Hillary Clinton has spoken on the future of the West Bank, and her message couldn’t be more clear. In an interview with Atlantic Monthly journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, the ex-Secretary of State declared: “If I were Prime Minister of Israel, you’re damned right I would expect to have control over security on the West Bank”. But for how long? On this point, Hillary equivocated. Yet her message was profoundly telling. As long as the Muslim extremists remain on the ascendancy, Israel can little afford to let down its guard by retreating to the “suicide lines” of 1967. For Mrs. Clinton, Hamas and ISIS are one and the same. “Jihadist groups are governing territory. They will never stay there, though. They are driven to expand. This jihadism shows up in many contexts, but whether in Gaza, Syria or Iraq,” Mrs. Clinton says, “it’s all one big threat”.
But if Hamas and ISIS are one and the same, what does that say about the true aims of the Palestinian people? At least 50% of them support Hamas, and that figure is rising, not falling. Don’t be surprised if, in the course of the next year, Hamas operatives (from its political wing) agree to a long-standing Hudna (truce) with Israel. This so-called truce might even include a tacit and temporary approval for the idea of an Israeli retreat from the West Bank.
Don’t be fooled. The final intention of nearly all the Palestinian people toward Israel is indeed liberation. Oslo aside, the goal of the Palestinian Liberation Organization has always remained constant. But the projection of moderation is a perpetual tactic in a “strategy of stages”. So-called Palestinian “moderates” have invaded Washington over the last twenty years and now occupy most of the Liberal think tanks and a good share of the Liberal media. Their message is one of peace and reconciliation. But there is a far more sinister side to the message, and it involves the security of the West Bank. The PLO has long believed that the key to the liberation of Palestine (all of Israel) is Palestinian sovereignty over the West Bank. Make no mistake, the West Bank and the East Bank are linked, and whoever controls the West Bank will eventually control the East Bank.
Enter the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood. This group is predominately Palestinian, and very much anti-Israel. Hamas and the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood are, for all practical purposes, one and the same. Even if the US Liberal think tanks and media had their way, and a West Bank Palestinian state were to be established, what would prevent an East Bank Hamas surge from overthrowing the Jordanian king in Amman? In other words, there is nothing in the concept of a West Bank Palestinian state to prevent the election of Hamas or the concomitant demands of their East Bank cohorts for democracy. Furthermore, with the future of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and potentially Jordan in doubt, Israel would have to be insane to aspire to the idea of a West Bank Palestinian state.
Yet this tired, outmoded paradigm continues to be the word out of Liberal Washington. The misinformed pundits simply won’t quit. “Only a West Bank Palestinian state can solve the problem of the Israeli occupation,” they say. This has become their constant refrain. But do they have an answer for Hamas? And do they understand the sequence of events that their so-called “solution” is certain to have on their ally, Jordan? The short answer is no, they don’t! Jordan has always been vulnerable to the Palestinian cause. A West Bank Palestinian state can only exacerbate that dimension. If a West Bank state were to have elections, what would prevent the East Bank populace from demanding the very same thing? Can you imagine the security threat to Israel with Hamas and the Brotherhood on both banks of the Jordan River? Israel’s days would be numbered.
Hillary Clinton is attempting to put some realism back into the foreign policy projections of the Democratic Party. When it comes to Israel, this is long overdue. A new vision is needed both for the region and for the idea of a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unlike the vast majority of her political party, at least Mrs. Clinton has begun to understand that the idea of Israel’s long-term security and the machinations of the so-called Palestinian “moderates” begin and end with Hamas. There are no Palestinian “moderates” in Jordan. And one can only wonder, how long would the hudna (truce) last before either ISIS or Iran were to show up on a truncated Israel’s nine-mile wide doorstep?
A West Bank Palestinian state is an idea whose time has come and gone. Jihadism is not new to the Middle East. It is over 1400 years old. What makes anyone think it is going to go away anytime soon, just because the Washington Liberals say so? In fact, America’s foreign policy moves throughout the region of the Middle East have been disastrous over the last two administrations. Mrs. Clinton is right when she says that “great nations need organizing principles, and ‘not doing stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle”. But if the current war with Hamas has taught us anything, it’s that a West Bank Palestinian state is a stupid idea. Right on, Mrs. Clinton — an alternative organizing principle is needed.