- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 22, 2003

Can anyone still be against a Palestinian state when even Ariel Sharon is for it? Can one be “more Catholic than the pope”? And is there any alternative?

The answer to all three questions is “maybe.”

First let’s be clear that such a state is Stage One in the Palestinian “plan of stages,” sometimes called the “phased plan” to destroy Israel. Of course, just because a certain outcome is part of an enemy’s strategy to wipe you out is no reason to reject it out of hand. Even so, it’s prudent to think twice before embracing it.

Most Americans don’t know about the “plan of phases,” and even Israeli moderates don’t much like to talk about what one wag called “the piece process.” It’s such a gloomy reality. How do you make peace with those bent on your annihilation? Who wants to face the fact that your regional enemy, who outnumbers you almost 65-to-1 and has 500 times the land mass, is implacable? (Roughly 5.5 million Israeli Jews vs. 284 million Arabs and 70 million Iranians.)

The psychology is akin to what researchers have discovered about child abuse. The abused child is under immense internal pressure to blame himself, because doing so offers hope. If it’s his fault, then some modification of his own behavior holds the illusory promise of change. If his parents are simply abusive, he’s stuck — a reality too painful to bear.

Any smart adversary will try to get you another way if the first way fails. Israel’s Middle East enemies tried to destroy it with military formations in 1948, 1967 and 1973. After the Yom Kipper War, it became clear another approach had to be devised.

The “piece plan” is embedded in a 10-point program the Palestinian National Council adopted in Cairo on June 9, 1974. Its four stages are:

(1) Establish an independent Palestinian state in any territory from which Israel withdraws.

(2) Destabilize Jordan, fomenting revolt in the Hashemite kingdom, with the goal of uniting the East Bank with the West Bank.

(3) Renew the assault on Israel from the united territory.

(4) When Israel is sufficiently weakened, demoralized and discredited in the eyes of the world, finish it off with “a union of the confrontation countries.”

If the last step seems unlikely, remember that the “guerrilla war” in Vietnam ended in 1975 with a multidivision, cross-border Blitzkrieg with massed tanks and artillery.

But didn’t Yasser Arafat give all this up when he signed the 1993 Oslo accords, and wasn’t the call for Israel’s destruction struck from the PLO Charter in 1996? No, on both counts.

Mr. Arafat and other Palestinian leaders have been consistent in their statements in Arabic that Oslo was a Trojan horse, and that the goal remains the “complete liberation” of “all Palestinian territory.”

This explains an October poll that says 59 percent of Palestinians believe “armed struggle” against Israel should continue even if Israel leaves all of the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem, and a Palestinian state is created. And under those circumstances, 80 percent of Palestinians say Palestinians should not give up the “right of return” to Israel proper.

Is there any alternative to a Palestinian state? Israeli Tourism Minister Benny Elon, a rabbi who lives in the West Bank town of Beit-El, thinks he has one that is logical, humane and viable. Its opponents call it “ethnic cleansing.” You decide.

Mr. Elon told the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick that establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would be a source of instability and continuous warfare in the region. And even Israeli leftists concede the sovereignty of such a state must be restricted. For example, it could not invite Syria to establish military bases, host foreign mujaheedin or deny Israel its airspace.

Mr. Elon believes that because 80 percent of the Kingdom of Jordan identifies itself as Palestinian (others calculate 60 percent), Israel alone cannot be expected to solve the problem of the West Bank Palestinians. And, of course, it’s in Jordan’s interest to cooperate because Phase Two of the staged plan is overthrow of the “Hashemite entity.”

Mr. Elon holds that a Palestinian state would lack economic viability but would immediately work to undermine both Israel and Jordan by force and political subversion. Moreover, such a state would have international legitimacy in the United Nations to do so.

Jordan is Palestine, Mr. Elon told Miss Glick in an interview this summer. “The only way to solve the problem with the Palestinians is to reduce it to a border dispute between two already existing states — Israel and Jordan.” That way it can be reframed from an apocalyptic struggle to something like Alsace-Lorraine.

The devil is in the details, which can be distorted in their distillation. The six points of Mr. Elon’s plan — quoted from Miss Glick’s interview with Mr. Elon, published July 10 — are supplemented by material in parentheses.

• “The PA: Immediate dissolution of the Palestinian Authority … whose existence precludes the termination of the conflict.

• “Terror: Israel will uproot the Palestinian terror infrastructure. All arms will be collected, incitement will be stopped and all the refugee camps, which serve as incubators for terror, will be dismantled. Terrorists and their direct supporters will be deported.

• “Jordan: Israel, the United States and the international community will recognize the Kingdom of Jordan as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinians. Jordan will once again recognize itself as the Palestinian nation-state.

“In the context of a regional development program, Israel, the United States and the international community will put forth a concerted effort for the long-term development of Jordan, to rehabilitate its economy and enable it to absorb a limited number of refugees within its borders.

• “The territories: Israeli sovereignty will be asserted over Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The Arab residents of these areas will become citizens of the Palestinian state in Jordan. The status of these citizens, their connection to the two states and the manner of administration of their communal lives will be decided in an agreement between the governments of Israel and Jordan.”

(The American Web site of Elon’s Moledet Party says: “The Arab residents of Judea and Samaria can be transferred without removing them from their homes. They will be granted citizenship in the Palestinian Arab state with Amman as their capital. This is conditional to the dismantling of the refugee camps, and the relocation of the refugees to housing within Jordan, the Arab League or other states. Israeli Arabs who chose not to declare their loyalty to the Jewish state can also vote for the Palestinian parliament in Amman — without being removed from their homes. This is the transfer of rights, not people. Should the Arab population of Judea, Samaria and Gaza declare war on us, they will be expelled to their state, on the other side of the Jordan River.”)

• “Refugees: Israel, the United States and the international community will allocate resources for the completion of the exchange of populations that began in 1948, as well as the full rehabilitation of the refugees and their absorption and naturalization in various countries.”

(The Moledet Party platform includes voluntary transfer, transfer during war, and transfer through international agreement, as Jews were transferred out of Sinai within the framework of the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. In an interview with a skeptical Claire Tristram, published May 14 in Salon, Mr. Elon said: “Transfer must be entirely voluntary. We would raise money to support it. We would give up our assistance from America and give it to Jordan instead. Israel has to share her part in the solution.”)

• “Normalization: After implementation of the above stages, Israel and Jordan (Palestine) will declare the conflict terminated. Both sides will work to normalize peaceful relations between all parties in the region.”

Lou Marano is a reporter and columnist for United Press International.

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