Some months ago I blogged that one of the main problems with a declaration of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations along the 1967 lines is that the next morning the Palestinians will ask for international troops to come into the new country of ‘Palestine’ to police those lines.
Yesterday Mahmoud Abbas made that abundantly clear.
Meeting in Ramallah with a U.S. Congressional delegation headed by House Minority Whip (2nd ranking Democrat in the House) Steny Hoyer*, Abbas said that he would like to see NATO forces–under United States command–take control of security in the new ‘Palestine’.
Your humble servant wonders where this idea came from. Did it just spring fully formed from the brain of Abu Mazen**, or was it planted there (as most of his ideas are), by the Obama Administration or the European Union?
To be honest, your humble servant is being disingenuous; we know exactly where the idea came from. Back on May 21, 2010 it was first reported in the Israel Hayom newspaper that Abbas had agreed to a NATO deployment after discussions with Obama’s special envoy George Mitchell. According to the report, the idea actually came from France’s Nicolas Sarkozy–who proposed sending 40,000 NATO soldiers into a new ‘Palestine.’ President Obama agreed that it would be a good idea.
On the one hand it is hard to imagine the United States wanting to get militarily involved in a state of ‘Palestine.’ On the other hand, it is not hard to imagine other NATO countries so involved. After all, what better way for leaders of such countries as France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom to gain the votes of their burgeoning Muslim populations than by sending troops to help the ‘poor’ Palestinians?
And what about NATO member Turkey? Turkish PM Erdogan would jump to be the first in line to send soldiers. Imagine Turkish soldiers back in ‘Palestine’ where they have not been since the Ottoman Empire was kicked out after World War I. Not only would this make Erdogan the leader of the Muslim cause but also it would help him immeasurably with his home constituency. With the Mavi Marmara incident still souring Turkish-Israel relations, what better way for Erdogan to stick his finger in the Israeli eye?
An interesting question to consider is how Israel would react to a NATO decision to deploy soldiers. If Israel merely said ‘no’, it would run afoul the United States, the European Union– and the United Nations which would have just created ‘Palestine’ with all its concomitant ‘rights’–including the right of the Palestinians to control what goes on in their ‘country’. And even if Israel did say ‘no’ what is to stop NATO from acting on its on and crossing its soldiers into ‘Palestine’ across the Allenby Bridge from Jordan? Israeli military action?
If Israel says ‘yes’, an amazing can of worms would be opened. Without a doubt, the Palestinians would seek to test the new arrangement immediately by doing something to provoke the entrance of the IDF across the new ‘border’. Israeli soldiers would find themselves up against NATO soldiers, and hopefully in Abbas’s vision, American soldiers.
What would happen then? Your humble servant leaves it to your imagination.
*In an interview given yesterday, Congressman Hoyer broke with the Obama Administration and said he supported explanding Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
**Abu Mazen is the more popularly used name of Mahmoud Abbas that is used in the Arabic world and in Israel. It literally means ‘father of Mazen.’ Abbas’ oldest son is named ‘Mazen Abbas’.