Can a Palestinian State Survive?
By Matania Ginosar
The eagerness of many around the world, and much of the Israeli population, to have an independent Palestinian state is understandable. Even most Palestinians want a state, but only if it includes all of Israel too. But let's evaluate the likelihood that in some future time a Palestinian state could exist as an independent entity, like any other normal state. I have serious doubts that it could.
Some of the basic requirements for a viable state are: sufficient population to create and sustain an economy, enough useful land area to sustain an agricultural population, or commercially viable natural resources, such as oil, gold or diamonds. A law abiding population steeped in the desire for education, capable higher educational institutions, or at least a very able, public school system and qualified teachers for them, and/or a highly trained population to create a high technology economy. Some combinations of these elements sustain all viable countries.
It is clear that Palestinians do not posses most of these requirements, if any.
Compare the Palestinian situation with Singapore, for example: Singapore has a small population, around four million compare to two and a half million Palestinians; Singapore has minimal natural resources and very little land, but it possesses many of the other requirements. The population is disciplined, law abiding, are eager for a harmonious and peaceful life, they are highly educated, and work hard to increase their standard of living.
Compare also several small Arab states east of Saudi: Kuwait, Omar, and United Arab Emirates: each has between two and a half and three and a half million people, small population and land area, but they have considerable amount of oil, especially in comparison to its small population.
You can analyze one viable state after another and come to the same conclusion: the Palestinians would not be able to sustain a state without large and continuous foreign financial support.
In the last ten years the Palestinians received the largest per capita support of any nation on earth, much larger than the Marshal Plan!
But that level of support can not continue; the UN and the Europeans are getting tired of this large drain on resources since it has not improved the Palestinian's life, and much of the resources went to corrupted elite and to wage extensive terrorism. Even if a reliable, semi democratic government would eventually emerge, no external source would continue to support it at the level needed to sustain a rapidly rising population devoid of other ingredients to build a viable economy. The Palestinians get negligible support from any Arab country, usually only to maintain their terror organizations, as Saddam did by giving rewards to the families of suicide bombers.
What else is possible? The Palestinians may have to unite with Jordan, where the majority of the population is Palestinian and their descendants. Jordan Hashemite leadership will resist it to the extreme, but a sudden change of government is possible in the unpredictable Middle East. All other Arab States will refuse to associate with the volatile Palestinian people, as they have refused for more than sixty years. However, the outcome of the Iraqi war and a nuclear Iran could impact the eventual outcome too.
I believe that a viable, independent Palestine state is not likely in the foreseeable future.
Some believe that the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was for a Palestinian State controlling the pre 1967 borders with shared Jerusalem. This is not the case. Please read below what Rabin said about a Palestinian entity ten years ago, shortly before his murder:
Rabin's Legacy: In His Own Words (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's last address to the Knesset, 5 October 1995
We view the permanent solution in the framework of a State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six-Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines. And these are the main changes, not all of them, which we envision and want in the permanent solution:
A. First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev - as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, while preserving the rights of the members of the other faiths, Christianity and Islam, to freedom of access and freedom of worship in their holy places, according to the customs of their faiths.
B. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.
C. Changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities, most of which are in the area east of what was the "green line" prior to the Six-Day War.
from the May 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine