By: Yoram Ettinger
Why a Palestinian state would be a threat to American, Israeli and even Arab national security.
The idea that a Palestinian state can lead to enduring peace in the Middle East has become a diplomatic obsession for American policy makers. Bringing such a state into being has become the equivalent of finding the Holy Grail. In fact, however, a Palestinian state would not only fail to bring peace and stability to the region, but would make it an even more dangerous place than it already is. And ironically, given its adamant backing for a government that would have been led by Yasser Arafat and now would be headed by Abu Mazen, U.S. support for the creation of â€œPalestine,â€ which would immediately ally itself with and become a client of rivals and enemies of America such as Iran, would harm American, Israeli, and even Arab interests.
The history of the PLO’s Abu Mazen â€“ who is hailed by the US administration as a peaceful leader â€“ tells us something important about the likely character of a Palestinian state. As a graduate of Moscow University (Ph.D. thesis: Holocaust Denial) and a beneficiary of KGB training, he managed the logistics of the Munich Massacre of eleven Israeli athletes in 1972. He was the architect of PLO ties with ruthless communist regimes until 1989 and, since 1993, a series of PLO accords with Hamas. In 1950, 1966 and 1970, he was forced to flee Egypt, Syria and Jordan, respectively, for subversive activities. During the 1970s and 1980s he participated in PLO attempts to topple the Christian regime in Beirut, which resulted in the 1976 Syrian invasion of Lebanon and a series of civil wars, causing close to 200,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees. As Yasser Arafatâ€™s confidante and first deputy for over fifty years until Arafat’s death, Abu Mazen is one of the engineers of contemporary Palestinian hate education, which has become a production line for terrorists. In 1990, he collaborated with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, despite the Gulf countryâ€™s unique hospitality to 400,000 PLO-affiliated Palestinians.
This history is not that of a peace maker, and the PLO’s track record of inter-Arab treachery, non-compliance, corruption, repression and terrorism does not give evidence of peaceful Palestinian state of the future. Since its makeover from a terrorist organization to a semi-independent entity in 1993, the Palestinian Authority, which has been led by PLO graduates of terrorist bases in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and Tunisia, has become an incubator for terrorist tactics, which have been exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, England, Spain and other countries.
The 1968-70 and 1970-1982 PLO autonomy in Jordan and in Lebanon respectively provided training and inspiration for scores of international terror organizations; introduced the first wave of commercial aircraft hijackings; and facilitated the murder of 300 US Marines in the 1983 attack on the US Embassy and Marine Headquarters in Beirut. The year 1993 â€“ when the PLO catapulted to prominence â€“ marked a wave of anti-US Islamic terrorism, starting with the first bombing of the World Trace Center in 1993 and ending with the September 11 attacks.
The proposed Palestinian State would inflict destruction upon Americaâ€™s Arab allies and would enhance the fortunes of its rivals and enemies. Other states in the region know this. During the October 1994 signing of the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, top commanders of the Jordanian military urged their Israeli counterparts to stop short of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, â€œlest it destroy the [pro-US] Hashemite regime east of the River.â€ Home to the largest Palestinian community in the world, Jordan is considered by the PLO to be Palestinian land. Why would the US support the Hashemite regime on one hand, but doom it to oblivion, by promoting a Palestinian State, on the other?
Even more worrisome are the ties between the PLO and Iran. The PLO was one of the earliest allies of the Ayatollah Khomeini when he toppled the Shah of Iran in 1979. After his 2005 election to the chairmanship of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazenâ€™s first visits were to Teheran and Damascus. A Palestinian state would extend Iran’s long terrorist arm, facilitating subversive operations against pro-Western Arab regimes. It would also enable Iran to enhance its intelligence and military operations in the region, including port facilities in Gaza.
A Palestinian State would be a tailwind to insurgent terrorists in Iraq. With its long record of connections to Soviet intelligence, it would provide Russia and possibly China and North Korea with a foothold in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean at the expense of vital US interests. The increasingly Islamist and anti-US direction of Abu Mazen’s educational and media efforts indicates that a Palestinian state would export terrorism to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
The long and determined effort by American administrations to soften the Palestinian Authorityâ€™s harsh features cannot change the fact that a Palestinian State would add fuel to the fire of terrorism in the region. In tying its fortunes to the creation of such a state, the United States may be signing a suicide note for its Middle East policy.