As an American journalist, often we dispense information on radio and in print and through the broadcast medium about issues around the world whether it’s genocide in Rwanda, Putin trying to seize power in Russia, the AIDS epidemic in Africa or the growing conflict in the Middle East. It’s amazing how often people read my columns and listen to my broadcasts and feel they absolutely know what’s going on around the world especially on the issues that have a direct impact on the American way of life. Surprisingly, I spend much of my airtime and writing talking about the Middle East and the conflict between the Israeli Arabs and the Palestinian states. You actually can report on this long enough and can be reaffirmed by so many people that you begin to think you’re an expert and know about all these crises around the world. We have been in Israel for the last week and after listening to former cabinet secretaries and Knesset members I have actually concluded that I am somewhat clueless and totally out of the loop on the things that I often write about especially as it relates to the Middle East conflict. Case in point: why, to this day, has there been all this talk about a Palestinian state and no action? I’ve often reported that the Palestinians in Arab states don’t see the US as an honest broker, that Israel thought that a Palestinian state and giving up their land to make it possible would be a threat to their existence and finally that the Palestinians desperately wanted this state for themselves. However, we have a moral obligation that when we find the truth and the things we think we understand, we must report it. Because I was absolutely flabbergasted about why a Palestinian state has yet to exist.
Dr. Condoleeza Rice recently declared that it’s time for the establishment of a Palestinian state. She went on to say, “the United States sees the establishment of a Palestinian state and a two state solution as absolutely essential for the future, not just for Palestinians and Israelis but also for the Middle East and indeed to American interests.” Not long ago, at the Knesset during a meeting with former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Silvan Shalom, he made it clear as to why there is not and probably will not be a Palestinian state in the near future. He recalled a meeting with a Palestinian authority some time ago where he was openly encouraging a Palestinian state and asking what was the hold up and the response was essentially: because Israel wants it and that’s not good enough for us. His response, ‘you must be kidding’ and finally, the truth was revealed as to why they are not willing to move forward: they are afraid of the responsibility that comes with being recognized as a state. They would have to abandon their terrorist attacks because there’s international law on how to handle state-sponsored terrorism, they would have to govern, set up constitutions and finally provide shelter and a better life for the many Palestinians, who would come in droves to live in their own country. They would not be able to continue promulgating their rhetoric of victimization because they would have their own state. Nor would they be able to allow terrorist organizations to exist unhampered within their borders. For right now, Israel has become the faceplate of why the Palestinians suffer and make no progress. Once that faceplate is taken away the world will see the Palestinians for what they are: corrupt, with a lack of vision and without the aptitude to lead their own nor those Palestinians who desperately need a place to call home. For serious change to come about time and strong leaders are essential, but many doubt that either of those are in place right now, and find it unlikely that they will be in a month.
Some might wonder why Israel would have any perspective on this issue of a Palestinian state. Israel itself is a young country and the decision wasn’t overly popular with the support for statehood barely being enough to cause it to happen. However it provides a banner beneath which to rally, and strong leadership garnered success in the endeavor. The same is true for Palestine, but a victim mentality will only keep the status quo of Palestinians strewn throughout the world. The use of excuses and cowardice is really unfair to Palestinians; after all, unlike Israel, they could test to see if they have support from much of the surrounding Arab world, and thus possibly help Arab-Israeli relations. These Arab leaders have been strident in their remarks of the unfair treatment of Palestinians by the Israelis. What often goes unreported is how the Palestinians, as we’ve learned from this trip, are far better off, get more respect, and a better way of life living in Israel, than they do with their own Arab brothers. More than any other act, establishing a Palestinian state could truly put the spotlight on the true nature, hypocrisy and hidden agendas of the Israelis, the US and the Arab world. To echo the words of our Secretary of State, Dr. Rice, the time has truly come for a Palestinian state.