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Biden’s vision for a Palestinian state doomed, experts say: ‘An explicit recognition of Hamas’

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JERUSALEM — Reports the Biden administration and a small group of Middle East states will soon begin pushing a new peace initiative with the aim of creating a Palestinian state have drawn pushback from the Israeli government, which declared this week it will not accept “international diktats.”  

Regional experts also say such efforts are doomed to fail as they have in the past.   

Last week, the Israeli government, including more moderate members of what is considered to be the most right-wing cabinet Israel ever, unanimously declared its opposition to any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, saying such a move would only reward terrorism and prevent a future peace settlement.

“If a settlement is to be reached, it will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions,” a statement issued by the government said.

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An Israeli media report over the weekend suggested Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had, however, presented his security cabinet members with a discussion paper about Gaza, stating clearly that Israel plans to maintain security control over all land west of Jordan, including Gaza and other parts of the territories where Palestinians hope to establish an independent state.

Israel has been battling the Iranian-backed terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7 when thousands of its terrorists crossed the border, murdering 1,200 people and taking some 240 people hostage. Even as Israeli troops gear up for what could be the final phase of the war, Netanyahu and his defense chief Yoav Gallant remain reluctant to discuss any broader future arrangements for the war-torn enclave.

Prof. Efraim Inbar, President of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, told Fox News Digital efforts by the U.S. administration to find a solution to the decades-old intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict were nothing new and, as in the past, efforts to bring about a Palestinian state, particularly under the current conditions, were unlikely to succeed. 

“What the Americans want, a revitalized Palestinian Authority, is nothing new. … We saw a similar attempt during the Bush era,” Inbar said. “I think the question we should be asking is why would a Palestinian state look any different to the Palestinian entities we’ve seen so far?”

Inbar said any future Palestinian state would need to be ready to “make some real compromises,” including recognizing the Zionist movement, accepting Israel as a Jewish state and Jerusalem as its capital and relinquishing some of its territorial dreams. 

A Palestinian state would also have to exclude terror entities like Hamas, who Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh recently referred to as being “part of the Palestinian people” and “a partner in any future political entity.” 

“These attempts are noble, but they did not succeed in the past, and I do not see that the current Palestinian leadership is ready to change the situation,” said Inbar. 

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Even Fatah, the Palestinian political faction led by the current Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “are not the nicest of neighbors,” he said, noting that, in the past few months “dozens” of members of the Authority’s official security forces have carried out terror attacks against Israelis and that after 30 years of PA rule, the population had been indoctrinated to “hate Jews and Israel.” 

“I’m not optimistic about what a Palestinian state would look like at this stage,” Inbar said. He added the Palestinian people had also given up hope with their own leadership due to corruption and that any future Palestinian state would most likely carry the same political culture as others in the Arab world, namely dictatorships and tribalism. 

Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human rights activist and political analyst, also expressed doubts about the success of a future Palestinian state based on past attempts to create a self-governing entity. 

“In my opinion, those leaders who are calling for a Palestinian state have forgotten one important thing – that a state must be built before it is recognized,” he said. 

Eid said there is no suitable infrastructure for a Palestinian state — no real economy and a society where the majority of the population still lived in refugee camps. 

“What kind of state would that be?” he wondered. “I don’t think that is the kind of state the Palestinians are hoping for.”

“My conclusion is that the Palestinians are not really qualified for a state,” he said, describing how the last attempt to create a Palestinian state was when Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon disengaged from Gaza. 

“He wanted to give the Palestinians Gaza so they could start building their own state, but look at what they did there. They turned Gaza from Singapore into ISIS,” he said. “I don’t think that calling for a Palestinian state right now is a legitimate demand.” 

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Eid said he believed Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack “set the Israeli-Palestinian conflict backward 50 years” and that instead of calling for the creation of a Palestinian state, there should be international efforts to “build bridges to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together” after the trauma. 

He also said the focus now should move away from the Palestinian Authority, and from Hamas, who are both “specialists in destroying states,” and should be put instead on local Palestinian tribes. 

“Let’s call the tribes and give them a chance to rule,” said Eid. “I believe they will succeed in ruling the Palestinians much better than Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. At least let them try for the next five years, then probably a charismatic Palestinian leader will emerge, we can hold elections and then negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians can start.” 

Khaled Hassan, a political risk and intelligence analyst with over 13 years of experience working in the Middle East, also said that prospects for the creation of a Palestinian state under the current conditions were dim. 

“The establishment of a state requires tremendous efforts and international support, including a unified nationalist movement, similar to the Zionist Movement in the early 20th century,” he told Fox News Digital. 

“A Palestinian state would, most importantly, need Palestinian unity and Israeli recognition,” he said, adding that any discussion over who might lead this potential state would “most likely spark a civil war among Palestinians” and that “Israel was highly unlikely to recognize a Palestinian state.”

“A Palestinian state can’t be imposed on Israel,” Hassan said. “Arab states have for decades recognized a Palestinian state, but this has led to little to nothing in reality. Although, if there was American and British unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, that could result in unprecedented political, and legal, repercussions for Israel.” 

“It might not lead to a Palestinian state coming to life, but it would greatly diminish Israel’s standing within the international community,” he said. 

If such a state did successfully emerge, Hassan added, the Palestinians would grapple with finding suitable leadership. 

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“Hamas is demanding not only to be part of a future state, but to lead it,” he said. He said the creation of a state as a result of the Oct. 7 terror attacks would be “an explicit recognition of Hamas as a resistance movement whose attacks led to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“For Palestinians, the legitimacy of a political leader is largely based on their involvement in anti-Israel terror, so any Palestinian leaders who condemn terrorism are perceived as traitors and agents of Israel.” 

He noted that previous U.S. attempts to install a more moderate Palestinian leader, one that rejected terrorism, had “been met with staggering frustration.” 

“Public statements by the late Egyptian presidents Sadat and Mubarak, as well as U.S. President Bill Clinton have illustrated this,” said Hassan, recalling the widespread condemnation and boycott of Egypt due to its peace treaty with Israel. 

“Sadat described Arabs, including Palestinians, who boycotted Egypt over the talks as reckless ‘children and teenagers’ who should not be entrusted with the fate of Egyptians, Arabs and Palestinians,” he said. “His words still ring true 40 years later as the world watches what the recklessness of Palestinian leaders have brought upon their people and upon millions of Israelis who did not want this war.” 

While the challenges to creating a Palestinian state appear insurmountable, Omer Zanany, head of the joint unit for peace and security at the Mitvim Institute and the Berl Katznelson Center in Israel, said Israelis under the current government were also likely to thwart the efforts. 

He said Israel faces two choices – continuing the war in Gaza at the risk of the conflict escalating to other fronts or seizing what might be a “historic opportunity to end the war, bring home the hostages and defeat Hamas by entering into negotiations for a two-state solution.” 

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Zanany, who heads a joint Israeli-Palestinian task force exploring the options, said there needed to be a gradual process that would bring enduring security for both Israelis and Palestinians. Such a process, he said, would put “hope” on the political horizon that would help to bring about crucial changes in both societies. 

“If we know there’s something that we can change, we have to begin with a process,” he said.”I am not talking about having peace tomorrow but about getting into a new track. And I think that’s exactly what Biden, Secretary of State Blinken and the Saudis are saying.” 

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