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A PALESTINIAN STATE - MORE OBSCURE THEN EVER Print E-mail
By Jay Bushinsky
July 30, 2007
JERUSALEM -- Despite the fact that President Bush's "vision" of a Palestinian state existing in peace alongside Israel is like a desert mirage than a political probability, he continues to pursue it with the ardent support of his intrepid secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

If that state ever is born, which is uncertain if not unlikely, its period of gestation will extend far behind the end of the president's second term. The Palestinian National Authority, as it is termed officially in Arabic, has not developed as a healthy embryo for self-determination and statehood as envisioned in the Oslo Accords of 1993.

Instead of behaving like a state-in-the-making, as did the Jewish Agency for Palestine under Great Britain's League of Nations mandate over Palestine for nearly three decades, the PNA, under its founding president, the late Yasser Arafat, as well as his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, concentrated on clandestine arms procurement, nurtured home-grown militias, condoned terrorist tactics and fostered propaganda against Israel.

Even when former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ignored these and many other nefarious characteristics of the PNA's performance and gave it the entire Gaza Strip minus the Jewish settlers who had transformed the Strip's southern reaches into an agricultural Garden of Eden, the PNA allowed local outfits like the Islamic Jihad to launch missiles into Israel, often from the ruins of the abandoned settlements.
The predictable political consequence of the forced evacuation of  the Strip's entire Jewish population was Hamas' triumph in the subsequent Palestinian election.  And that seemingly-irrevocable setback to the bi-lateral peace process was followed by Hamas' military takeover of the Strip and concurrent annihilation of Abbas' loyalists who were left behind.
As a result, one of the proposed Palestinian state's two geographical components, the Gaza Strip, no longer is under the control of the PNA.  On the contrary, the Hamas honchos who seized it under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Ismail Haniya (he still insists on this meaningless title) insist that theirs is the legitimate government of the PNA.  Haniya and his confederates refused to obey Abbas' order that they step down and defer to his new government under incumbent Prime Minister Salam Fayad.

How Secretary of State Rice can reunite the rival Palestinian entities and defuse the potentially-deadly animosity between them (Hamas officials threatened to assassinate Fayad for having omitted the principle of "muqawama" (Arabic for "armed resistance" against Israel in his government's guidelines after which he backed down and announced in Cairo that "muqawama" is the right of any nation under occupation) is hard to imagine.

The secretary's humanitarian pleas that Israel facilitate the transfer of food and other essentials to the Gaza Strip have been met by intermittent mortar attacks by Palestinian gun crews who zero in on the various crossing
points.  At the same time, President Abbas was not ashamed to admit that he has no control over the terrorists who kidnapped Israeli Cpl. Gil'ad Shalit 13 months ago -- this despite the fact that the Gaza Strip, where the young soldier is being held, is part and parcel of the PNA's domain.

Perhaps the time has come for President Bush and Secretary of State Rice to back away from the sacrosanct 'two-state solution' to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and consider alternatives.  If they really cannot conceive of any, they would be wise to let the situation take its course without unwise American or other international interference or pressure.

In view of the current circumstances, it is preposterous even to hope that the complicated issues that relate to Palestinian statehood -- geographical borders, accommodation of the Arab refugee problem, demilitarization and safe passage for all in both directions -- can be resolved by the next U.S. presidential election or the end official end of President Bush's second term.

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