by Raphael Israeli
As a rule, we talk about establishing a state for a nation which needs and deserves it, but did not reach that goal. Providing that need, it is thought, would bring peace and quiet to everyone's satisfaction. However, in the case of
Before anything else, we must revert to the grand formula of the Arab-Israeli conflict, instead of confining it to the "Israeli-Palestinian dispute", in order to realize that countries who have no territorial claims on
States are born to provide security for their citizens, to cultivate their specific culture and to protect their interests. As long as these goals are fulfilled, it matters little what the country is called. Had a Jewish state been established in
States are born also as a result of a social contract between its citizens. But in the Arab world, states remain atomized, ruled by tyrants and plagued by tribal, religious and political divisions, because they could not agree on such a social contract. The Palestinians too have failed to attain such a basic common denominator of nationhood. Groups shoot and kill each other, chaos reigns in the territories they populate, if
Thus, it is not two states for two nations that we need, for there exist already three states for two nations, and certainly not a third Palestinian state, which would encourage the Arabs of Israel to demand a fourth one in the Galilee and the Negev'. What is direly needed is the assembly of the Palestinian people (namely Jordan, the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and the refugee camps in the Diaspora) under one roof, to enable it to settle its internal dissent and decide who and how it can be represented. Such a development, which might generate a big Palestinian state, and come to encompass most of scattered people who identify as Palestinians, will alone guarantee the founding, and continued existence, of one Palestinian entity. The second state,
Raphael Israeli is a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at
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