Rothman to ‘Post’: Israel has veto power over Palestinian state, it’s a matter of life and death

Rothman to ‘Post’: Israel has veto power over Palestinian state, it’s a matter of life and death


The state the Palestinian spokespersons are gunning for is also smack in the middle of the land-starved Jewish people’s tiny, zero-strategic-depth homeland.

MK Simcha Rothman at a special committee meeting on the “Deri Law”, at the Knesset, the Israeli Knesset in Jerusalem, on December 15, 2022. / (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Responding to “Israel has no veto power over Palestinian statehood, PA tells ICJ,” Palestinian Arab spokespersons excel in generating rhetoric that always sounds plausible and always presents them as the most deserving of persons, as opposed to Jews who, it seems, barely deserve their own lives.

But this rhetoric is non-factual. In this case, for example, of course, Israel must have, and does have, “veto power” over Palestinian statehood. That’s because preventing that calamity is a matter of life and death for Israel.

That’s also because the state the Palestinian spokespersons are gunning for is smack in the middle of the land-starved Jewish people’s tiny, zero-strategic-depth homeland – which is no accident. Let’s understand:

Irrevocable international commitments have been made to the ancient Jewish people for the western Land of Israel – even in the United Nations’ own Charter (Article 80), which obligates everybody. So Israel does have “veto power” over establishing a Palestinian state in the western part of The Land of Israel, for the same reason that any home-owner in the world has “veto power” over her or his own living room.

Israeli Foreign Ministry legal adviser Tal Becker and British jurist Malcom Shaw sit in the International Court of Justice on January 12, 2024. (credit: THILO SCHMUELGEN)

If this sounds unfair, recall that Israel doesn’t have “veto power” over any of the over 20 spacious Arab states that serve the ancient Arab nation (“Umma”). To this nation, all Palestinian Arabs belong; they share this ancient nation’s language, national dress, religion and origin. All this makes the Arab nation, to which all Palestinians belong, one of the most generously endowed nations, territorially, in the world. 

I also thank Dr. Alan Baker for his recent contribution, aptly entitled “The latest legal misconception: The call for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.”  Dr. Baker delicately raises the possibility that politicians abroad may not understand what they are talking about.  Indeed, many political figures abroad are unaware of the following three key considerations for Jews. First,  there is no way back from statehood; divorce is the well-known procedure for dismantling a bad marriage, but there is no procedure for dismantling a bad (hostile or fail) state. Second, a “state” (as opposed to an “authority” like the Palestinian “Authority”) is entitled to arm itself as much as it pleases, eventually becoming a behemoth that is militarily impossible for an overshadowed small country like Israel to defeat.

Third, and most important, there is no such thing as a “demilitarized state”. That is a pure contradiction in terms – like a “chilly heat wave.” It is also not true that there are various “types” of states, some of which are not risky for Israel. Why?  Let us say that a state is established whose Constitution includes an Article assuring de-militarization. This sounds wonderful, but there’s a “small” catch: a state is entitled to change its constitution! What happens if (and when) the “Palestinian state” abolishes this de-militarization article and heavily arms itself? The answer is an existential catastrophe for Israel, the state next door.

Judea and Samaria belong to the Jewish people, irrevocably, by international law, which many like to ignore. The same is true of Gaza. If these are officially taken over by Iran, which is what would happen the morning after a “Palestinian” state were established, this would be an absolute disaster for the Jewish people.

The leadership of the Jewish people is entitled, indeed obligated, to prevent this from happening at a distance of a few meters from our capital, Jerusalem, and Road 6 (Israel’s main artery), and if we prevent it, we will. All well-meaning leaders and journalists are invited to support our efforts to do the right thing publicly.  The message of the Israeli Right and Center has always been, and will always be, that incessant “two-state” rhetoric does not promote co-existence – it promotes danger and war. Israel’s hand is ever extended in peace. True peace, peace-for-peace.

Some 99 Knesset members just voted that a “Palestinian state” will be a “prize for terror.”

Our friends should respect our right to exist as a Jewish state. Our friends must respect our independence and our democracy.

Recognizing a “Palestinian State” in the land of Israel will ignore our democratic process and will bring the destruction of the one and only Jewish State.  

Simcha Rothman is an Israeli MK and Chair of Israel’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee 

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