Once upon a time, the idea of a Palestinian state was taboo, supported by only a "lunatic leftist fringe." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan University address three years ago reversed the trend. Opponents of a Palestinian state found themselves holding a minority opinion and were characterized as a "lunatic rightist fringe." Netanyahu, who for most of his earlier life had talked about how dangerous a Palestinian state would be, was pushed into a corner involuntarily, mainly by the U.S., and decided to take "reality" into consideration.
Now, just before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is set to seek nonmember observer state status at the U.N., Netanyahu has come upon an opportunity to return to his previous position, more true now than ever, as "reality" has changed beyond recognition over the past three years.
The Arab Spring has turned into a dark Islamic winter. One by one, "democratic" revolutions have been taken control of by Islamic extremists — in the Gaza Strip, Tunisia and Egypt. The earth is shaking in Syria and even in Jordan. Abbas will not be around forever and a Palestinian state could eventually take a similar path of Islamic extremism. Israel cannot afford the creation of a second Hamastan, this one located next to Israel's narrow waist between Tel Aviv and Netanya.
The American public and the two houses of the U.S. Congress would be able to accept a new Israeli position opposing a Palestinian state, a position which could be bolstered by highlighting the Palestinian doctrine of hatred that Abbas has not put an end to. Abbas has refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, both as a Zionist entity and as a political reality, a position shared by Palestinian religious and educational leaders.
There are many other reasons to oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state, starting with the low likelihood that it would be able to develop as a normal independent state (due to serious territorial limitations and economic factors). There is the threat that Israel will be flooded with returning Palestinian refugees that a new Palestinian state would not be able to absorb. There is also the concern that the Palestinian "moderates" would not be able to overcome the pressure cooker of Islamic extremism and terrorism in their backyard.
Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are wrong to present Abbas with a "carrot" (the establishment of a Palestinian state with temporary borders) and a "stick" (the cancellation of the Oslo Accords). This opposition to Abbas is not genuine, as it deals with timing, conditions, unilateral moves and lack of coordination, rather than the heart of the matter — opposing the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Moreover, it is impossible to escape the simple truth: The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, who returned after a 2,000 year exile. The parts of the Land of Israel that the Palestinians are claiming for themselves comprise the cradle of the nation's existence. The 1967 lines are not up for discussion and they are not even borders. The Rhodes Agreement of 1949, which set the cease-fire line (which came to be known as the Green Line), stated this explicitly. The Bible is also relevant, even today.
And the words of Chaim Weizmann are also helpful. When asked why the Jews wanted to live in Palestine when there were so many other undeveloped lands that could be settled more easily, Weizmann responded with a question: Why do you travel 60 kilometers every weekend to visit your mother when there are so many old women who live right on your street?