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Archive for April, 2010

A sovereign Palestinian state is the key to Israel’s survival

The declaration by the Palestinian prime-minister Salam Fayyad in the Israeli daily Haaretz that he will declare an independent Palestinian state by 2011, with or without Israeli agreement should be taken seriously. It comes only days before Jordanian King Abdullah said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that Israel’s long-term survival is at stake. The situation on the ground between Israel and the Palestinian areas has made the creation of a Palestinian state an absolute necessity to Israel’s survival. Sheer demographics in the combined Israel / Palestinian Authority areas effectively mean that there are now more Palestinians in the combined area than there are Israelis. However, those people are effectively unable to control their destiny and the international community is increasingly getting impatient with the situation. The longer it takes to create a Palestinian state, the more difficult it will be possible to create one. If no state is created, Israel has no choice but to absorb the Palestinian population in the West Bank, including Jerusalem and afford them equal rights to its own citizens. This effectively means Israel will no longer be a Jewish state as in less than ten years, more than 50% of the combined population will be non-Jewish.

Fayyad himself is not in a strong position. Although he has the support of the international community including the US and EU, he is very weak locally. His party won only 2 seats in the Palestinian parliament, with less than 4 percent of the total vote. He therefore needs the support of the Israelis if his plan to create a state is to succeed. If this does not happen soon, before his supposedly interim government is out of office, creating a Palestinian state will become almost impossible. The Israeli government needs to look at the long-term survival of Israel rather than the survival of an extreme right-wing government. This may only come with the diehard supporters of Israel in Europe, namely the Eastern European countries and Germany, standing up to the Netanyahu government. By blindly giving the false sense of security to Israel, even at a time when the US and UK have become increasingly vocal in their opposition to Israeli anti-Palestinian policies, they are helping Israel commit suicide. A united position of the international community may be the only way the right wing government of Israel can justify taking pro-Palestinian state steps to its constituents. There is very little time left and if Fayyad is out of power or the current Israeli government plans to make a viable and sovereign Palestinian state are slowly implemented on the ground, the unusually pessimistic prediction of King Abdullah may increasingly become more likely.

It may sound like an exaggeration, but Israel’s long-term survival may depend on how strong a united EU policy is and this largely depends on Germany and the Eastern European members of the EU.

Ghanem Nuseibeh

Categories: Israel, Palestine