France knows best

France, which fancies itself an exemplar of European statesmanship and strategic thinking, has told Israel that France’s unilateral recognition of Palestine’s statehood is what’s best for Israel’s development and security. But the practical result of France and other European states coddling the Palestinian Arabs is that the Arabs have no need to compromise with Israel, without which there will never be peace.

On November 28, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the National Assembly, “‘If this final effort to reach a negotiated solution [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority-PA] fails, then France will have to do what it takes by recognizing without delay the Palestinian state.’ Fabius told the National Assembly the government wanted to increase its involvement in the international effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 1)

On December 2, the parliament approved France’s symbolic recognition of a Palestinian state, becoming the 135th country to do so, albeit only symbolically. (Sweden is the only major Western country to officially recognize “Palestine,” the new-minted Swedish government having having made that pronouncement its first order of business!)

France would love to “increase its involvement” in Israel’s affairs. But why would Israel even dream of allowing that country, or others in the EU, to have a hand in helping to determine Israel’s development and security? France and most of its fellow EU members have firmly and consistently placed themselves on the side of the Palestinian Arabs.

True to form, Fabius said, “France wants to bring together the European Union, the Arab League, the permanent members of the Security Council – which includes the United States – in a collective mobilization for peace in the Middle East.” [Israel not included.] In fact, with the exception of America, all of the parties that are trying to determine what happens to “Palestine” are already allied with the Arabs: Russia, the EU, and naturally, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

“Fabius told the National Assembly that in the past his government had supported negotiations over unilateral statehood recognition for Palestine, because it does not believe in ‘illusionary’ (sic) steps that lead only to a ‘virtual’ state.” Let’s state facts: the steps towards “peace” have been illusory, but that is more the fault of the Arabs than the Israelis. While former prime ministers Ehud Barak (2000) and Ehud Olmert (2008) both made serious compromise offers, they were summarily refused by Chairman Arafat and President Abbas respectively. Why? Because the Arabs are constitutionally unable to compromise. The Arabs want it all, “all” meaning to replace the State of Israel with either an Arab-run entity (Fatah), or a Caliphate (Hamas).

What are the attributes of a state that is not illusory? Mainly, it must have a defined territory with a cohesive population, or at least a cohesive majority; and it must have a government of laws which maintains a monopoly on power, or close to a majority.

Clearly, that is not the case with the PA (the so-called State of Palestine) nor with Hamas-ruled Gaza. True, there have been sporadic elections – the last one was held in 2006. Gaza does have a tiny defined territory, but it is ruled by Hamas, a feared terrorist organization. The much larger PA has full civil and security control in Area A, per the Oslo Accords, which constitute more than 90% of the Arab population but only 3% of the area of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). The PA population appears to be about equally divided between supporters of the Fatah and Hamas organizations, with usually violently opposed philosophies, though both aim to eradicate Israel. Laws? There are some, but neither area has a judiciary that is close to acceptable by Western standards.

France’s Fabius maintained, with a straight face, that a vote in support of Palestine as a state would not be a vote against Israel. According to him and his cohorts in the EU, “The greatest danger is the status quo.” I can think of many more dangerous scenarios in this region than the status quo in Israel. Under the present conditions, the PA is one of the safest Arab territories in the Middle East. Look at Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, for example, where Arabs murder each other with sickening regularity. Even Gaza is better off than those countries, because Gaza’s leaders can decide whether or not it will be attacked by Israel (in self defense). If no rockets are fired from Gaza into Israel, and no terror attacks emanate from Gaza (or Sinai) into Israel, then Gazans have little to fear.

Israelis understand that France has a 10% Muslim populations, but that is its internal problem and shouldn’t be an excuse for pressuring Israel to endanger its existence by helping to install a terror regime on its borders. Nor does never applying pressure help the Palestinian Arabs, who are fed a steady diet of fantasy by both the EU and the United Nations. No matter what they say, there will be no right of return of Arabs to Israel, nor a Palestinian state dedicated to destroying Israel. A possible goal for the Palestinians is autonomy as a peaceful entity cooperating with Israel and other neighboring states, although even that seems fanciful given the intransigence of Arab negotiators.

Now, with the Middle East in its present state of internecine, horrific warfare and no clear winners in sight, is exactly the wrong time for outsiders to butt in, trying to impose an impossible “solution” to an intractable problem. Forcing Israel will not work, nor will giving the Palestinian Arabs a “free ride” with no pressure to come to terms. Israel is better off with the status quo, during which it has managed to become one of the most amazing success stories since the end of WWII. Judging by their violent Arab neighbors, the people in the PA are also better off living in an entity protected by Israel. Otherwise, they might be killing each other with the same ferocity as their Arab cousins.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.