Palestinian issue

Flag of Palestine - but who are the Palestinian people? Why speak of coexistence when they speak of resistance? Do they include Marwan Barghouti, who cheats on hunger strikes? And why does PBS present a view that leads to sacrifice of her children?
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There are no rational or moral grounds for establishing a Palestinian nation-state in the Land of Israel. That certain democratic politicians want to do so is simply indicative of their lack intellectual integrity and courage. Pity they have no solid understanding of the American Declaration of Independence and of the prerequisites of representative government.

Self-determination: what it takes

The Declaration of Independence is a theopolitical document based on reason, more precisely, on what it calls “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” The Laws of Nature and of Nature God is an abbreviation of the Seven Noahide Laws of universal morality expressed in the law codes of New England. The Noahide Laws provide general norms or standards by which to determine whether the benefits of national self-determination to this or that people or ethnic group can be justified. It cannot be justified for people steeped in ignorance or habituated to violence. This was the position of Thomas Jefferson, and it is lucidly articulated in John Stuart Mill’s classic Representative Government.

In language relevant to the barbarism manifested by the Palestinians and the Arab Spring, a people, says Mill, may lack the moderation required by representative government. He writes:

A rude people, though in some degree alive to the benefits of civilized society, may not be able to practice the forbearance which it demands: their passions may be too violent, or their personal pride too exacting, to forego private conflict, and leave to the laws the avenging of their real or supposed wrongs. In such a case, a civilized government, to be really advantageous to them, will require to be in a considerable degree despotic: one over which they do not themselves exercise control, and which imposes a great degree of forcible restraint upon their actions. A people must be considered unfit for more than a limited and qualified freedom … that will not co-operate actively with the law and the public authorities in the repression of evil-doers.

Qualifications on national self-determination

It follows that no people has an unqualified right to national self-determination. That right is limited by rational and moral considerations. It would be irrational and wrong to permit a people, in the name of self-determination, to establish a form of government that denied their neighbor’s right to self-determination. This would be the inevitable consequence of establishing a Palestinian state on Israel’s doorstep, for this would be a state based on Islam whose most distinguishing characteristic is Jihad. Moreover, Islamic theology rejects as blasphemous the Jewish concept that man is created in the image of God, a concept that affirms the infinite worth of the individual.

Islam not compatible with self-rule

Since Islamic theology rejects the concept of man’s creation in the image of God, and as 1,400 years of Islam demonstrate, Islam is not compatible with democracy, as I have demonstrated in a previous article. Accordingly, Palestinians that attack Israel from civilian areas—from homes and hospitals—and take pride in and even celebrate their evil, are not worthy of self-determination. As the eminent British historian Paul Johnson puts it: “[People] that cannot live in peace with their neighbors … cannot expect total independence.”

The ends of government

Here it should be emphasized that, contrary to almost universal opinion, the principle of government by the consent of the governed does not mean that democracy is the only just form of government. In fact, the word “democracy” does not appear in the American Declaration of Independence (or in its Israeli counterpart). What the Declaration regards as most important is not the form but the ends of government, namely Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. In its own words: “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it.” This clearly implies that there are just forms of government other than democracy, an implication relevant to Israeli rule over the Palestinians, which has the precedent of American rule of the Japanese after the Second World War.

Now, given the paramount importance of the ends of government, no people have a right to establish a form of government whose very nature is destructive of these ends. When the American Declaration of Independence states that man’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are “unalienable,” this means that these rights may neither be taken away nor voted away. If self-determination is to be continuously effective, the people must have periodic elections, alternative public policies, and not the cynical charades played by Arab despots.

Necessary limits on Palestinian government-making

From these considerations it follows that even if the Palestinian Arabs were to vote unanimously in favor of establishing an Islamic dictatorship, such an act would not only be irrational—for men cannot rationally divest themselves of the power to determine who shall be their rulers—but it would also be unjust. It would or could deprive future generations and perhaps other nations of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As Abraham Lincoln has written, “[One] cannot say any people have a right to do what is wrong.”[1] The principle of self-determination is not self-justifying. Its justice depends on consequences, namely, whether its application will result in the establishment of a just form of government.

Democracy, good or bad…

This understanding was still alive at the end of World War II. Neither the German nor the Japanese people were permitted to establish any form of government they desired. To the contrary, American and British statesmen in those days deemed it both reasonable and just to impose on Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan a parliamentary form of democracy in which the principle of self-determination is obviously meaningful and continually operative. By means of periodic multi-party elections and freedom of speech and press, the people of those two countries can now determine who shall exercise the powers of government and thereby influence the policies and goals of their of respective countries.

On the other hand, the principle of self-determination can be used to stifle democracy. Hitler called for the self-determination of the Germans in the Sudetenland. England complied at Munich, which doomed democratic Czechoslovakia. One may compare the Sudeten Germans to the “West Bank” Arab-Muslims. In the name of self-determination, the United States and Europe favor a Palestinian state in the historic heartland of the Jewish people, a state which would probably become proxy of Iran.

Netanyahu, find your courage!

That Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed a Palestinian state is simply a reflection of his lack of courage – I mean courage rooted in wisdom. Doesn’t he know that an Islamic nation-state on the “West Bank” would eat at Israel’s heart: geographically, militarily and, most of all, in spirit? Doesn’t he know that such a state, animated by Islamic theology, would never satisfy itself, and could not?

[1] The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (9 vols.; New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1953), III, 315.

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