Bush to call for viable Palestinian state
November 2, 2001 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Bush to call for viable Palestinian state How much can be imposed? there remain key issues that are not in the "plan," such as Jerusalem, Right of Return, and geographical boundaries. But perhaps this may be a start. America needs some change in this chaos if we are to get and/or retain Arab support for Afghanistan.
posted by Postroad (19 comments total)
And what better way to do that than create another state from which terrorist crews can operate freely, with international "aid" undoubtedly pouring into Arafats bloody pockets, as a "f-ck you" to our only true ally in the region; Israel. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
posted by frednorman at 2:12 AM on November 3, 2001

$100 billion to keep failing businesses in operation, proposing amnesty for illegal workers, proposing a Palestinian state, spending so much Social Security is threatened. Wow, conservatives must hate this socialist.
posted by raaka at 3:18 AM on November 3, 2001

A state already exists for "Palestinians"--Jordan.
posted by Carol Anne at 4:32 AM on November 3, 2001

Carol Anne, time for you to leave. A state exists for you somewhere else.
posted by raaka at 7:44 AM on November 3, 2001

And what better way to do that than create another state from which terrorist crews can operate freely, with international "aid" undoubtedly pouring into Arafats bloody pockets, as a "f-ck you" to our only true ally in the region; Israel.

I doubt this will be the case. Arafat is nothing if not a utilitarian. Like most present and former terrorists, his primary long-term objective is legitimacy. He's been trying to distance himself from extremist groups for the last decade. If he had a superpower protecting him, he'd probably cut ties completely, because those groups are of less use to him than a larger protective power.

Giving the Palestinians a state is not a "Fuck You" to Israel. This is about giving the moderate Palestinians (the vast majority of which are *not* suicide bombing discos) the peace they deserve and making the Islamic militants that appropriate the issue of Palestinian legitimacy to rally support for whatever they're doing completely toothless. As Hosni Mubarek astutely noted a few weeks ago (my paraphrase, obviously) "bin Laden didn't give a shit about the Palestinians before September 11th." Neither do many of these groups that invoke the Palestinian question everytime they feel they're losing power. Arafat has more of a pawn than a player in the last few weeks and putting an end to the Palestinian question once and for all takes at least one powerful propaganda weapon out of the arsenal of these extremist groups.
posted by lizs at 10:04 AM on November 3, 2001

putting an end to the Palestinian question once and for all takes at least one powerful propaganda weapon out of the arsenal of these extremist groups

Quite the contrary, I'm afraid. Should a "Palestine" now be created, it'll look like a reward for Arafat's terrorism -- like a toy bought to make a kid stop destroying things. Does it teach the kid to stop destroying things? Maybe in the very, very short-term. In the long term, however, he'll see it as a surefire way to get more toys.
posted by frednorman at 10:40 AM on November 3, 2001

That seems unnecessarily harsh, raaka. It's a controversial idea, but there is some basis for history in it and it's not (necessarily!) a trolling comment. The history of Palestine is nothing if not complicated and thinking people may well disagree on their interpretations of it.

posted by Mars Saxman at 10:45 AM on November 3, 2001

Thanks, Mars. I certainly didn't intend to "troll" with my above comment.
posted by Carol Anne at 11:20 AM on November 3, 2001

Carol Anne, does Jordan want Palestinians? Maybe you'd better ask them. As the very pro-Israeli ... dare I say Zionist? ... link you provided suggests, other Arab countries didn't "offer" land for the Palestinians. This is made to seem a callous act; but the Palestinians have, in fact, never wanted parts of other countries. They want their country back. You know, the towns, the farms, the very land where their grandparents lived. In many cases Palestinians can take you to parts of Israel or settlements in the West Bank and tell you exactly where their property was.

Jordan's renunciation of sovereignty over the West Bank accomplished several things for that pro-Western kingdom. It brought them peace with Israel -- a land with which they already had good high-level relations. It allowed them to disclaim responsibility for the political mess that is the Palestinian polity (Fatah, Hamas, PFLP, Hezbollah, you name it). It got them out of the middle of the problem. It should be no surprise that they don't want to be back in the middle of it again.

