The European and American attempts to impose an academic and economic boycott on Israel increase in direct proportion to the signs that the Palestinian-Israel peace process is sinking into the mud. Boycotts, however, will simply make the Israelis more obstinate and worsen the situation. President Obama tried to reassure Israel recently by promising that the future final status agreement would not turn the West Bank into "a replica of Gaza." He was referring to the rockets the Palestinians began launching from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory as soon as Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, and stressed that in any peace agreement, the United States would not allow another Palestinian terrorist state, this one in the West Bank, to shell Israel.
The Israelis, who have already agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state bordering on Israel, justifiably demand that it be demilitarized and that Israel itself be responsible for security along the Jordan Valley. Their demand is based on past experience and meant to prevent rockets, mortar shells, explosives and arms in general from being smuggled into the West Bank from Jordan. The Palestinians' outright rejection of Israel's demands might well raise suspicions in the objective observer. The Palestinians claim that Israel has a peace agreement with Jordan and therefore should have no fear that weapons will be smuggled into the West Bank. Such a claim is made only by those who conveniently forget about the thousands of rockets and other weapons used by Palestinian terrorists to attack Israel, many of which have been smuggled into Gaza from Egypt, which also has a peace agreement with Israel.
Mahmoud Abbas not only refuses to recognize the State of Israel as the national homeland of the Jews, but, notably, he demands that Israel be forced to absorb millions of Palestinians as part of the so-called "right of return," instead of demanding, more naturally, that they be absorbed into the future Palestinian state -- all the while demanding that there be no Jews in the Palestinian state
What the Palestinians do not yet understand is that the West is losing both interest in and patience for the Palestinian cause. Millions of refugees, an unprecedented number since the 1930s, are massed at borders and seeking ports of entry all over the world. Today, millions of starving Syrian refugees -- having become burdens threatening the internal security and economies of countries such as Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and even Bulgaria -- are freezing in cardboard cartons and flimsy tents.
Millions of Africans crowd into leaky boats and then drown seeking the shores of Europe, where they hope to find a decent living, while others are interned and humiliated by the Italian authorities on the island of Lampedusa. No one seems to care that in the Arab countries, masses of Muslims die in terrorist attacks at the hands of other Muslims.
In the meantime, industriously ignoring these humanitarian catastrophes, the West closely focuses on what it likes to call "finding a solution for the Palestinian problem." This focus has nothing to do with concern for the Palestinian people; it is rather a symptom of the West's complete inability to cope with the world's genuine refugee problems.
Only few of the real Arab refugees from the 1948 war in Palestine remain, and would be at least 65 years old today if their families had left when the Arab leadership called on the Arabs to flee from Palestine. All those who fled were promised that once the Arab armies won the war and slaughtered or expelled the Jews, they would return to their homes and could loot and despoil Jewish property as they pleased. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs therefore abandoned their homes in 1948 and settled in the neighboring countries, eventually engendering millions of descendants who have built their lives in the host countries and need only to receive citizenship.
The United States and the Arab countries perpetuate the issue of the so-called "Palestinian refugees" with the aid they give to relief organizations, primarily UNRWA. They waste time, money and energy on the Palestinians, in both "Palestine" and other countries, and delay interminably the day when the descendants of the original refugees become citizens of the Arab countries in which they now live. It should be recalled that the Arabs who did not flee from Palestine in 1948, now live in Israel where they make up one-fifth of the population, hold equal rights to the Jews there, have their own political parties, members of Knesset, judges on the Supreme Court, senior diplomatic posts, serve in the army only if they so wish, and are welcomed in all leading professions, including professorships in university and as senior physicians in Israeli hospitals.
Perpetuating the status of "refugee" to five generations of their descendants means the Palestinians and the West continue to foster the false hope of the "right of return," making it increasingly difficult to offer these poor souls -- whose ancestors chose to chose to displace themselves - the right to a productive life, as all other refugees and their descendants enjoy in the countries to which they went.
