Is Palestinian Statehood Still a Valid Option?

(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Zalman Shoval - The cornerstone of Hamas' program, its very raison-d'etre, is the destruction of Israel, replacing it with an Islamist, fundamentalist, intolerant state reaching from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River and beyond. The dominant theme of all their statements includes no territorial compromise - no peace even if Israel were to hand over all the territories and eastern Jerusalem; at most, some sort of temporary armistice (hudna). The world attaches much too great an importance to the question of whether Hamas will recognize Israel's right to exist. Israel doesn't need approval from the likes of Hamas - rather it's the other way around: Should Israel recognize, under present circumstances, the Palestinians' right to a state? The fact that Hamas and its future government refuse to take upon themselves the most fundamental obligations under the "roadmap," let alone previous agreements such as Oslo, Paris, Wye, and Sharm E-Sheik, and to do away with the "right of return," dictates a reevaluation of Palestinian statehood as an American and Israeli goal. An often-cited argument for Palestinian statehood is that it would solve the Palestinian refugee problem once and for all. Yet it should be clear to anyone that the future Palestinian state won't be able, economically and demographically, to absorb more than about 10-15 percent of the total refugee population, and the refugee issue will continue to be a ticking time-bomb endangering the stability of the whole Middle East. Putin's invitation to Hamas to visit the Kremlin is part of the former Soviet, as well as the present Russian, government's policy to counterbalance America's dominance in the world by establishing a political base for itself in the Arab and Islamic worlds - thus Iran, thus Hamas.

2006-03-01 00:00:00

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