As the Palestinians press forward in international forums with their plans for statehood, a growing chorus of countries has expressed support for the move.
Defying history, logic and reason, much of the world has made clear that it would like to see a state of Palestine arise alongside Israel.
And yet, there is one obvious but critical question that many supporters of such a proposal have all but overlooked: if the Palestinians were to get their wish, what kind of state would it be?
Obviously, we do not know for certain what the answer is, and I pray that we never have the opportunity to find out. After all, the creation of a Palestinian state would imperil Israel, reduce the country to indefensible borders and betray our people’s 2,000-year old dream of returning to its land.
Nonetheless, it is worth pondering the question for a moment or two, if only to underline still further the need to say no to the creation of a state called Palestine.
To begin with, there is no reason to believe a Palestinian state would be peaceful, tolerant or democratic. Just the opposite. From the statements made by Palestinian leaders, it is clear they have little patience for the niceties of Western liberal society.
Take, for example, the question of whether Jews or Israelis would be allowed to live in “Palestine.” More than 1.3 million Arabs reside in Israel with full and equal rights, so it would only seem fair that Jews should be accorded the same treatment in a Palestinian state.
But the Palestinians themselves don’t seem to feel that way. Last month, the Palestinian ambassador to the United States, Maen Areikat, told reporters that any future Palestinian state would have to be free of Jews. “I think it would be in the best interest of the two peoples to be separated,” he said (USA Today, September 14).
And if you think Areikat’s statement perhaps does not reflect the official position, think again: Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has said the same thing.
Last December, in remarks to journalists in Ramallah, Abbas declared, “We have frankly said, and always will say: If there is an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it when a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli presence in it” (The Jerusalem Post, December 25, 2010).
Does it really make sense to create a state that would hang a large “No Jews Allowed” sign at its entrance?
But Jews aren’t the only ones who would not be welcome in such a state.
Christians too would likely not feel at home. Ever since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, they have faced increasing persecution at the hands of Muslim extremists, leading large numbers of Christians to emigrate from the Palestinian-controlled areas.
A report on the Christian Broadcasting Network a few years ago described the case of Anwar al-Aqwal, a Palestinian father of eight who converted from Islam to Christianity. As a result, he was subjected to repeated arrests and torture by Palestinian police, and was later gunned down in his home by unknown assailants.
In addition to being chauvinistic and xenophobic, a Palestinian state would also be hostile to Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post (July 15), a survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion found that two-thirds of Palestinians believe their “real goal should be to start with a two-state solution but then move to it all being one Palestinian state.”
Sixty-two percent of Palestinian respondents said they support the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and holding them hostage, while 53 percent were in favor of teaching songs in Palestinian schools that promote hatred of Jews.
To any fair-minded observer, it should be clear that neither the Palestinians nor their leaders are infused with noble ideas about freedom and understanding.
Instead, Palestinian society is drenched in hatred of Israel and Jews, and the Palestinian leadership has repeatedly refused to accept Israel as a Jewish state.
So if it were to be created, “Palestine” would not be a bastion of liberty and acceptance, as its supporters might wish us to believe.
All available evidence indicates that a Palestinian state would simply be yet another retrograde anti-Western outpost of hostility and repression. And if there is one thing the Middle East most certainly does not need, it is another thuggish and hateful regime.
Michael Freund is a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is the founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization which assists the Bnei Menashe and other “lost Jews” to return to the Jewish people.