04 March '11
This week’s quotation is a little longer than usual, but it’s right on target:
And yet, in the middle of this [Middle Eastern] storm there is one unalterable fact: the solution to Israel’s problems (whatever they may be), to the Arab world’s problems — and for many denizens of J Street, the solution to most of the world’s ills — is simply and only the creation, RIGHT NOW, of a Palestinian State. If that one thing happens then all will be well with the Jewish world, the Arab world, and much of the entire world; the lion (6 million Israeli Jews) will lie down with the lamb (338 million Arabs); the Muslims of France will eat croissants and stop setting fire to cars; the Muslims of London will drink tea and stop setting fire to the underground; and the Muslims of Chechnya will drink vodka and stop trying to set fire to Russia.
Rational political discourse tries to define problems and propose solutions — and we can assess the quality of the discourse by looking to see whether the problems and solutions are logically connected to each other. But when the same solution is offered to solve every problem in the world and its exact opposite, it becomes clear that what’s operating in the mind of the people proffering that solution is not logic. It’s an obsession with that solution. The J Street conference was not an exercise in political discussion; it was a ward, holding but not treating people suffering from an intellectual monomania.
– Lori Lowenthal Marcus, in American Thinker (entire article highly recommended)
There’s little that I can add; Marcus provides multiple examples of opposite diagnoses of various illnesses, all of which are said to require the same treatment. The monomania described is not limited to J Street — it’s the policy of the Obama Administration (hmm, maybe no surprise there, since J Street and the administration are joined at the hip) and of course of almost every country in Europe, the UN, etc.
Norway, which has been called the most antisemitic and anti-Israel country in Europe, has threatened that if negotiations don’t bear fruit, it will recognize ‘Palestine’ anyway. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr told Israelis recently that
I would like to be the first to recognize the state of Palestine when negotiations have been completed. I say so as long as there is a prospect for those negotiations. If it is clear to people that there is no such prospect we will have to reevaluate. — Ha’aretz
Several South American countries have already announced that they recognize a state of ‘Palestine’ according to the 1949 armistice lines. Of course, just as lawyers are fond of pointing out that anyone can sue anyone else regardless of the merit of their case, any nation can say that they recognize whatever they want, whether or not it makes sense in the context of international agreements, etc.
Here are two reasons that unilateral declaration of a state of ‘Palestine’ or recognition thereof is problematic:
1. A state has to have borders. The area of the Palestine Mandate was under Turkish control for 400 years until the defeat of the Ottoman empire in World War II. The League of nations gave a mandate to Britain to create a Jewish National Home in the area and to promote ‘close settlement’ of Jews there. Shortly thereafter the British gave about two thirds of it to their client Abdullah to compensate him for the fact that France had grabbed Lebanon and Syria (they also had a mandate for Iraq which they gave to Abdullah’s brother Feisal).
Note, however, that the only agreed-upon disposition for the area that was left was for the Jewish National Home. Although it was not agreed that all of the area would be included, or that it would be a sovereign state, there was and is no other legitimate claim to this land.
As everyone knows, the Brits did their best to sabotage this intention, fighting bitterly against Jewish immigration, not to mention sovereignty, even to the point of deliberately and consciously condemning hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of European Jews to death at the hands of Hitler, in order to keep control of a corridor to British India (hmm, another imperial success story there).
After WWII, a weakened Britain was unable to hold on any longer, the UN recommended partition, the Arabs rejected it, and the Palestinian Arabs went to war against the Jews. When the British Mandate ended, Israel declared independence and was attacked by five Arab nations. Upon the Arabs’ defeat, the armistice lines were set on the basis of the positions of the armies, and were never intended — by any of the parties, particularly the Arabs — to be permanent borders.
Following the 1967 war, UN Security Council resolution 242 called for a peace settlement that would result in “secure and recognized boundaries,” not the arbitrary 1949 lines. There never was such a peace settlement, because the Arabs refused to talk.
In 1993, the Oslo Accords called for borders to be established in final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, but agreement was never reached on this either. A unilateral declaration of ‘Palestine’ according to 1949 lines would therefore violate the Mandate, resolution 242 and the Oslo accords.
It’s funny that the people who are always talking about ‘international law’ in connection with the (incorrect) application of the Geneva Convention to Jewish settlements haven’t noticed any of this!
2. A state has to have a legitimate government. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was set up by the Oslo Accords. If the Palestinian Arabs abrogate them by the unilateral declaration of a state, what makes the PA a legitimate government? The Fatah/PLO dominated PA presently has no authority over 40% of the Palestinian Arab population, under Hamas rule in Gaza. Elections are long overdue, with ‘President’ Mahmoud Abbas’ term having ended two years ago. The PA is primarily dependent on the US and Europe for financing, and the presence of the IDF in the territories to protect it from being overthrown by Hamas. So not only is the PA technically not a government, it would immediately be overthrown by the racist, genocidal, even-less-legitimate, terrorist Hamas.
But why should people in the grip of a monomaniacal obsession — which I believe, based on a consideration of history, to be a whole lot more about the Jews than the Palestinians — care about reasons?
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