Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Where the Jews live, Israel. Where the Arabs live, Palestine.

[UN Headquarters, New York]

I just read a long complicated article on Israel and Palestine in 'The New York Review of Books'. With the usual Arab and leftist denial of reality and history the author argues that Israel must be forced to accept a two-state solution.

That first Britain in 1936, and the UN in 1947, and Israel in 1967, and again in 1993, and in 2000, and in 2002, publicly offered the Palestinians a two state solution, and offers one now, is seemingly unknown to the author. And that the Palestinians each time peremptorily and usually violently rejected a two-state solution each time is similarly unknown to him.

The Palestinians and several Arab governments formalized their position at the Khartoum Conference in 1964 in the Three Noes of Khartoum - no peace, no recognition, no negotiation. That doctrine is called appropriately, Rejectionism.

Rejectionism became and remains the basis of the Palestinian Covenant, the founding document of the Palestinian Authority. It was signed, and probably designed, by Yasser Arafat. Arafat's chief deputy in 1964 was Abu Ala, nom de guerre of Mahmoud Abbas, the current president of the PA.

The 1947 offer of a two-state solution by the UN was simplicity itself - where the Jews live will be Israel, where the Arabs live will be Palestine. The Jews accepted half a loaf. The Arabs rejected their half a loaf and instead began a war of annihilation against the Jews. The Jews rudely, unfairly, and unreasonably declined to be annihilated.

The Palestinians, having rejected their half of the loaf, got nothing. What could have gone to them was generously seized by their brothers, the Jordanians and Egyptians. With great kindness and good faith, the Jordanians and Egyptians, rather than create a Palestinian state, imposed a military occupation on the Palestinians that lasted nineteen years.

After the Six Day War of 1967, with the Jordanians and Egyptians expelled from what could have become Palestinian territory, Israel offered the Palestinians half a loaf again. i.e. a two-state solution. And with their usual good faith and good judgment they refused again.

Now they are demanding, or at least some of them are, exactly what they were repeatedly offered and repeatedly and violently refused - a two-state solution. And in spite of their decades of bad faith and violence, they ought to get it. And with no penalty. They ought to get exactly what the UN offered them in 1947.

Every argument of fairness and reason suggests that if they are offered it again, it should be exactly the UN offer of 1947. Where the Jews live should be Israel and where the Arabs live should be Palestine. Which means that the Jewish settlements are Israel and will remain Israel, and the Arab settlements will become Palestine. That was the deal then, it should be the deal now.

When Milosevic demanded and attempted the ethnic cleansing of Muslim Bosnians from their homes in Bosnia, the UN arrested him, tried and convicted him, and he died in prison. Mahmoud Abbas has demanded the ethnic cleansing of the Jews from their homes in Judea and would attempt it if he could. He should be more generously treated than the UN treated Milosevic. He should be forced to be president of the Palestinian state he and his late boss Arafat fought so long and hard to prevent the existence of. That would be humiliation enough.

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