Considering a Failed Palestinian State

Failed Countries

On July 9, 2011, the world welcomed a new country, South Sudan, which separated from Sudan. South Sudan rapidly became a failed state, one in which the central government lost the ability to control the security and economy of the country.

Failed states suffer from many terrible and unstable features: lack of governmental control; factional militias and armies; lack of border integrity and gross poverty. These societies often see rampant human rights abuses as various parties assert control over parts of the country and seek vengeance and control over minorities and local populations.

Consider some reports from South Sudan over the past year:

According to Business Insider, the worst failed states include: South Sudan; Sudan; Somalia; Congo; Chad and Yemen. The populations of these countries are forced to flee, suffer or die.

south sudan
South Sudanese refugees wait to be registered at a crossing into Ethiopia earlier in 2015. (Photo: UNHCR/R. Riek)

Considering a Palestinian State

Many countries in the United Nations would like to see the Palestinian Arabs gain self-determination and have their own country.  However, many of the ingredients for a failed state currently reside in the political structure of the Palestinian Authority:

  • The Palestinian territories have various stand-alone armies and militias including Hamas and Islamic Jihad
  • No central government, as the west bank of the Jordan River and Gaza strip are administered independently
  • Internal fighting as witnessed in the 2007 rout of Fatah by Hamas forces in Gaza, and various extrajudicial killings between those parties that continued since then
  • No border integrity as bedlam prevails in Gaza, Sinai and Israeli towns near the border of Gaza
  • Lack of functioning economy and widespread unemployment due: to the extremely high percentage of people under 25 years old; and constant war to destroy Israel
  • No presidential or legislative elections, as they were suspended due to the splits mentioned above. The presidential election was last held in 2005 and the president’s term expired a long time ago.

A country built on this framework would likely deteriorate.  Factional fighting to dictate the future of the country would exacerbate. Unemployment would further skyrocket.  Cross-border battles with Israel would escalate and also include the area east of the Green Line, EGL/ west bank of the Jordan River. This region, which already leads the world in the “honor killings” of women, would likely continue to see such murders increase.

It would be a country built in chaos, with people’s dreams dying alongside their lives.

Concrete Steps to Avoid a Failed Palestinian State

Should the Palestinian Arabs hope to achieve a functioning state after self-determination, important steps need to be instituted before the state is formed:

  1. Remove all weaponry from Hamas and other groups. A functioning government must only have a single army. There cannot be a society in which various entities wage internal and external wars.
  2. Ban Hamas. No entity which advocates for murder of minorities should be allowed to sit in any elected office, and no country should have any dealings with any country that seeks destruction of another country. As Hamas advocates for the killing of Jews and calls for the complete destruction of Israel, the party should be banned in its entirety until it renounces both positions completely.
  3. Form new Political Parties and Hold Elections. The Palestinian Arabs have not held presidential elections since 2005 and legislative elections since 2006. As Hamas won legislative elections in 2006 and have polled to win future elections, new parties should be organized that can compete in new elections.

These are the basic steps that must occur for the Palestinian Authority to have a functioning government. Once the central authority rests in a representative body, that entity can negotiate a final status agreement with Israel to create a new state. To minimize the chances that it slip into a failed state, the Palestinian government should further consider the following:

  1. Peace Agreement with Israel. A viable government should have a strong economy, including a flow of people and goods. Due to the separation of the Palestinian territories, it would be most efficient for the government to have a good working relationship with Israel to facilitate commerce.
  2. Minimize Incoming Youth. A Palestinian state would likely want to welcome Arabs whose families once lived in the region. As a large population below age 25 often leads to rampant unemployment and instability, the emphasis on incoming people should be on professionally-trained adults.
  3. Transitional control from UNRWA. UNRWA has kept infant mortality, immunizations, life expectancy and literacy of Palestinian Arabs at among the best rates in the world. Over a period of years, the UN should cede control of the schools and hospitals to Palestinian control.

While the world celebrated the founding of a new country four years ago in South Sudan, the declaration proved a hollow victory for the people. It would be a mistake to push forward another declaration for Palestinian Arabs at this time which would lead ultimately lead to further suffering.  Mayhem with a flag benefits no one.


Related First.One.Through article:

A “Viable” Palestinian State

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4 thoughts on “Considering a Failed Palestinian State

  1. Very interesting points. I never really thought about what a disaster a Palestinian state would probably end up being given how much those in power care about the people there. Just what Israel needs–then the world would bash Israel for not letting them flee to Israel where life is better.

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