The Americans and Europeans cynically manipulate the Palestinians, as nothing more than insignificant pawns in the plot to prolong and escalate the Arab-Israeli conflict in order to justify their continued involvement in the Middle East; in reality, their motives are in no way humanitarian.
President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Oval Office in 2009. (Image source: Official White House photo)
The lack of a solution for the Palestinian problem is a tragedy; the situation should sadden every Arab with a conscience. The Palestinian leadership and interested parties throughout the Arab-Muslim world delude the Palestinians into thinking that some day in the slight-of-hand foggy future they will return to "Palestine," that is, the territory of the State of Israel. They manipulate the Palestinians even as it is perfectly clear to the entire world that the Jews will never agree to absorb the millions of descendants of the 1948 Palestinians refugees who today live in the Arab countries: to do so would mean destroying Israel by flooding it with its enemies. If the West were genuinely interested in peace in the Middle East, its top priority would be to clarify the situation for the Palestinians and campaign for their citizenship in the Arab world. It is clear, therefore, that the ultimate goal of the West, and particularly Europe, is to destroy Israel by using the descendants of these Palestinians as weapons -- first of displacement, then extermination. One need only look at how Muslims are currently treating Christians, as well as other Muslims -- as there no longer any Jews to speak of; as the saying goes: "First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people" -- in countries as diverse as the Sudan, Nigeria, Iraq, Mauritania and Egypt.
International law does not allow refugee status to be inherited, but both the West and our Palestinian brothers continue to use the unjustified and incidentally illegal status of refugees as profitable political-economic merchandise. The corrupt agencies of the United Nations, particularly UNRWA, perpetuate and fatten themselves on the obscene amounts of money flowing into the "Palestinian problem," which for years has not been a humanitarian issue. The Palestinian problem is nowhere on the agenda of the Arab countries, which are caught up in the internal chaos created by the Arab "Spring," and instead has become a lucrative economic project for a whole series of racketeers, robbing the millions of genuine refugees around the globe, many of who are also Arabs, of their rights.
The situation in Europe is complex and complicated. Thousands of immigrants knock on the gates of the West in search of employment and a better life, even though the West itself is on the brink of bankruptcy. To them, compared to the countries they are fleeing, the West still looks like paradise. The Europeans have also muddied the definition of "refugees seeking political asylum" -- people who genuinely need protection from persecution. Those who go westward in search of work cross many poor countries where they are not in danger yet claim, unjustly, that they are refugees fleeing for their lives. This confusion also makes it difficult for the West to solve the problem of millions of genuine refugees who clearly are in imminent danger.
The worst problem of all, however, is the cynical game of manipulating world public opinion played by the rival Palestinian leaders in their undying efforts to perpetuate the Palestinian issue, which has now become big business, to ensure it is never resolved. Not only is Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the Palestinian Authority, not considered the legitimate leader of the West Bank and was never elected in a fair and honest election, but the Palestinians dispersed among the various Arab countries, and especially the West Bank and Gaza, do not consider him as representing them. They oppose any political arrangement with Israel for fear it might interfere with the glittering hypnotic promises of their return to "Palestine."
Mahmoud Abbas undoubtedly knows that the instant he signs an agreement with Israel, the Palestinian terrorist organizations will assassinate him. No Palestinian will agree to an arrangement that would limit his return to the future Palestinian state, currently the territory of the State of Israel.
No Palestinian leader will recognize Israel and certainly not one of them will agree to the final, definite end of the conflict. Mahmoud Abbas' refusal to recognize Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people, his refusal to waive "the refugees' right of return," his refusal to stop adding to his endless list of demands to end the conflict and his refusal to allow Israel to oversee the Jordan Valley are all proof that the Palestinians' plan to destroy the State of Israel has not been altered since its inception, even if perhaps its methodology has been tweaked from time to time.
The real tragedy is that nowhere on the Palestinian horizon is there a mechanism in place for a democratic way to end the conflict. Many Palestinians favor the violent, radical Salafist-jihadi agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, while others reject the Islamist agenda and its lifestyle. The conflict between the two has trapped and dead-ended the Palestinians.
