by Mitchell Bard –
Pundits and policymakers act as though solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is like playing Risk. They manufacture formulas with the single-minded purpose of arriving at a predetermined outcome — a two-state solution — and ignore everything the Palestinians have said or done over the last century that is inconsistent with their desired result.
The Palestinians, however, have no interest in the Risk players’ conceptions of peace; they want a No Jewish State Solution.
Consider the history of negotiations. In 1937, British diplomats first arrived at the seemingly rational conclusion that the secret to resolving a conflict between two peoples over one land was to divide it into two states. Ignoring the messier reasons for the conflict, such as history, religion, politics, and psychology, the Peel Commission offered the Arabs a state in roughly 40% of Palestine and the Jews 17%. The Palestinians rejected the offer and objected “to the very idea of a Jewish state” according to historian Elie Podeh
In 1939, the British offered the Palestinians a state and no state for the Jews, reneging on their promise in the Balfour Declaration. This is the one state solution the Arabs said they wanted; however, it would have allowed continued Jewish immigration. The Palestinians’ representatives from the Arab Higher Committee objected to the idea that “Jews should have a fixed numerical proportion of one third or any other proportion, as such a position would be a real danger on Arab national existence.”
The Committee insisted on a “complete and final prohibition of any transfer of lands from Arabs to Jews.” Furthermore, the Arabs rejected the British requirement that they recognize a Jewish National Home, “No Arab in Palestine will ever be prepared to recognize … the existence of a Jewish Home as a national entity.”
Partition offered the Palestinians a worse deal (though better than Peel) — a state consisting of 45% of Mandatory Palestine next to a Jewish state. Before the UN vote on partition, the Arabs made their position clear and, in doing so, should have permanently shattered the illusions of two-state advocates. Arab League Secretary Azzam Pasha told Jewish Agency representative David Horowitz on September 16, 1947:
It’s likely, Mr. Horowitz, that your plan is rational and logical, but the fate of nations is not decided by rational logic. Nations never concede; they fight. You won’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise. You can, perhaps, get something, but only by the force of your arms. We shall try to defeat you. I am not sure we’ll succeed, but we’ll try. We were able to drive out the Crusaders, but on the other hand we lost Spain and Persia. It may be that we shall lose Palestine. But it’s too late to talk of peaceful solutions.
He was prescient about losing Palestine. Still, after the 1948 War of Independence, the Palestinians could have demanded a state from Jordan, which controlled the West Bank, and Egypt, which ruled Gaza. It would have met their goal of a Judenrein state. They had no interest in independence, however, and were content to live under occupation by their fellow Arabs.
Flash forward to 1993 and the Oslo agreements, which gave the Palestinians authority over 40% of the West Bank. Benjamin Netanyahu, yes Netanyahu, subsequently agreed to transfer another 15% to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and 12% to the PA’s civil control. Alas, the Palestinians literally blew up the peace process because they were no more willing to live with a Jewish state than they had been in 1937. … |March 20, 2020