A delegation of Democratic members of Congress met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas yesterday and received a blunt message about his vision for the state he hopes to lead. If he gets the independent Palestinian he says he wants, it will have no Jewish settlements.
This demand for an ethnically cleansed Palestine would mean the forced removal of all Jews living in the territories. Since he is calling for that state to exist in all of the territory of the West Bank, Gaza and the part of Jerusalem that was illegally occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967, that would mean in theory the eviction of over a half a million Jews to accommodate his ambition.
While Israel has in the past said that it would not wish to leave Jews behind in a Palestinian state, the motivation was quite different. Any Jew left at the mercy of Palestinians would probably last about as long as the greenhouses that were left behind in Gaza when Israel withdrew from there in 2005. No Israeli government would wish to be held responsible for the inevitable slaughter of Jews in Palestinian territory.
For the PA, the desire to remove the Jews stems more from ideology than pragmatism. Palestinians and their foreign cheerleaders bemoan the security precautions that Israel has been forced to put in place in order to prevent another wave of Arab terror as humiliating. But it is the mere presence of Jews living anywhere in the country that is the real source of Arab humiliation. Palestinian nationalism grew up in the last century purely as a reaction to the influx of Jewish immigrants. Thus expunging every vestige of the Jewish presence is inextricably tied up in the enterprise of Palestinian sovereignty and it is no surprise that it has become a priority for the PA.
What makes this demand so outrageous is the fact that any Israeli who would call for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel is rightly branded as an extremist whose views are out of touch with the democratic values of the nation. Yet few in the West think there is anything odd about the fact that the Palestinians vision of a two-state solution is to have one state with both Jews and Arabs and one Arab state where all Jews have been thrown out. Nor have they figured out that the Palestinian refusal to recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state is linked to their desire to throw all Jews out of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Even in the unlikely event that the Palestinians would ever be willing to sign a treaty recognizing the legitimacy of Israel within any borders, Abbas’ terms makes it difficult to envision the end of the conflict.