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According to a recent poll by Khalil Shikaki, the widely respected Ramallah-based pollster from the Palestinian Center for Survey and Research, support for Hamas has tripled since October 7th in Judea and Samaria, (the West Bank).

Digest that for a moment.

He also said that a whopping 82 percent of Palestinians living in that area support the barbaric atrocities of October 7th.

Remember what that involved: mass raping of women and the mutilation of their bodies; beheading and incinerating babies alive in front of their mothers–who have been tied to chairs; plundering and burning down of homes; the widescale murder of 1200 people, the kidnapping of at least 250 others who have been held in an immense labyrinth of terror tunnels, deep underground.

Imagine now, that these people, who are in favor of such obscenities, control the strategically high mountainous range overlooking the entire state of Israel. This would give them easy missile and target range to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, and Ben Gurian Airport. Whoever controls the high ground controls the region.

Imagine again, if you will, a missile, rocket, or drone landing within the range of Ben Gurian Airport. Just one aerial vehicle can cut off all air transit to the Jewish state, further isolating the state of Israel.

Right now, the State Department is drawing plans for a  revamped and revised Palestinian Authority. In that same Shikaki poll, a mere 10 percent of West Bankers support the P.A., and a meager 6 percent support Mahmoud Abbas.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says he wants a contiguous Palestinian State, stretching from Gaza through the West Bank. This would make Israel 9 miles wide in its narrowest waist, leaving Israel simply without defensible borders.

Most Israelis would be within easy target, living on the coastal plain.

How many times can we persist in making the same mistakes?

Here are the steps to an all too familiar dance: The Palestinians—or Hamas, or Hezbollah, or standing armies from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan— attack Israel. An intifada or a major war ensues. The international community steps in and condemns Israel for the “disproportionate use of force”, for simply defending its civilian population.  The US and others make demands on Israel to stop the war before its objective is complete. UN Resolutions are passed condemning Israel for their inherent right of self-defense, (which is in Article 51 of the UN Charter).  Israel is asked to make “painful sacrifices for peace”, or to give up “land for peace”, or some other nice euphemisms to chip away at the third Jewish commonwealth.

Not only would this make Israel’s chances of survival invariably more perilous at a time when we see the Arab world making overtures to Iran, and where both Shiite and Sunni terrorist proxies dominate the region, but it destabilizes the region for the United States and our own national security interests. The Iranian-Chinese-Russian axis is gaining traction within the Middle East, as the United States is appearing increasingly weaker and weaker.

This same mistaken solution has been tried by the Peel Commission of 1937; the UN Partition Plan of 1947; the Khartoum Conference of 1967; the offer made at Camp David from Prime Minister Ehud Barak to Chairman Yassir Arafat on July 25, 2000, the 2005 withdrawal of every remnant of a Jewish presence from Gaza; and the exceedingly perilous offer that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made in 2008 to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, leaving Israel with roughly 6 percent of the West Bank.

To every single one of these offers, the Palestinians did not say “yes”; they did not say “no”. They simply walked away from the negotiating table, and their response was simply a renewed wave of violence and the regretful waste of more Palestinian and Israeli lives.

I can only label this thinking, at best, a supreme failure of the imagination on the part of the State Department, and at worst, simply a callous disregard for the inevitable loss of human life, that is sure to arrive the day after a White House Lawn signing ceremony, and before the folding chairs have been collected.

Sarah N. Stern is Founder and President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, EMET, a foreign policy think tank and advocacy institute in Washington, DC.

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Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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