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Do the Palestinians have a Future?

November 24, 2016 22:56

There are many Orthodox and right-wing Jews for whom the question of whether there is a future for the Palestinians is a question with only one answer.

For others, the question is a complicated one, overlaid, as it is, by emotional, historical and other factors.

Yet for others, it is a question which can only be answered positively (in a qualified way) - that the Palestinians do have a future and that this future will be secured at the expense of a state called Israel.

What, though, it may be asked, is meant by “the future”?

In this article, it is proposed that the discussion will take place at a point in the near future - ie at a point one or two hundred years hence.

It is further proposed that the Palestinians’ position in the Middle East will, in one or two hundred years, depend upon the relative power of the superpowers who will have come to the fore by then, in the same way that the state of Israel is presently dependent on the economic and political support of the United States - the foremost power of today.

In this connection, the power and position of the USA, China, India and Europe will be examined, for I strongly believe that as certain powers gain ascendance, so will the Palestinians in the state now called Israel.

There are many combinations of possibilities, but in this essay, the major scenarios only will be discussed.

The goodwill or otherwise felt by the international community towards the Jews in Israel, will also be touched upon, especially in relation to the overall position of these Jews in terms of their “protection” by the United States of America.

It will, also, be assumed that the two-state solution will not have become a reality and that the Palestinians will still be living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank much in the same way as they do now.

As to the relative power of the various international players, if it is envisaged that the international status of the USA will wane in one or two hundred years’ time, whilst that of China will increase, then the situation will be complicated, as China was known to have supported the case of the Palestinians until 1992, when relations were established with Israel, with whom there are now growing commercial and military ties. Should these increase, in one hundred years’ time, the position of China may well not be clear cut.

If India becomes economically and politically the most important player on the world scene, the future of the Palestinians again, will be uncertain, for again in 1992, relations were established between India and Israel and India, a state that had been part of the Non-Aligned Movement and a strong supporter of the Palestinians, had started to view with rancour the fundamentalist sway of, and activities in, the Islamic countries on its border.

If, on the other hand, Europe becomes a super state with a common market and a common political - national and international - outlook, the future for the Jews in Israel looks bleak - at least it does so from a point of view held in 2010.

It is possible to envisage a situation where China will have gained the ascendancy, whilst India and the United States are secondary, but balancing powers, in which case, neither side would be felt as a dominant force and the Palestinian cause would again have limited support.

This last, indeed, from the viewpoint of 2010, is a very likely scenario, although the internal logic of international politics may well change as time goes by and in 2080 (let us say), we may well find that the development of the Indian economy (as an example) has suddenly started to accelerate and Indian power on the international scene has concomitantly started to increase, or some other scenario will unfold.

It could also be that, although in the West the demand for oil will have decreased, as environmentally-friendly policies finally take hold, in developing countries, this will be counterbalanced by an increase in demand for oil. For this reason, whilst China’s power may be checked by that of a waning USA and a growing India, the power of Saudi Arabia and other pro-Palestinian oil producing Muslim countries may increase.

In view of the fact that these days, even the USA disapproves of adversarial action by its ally, the State of Israel; in view of the fact that the political climate changed on the international scene in the 20th century and that aggressive acts of patriotic expression are no longer accepted, Israel will find it harder and harder to maintain the “offensive” when defending its borders and acting against the Palestinians.

When speaking of the relative powers to allure of both sides - the Jews in Israel and the Palestinians - it is noted that although the international winds of anti-Israel feeling are being whipped up to unprecedented levels (whilst those of pro-Palestinian feeling are gathering apace) the United States continues to support its ally, Israel, albeit with caveats.

It remains to be seen whether this anti-Israel leaning will eventually have repercussions on the support of the USA.

Here, then, it is concluded that the Palestinians by no means have a secure future (in one to two hundred years’ time) in terms of the emergence of a superpower that will support their case and, in the forthcoming years, they must make their decisions based on this analysis, although it is not clear to see what that decision would be.

November 24, 2016 22:56

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