Recognizing Palestine is rewarding Hamas, violence and terrorism 

Extremists on both sides of the fence passionately advocate a one-state solution with either Palestine or the state of Israel covering all the territory from the river to the sea.  One man’s dream is truly another man’s nightmare.

David Munis Zepernick is a former city councillor for Radikale.

Recognizing Palestine is rewarding Hamas, violence and terrorism This week an illegal demonstration by pro-Palestinians took their protest to the doorstep of Danish democracy and blocked the entrance to the Danish Parliament aggressively shouting, “From the river to the sea – Palestine will be free”.

One could only imagine the reaction if a group of hardline Israeli settlers had attempted the same blocking of the Danish Parliament and advocating for an Israel from the river to the sea eliminating both Gaza and the West Bank!

The fact is that extremists on both sides of the fence passionately advocate a one-state solution with either Palestine or the state of Israel covering all the territory from the river to the sea.  One man´s dream is truly another man´s nightmare.

As the war progresses the peace and compromise seeking middle ground rapidly erodes. Hardliners on both sides mobilize further support, which in turn fuels further violence and suffering. 

Because of the balance of power on the ground in Gaza, the difficulties of urban warfare and the explicit Hamas strategy to hide among civilians and accept huge casualties to influence world opinion, the Palestinian civilians suffer disproportionately. 

Consequently, Hamas has – despite being the aggressor and openly admitting to aiming to provoke a military response from Israel with the 7th of October attack on Israeli civilians – succeeded in turning a huge part of the world opinion against Israel.  

To the surprise of many Israelis, several countries and otherwise liberal political parties are now seriously contemplating rewarding the official terror organization Hamas´ attack on civilians with an official recognition of a Palestinian state. Though not Jewish, I am quite surprised myself.

Obviously, this move is strongly discouraged by the Israeli government, as it does not appear to be conditioned on a solution guaranteeing any kind of permanent peace and security for the state of Israel. 

Whereas Hamas has consistently argued for the elimination of the state of Israel, Israel has historically been open to the idea of a Palestinian state. 

20 years ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was the first Israeli Prime Minister to state that a Palestinian state was a possibility, although for security reasons it would have to be fully demilitarized. 

This was also the position of Prime minister Ehud Olmert 2006-2009, and even Netanyahu has supported the notion of a demilitarized and territorially reduced Palestinian state. 

In February 2023 he was quoted for saying “I’m certainly willing to have them have all the powers that they need to govern themselves, but none of the powers that can threaten us”.

In other words, the state of Israel has historically been far more open to the notion of a Palestinian state than Hamas has been to the notion of the state of Israel. 

This openness has obviously dwindled following the 7th of October. There are, however, still political forces in Israel willing to revisit their old position and recognize a demilitarized Palestinian state in exchange for peace and permanent security.  

Logically however, such an Palestinian authority cannot be led by an armed terrorist organization such as Hamas dedicated to the elimination of Israel. 

In Gaza there appears to be no real opposition to Hamas and hence no potential partner in peace. A unilateral and unconditional recognition of a Palestinian state right now will for obvious reasons be perceived and celebrated as a victory for Hamas. 

Although sympathetic to the idea of a two-state solution, granting Palestinian statehood at this exact point of time without any conditions will not be perceived as a reward for peace, but as a reward for violence and terror. 

We should expect Hamas not only to be grateful for such an official recognition, but also even more determined to pursue the current violent and terrorist strategy. It will, consequently, be nothing less than adding fuel to the fire, confirming that victory and peace can only be achieved through even more sacrifice, terror and violence.

Paradoxically, an official recognition of Palestine right now will help both the Hamas hardliners and their Israeli counterparts who are dreaming of a one-state solution to mobilize support and achieve their objectives – while peace and security seeking civilians will once again be the real victims. 

Given the balance of power, it´s fair to assume that a disproportionate part of the victims will once again be Palestinian civilians, but obviously both Israeli and Palestinians will suffer from this vicious circle of violence which has lasted on and off for more than 75 years. 

We now must ask ourselves: are we Danes complicit with the violence of Hamas and the fire they are fuelling?