Australia is on track to recognize Palestine.
Here’s how and why we must prevent it.
Following the election of a Labor Government, pressure is building for Australia to recognize a ‘State of Palestine’. The Australian Jewish Association (AJA) approaches this issue with utmost seriousness. Creating Palestine would be a disaster for Israel, and Australian recognition will have a domino effect.
Trying to find common ground with our other communal organizations, I was disturbed by what I discovered. Incredibly, Australian Jewish communal organizations actually support the creation of a Palestinian State. Their opposition is merely based on technicalities like timing. Without a fundamental rethink, this is a battle they will lose.
The argument against a Palestinian State is simple. Judea/Samaria (West Bank) is Israel’s heartland, the cradle of Judaism. Our national and biblical history mostly takes place there. If Jews have no claim to Hebron and Shiloh, then we surely have none to Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Jews are indigenous there, (it’s called Judea for a reason). While there were many colonizing occupiers, Greek, Roman, Arab, Ottoman and British, no other nation existed there.
If moral, historical, and religious rights aren’t sufficient, security should be. Returning to the ‘Auschwitz borders’, as Abba Eban termed them, would leave Israel exposed, barely a few kilometers wide with a hostile Arab nation towering over Tel Aviv from the Judean Mountains.
Israel’s surrender of Gaza offers a small taste of what to expect: rockets, tunnels, terrorists shooting at planes leaving Ben Gurion airport. As with Gaza, Israel would be forced into a never-ending cycle of mini-wars. The righteous anger of the world would be evoked each time Israel responded to unprovoked attack.
2-staters claim Israel’s security is a reasonable trade-off for Arab human rights. But will removing Israel benefit Palestinian Arabs? Ask the Arabs of Gaza how their lives improved when Israel left.
Before creating the next failed Arab state, let’s pause and think, what will it be modelled after? Can you name any Arab democracy?
Who would govern this new nation? Hamas, the terrorists elected to government in Gaza, or perhaps Holocaust-denier Mahmoud Abbas, serving his 18th year of a 4-year term.*
Activists pushing their 2-state solution ignore the human rights of almost 1 million Jews living over the Green Line. A Jew mistakenly entering an Arab village has a good chance of being lynched by a mob. The brutal 1929 Pogrom against the ancient Hebron Jewish community, would be the fate befalling any Jew abandoned to a Palestinian State.
The Western Wall is on the ‘wrong’ side of the arbitrary Green Line, claimed for Palestine. There’s no need to speculate what would happen should Israel ever abandon it. Israel surrendered Joseph’s Tomb to the Palestinian Authority in return for their guarantee to protect Jewish religious rights. Jews who pray there are regularly shot, maimed, and sometimes murdered. Before suggesting ‘international guarantees’, first, speak to a Ukrainian or an Afghan woman to see how those work out. Of course, we needn’t look that far afield, the United Nations peacekeeper force in Lebanon has done a spectacular job observing, as terrorist organization Hezbollah amassed 150 thousand missiles, aimed at Israel.
Establishing Palestine would be a disaster, but even talking about it is dangerous. Each round of peace talks and Israeli concessions was repaid with exploding buses in Tel Aviv.
Not just a naïve meaningless gesture, Australia would become the only Western country besides Sweden to recognize the additional Arab state. This would have international repercussions. New Zealand would immediately follow, and once the floodgates open, countries like Canada, Japan and the UK may too.
Can communal bodies prevent this?
In conversations with politicians, I hear a similar refrain, that AJA is the only significant communal organization advocating against the 2-state solution. How can this be? Privately, some politicians admit that they aren’t sold on the idea, but wouldn’t speak out against it when Jewish leaders are united in support.
Every major Australian Jewish organization publicly supports the creation of a Palestinian State. They’ve swallowed the 2-state delusion, hook, line, and sinker, painting themselves into a corner. Now, in trying to prevent Labor recognizing one, they can only argue on technicalities, that the ‘timing is wrong’. As a Zionist, I don’t buy that, and I don’t expect any Labor MP to.
Our opponents use emotional language like ‘Apartheid’, ‘human rights’, and ‘colonization’. If the strongest response Zionist groups have, is that the timing isn’t right, they can’t win. If we won’t speak with conviction about our indigenous right to the land, we can’t expect others to.
Can we really challenge the 2-state orthodoxy?
While establishment Jewish groups toe the same line, and European colonialist nations relish kicking indigenous Jews off their land, the 2 State solution is unpopular in the Middle East. Both previous Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet and frontrunner for next Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu oppose the stale 2-state solution. In fact, parties supporting 2-states are polling at record lows, a truly fringe position.
It’s not just Israelis rejecting the two-state delusion.
Palestinian Arabs, on the rare occasion they can vote, overwhelmingly choose parties opposed to the 2-state solution, like Hamas.
President Trump opened the floodgates, and increasingly Republicans openly flout the 2-state orthodoxy. Betting markets have them retaking Congress this year, and the Presidency in 2024, so we should be listening.
Trump’s Abraham Accords changed the paradigm, showing peace is possible by discarding preconceived notions. By thinking outside the box. he untangled the idea of peace from the 2-state fixation, and it paid off. Israel now has ties with the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan and the Middle East is better off for it.
The same handwringers who feared recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, predict all sorts of doom if Israel strays from the 2-state gospel. Sure, the Palestinian Authority will drag Israel through international courts, foreign media will slander, and radical Democrats in the ‘Squad’ will chastise, but all of those things happen already.
2-state advocates have catastrophized about the Arab birth rate for decades, bordering on racism. A strong, confident Israel needn’t worry about other people’s breeding habits.
Labor’s policy platform calls for recognition of Palestine. We should take them at their word. Anyone who understands the implications of a Palestinian State is rightfully fearful. It’s been clear for several years what a Labor victory means. It’s less clear that Jewish leaders can effectively counter this threat. I’m not disparaging communal leaders. They work tirelessly, but their argument isn’t compelling. Why should the Albanese Government withhold recognition, only for some future government to take the credit?
Our communal bodies must grasp the urgency and repercussions of Australia changing its policy. Instead of arguing that the timing isn’t right, they should argue on principles. They should abandon their outdated 2-State delusion and instead unapologetically advocate for Jewish indigenous rights to our Homeland, including its heartland Judea and Samaria. A start would be bringing themselves to use those historic and Jewish names, rather than the foreign, imposed term, ‘West Bank’. Fresh thinking is needed because continuing down this path will lead to Australia recognizing a Palestinian State, increased bloodshed and potentially a rupture in bilateral relations.
* AJA is in possession of a legal opinion that the PA meets the definition of a terrorist organization under Australian law. It’s likely that for political reasons Australia will not proscribe the PA.