Peter Smith’s splendid Quadrant Online essay, “Dancing at the Wailing Wall”, quotes a Palestinian terrorist: “There will be one country from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.” Though usually not one to agree with Islamic militants, I think our anti-Zionist freedom fighter has got this one right. For the foreseeable future – okay, until the end of time – there will be only one country between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. And its name shall be Israel.
The so-called “two-state solution” is dead. Truth be told, the notion of transforming the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) into an Arab Palestinian state has always been a minority view. Haj Amin al-Husseini (1897-1974), the religious and political leader of the Arabs who inhabited British Mandatory Palestine, did not care for it. While he retained any kind of authority, at least, he never aspired to an Arab Palestinian state – neither the maximalist Jordan-to-the Mediterranean version nor the minimalist West Bank adaptation.
In the aftermath of the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, al-Husseini rejected the idea of an autonomous Palestinian entity and instead insisted that the Arabs of the region (formerly known as southern Ottoman Syria) be absorbed into an independent Greater Syria. Come the Second World War, Haj Amin al-Husseini did not conspire in Berlin to become President of Palestine but Supreme Leader of a Nazi-sanctioned, Judenfrei, transnational Islamic state with Jerusalem as the capital – not so much a two-state solution as an integral part of the Final Solution. In al-Husseini’s day, the term “Palestine” was associated with Zionism. Until May 16, 1948, the day after the foundation of the State of Israel, The Jerusalem Post was known as The Palestine Post. An Arab Palestinian flag, an Arab Palestinian identity and an Arab Palestinian nation are all recent innovations.
Not until 1964, when the secret services of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of Romania (subsequently known as the Socialist Republic of Romania) cobbled together the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), did the cause of “Palestine” re-enter the lexicon of revolutionary causes. Yasser Arafat’s political status before the advent of the PLO might be best described as dominant character in the Egypt-backed fedayeen, a gang of armed “freedom fighters” who periodically smuggled themselves into Israel for the purpose of raping Israeli girls or blowing up Israeli farmers. Furthermore, the objective of the PLO in 1964 was not to establish a mini-state in the West Bank, if for no other reason that, up until the 1967 Six Day War, this territory – along with East Jerusalem – belonged to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. So what, we may ask, was the PLO set up to accomplish? Hint: obviously not a “two-state solution”.
Not even the lunar Left – as distinct from US Secretary of John Kerry and his fellow “progressives” around the globe – advocates a two-state solution. Anti-Zionist agitators, such as Ilan Pappé and Noam Chomsky, speak of a “bi-national state”, one in which Jews and Arabs share equal status. To a large extent such an entity already exists. It is called the State of Israel. Because the State of Israel happens to be a modern-style democracy, all of its citizens – Jews, Arabs and other minorities alike – enjoy equal rights in accordance with Israel’s Citizenship Law, the exception being the Arab inhabitants of the West Bank. For the 1.5 million Israeli Arabs (out of total population of 8 million) who live in Israel proper no official discrimination exists, which is not to say that no inequity of any kind occurs – but that can be said of every country. Consider this: Salim Joubran, an Israeli Arab, is on the Supreme Court of Israel.
Anti-Zionists of the Pappé and Chomsky school oversimplify the category of “Arabs”. There are Bedouin and Druze who are entirely integrated into not only the State of Israel but also the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). And then there is the local Christian population, which has witnessed the persecution of their co-religionists in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan, Libya and Gaza. Israel is their sanctuary and many are now choosing to identify themselves as “Aramean” rather than “Arab”. Additionally, few Israeli Arabs residing in live-and-let-live Tel Aviv are keen on Chomsky’s “bi-national state”. If I had not travelled around Israel myself I might have assumed this interview with Professor Eid, an Israel-Arab surgeon, to be Zionist propaganda:
Peter Smith, in his Quadrant Online article, notes that Israelis now believe the establishment of a Palestinian state would simply provide “a new launching pad for terrorism.” They are not wrong. Richard Landes’ Heaven On Earth (2011) addresses the subject of millennialism on a broad front, yet tells us much of what we need to know about Islamic apocalyptic psychosis. In that context, here is his list of ten good reasons why a Palestinian state right now is not such a good idea.
There is, of course, the possibility that handing over the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights – and let’s here recall the Sudetenland – to homicidal maniacs will bring about world peace, or at the very least Nobel Peace Prize for John Kerry, but I would not count on it.
This brings us back to our starting point. If Oslo’s “two-state solution” is a no-go, then what to do about the West Bank (Judea and Samaria)? Caroline B. Glick, in The Israeli Solution (2014), sees three alternatives. Firstly, reconstitute the Israeli military as the exclusive overriding authority in these disputed territories. Alternatively, preserve the existing twofold governance between the Isreali military and the Palestinian Authority. Or, thirdly, incorporate the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) into the State of Israel. Glick contends that the humanitarian option – the Israeli solution – is the latter, because only this will provide local Arabs all the benefits of Israeli citizenship, including health care, education, legal protection, political representation and economic opportunity. If this sounds a little rash, we need to reflect on the fact that Egypt’s President al-Sisi currently sees a Palestinian state in the West Bank, given the dangers of violent jihadism, as counter to the best interests of the Arab population.
Clearly, John Kerry’s – and Europe’s – fantasy that a Palestinian mini-state in the West Bank would “solve” the problem of the Middle East is wearing thin if Egypt is no longer on board. Not even Jordan would welcome a Palestinian state on its border. The invaluable Middle East Media Review (MEMRI) site reveals that most Israeli Arabs do not want their towns and villages redesignated as part of a newly created Palestinian state in any two-state solution. To be fair, who would want to live in the Islamic Republic of Palestine? A small number of Israeli Arabs, admittedly, have gone off to fight for the Islamic State, but then Australia has not been immune from that blight.
Arab leaders, from Haj Amin al-Husseini to Yasser Arafat, and now Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashaal, have betrayed their people. Arab rejectionism – 1936, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1967, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2013-14 – has shattered any chances of a sovereign Arab state being established in accordance with Resolution 181 of the United Nations (1947). Instead of peace and harmony breaking out in the Holy Land this Christmas we must make do with the ravings of psychotic mothers. Good one, Yasser – your spirit lives on.
Daryl McCann has a blog at http://darylmccann.blogspot.com.au. He has written on Julia Gillard for the December, 2014, issue of Quadrant