|East and West Palestine, and Israel?
By Ariel Natan Pasko
Has anyone really thought through what Condi Rice means when she said recently, "Israel [must] continue to make the hard decisions that must be taken in order to promote peace and...the emergence of a democratic Palestinian state." Or before that, "Israel also must recognize that the Palestinian state, which is within our grasp, must be viable and contiguous, meaning with enough land to function well." Or when she told the Senate confirmation hearing that a future Palestinian state must also be contiguous with Arab neighbors and mentioned Jordan. Many analysts understand from this that Washington wants "Palestine" to have a common border with Jordan, Egypt and eventually Syria, and a territorial link between Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza. As she said, "There cannot be peace in the Middle East unless the Palestinians gain a state that satisfies their aspirations." But at what cost?
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abba announced a mutual cease-fire at the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting. Yet, while high-flying platitudes such as Sharon's "today we are starting a new period of tranquility and hope," and Egyptian President Mubarak declaring "a new era" and a "new positive spirit," were made at the meeting, Hamas' representative in Lebanon insisted that Hamas is not bound by the Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire declaration, "because this is a unilateral stand and was not the result of the outcome of an intra-Palestinian dialogue." Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza also denied they were part of a cease-fire.
Was that East and West Pakistan? We know what happened to them.
If a Palestinian state is born, East and West Palestine (i.e. the West Bank and Gaza) will suffer a similar end. Or, do they intend to carve up Israel to gain territorial contiguity? Will Israel be reduced to a Northern and Southern Kingdom as in the bible? Will Tel-Aviv and the Galilee -- formerly the coastal and northern parts of Israel -- become disconnected from the Negev, the newly formed Southern State?
Whatever they tell you know this, states collapse, countries or areas of a country merge with other states, and some ethnic groups go extinct in time. East and West Palestine is just such a creature. It will be still born at best, on long-term international life-support. But that won't save it from the fate of East and West Pakistan. So, even if an illegitimate child-state is born, expect it's early demise.
Why you might ask?
For starters, because they're never was an independent Palestinian Arab State or identity. The closest thing they have to an independent identity is hatred of Jews and Israel, and the desire for statehood. If they achieved statehood and actually lived peaceably with Israel, their whole purpose to existence would end. History abhors a vacuum and the so-called "Palestinian identity" will probably be subsumed in a greater Arab or Muslim identity, Hamas will work to insure that. Beyond this, Jewish identity is stronger. Simply put -- Israeliness not withstanding -- Jewish identity, the connection to our ancient and modern homeland, will prevail over a sick child-state and it's international doctor-backers. You know, I feel that the Quartet (the United States, EU, UN and Russia) is about to play the role of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. They're about to help the "Palestinians" commit national suicide.
Why is this child-state doomed?
Because it won't be a democracy, my proof, ask yourself, will Jews living in towns in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza be allowed to stay and be equal Palestinian citizens -- including voting rights and electability to parliament -- as Israeli Arabs can be in Israel? No, they're talking about ethnic cleansing, uprooting hundreds of thousands of Jewish "settlers," making "Palestine" Judenrein (free of Jews). And a state born in such sin will never redeem itself. An independent Palestine might be described by some as a democracy, but in fact will more closely resemble a Nazi State (remember Arafat's uncle Haj Amin al-Husseini who was Hitler's friend).
Does anyone really believe that Abbas will gain control over Hamas and Islamic Jihad? He's having problems within his own Fatah movement. East and West Palestine will be a Terror State and its eventual end will gladden the hearts of millions around the world.
If born this state won't be a democracy. Lacking democracy, freedom, prosperity, and real control over their own lives, Arabs will continue to suffer deprivations at the hands of their corrupt leaders and be used (by the likes of Hamas) to attack Israel. Because it won't integrate the different elements of Arab society into an organic whole, they will never overcome their deeper inner contradictions. As long as they have an external enemy, the Jews, they might hold off the internal feud, but for how long?
East and West Palestine won't last because they aren't the same societies.
Gaza is medieval, insular, Islamic, poverty stricken, overcrowded and in just plain language, "a hell hole". It has no culture beyond terrorism, and no chance of commerce or serious relations with Egypt its neighbor to the west, they'll be under Egyptian "occupation," remember. After Sharon's "disengagement" plan is implemented, cut-off from Israel, who got tired of being attacked by them, with whom will they interact, the Bedouin of the Sinai? The "West Bank" by contrast is more cosmopolitan. Although overwhelmingly Muslim, there are a significant minority of Christians. It has the potential to be more secular, more democratic, and more tolerant. Trade and cultural relations with Jordan exist and will continue to flourish. East and West Palestine will suffer from uneven development. If the child-state is born, and democracy does "rear its ugly head," with its tolerance and pluralism, western movies, music, gambling casinos and bars, you can count on the Ayatollahs and Sheikhs of Gaza to rant and rave against "the infidels" in East Palestine, i.e. the West Bank.
I firmly believe that an independent Palestinian State will suffer the same outcome as East and West Pakistan.
For those of you who don't remember, East and West Pakistan fought a bloody civil war in 1971, and the outcome was Bangladesh, an independent state. Although both parts of Pakistan were Muslim -- the only reason for its separation from India in 1947 in the first place -- cultural and ethnic differences led to serious animosity between the two sides.
But developmental inequality is what pushed the final button. East Pakistan was an economic basket case (as it continues to be today). "Blessed" by being at the convergence point of several natural phenomena; the southern third of East Pakistan/Bangladesh sits on the mouth of the Ganges River, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. Never short of water, they regularly suffer from floods from the Ganges overflow and yearly Monsoons (hurricanes). A former International Relations professor of mine -- originally from Thailand -- once commented, that Bangladesh is situated in one of the harshest inhabited areas of the world. "Why would people want to live there?" He asked. "It would do the international community good, to simply move the entire population out of there. It would save a lot of lives, money, and time in disaster relief efforts."
East Pakistan -- the more populous area -- for years complained that they weren't getting their fair share of central government budgets. After a period of military rule, in December 1970, the East Pakistani Awami League won absolute control over the newly formed parliament. With the Awami League set to control the government and demanding autonomy for East Pakistan in a federated state, General Yahya -- junta leader from West Pakistan -- chose to disband the assembly and invaded the East. Civil war broke out and after a half a million Bengalis (East Pakistanis) were massacred, India invaded to establish order. Ultimately India recognized Bangladeshi independence, and so did the international community. But India continues to suffer till today from the Muslim fanatics of Pakistan.
Is that the prognosis for East and West Palestine? Will Gaza scream foul? Is a civil war or societal degeneration in the offing for the unborn child-state, or would a partial birth abortion better serve the international community?
The world should think seriously about the "real" viability (or not) of a territorially divided Palestinian state. Show me a successful model, anywhere in the world, of an independent country divided in two parts by another state. Or, will there be continuous warfare between Israel and Palestine to foster unity between the Arabs and to gain contiguity?
East and West Palestine is an experiment doomed to failure from the start. Like my former professor's advice about Bangladesh, I suggest about East and West Palestine, that "It would do the international community good, to simply move the entire population out of there. It would save a lot of lives, money, and time..."
Few things in life are certain, but these two are worth betting on; first, that East and West Palestine won't survive long if born, and second, that the territorial integrity of the Land of Israel will. The Jewish people didn't survive 2,000 years of dispersal and persecution, just to return to their homeland, gain independence, and then give it away.
Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master's Degree in International Relations & Policy Analysis. His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank websites, in newspapers, and can be read at: www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko (c) 2005/5765 Pasko
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