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Stage by Stage, Peace by Piece

10/06/2003 | by Ganor, Boaz (Prof.)  
In the context of the Palestinian Authority's acceptance of the road map, it is important to understand the strategic goals of the moderate Palestinian leadership.

In contrast to the Islamic fundamentalist groups, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the secular Palestinian leadership's goals never seem to be stated outright.

While the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad have never bothered to conceal their ambition to annihilate the State of Israel and establish an Islamic Palestinian republic in its stead, in signing the Oslo Accords the secular Palestinian leadership was required to ostensibly accept Israel's right to exist and agree to the implementation of a two-state solution.

Yet as can be seen from statements by the Palestinian leadership, behind this seemingly benign solution lurks a "strategy of stages," meant to lead to the eventual elimination of Israel, though not necessarily by violent means. This strategy is built on a three-phase approach, starting with the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The second stage involves the overthrow of the Hashemite regime in Jordan, whose population consists of a vast Palestinian majority.

Once Jordan is under the control of its Palestinian population, it will be unified with the existing Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

It is clear to the Palestinian leadership that they have much to lose by jumping the gun; a revolution in Jordan prior to the establishment of a state would only undermine their claim to an independent state in the disputed territories. Thus, ironically, the lack of a Palestinian state in the territories guarantees the continued stability of the Hashemite regime in Jordan.

In this the current sequence of stages differs from the original Palestinian plan, which attempted to overthrow the Hashemite monarchy in the early 1970s. This plan, with its emphasis on the need for Palestinian control of Jordan as a necessary first step, was in the late 1960s incorporated in the emblem of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine: an arrow passing through the Jordanian capital into the map of Israel, to show that "the road to the liberation of Palestinian is through Amman."

Once both Jordan and the West Bank are under Palestinian rule, the Palestinian leadership will initiate the third stage of its strategy with a change of rhetorical tacks: from claiming that Israel is a conquering colonialist state they will insist that Israeli is a racist "apartheid" state which differentiates between its Jewish and Arab citizens.

Israel's Arab citizens will be encouraged to back this claim. After all, they will say, Palestinian citizens of Israel cannot be expected to identify with a flag that has a Jewish star or sing an anthem depicting the return of the Jewish people to its homeland.

Nor can they accept a situation whereby, according to the Law of Return, every Jew is entitled to immigrate to Israel and receive Israeli citizenship, a law which does not apply to Palestinians.

Naturally, to the enlightened world, these claims will appear quite legitimate and appropriate to the system of liberal-democratic values. Thus Israel will be called upon to cease being a Jewish state and become instead "a state of all its citizens."

No one will remember the original background against which the Jewish state was established: the Holocaust and the recognition of the right of the Jewish nation to be restored to its ancient homeland.

The third stage of the Palestinian strategy of stages will thus end in the annulment of the Jewish character of the State of Israel as a result of international pressure. This will be helped along by the natural demographics of the region, whereby population growth among the Palestinians is much larger than that of the Jewish population within the 1967 borders.

Further Palestinian population growth will take place through the opening of Israel's gates to Palestinian immigration via the family unification program, in the framework of a peace agreement signed as part of the first stage of the Palestinian strategy.

The result of this staged process will of course be the elimination of the State of Israel as a Jewish state without the use of violence. As a Palestinian leader known for his moderate views recently told me: "I recognize Israel's right to exist, but I do not recognize Israel's right to be a Jewish state."

Israel must start fighting now for its national Jewish character before it is too late. It must make it clear to Yasser Arafat and his cohorts that as long as their dream is to change the Jewish character of Israel they will not be eligible partners to a future peace agreement.

Israel must demand as a fundamental condition to the establishment of a Palestinian state that any agreement state specifically that the signing thereof signifies the end of the conflict between the Jewish not Israeli nation and the Palestinians by partitioning the land of Israel into two national states: one for the Palestinians and one for the Jews.

From the date of that signing, either ethnic group would be permitted to reside as a minority in the other state, but would not be entitled to demand a change in the national character of the state where he or she lives.

While not ruling out future Palestinian-Israeli hostilities, these clauses would at least serve as a ratification of Israel's right to exist as the state of the Jewish nation in the eyes of the rest of the world.