Bring up the subject of a Palestinian state and you are virtually guaranteed to begin a heated debate at any gathering. Everybody has their own idea of who is to blame for the frozen negotiations, what it would take to restart the negotiations, where to place borders, all the way to whether the Palestinians who resort to violence terrorists or freedom fighters and millions of arguments inbetween. What is almost never discussed is the period after such a state would be formed and what a future with a country Palestine formed and independent alongside of Israel. This should be a situation that should be given serious consideration before even thinking of entering any negotiations which could result in allowing such a state to come into existence.
Everybody gets all stuck on things such as placement of borders, control over the Holy Basin and the Old City of Jerusalem. Another important debate concerns the Right of Return of Palestinian refugees into Israel, a really hot button issue. But it is rarely discussed except as an alternative to the Right of Return is allowing the refugees to return into the newly founded Palestinian state. This issue should not be seen as an alternative to the Right of Return for refugees to inside Israel but what allowing them to return from the numerous camps into Palestine would mean going forward. The Palestinian state will have sufficient problems becoming economically viable with its current population but should another five plus million Palestinian refugees who likely have few employable skills after spending their entire lives sequestered in camps where they were denied virtually all basic rights with extreme limitations on employment positions that were permitted. The plight of the Palestinian refugees who were kept almost in prison camp conditions in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and others have been denied any opportunities to live a normal life. Considering the population of Palestinians currently in the West Bank and Gaza is currently approaching five million so if all the refugees kept in camps in other countries were to return the population would basically double. With the current unemployment in the Palestinian population approaching twenty percent, adding in such a large number of new refugees who would also pose a challenge to find appropriate employment along with the fact that once the Jewish businesses are moved back behind the borders, many of the Palestinians employed in these industrial parks will end up losing their jobs as the border between Palestine and Israel will not likely be very porous. But the real problem would come much later down the road.
The one prediction which many people hold is that whatever form the Palestinian state ends up taking, if it is designed to be a stand-alone entity then it very likely will become a nonfunctional state as the foreign aid from the world began to dwindle. As the state began to experience life without the financial support it currently enjoys there would be those who would turn to terrorism as old habits die hard. Should things get really bad, desperate even, and terrorism rose to a level similar to either intifada, then it may become necessary that Israel make an incursion into the Palestinian state even if it meant causing a war. The likelihood of such becoming a reality is increased when one recalls that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Salafist groups, and even Fatah and the PLO which make up much of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank have all reserved the right to continue the struggle until they have liberated all of Palestine from the River to the Sea. That alone is a guarantee that terrorism is planned to continue even after the Palestinian state has been established. So, with this as the likely scenario, what would be the result?
Should Israel face an ever growing terrorism problem where the attacks of any form, be they suicide bombers, rockets or full-fledged incursions by armed groups raiding and terrorizing Israeli citizens, destroying property, burning crops, and stealing herds, eventually Israel would have to respond with the IDF. Once the Palestinians are living in their own universally recognized state then any terrorist attacks would be tantamount to an act of war. A repeated and growing terrorist threat would definitely be interpreted as acts of war. What would be the result if Israel had to take military interventions to attempt to destroy terrorist infrastructure? How would the world react in such an instance? Taking into consideration how the world reacts to current uses of force by Israel in response to terrorist attacks, any such endeavor by Israel would probably result in the United Nations holding panicked meetings to determine how to prevent Israel from simply annexing the Palestinian areas undoing everything that it took to establish the Palestinian state. And what might be even worse is if Israel intervention did result in the annexation of the Palestinian areas sending everything back to square one, there would be a dangerous difference as the Palestinian population would be double resulting from the refugee influx. This would mean that Israel would find it necessary to monitor and police twice the number population while attempting to pacify any terrorist cells or forces. Such a situation would be today’s problems on steroids with demonstrations and riots reaching levels and sizes which would eventually result in a situation where the resultant casualties could easily become horrific. Such a calamity would be guaranteed if the Palestinians used a similar tactic as was utilized during the second intifada where men with semi-automatic and full-automatic assault rifles stayed concealed behind youths both male and female and would open up when the from behind the youths throwing rocks and bricks waiting to get in close range and then open fire. These situations potentially become high casualty clashes with very unfortunate results. Simply put, allowing a Palestinian state has problems of unimaginable proportions should the full numbers of refugees be allowed to be repatriated into the Palestinian state. It would be advantageous to address this potential situation before allowing the formation of the Palestinian state and set a reasonable number on the refugees allowed to return while making as many as possible to be finally absorbed by their host nations just as Israel absorbed and repatriated the nearly eight-hundred-thousand plus refugees who entered Israel from the combined expulsions and other violent actions taken by the Arab and Muslim world in the first decade after the formation of Israel. This is something that should have been addressed long ago but instead the Arab and Muslim world made the fateful decision that the Palestinian refugees and their families for the ensuing generations were to be utilized as a bludgeon with which to pound Israel rather than accept them as fellow human beings and shown them the respect due any person, especially those who turn to you for help. But we must deal with things as they are, not as we would have wished them to be. The problem is that now these unfortunate victims have swelled in numbers to the point that they are now potential human threats to the possibilities for a successful Palestinian state in the future.
Beyond the Cusp