There is no place in Palestine for two races. The Jews left Palestine 2,000 years ago. Let them go to other parts of the world where there are wide vacant places.” –Amin al-Husseini, 1936
And that, in a nutshell, is why there will never be a two-state solution, not because Jewish Israel hasn’t been bending over backwards trying to agree to one, but because the Arab leadership will never accept it. They never have from the start.
By the way, just because I stuck in that link from ForeignPolicy.com doesn’t necessarily mean I agree with their opinion. It was just handy.
I’ve decided this will be the fourth and last installment in my “Israel is Jewish” series. Here are the other three:
Of course, what started it all was the wee piece Israel is NOT an Apartheid State or an “Occupier” : A Beginning. I’m getting sick and tired of bullies who manufacture “war crimes” and “human rights crimes” against Israel in the service of exterminating the Jewish citizens of the Jewish state.
So let’s talk about “the occupation.” In order for the Jews to “occupy” Arab “Palestine,” there had to be an Arab Palestinian people in the first place. Were there ever such a people?
Before that, going to the quote from Amin al-Husseini, did the Jews completely abandon “Palestine” for a full 2,000 years?
As it turns out, there has always been a Jewish presence in the Land, regardless of who the conqueror was at the time. Sometimes the population was larger than others. Sometimes Jews were allowed to return to their Land in great numbers. There was even a time when the Jewish population started planning the construction of a third Temple. Other times, they were driven out so that only a few thousand remained. But they remained.
Both in David Brog’s book Reclaiming Israel’s History: Roots, Rights, and the Struggle for Peace and at BesaCenter.org, we see that between the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. and the forming of the modern state of Israel in 1948, Jews have always lived in their ancestral land, so no, they didn’t abandon Israel for 2,000 years. They were just the victims of an endless sea of occupiers.
So what about the Arabs? Were they the ones in charge? Depends on who you ask. The site ancient.eu covers some of it, but not in enough detail, at least not during the time frame I’m examining.
After the Romans, there were the Byzantines. Then starting in the Middle Ages you had the Rashidun, Umayyad and Abbasid periods, the Fatimid period, the Crusader period, the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods, and then there was the Ottoman period.
That ended only with British rule. During that time, while the Jews always clung to their Land as their ancient inheritance, from an Arab perspective, it was simply a part of southern Syria and they, the Arabs, were whoever the conquerors were. For instance, from the 15th century onward, they were Ottomans, not Palestinian Arabs. If anything, they would have more identified as Syrians.
So at no time did “Palestinian Arabs” come on the radar until the 20th century, and it wasn’t seriously considered and then claimed until after the Six-Day War in 1967, nearly 20 years after the formation of modern Israel.
Even in the early 20th century, before World War Two, the Zionists who had planned a Jewish return to “Palestine” were determined to displace no Arabs at all, and sought only to live in unclaimed land, mainly the Negev which was an unpopulated desert.
As I said before, if the Arabs had accepted the British partition plan in 1948, they would have had a “Palestinian homeland” and there would have been exactly zero Palestinian refugees. However, instead, they decided to wage a “Civil War” against their Jewish neighbors the day the State of Israel was born, and after the British mandate ended, many other Arab nations came across the border for the purpose of making sure a Jewish state would never exist.
Up until the late 1960s, the concept of a Pan-Arabism was one of the primary forces behind opposing the continuance of Israel. While the concept of an “Arab Palestine” didn’t exist as such, the Arab nations believed that the entire Middle East should be one, single Arab domain. No room for other people groups, particularly Jews.
Only after 1967, when the Pan-Arab dream was abandoned, did the Arabs in and near Israel consider themselves “Palestinian.”
So you see, it’s pretty hard to say that the Jews displaced Palestinian Arabs when such an entity did not exist. Also, even after the 1948 war, there were still Arabs in abundance who hadn’t left and they were welcomed in Israel.
The history is long and complex, but the Jews have always been willing to share. The Arabs, or at least their leadership, were absolutely opposed.
In his book, Brog coins the phrase, the “Five Nos.” There were the five primary occasions where Palestinian Arabs were offered deals that included their own sovereign land, each offer being sweeter than the last. Each and every time, they said “No.”
Camera.org says the Palestinians said “No” only three times:
- The original UN Resolution 181, the Partition Resolution, passed in November 1947, called for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in the land which at that point was controlled by the British-run Palestine Mandate. We know about that one. The Arabs decided to kill the Jews instead.
