Sunday, March 23, 2014

Israel's Palestine problem

However much the US tries to appear neutral in their dealings with both sides in the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, after all is said and done they come out supporting the Palestinians, notwithstanding the fact that Israel always makes the concessions, such as prisoner releases, without reciprocation. Case in point, US Secty of State Kerry stated that Israel should not insist on the need for the Palestinians to recognize it as a Jewish State. His reasons are that the League of Nations agreed to the Britsh Mandate in 1922 in order for the British to establish a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, but wait a minute, that doesn't mean that the Arabs or the Palestinians accepted that. The same goes for the UN resolutions, they may mention that Israel is the Jewish State, but the Arabs rejected the UN Partition Plan in 1948. Then Kerry said that Arafat recognized Israel as a Jewish State, but not so. Arafat agreed to recognize Israel and had the Palestine National Council accept it by acclaim, but no vote was taken and so there was a question about the legitimacy of this maneuver and anyway there was no mention of Israel being the Jewish State. So why is Kerry spouting Palestinian propaganda, the answer can only be that the US under Pres. Obama basically supports the Palestinians in their bid for a State despite all Israeli conditions.

Kerry is right that Britain was given the Mandate to establish a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, but there was no provision in the Mandate for the establishment of an Arab State in Palestine. Nevertheless, in 1922 Britain, in fact Winston Churchill (supposedly a Zionist supporter), unilaterally took more than half of the Mandate territory and illegally established an Arab State in it, namely Transjordan (now Jordan). The reason Britain did this was to satisfy their commitments to the Hashemite clan of Arabia (before Saudi Arabia was established in 1932). Why should Jewish sovereign rights in Palestine be lost because of the colonial needs of the British? The irony of British PM Cameron speaking to the Knesset in Jerusalem and stating that Israel is a friendly democracy and giving us advice on how to resolve our problems with the Palestinians (a "two-state solution") has not escaped our notice. It was Britain in pursuance of its own colonial interests that effectively precipitated the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine, just as they did between the Hindus and Muslims in India/Pakistan in the same era.

While we are on the subject, I do not think that a further division of western Palestine between Israel and a putative Palestinian State will either work or is justifiable. Such a mini-State would be a non-viable terrorist enclave that would precipitate further violence. My solution, after the current peace talks fail, as they undoubtedly will, is that Israel should declare that the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), a portion of the original Mandate, is sovereign Israeli territory, in other words annex it. Then the Arabs living there should be given a choice, either accept Israeli citizenship and sign a pledge of allegiance to Israel (there is precedent for this), or be declared citizens of Jordan, the Arab State in Palestine. If they prefer they can be moved to Jordan, just as the Syrian refugees are being accepted there, or elsewhere in the Arab world. Remember that after the US War of Independence, British citizens who would not declare their allegiance to the USA were expelled to British Canada. Whether Jordan remains a Hashemite Kingdom, or succumbs to its Palestinian majority (ca. 70%) is an internal matter, not Israel's decision. Since Jordanian sovereignty has been in existence for over 90 years and since it is a recognized sovereign state, Israel should formally relinquish any claims to its territory. These steps might not solve Israel's "Palestine problem," but they might go a long way towards it.


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