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Yes, to a Palestinian State—Just Not Inside or Right Next to Israel

(Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Jordan)

“There is a strong positive relationship between living under the benefits of a government and human flourishing. Those without its protection must suffer, at the very least, compared to those who are fortunate in this regard.”

Yes, yes to a Palestinian State in the Middle East. One, two, three, four of them, and many more—just not west of the Jordan River nor anywhere else very close to Israel. It certainly ought not be comprised of Gaza, the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria, or East Jerusalem. But apart from that, the Palestinian people ought to have as many states as they want, with my full blessing.

Are there no Palestinian States in Egypt? Put one in there, by all means. Are there no Palestinian States in Lebanon? Rectify that lacuna immediately. What about Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan? Set one up in each, by all means. Why are there no Palestinian States located in any of these other countries? If the Palestinians deserve a state, far be it from me to say to them nay. Just not in or anywhere near Israel.

In the libertarian view (apart from the anarcho-capitalist version thereof), pretty much everyone should have a government to which they can belong. The state need not be a perfect guarantor of personal and private property rights, but it should come as close as possible. There is a strong positive relationship between living under the benefits of a government and human flourishing. Those without its protection must suffer, at the very least, compared to those who are fortunate in this regard.

But, surely, there are those who do not deserve the benefits of their own state. For example, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot. Why not? That is because they are all mass murderers, and they deserve not the protection of a government but, rather, severe punishment.

How do Palestinians located in East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Gaza, etc., fit into this situation? With notable exceptions such as those under ten years of age, many are either criminals or supporters of lawbreakers. Palestinians overwhelmingly voted for Hamas. Many of them exulted the barbaric events of October 7, 2023, exhibiting behaviors such as dancing in the streets, waving flags, and giving candy to children in celebration. Many even offer monetary rewards to those of them who murder Jews. Those folks, if they want to be part of a Palestinian State and are not instead deservedly clapped into prison for their crimes, ought to be free to enter any Palestinian State located in any of these other countries.

But they have long ago worn out any welcome they might ever have had in Israel. And this is not at all due to the fact that they are not Jewish. The Druze, the Christians, and numerous Arab denominations are all quite welcome in the only true democracy in the Middle East. Together these non-Jews comprise over 20% of the entire population of that country. The fact that these Palestinians are not welcome there or anywhere else near there is due, instead, to the criminality of many of them.

It cannot be denied that these Palestinians are not welcome, either, in many other nations in the Middle East. But that is an internal Arab issue. From the point of view of Israelis, that is something to be resolved entirely within that community. I wish success to the advocates of a Palestinian State, but let it be located anywhere else but in or near Israel.

On an entirely different note, the Palestinians were indeed offered statehood (and on more than one occasion) but turned down all of these offers. The Jewish Virtual Library narrates:

“In 1937, the Peel Commission proposed the partition of Palestine and the creation of an Arab state.

In 1939, the British White Paper proposed the creation of a unitary Arab state.

In 1947, the UN would have created an even larger Arab state as part of its partition plan.

The 1979 Egypt-Israel peace negotiations offered the Palestinians autonomy, which would almost certainly have led to full independence.

The Oslo agreements of the 1990s laid out a path for Palestinian independence, but the process was derailed by terrorism.

In 2000, [Israeli] Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered to create a Palestinian state in all of Gaza and 97 percent of the West Bank.”

The critics of Israel are livid with hatred for that country since it no longer wishes for a Palestinian state to be created, at least not one that is located cheek by jowl with it. This is one of the most important demands now being articulated by the students (and outsiders) at many universities in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere in the world. One wonders at their obtuseness given the fact that the 1988 Hamas Covenant calls for the death of Jews and this organization (and its supporters) have recently threatened one, two, many, October 7, 2023s.

Egypt has taken the position that not one single solitary Palestinian would be welcome anywhere in that country, let alone in the Sinai, contiguous to Gaza. Are they really willing to risk a war with Israel over this matter? Once before in 1956, the Israel Defense Forces occupied that territory. If serious altercations broke out between these two countries, there is no question as to which one would emerge victorious. Perhaps Egypt might consider its position on this matter.

Walter Block, an Austrian school economist and anarcho-libertarian philosopher, is Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Chair in Economics and Professor of Economics at Loyola University New Orleans.

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