To make a point (as that same link does) that even Jordan isn't a coherent people is ridiculous. The middle-eastern boundaries were all drawn in the period after the Ottoman Empire collapsed, q.v. Lawrence of Arabia. Technically King Abdullah's ancestors were rulers of all of Arabia, deposed from Mecca and Medina by the Sa'ud dynasty. We can argue about which "peoples" are legitimate till the cows come home, or pick any random time in history to which to restore boundaries. Or we can live with what history has bequeathed us.

So getting back to the practical questions at hand. There's almost no question that a Palestinian state is necessary. To address another troll, frednorman, a viable state would of course be one which would have a working police force and a trustworthy justice system that would prosecute or extradite terrorists. Palestine, for all its faults, is no Afghanistan. The worst possible outcome for Palestine and for Israel is no change in today's status. Right now the Palestinian Authority has low-minority legitimacy among its own people and debatable control over terrorists within the more militant ranks. (To some extent, it is convenient for Arafat to allow these other groups to strike Israel, because when Israel strikes back, they kill his political enemies, and modestly increase his own authority. This is the political calculus, the political incentive, which needs to be pulled from the equation.)

To reiterate, the present situatoin breeds terrorism (unless you believe, as fred seems to, that Palestinians just like killing Jews as sport). A state, with the solution of key problems, would starve terrorists of their political legitimacy, allow economic activity and investment in Palestine, which would build a middle class. A state with a middle class is considerably less likely to have any interest in destabilization.

Just before the intifada began there were hints that a compromise on Jerusalem was imminent. People were looking at fig-leaf terminology that would replace the now-emotionally-laden word "sovereignty", with some kind of PA authority over East Jerusalem but Israeli security. At this time such looked reasonable given the history that had built up of joint border patrols and close relationships at high levels of government. Contrary to American impressions, though, at this time Palestinian violence was not a major problem. (Americans like to reduce the issue to "those people have been killing each other for {years|decades|centuries}", but if they're not killing each other, there's supposedly no reason for us to pay attention.) At this time the only provocation against the Oslo accords was Israel's continued establishment of settlements in the occupied territories, which has continued at approximately the same pace for the last 20 years, no matter which political party was in power or what peace process was viable. The settlements, and the infrastructure of secure highways, water supplies, fences, military guard towers, and the like are a continued provocation in the heart of Palestinian land, and our "constant ally" Israel has consistently ignored our advice to cut it the fuck out. (See earlier parenthesis for what they know will be the American reaction.)

But there's little question that the Right of Return is going to be the biggest sticking point. Many Israelis see it as a suicide pill. (Jordanians, for their part, see it as critical: most of the Israeli-land-displaced Palestinians -- some 2 million -- live in Jordan right now.) If Palestinians can return to live on their ancestral -- or close to them -- lands within Israel, and have full political rights, they will quickly overwhelm the existing Israelis both in resource demands and in political power. This will have to be renounced or reduced to a shadow of the demand if any settlement is to be achieved.

My call, from the other side of the world, is for Israel to give up the settlements in exchange for the Palestinians giving up the right of return. But I don't live there.
posted by dhartung at 1:01 PM on November 3, 2001

The idea that the Palestinians already have a state called Jordan is an old right-wing Israeli canard, you can find it in all the propaganda from the 70's. Most of them don't try it any more, but Americans haven't caught up yet.
posted by chaz at 2:21 PM on November 3, 2001

I think one problem that hampers the instinctive US response to issues of settlement in what I'll call "the Holy Land" (as a catch-all for Israel and the occupied territories) is that there ain't much land there. As the CIA Factbook puts it in its helpful parochial terms, Israel is "slightly smaller than New Jersey". Pardon the cliche, but the classic mental dichotomy often applies here: that "Americans think 100 years is a long time, and Europeans think 100 miles is a long way." So when you have Arab land claims that stretch back a century, but have been muddied by the imposition of new ("Western") standards of proof within the Israeli legal system, the issues are atrociously complex. And while the instinctive response is often to think that there's plenty of land to occupy -- after all, why are all these settlers arriving in Israel to carve out a new home for themselves? -- it's actually a region with a population density greater than anywhere in Europe except Holland and Belgium.
posted by holgate at 2:46 PM on November 3, 2001

mars, It's not racist? Okay, all settlers and anyone immigrating under the auspices of becoming a US citizen need to leave the US, as well as dismantle the government and give he country back to Native Americans. A genocide was waged to win it from the indiginous people, millions if not billions of dollars have been stolen. The only way to make peace is for the invaders to leave.

