purpose of embarking on renewed national debate on the notion of a Palestinian state. After all, the Jewish month of Elul is a wonderful time for wide-ranging self-reflection: Are we indeed crazy enough to establish a Palestinian state here?


After all, and for God’s sake, we must learn something from our experience. When Israeli flags are being torched in Cairo and our ambassador is expelled from Ankara, we must not risk everything we have on a peace treaty with Abbas.


The Palestinians already have one state, the Gaza state, and look what it brought us: Katyusha rockets landing in Ashdod, a Turkish flotilla, and the ongoing abuse of Gilad Shalit. There is no reason to assume that another Palestinian state facing Central Israel would be any less dangerous.


Even if we managed to make Abbas sign a pledge to establish such state based on the Swiss model, at the end of the day it will be more similar to the Iranian model.



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