Israel has no reason to withdraw from Judea
and Samaria. Absorbing the areas into sovereign Israel will not endanger the
President Barack Obama just made an important contribution to our understanding
of the Palestinian conflict with Israel.
Hamas ousted all PLO forces from the Gaza Strip in 2007, Gaza has operated as a
separate political entity from Judea and Samaria. Indeed, it has been a de
facto independent Palestinian state, controlled by Hamas.
only connection to Judea and Samaria has been financial. Every month, the
PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria transfers tens of
millions of dollars in US and other international donor funds to Gaza to
finance the terror state.
the clear distinction between the two areas, the US and the rest of the world
have continued to insist that an Israeli-PLO peace deal will cover Gaza as well
as Judea and Samaria. Obama always insists that a future Palestinian state must
be “territorially contiguous,” meaning in a final deal Israel will be required
to cut itself in half in order to give the Palestinians a land corridor
connecting Gaza with Judea and Samaria.
during his remarks at the Saban Forum on Saturday, Obama let the cat out of the
bag. Gaza, he admitted, is a separate entity. A peace deal, he explained, “is
going to have to happen in stages.”
sees it, a peace deal will involve an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and
Samaria. A post-Israel Judea and Samaria will be so wonderful that the Gazans
will decide to join it.
explained, “If there is a model where young Palestinians in Gaza are looking
and seeing that in the West Bank Palestinians are able to live in dignity, with
self-determination, and suddenly their economy is booming and trade is taking place
because they have created an environment in which Israel is confident about its
security and a lot of the old barriers to commerce and educational exchange and
all that has begun to break down, that’s something that the young people of
Gaza are going to want. And the pressure that will be placed for the residents
of Gaza to experience that same future is something that is going to be I think
considering whether Gazans will likely behave as Obama expects them to, we need
to consider the implications of his assertion that Gaza will not be
automatically included in a peace deal.
and Palestinians engage one another for different reasons. Israelis are told we
need to engage the Palestinians because they pose a demographic threat to our
continued viability as a Jewish state.
remarks at the Saban Forum, Secretary of State John Kerry claimed that the
Palestinian “demographic time bomb” is an existential threat on the level of
Iran’s nuclear weapons program. If we don’t vacate Judea and Samaria as we
vacated Gaza, he warned, we will be doomed as a Jewish nation state.
Palestinians, the peace process is supposed to lead to a satisfaction of their
assumed yearning for self-determination as a nation.
demographics and Palestinian nationalism have been the basic assumptions upon
which the peace process has been based. But the Obama-recognized fact that Gaza
is a separate political entity demonstrates the emptiness of both.
truth is that the “demographic time bomb” is a PLO-concocted lie. In its 1997
census, the PLO falsified its data and inflated the number of Palestinians by
then projected natural growth and immigration rates that bore no relation
whatsoever to reality.
demography is one of Israel’s strongest advantages, not an existential threat.
Were Israel to absorb the Palestinian populations of Gaza and Judea and Samaria
tomorrow, Israel’s Jewish majority would be reduced from 78% to well over 50%.
While Israel’s Jewish identity would not be in doubt, it would be weakened.
other hand, without Gaza, there is no demographic threat to Israel’s Jewish
majority. If Israel applies its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and offers a
path to citizenship to its Palestinian residents, Israel would still retain a
two-thirds Jewish majority. And if current fertility and immigration rates
hold, within 15 to 20 years, Jews could well restore their 80 percent majority
there is the Palestinian nationalism issue.
acknowledgement that Gazans will have to be convinced to join a Palestinian
state in Judea and Samaria exposes the lie at the heart of it. Since the League
of Nations assigned both sides of the Jordan River to the Jewish people in
1922, the international community has insisted that the path to peace will be
forged by taking land from the Jews and giving it to the Arabs.
we had a two-state solution when Jordan, with its overwhelming Palestinian
majority, was carved out of the Jewish territory.
past 20 years, we have been told that we need a three-state solution with
another Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, we have had two Palestinian states – in Gaza
and Jordan. And yet, the Gazans who we are told are motivated by nationalist
aspirations have refused to declare an independent Palestinian state in Gaza.
And now Obama is talking about a four-state solution – three Palestines and one
Palestinians’ refusal to ever view the areas under their control as the focus
of their nationalist aspirations indicates that there is something awry in the
international community’s assumption that the Palestinians are motivated by
that brings us to Obama’s projection that once the Gazans see how great things
are in post-Israel Judea and Samaria, they will join the peace train. We’ve
been told things like this before.
we were told that the Palestinians as a whole would embrace peace once Israel
recognized the PLO and allowed it to set up an autonomous government in Judea,
Samaria and Gaza. In the event, the Palestinians became more violent and
radicalized and anti-Jewish under PLO rule, until in 2006 they elected Hamas to
we were told that once Israel vacated Gaza, the Gazans would abandon their war
against Israel and use their energies to transform Gaza into a Middle Eastern
Singapore. Instead they transformed it into a Middle Eastern Afghanistan.
2007, after Hamas ousted the PLO from Gaza, we were told that the international
community would pour so much money into the PLO-run PA in Judea and Samaria
that the Gazans would decide that they want the PLO back. Instead, Hamas has
grown more popular in Judea and Samaria.
other words, there is no reason to think Obama’s sunny projection is correct.
without meaning to, Obama told us the truth.
is no demographic time bomb. Israel has no reason to withdraw from Judea and
Samaria. Absorbing the areas into sovereign Israel will not endanger the
fact that the Gazans do not see themselves as part of a Palestinian state in
Judea and Samaria, (or in Jordan), shows that the Palestinian national movement
is not what it has been billed as. Obama’s four-state solution is not about
demography or Palestinian nationalism.
about making up reasons to force Israel to surrender its strategic and historic