The assumption that the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel is the solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict is both counterproductive and false.

The new Barack Obama Administration, like many governments around the world fully supports the Palestinians’ aspiration of having their own state in the Middle East.

The United States and the West are now exerting heavy pressure on Binyamin Netanyahu and his government to accept the two-state solution and to facilitate the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the Arab neighborhoods and villages of Jerusalem.

Their efforts are based on the belief that a Palestinian state would end the Israeli-Arab conflict and pave the way for peace and stability in the region.

But there is good reason to believe that the exact opposite is true.

In fact, the establishment of a Palestinian state, at least under the current

circumstances, would lead to further instability and bloodshed in the region.

The main reason why a Palestinian state today would de-stabilize the region and aggravate tensions between Jews and Arabs is the growing popularity of radical Islamic groups, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, among the Palestinians.

Hamas already has direct control over some 1.3 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip - about half of the Palestinian population living in the Palestinian territories. With the help of Iran, Syria, Sudan, Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the Arab world, Hamas has recently stepped up its efforts to extend its control to the West Bank. Many Palestinian are convinced that it is only a matter of time before the Islamic movement succeeds in achieving its goal.

This means that the future Palestinian state would become an Islamic republic controlled by fundamentalists who believe that jihad [holy war] is the only way to destroy Israel and conquer the rest of the world.

Such a state would not only pose a threat to Israel's security, it would also seek to undermine the secular regimes in neighboring Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan, the only two Arab countries that have peace treaties with the Jewish state.

The Palestinian Authority is still too weak to retain its control over the West Bank. In the summer of 2007, the Palestinian Authority's security forces surrendered to Hamas in the Gaza Strip without putting up real resistance.

The Palestinian Authority is in power in the West Bank largely thanks to the presence of the Israel Defense Forces in the area and their massive crackdown on Hamas.

The irony is that if Israel today accepts the Palestinian Authority's demand to pull out from the entire West Bank, the Palestinian Authority's chances of remaining in power would be very slim. Hamas remains popular among many Palestinians in the West Bank mainly because they still don't trust the Palestinian Authority and its leaders, whom they regard as US and Israeli puppets.

The Palestinians are today almost entirely dependent on financial aid from the US

and the West. Without some form of a confederation with Israel or Jordan, a Palestinian state would also have to rely on handouts from the US, Japan and most of the European Union countries.

The Palestinian Authority is the only regime in the Arab world whose civil servants

[about 150,000] receive their salaries from foreign governments. A Palestinian state that does not receive billions of dollars in aid from the Americans and Europeans every year will undoubtedly turn to Iran, Libya, Sudan and Syria for help.

These countries, needless to say, are not known for their great contribution to the

cause of peace and stability in the Middle East. The last thing the Palestinians want is a state that depends on Mahmoud Ahmadenijad, Muammar Qaddafi, Bashar Assad and Omar al-Bashir for its survival. Those who are pushing hard for a Palestinian state under the current circumstances should take these scenarios threats into consideration. Otherwise, the Palestinians will be the first to pay the price.

Make no mistake - I'm also not in favor of a one-state solution. A majority of Jews

and a majority of Palestinians are hoping for separation, not integration.

The two communities do not want to live together in a bi-national state and that is why separation is inevitable and preferable.

The Palestinians are not fighting to become Israeli citizens. Instead, they are struggling for independence from Israel. They already have their own parliament, their own security forces, their own flag and their own government.

To be more accurate, the Palestinians have at least two of each under Hamas in the Gaza Strip and under Fatah in the West Bank.

Public opinion polls in Israel show that a majority of Jews support the two-state solution not out of love for the Palestinians, but because they want to be separated from them, and that is also fine. However, there should probably be some sort of Middle Eastern Hippocratic Oath: “First do no harm”. Turning the West Bank into a second Hamastan is the last thing needed by the Palestinians, the Israelis - and the West.

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