Why is Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, determined to prevent Jews from living in the new independent Palestinian state? After all, it would solve the settlement problem if Jews were permitted to become citizens of Palestine. But that would require the new state to be democratic. It would have to honor human rights and would have to permit the Jews to vote. It would have to become as secular and democratic as Turkey, where Jews have lived for centuries.
So, instead of integrating these highly productive Jewish settlements in the West Bank into a new Palestinian state, Abbas wants them all to be dismantled. But because there are over 250,000 Jews living in those settlements, Israel is not willing to dismantle them as they did the Jewish towns in Gaza.
Indeed, the Gaza experience has created intense opposition to any such further removal of Jews from anywhere in the Holy Land. The West Bank is the heartland of the biblical Jewish commonwealth, and Zionist Jews believe that they have every right to settle and live there as they did during the days of the British Mandate.
But this is the kind of impasse that Abbas probably welcomes, because it makes it impossible for him to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel, which is what Hamas and other Islamic extremists want. They want perpetual war against Israel. That is why Abbas is seeking UN sanctioned statehood before signing a peace treaty with Israel, so that the Palestinians can continue waging war against Israel while enjoying the benefits of statehood. Should the UN approve statehood for the Palestinians before there is peace with Israel, they would be making a mockery of everything the UN is supposed to stand for. They would be taking sides in a war against a member state.
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Sam Blumenfeld (photo)