This was pretty much the ideology of American Indian Movement a few decades ago. But apparently this is not worthy of serious comment. On the other hand, a mass of Arabs displaced from their home by settlers — who turned into an oppressive regime — isn’t ridiclious, nor is it insulting.

lizs, I’ve heard that shibboleth about bin Laden never caring about Palestinians previous to September. It’s bullshit used mostly by people who are trying to denounce moderation in the Mid East. There’s many quotes made by bin Laden about Israel.

“[I]f the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. ... through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.” bin Laden, 2/98

So either Mubarak is misinformed or lieing; He certainly isn’t astute.

“Americans think 100 years is a long time, and Europeans think 100 miles is a long way.” So true.
posted by raaka at 4:09 PM on November 3, 2001

Just to add to my earlier comment about settlement rights: it ties into Hernando de Soto's thesis that the failure of capitalism in the developing world stems from its lack of a legal framework to guarantee property: in short, you transform the labour and effort of the poor into the basis of self-enrichment by underwriting it with title deeds. The poor often aren't poor because they're lazy or lacking skill: it's because they can't turn their accrued possessions into liquid capital, or use them to guarantee investment. And what you can see in the creation of the state of Israel is precisely what happens when you establish one big European title deed -- starting with the Balfour Declaration -- and then institute a European system of subsidiary property ownership upon a region that survived for centuries on extra-legal "customary" rights. (As was the case, much more explicitly, with the dispossession of the American Indians and other indigenous peoples.) It's this clash of systems which, now, continues to impoverish the occupied territories, and empower the militants who present themselves (falsely) as the protectors of the Palestianians.
posted by holgate at 9:17 PM on November 3, 2001

Israel became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., two thousand years before the rise of Islam.

Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

The P.L.O.'s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them with weapons.

Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.
posted by redhead at 8:51 PM on November 4, 2001

Redhead, you are aware that everything you cut-and-pasted into MetaFilter is a lie or half-truth, and are easily refutable, aren't you? Here's one page(word doc) that answers your exact copy-and-paste.

There are genuine arguments that exist in relation to this issue on both sides, it does no one any good to copy-and-paste old propaganda here, and only does your argument a disservice.
posted by chaz at 11:09 PM on November 4, 2001

the reason for the post was not to be argumentative.
I wasn't sure where to find the opposing arguments and I was hoping someone like yourself would point me in the right direction.
posted by redhead at 5:12 PM on November 6, 2001

The idea that the Palestinians already have a state called Jordan is an old right-wing Israeli canard

Why is it a canard? The West Bank belonged to Jordan, and Gaza to Egypt. East Jerusalem was part of Jordan. And in any case, most of the countries in the region are 20th Century creations, including Jordan and Syria. And of course, Israel. So the canard is not a canard. QUACK QUACK.

In theory, the existence of Jordan doesn't negate the right of occupants in the West Bank and Jordan to have their own state (just as white people in North America have the US and Canada), but it does reduce the importance of having it. On the other hand, the democratic/economic disaster which is the Mideast should not be "enhanced" with a SECOND Palestinian state. Yes, a S E C O N D Palestinian state.

posted by ParisParamus at 8:03 PM on November 6, 2001

sorry for the unclosed italics tag.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:04 PM on November 6, 2001

And in today's news, the Bush administration starts getting serious. Finally: Arafat cannot purport to help the U.S. in its war against Qaida on one hand, but at the same time "embrace Hezbollah and Hamas"
posted by ParisParamus at 7:37 PM on November 8, 2001

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