- In the summer of 2000 US President Bill Clinton hosted intense peace talks at Camp David between Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli leader Ehud Barak, culminating in a comprehensive peace plan known as the Clinton Parameters, which was similar to the later Olmert Plan, though not quite as extensive. Despite the vast concessions the plan required of Israel, Prime Minister Barak accepted President Clinton’s proposal, while Arafat refused, returned home, and launched a new terror campaign against Israeli civilians (the Second Intifada).
- In 2008, after extensive talks, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and presented a comprehensive peace plan. Olmert’s plan would have annexed the major Israeli settlements to Israel and in return given equivalent Israeli territory to the Palestinians, and would have divided Jerusalem. This was the single most generous offer Israel could possibly make and Abbas still said “No.”
Brog is counting the 1937 partition plan based on the Peel Commission’s recommendation that less than 20% of Palestine be set aside for the Jews. In spite of the inequity of the offer, the Jews jumped at the chance. Not so the Arabs.
He also adds the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. In spite of the security concerns, Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt and the Golan to Syria. Israelis were divided on whether to return the West Bank to Jordan or to empower the Palestinian inhabitants to govern themselves.
These dreams of peace were quickly dashed. In late August 1967, the Arab League met in Khartoum, Sudan, and adopted a hard anti-Israel line. Among the resolutions these Arab states approved was one specifying that there would be “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” The West Bank Arabs who had been negotiating with Israel decided to fall in line and their talks ended.
It seems that as far as establishing an Arab Palestinian “homeland,” the Arabs are their own worse enemies, at least as long as they are determined to be the enemy of the Jews.
It’s interesting to note that at the 2000 Ehud Barak, Bill Clinton, Camp David peace summit, time after time Yasser Arafat continued to say “No” to each offer, without proposing a counter-offer or giving any details about why he was refusing. Brog records:
Arafat didn’t accept Barak’s offer. Nor did he make a counteroffer. He simply let the clock run out. At the close of the summit, President Clinton “blew up” at Arafat, shouting at the Palestinian leader that he had “been here fourteen days and said no to everything.”
Based on both ancient and modern claims, the Jews do have a right to their historic lands, and even though they have tried again and again to broker a peace with the Arab population, offering them exceedingly generous deals. They have said “No,” just “no.” After Arafat, Abbas followed suit, saying “no” with no counter-offers and no explanations.
However, this series is going to end differently than I expected. I just learned that Israel and United Arab Emirates strike historic peace accord. I want to be excited. I want to say “at last.” But everything I know about the history of Palestine going back two thousand years, or even just going back a century, tells me it’s not going to be that easy. After all of the conflict and enmity between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East and the absolute Arab refusal to accept a Jewish homeland within their midst, how is it ever going to be that easy?
It’s not. To quote the FT.com article:
But the move has infuriated the Palestinians. The Palestinian leadership rejected the “surprising” announcement by the US, Israel and UAE, calling it “an assault on the Palestinian people and an abandonment of the rights of the Palestinians and the holy sites”.
See? Told you.
So, when various civil rights groups in the U.S. vandalize synagogues and Jewish businesses, painting “Free Palestine” on those structures, and perhaps feeling justified in attacking American Jews as if they are somehow responsible for the so-called “occupation,” they are most likely operating in ignorance of the facts. If they choose to ally themselves with Arab terrorists groups such as Hamas, then maybe they understand things all too well, more’s the pity.
I know none of this will convince those who have already been convinced by decades of anti-Israel propaganda, and centuries if not millennia of hatred against the Jewish people. Anti-semitism seems to be the only form of bigotry that’s acceptable when all other forms are not.
The ancient Israelites were slaves in Egypt approximately 3,500 years ago and they were reportedly enslaved for 430 years. They have suffered unspeakable losses for those thousands of years, so you’d think anyone else who feels the need to rise up against the inequities of their background would study that history and find kinship, rather than ignoring that history and condemning the Jews and their right to exist as a nation.
Addendum: and speaking of Hamas and terrorism.
Addendum 8-14-2020: Erdogan: Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal
Addendum: 8-15-2020: Rockets fired from Gaza, after IDF incendiary balloon response strike.
Just another reminder that there has Always been a Jewish presence in Israel.
Addendum 8-19-2020: You see, this is exactly why the Palestinians will never consent to a two-state solution. Their leaders say any cooperation with Israel is treason, probably punishable by death. The Palestinians’ own leadership is their worst enemy, not Israel.
Addendum 8-24-2020: More antisemitism.
Addendum 8-30-2020: 10th of Elul: https://www.aish.com/dijh/Elul_10.html
Addendum 8:31-2020: Los Angeles, today.