Gaza, a Failed Palestinian State

Would a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria be substantially different than incontestably failed one in Gaza?

By Moshe Arens

Gaza is a Palestinian state – a mini-state, if you want to be precise. A state that should be joined to the area of Judea and Samaria to form a larger Palestinian state, if you insist. But you have to admit, it is a Palestinian state. Its entire population is Palestinian. Ariel Sharon made sure that not a single Jew resides there, something that most Palestinians consider a requirement for a Palestinian state. It has a government, an army, a police force and courts that dispense justice of sorts. It is not occupied by anyone. It is a sovereign Palestinian state. For the last 10 years, Palestinians had a chance to show the world how a Palestinian government works for the benefit of the Palestinian population under its control. It is incontestably a failed state.

You protest. They are living under a blockade, you say, how can you develop under such circumstances? Well, it is hardly a blockade when almost daily, hundreds of trucks bring in produce and material, and electricity is provided from Israel. And this “blockade” is of their own making. Were it not for the arsenal of rockets being stored in Gaza, rockets that are periodically launched into towns and villages in Israel, whatever restrictions that are imposed by Israel would have been lifted long ago. And had Gaza’s rulers bothered to develop a good relationship with their Egyptian neighbors, they could have arranged for free access through the Egyptian border.

But even under present circumstances, what has the Hamas government in Gaza done for the Palestinian population there? A lot of money from various sources has poured into Gaza over the years and the government has collected taxes on everything it could lay its hands on. Much of it has been spent on rockets and digging tunnels into Israel. It’s been doled out to corrupt officials rather than invested into housing, education and the welfare of the population there. This Palestinian state is a failed state. The Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria under Israeli “occupation” are far better off than the population living in Gaza. Before Gaza became independent, its residents were better off than they are now.

A theory says that unless the situation of the Palestinian population in Gaza improves, the rulers of Gaza will start launching rockets into Israel again. According to this perverted logic, Israel should provide Gaza’s electricity and allow more supplies to reach the population there, presumably because this would eliminate the incentive of Gaza’s rulers to attack Israel – in other words, feed the beast so it doesn’t attack you.

Those advocating the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria should take a close look at the Palestinian state that already exists in Gaza. Is it likely to be substantially different than that one? Or possibly worse, from the Israeli point of view? “Two states for two people,” a formula that Mahmoud Abbbas refuses to adopt, sounds good in theory but may end up a prescription for more wars and suffering in the region.

But not only Israelis should be concerned about the consequences of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. The Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria should give it some thought as well. Their lot living in such a state is likely to be worse than it is now. Would they like to share the fate of the Palestinians in Gaza?

Those Palestinians who believe that serving Allah requires attacking Jews are not likely to be convinced. The Palestinian from the village of Deir Abu-Mash’al who knifed Hadas Malka to death at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem left his mother a letter saying that they would meet in paradise. A Palestinian state is not likely to be a paradise.

This article was published on Haaretz.com on June 26, 2017.

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