Palestinians don’t ‘deserve’ a State

As President Obama finished his first historic visit to Israel, the time has come to draw conclusions and elaborate positions over what has been achieved during those three days.

It is certain that the reconciliation between Turkey and the Jewish State will remain a major foreign policy success for the White House, while sides will be taken regarding the events that have marked the evolving relations between the Israel and the United States. Open discussions in all sectors are more than legitimate, yet a point should remain in the back of everybody’s mind, the general good will and partnership expressed by President Obama should not overshadow a simple reality: Palestinians don’t “deserve” a State regardless of what statesmen and commentators have been saying.

The verb “to deserve” justly expresses the complacent view a great majority of decision makers and analysts have taken in regard to the Palestinian issue. The concept of deserving puts the Palestinians in a position of complete rightfulness, as if they were a child addressing their father. By declaring that the Palestinians should deserve a State, President Obama has bypassed all historical common sense over the formation of nation states and has apparently forgotten the reasons that make the creation of such a political entity impossible.

The extent of this error is extremely grave as these words cannot and will not end up with a positive diplomatic solution and will only exacerbate the Palestinians’ will to conduct violent operations.

In order to understand why the Palestinians don’t deserve a State it is necessary to deconstruct this idea in order to dismiss it on all the different levels in a more persuasive manner.

Palestinians don’t deserve a State because they refused everything that has been offered to them in the past. From 1948 to the Georges W. Bush’s peace efforts the Palestinian leaders and their society always saw the full creation of a State neighboring the Jewish State as a national defeat since in their view it consists in the recognition and acceptance of Israel. The current PA drive for statehood simply consists in the continuation of the Arab fight against Israel by non-armed means.

Palestinians don’t deserve a State because they are not interested in abandoning terrorism. Every time Israel has given the Palestinians, either in Gaza, Judea or Samaria a tangible degree of independence, the local populations have chosen to use this greater flexibility to launch attacks against Israeli civilians. The best case supporting this view lies in the effects of Sharon’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. Rocket attacks, suicide bombings and stone throwing are all elements of the same reality: as soon as Israel lowers its guards, Palestinians see in it a possibility of killing civilians.

Palestinians don’t deserve a State because they are unable and unwilling to have a viable economy. The economic systems in place in Gaza, Judea and Samaria are all, to a different extent, relying heavily on the donations coming from the European Union, the Gulf Monarchies, and the United States. Very little has been done in the last decade to counter widespread corruption or propose and implement structural reforms that enable any autonomous Palestinian entity to sustain itself and provide its citizens with growth and personal satisfaction. The fact that no “Arab Spring” took place in the territories against a mafia-like set of institutions is also instrumental in understanding that the situation isn’t fundamentally rejected by Palestinians who fully realize that their economic victimization can be used as an argument against Israel.

Palestinians don’t deserve a State because they are not interested in peace. The use of death and the exaltation of martyrdom remain an axiom underlying their society. The extent to which terrorists, killers and criminals are glorified in Gaza, Judea and Samaria is not only the indicator of a perverted vision of life but it is also a key element in understanding the pathological way with which Palestinians consider their relations with Israel. From Hamas’ genocidal and destructive claims to the weekly stone throwing protests, little is done to show that the Palestinians are willing to abide by the UN first objective: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.

In addition to those points it must be underlined that no State was ever ‘given’ to a group of people ‘deserving’ it. The legitimate struggle of oppressed nations led to the rise of nation states in the 19th century Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall led to the independence of formerly occupied countries yet never before in History did the international order favor the creation of a belligerent, economically unstable and politically fragile state simply because the people living in certain regions supposedly “deserved” it.

If the creation of a Palestinian State appears to be inevitable at present, it must be made clear it isn’t in itself a reward granted to Palestinians’ illegal activities and terrorist attacks. It must be made clear that the world does not embrace a vision in which success lies in the death of civilians. If not then “deserving” a State can lead to a precedent with tremendous repercussions in international relations

About the Author
Riccardo Dugulin is an independant international affairs analyst. He holds a Master in International Security from the Paris School of International Affairs (Sciences Po) and has worked in leading think tanks in Washington DC, Beirut and Dubai and has held the position of security coordinator for a security assistance firm.