One of the most perplexing aspects of the current Middle East peace process is the push to create an independent Palestinian state before the current administration’s term ends in January 2009.

The two nations most at risk from Islamic terrorism are Israel and the United States. The PLO is a terrorist organization that was transformed in 1993 into the PA, led by the same terrorists.

When the terrorist warlord, Yasser Arafat, went on to his richly deserved eternal reward, his followers broke up into terrorist factions, and the Palestinian Authority went from being a government without a country to a failed state without a state, virtually overnight.

In their first effort at expressing the majority will of the Palestinian people at the ballot box, they expressed their “national” will by electing Hamas on a platform of no peace with Israel.

Ariel Sharon responded by announcing his “Gaza First” initiative. He ordered a pullout from Gaza, seemingly surrendering to the terrorists there, then moving on to a separation plan for the West Bank.

Then he began working to strengthen the failing PA government. Sharon laid out a plan for peace by separation, essentially forcing the creation of an independent Palestinian state, whether run by terrorists or not.

When Sharon was felled by a stroke, his successor, Ehud Olmert, continued to bargain and negotiate, putting almost everything on the table, seemingly obsessed with giving the Palestinians a state whether they want one or not.

This, despite the fact the Israelis know that the Palestinians will never accept a two-state solution – the best they can hope for is that the Palestinians will agree to a hudna in exchange for statehood.

A “hudna” in Islamic tradition is a strategic agreement to cease hostilities for a certain period of time – usually between seven and 10 years – but the purpose is not peace. An Islamic hudna is undertaken to allow the Islamic side to take advantage of the cease-fire to consolidate its forces and prepare for the resumption of hostilities.

If the Islamic side gains the advantage before the hudna expires, they are free to abrogate it without penalty and resume their war.

So it would seem that for Israel to agree to creating a terrorist state dedicated to its destruction is not merely counterintuitive, but suicidal. For America to agree to its creation, in the midst of a war to erase Islamic influence from failed states, seems equally counterproductive.

Yet both Israel and America are not only willing to consider it, they are actively pursuing it as a matter of policy. Have they taken leave of their senses?

That seems unlikely. I know many members of the current and former governments personally. They are not fools. Especially not Ariel Sharon, who was easily modern Israel’s greatest (and most ruthless) battlefield general.

There is no doubt any Palestinian state that comes into existence will immediately dedicate itself to Israel’s destruction. So how can Israel possibly benefit?

For one possible answer, take a look at a map of the Middle East.

Syria is a terrorist state, dedicated to Israel’s destruction, but Syria fights its war with Israel through proxies, like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Hamas or Hezbollah carry out most of the attacks because Israel can only retaliate against members of Hamas or Hezbollah, terrorists scattered among a sea of non-aligned civilians.

If Syria attacked directly, Israel could retaliate against Syria, state to state. If a Syrian rocket landed on Tel Aviv, Israel wouldn’t have to locate the individual who pulled the trigger to retaliate.

If a Syrian army unit crossed into Israel, it would be an act of war. In either case, Israel could then strike directly at the source in Damascus.

What is the difference? Syria is a state, and therefore can be held responsible militarily for the actions of its citizens. The PA is a “government under occupation” and ultimately Israel’s responsibility.

Israel has no borders “Palestine” can violate, no government it can hold responsible, no cities or legitimate military institutions it can threaten. In essence, retaliation against the Palestinian Authority while under Israeli responsibility puts Israel in the position of retaliating against itself.

On the other hand, an independent Palestinian state would not be Israel’s responsibility. Put a border around “Palestine” and it becomes a bulls-eye.

This is the kind of strategic solution Ariel Sharon would come up with. Gather the enemy in one place where they’d be an easier target.

And with Ariel Sharon at the helm, it might have worked.

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