Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Pushing For Freezing Israeli Settlements--In The Face Of 80 Years Of Arab Rejectionism (Updated)

Jeff Robbins, a former US Delegate to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva during the Clinton Administration, writes about the long history of the rejection of a Jewish state by Palestinian Arabs:

For over 80 years, as Morris notes [in his book, One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict], Palestinians have "persuasively demonstrated" that they do not want any Jewish state in the region, regardless of the boundaries, and regardless of the settlement policy pursued by this Israeli government or that one. The Palestinian rejection of any Jewish state has not merely been the recurring theme of the conflict, but the dominant one.

Examples of the long history of Palestinian refusal to accept a Jewish state--even at the expense of the creation of a second Palestinian state:
  • In the 1930s, the Palestinian Arabs rejected a proposed two-state solution that would have created a Jewish state in less than 20% of Palestine.

  • In the 1940s, the Palestinian Arabs rejected the United Nations partition plan which would have created a Jewish state on less than half of the arable land in Palestine.

  • From 1948 to 1967, Israel had no presence in Gaza, the West Bank or East Jerusalem--yet during this time, the Arabs created no Palestinian state.

  • After the 1967 war, Israel accepted land-for-peace as per UN Resolution 242--but both the Arab Palestinians and the Arab world in general rejected it.

  • In 2000, Israel supported President Clinton's plan to create an independent Palestinian state including Gaza and virtually all of the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital--and this was also rejected by the Palestinian Arabs, whom turned to terrorist attacks, murdering 1,100 Israelis.

  • In 2006, during the Disengagement, Israel forcibly removed thousands of settlers from Gaza--Palestinian Arabs responded by firing rockets at Israeli civilian centers.
Robbins writes that the current Palestinian leadership is no different:

For its part, the Hamas leadership, which had assassinated many of its opponents and achieved a military takeover of Gaza, was more than content to trade hundreds of Palestinian lives in Gaza for the international criticism of Israel which Israel's efforts to protect its civilians from these rocket attacks would reliably trigger.

Recently, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told The Washington Post that the Palestinians had once again rejected a two-state solution. Former Prime Minister Olmert, Abbas told the Post, had recently offered an independent Palestinian state comprising all of Gaza, a capital in East Jerusalem and 97 percent of the West Bank - - and Abbas had flatly rejected this as well. "The gaps," Abbas said, without elaboration, "were too wide."

In the meantime, Abbas refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, telling the Post that he preferred to let the passage of time take its course, confident that American and international pressure on Israel would further weaken Israel's position. "Until then," Abbas said, "in the West Bank we have a good reality…the people are living a good life." And just last week, despite yet more stories in the western media that Hamas was at last "moderating" its position on Israel, Hamas informed former President Carter, whose credulousness on the conflict is a source of some wonderment, that as it had previously made clear, it would never recognize Israel's right to exist under any circumstances.

Read the whole thing.

The problem is that against Arab PR, the history of region and the ideology of the Palestinian Arabs fall by the wayside.

History is forgotten--and as for ideology:

As Dennis Ross and David Makovsky write with understatement in their own new book, "Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East," "those on the left…tend to dismiss ideological opposition to Israel's existence."

--fixating instead on obvious measures such as freezing settlements.

And as Robbins concludes, the Arab world will interpret Obama's policy towards Israel as an indication that all they have to do is hold out and eventually they will get what they want. Of course, as a corollary of that, the US will prove once again it's unreliability as an ally--as Iraqis learned from President Bush 41.

UPDATE: My Right Word pointed out to me another, earlier, example of Palestinian Arabs turning down an opportunity [see Answers.com, third entry]:

"The British attempted to introduce a limited measure of self-government through establishment of advisory and legislative councils during the 1920s and 1930s. The first, set up in October 1920, was a nominated advisory council (AC) pending the establishment of a legislative body. The AC was composed of ten Palestinian officials: four Muslims, three Christians, and three Jewish members of the Yishuv.

In August 1922 the HC, Sir Herbert Louis Samuel, proposed as a first step toward self-government a constitution that called for the replacement of the AC with a legislative council (LC). The proposed LC was to be composed of twenty-three members: eleven appointed British members, including the high commissioner, and twelve elected Palestinian members, incuding eight Muslims, two Christians, and two Jews. However, in order to safeguard the Balfour policy of support for the Jewish national home, the HC would retain a veto power and the council's legislative authority would not extend to such central issues as Jewish immigration and land purchase.

The Jews reluctantly accepted, but the Palestinians rejected the proposed constitution and boycotted the elections for the LC in February 1923. Palestinian leaders argued that participation in the council would be tantamount to acceptance of the British Mandate and Balfour policy, which they feared would lead to their subjugation under a Jewish majority in an eventual state. The poor election turnout caused the HC to shelve the LC proposal and revert to the idea of an advisory council. But Samuel failed to convince Palestinian leaders to sit on a revised AC; nor was his subsequent proposal to establish an "Arab Agency" (to be parallel to the "Jewish Agency" recognized under the mandate) any more successful at winning the cooperation of local politicians. Samuel thereupon abandoned the idea of encouraging popular participation in the governing of Palestine. Although the idea of establishing a LC would be revived in 1928 and again in the early 1930s, the British were unable to win both Arab and Jewish support for their proposals. As a result, Palestine was governed, from 1923 until the end of the Mandate in 1948, by a HC in consultation with an AC composed only of British officials".

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

Technorati Tag: and and .

Post a Comment