The Gaza Strip has been under the control of Islamists for years, and they are gradually taking over towns and cities in the West Bank. It is this situation that prevents the fractured Palestinian leadership from reaching an internal reconciliation and constructing a model for united governance that could end the confrontation between the Jews and the Palestinians. It is clear that if elections were held today in the West Bank, Hamas and other Salafist-jihadi organizations would win. It would seem there is only one model around which Palestinians can unite: the desire to end not their conflict but rather the State of Israel. The Jews are fully aware of the Palestinian model and refuse to accept any arrangement that will endanger their security.
Thus, tragically, Palestinian politics are at the moment leading the Palestinian people nowhere. It was recently made known that the Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, who lob rockets into Israel and mine the security fence separating Israel from Gaza, are currently having shortages of electricity, concrete, fuel and food -- the result of flooding caused by recent severe rainstorms. Faced with insurmountable problems, the Hamas leaders turned, indirectly, to Israel for help.
For years Hamas has been guilty of the criminal neglect of the people who live under its rule, and now its leaders are calling for help, claiming that they are "besieged" -- by the Egyptians as well as the Israelis -- and that they are facing a "humanitarian crisis," and are prepared to accept aid from Israel, but only secretly!
Since the violent takeover of the Gaza Strip, Hamas has poured millions of tons of concrete into building tunnels, the sole purpose of which is to provide easy access for terrorist operatives seeking to infiltrate into Israel. Hamas could have used the concrete to build houses, schools and hospitals, but instead diverted it to terrorism. Hamas evidently far prefers to spend its billions on weapons it can use against Israel rather than on the agriculture, economy, health and welfare of the people who are dependent on it.
In the meantime, while the Palestinian Authority announced that it did not intend to pay the salaries of its Gazan employees, it was Israel that recently agreed to help Hamas out of its difficulties and provide it with fuel, concrete, medicine and food, despite the fact that throughout the years Hamas has killed hundreds of Israelis with its rockets, bombs and suicide bombers and is still overtly planning to wipe Israel off the map. How lucky for the Palestinians that their enemies are the Jews. While the Palestinian and Islamic terrorist organizations plan their attacks on Israeli civilians, the government of the Israeli occupation, despite the apparent indifference of their leaders, regards the Palestinians themselves as human beings.
The rampant mismanagement by Europe, the UN's treatment of the Palestinians and Mahmoud Abbas's floundering and weakness as a policy-maker have prepared the ground for a general takeover of the Palestinian issue by radical Islamic elements, and it will occur in the foreseeable future. On the West Bank it is claimed that in the meantime, only Israeli intelligence, which props up Abbas, has prevented the Islamists from taking complete control.
It is disturbing, but not surprising, that in such a complex situation people such as the EU's Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are trying to force Israel to give up assets critical to its security. They are exerting their pressure in the wrong direction: they should instead campaign for citizenship for the Palestinians in the Arab countries, a quest that would quickly clear their heads of the nonsense of the "return;" stop the tide of money flowing into UNRWA and end the fiction of the "Palestinian refugees."
As the Arab countries -- relatively new artificial creations temporarily pasted together with the lies of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, disintegrate into their original warring tribes and sects -- Ashton, Kerry, et al are nevertheless trying to create yet another artificial state, "Palestine," which will quickly become another Islamist country, officially refusing, as a matter of policy, to recognize the State of Israel and seeking to destroy it.
At his last meeting with Kerry, Abbas rejected the Israeli demand for security control along the Jordan Valley. Palestinian terrorist organizations are planning to smuggle weapons into the West Bank from Jordan and to use them to attack Israel from the east -- exactly as Hamas began attacking from the south the instant the IDF withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Obama's recent assurances that the United States will not allow the West Bank to become "a replica of the Gaza Strip" are as valid as his assurances regarding other cardinal issues, such as Syria and Iran -- further promises never kept.