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Recently, French president Nicolas Sarkozy came out with some surprisingly harsh statements against Israel while concomitantly expressing strong support for the justness of a Palestinian state. Moreover, the French leader even claimed “the Palestinians have been waiting for a state they deserve for 60 years now.” Since many people in the world unquestionably believe that this claim is based upon historical facts and truths, I have written the following open letter to Sarkozy in order to debunk this historical falsehood.
Dear Mr. Sarkozy,
As part of your recent outburst against Israel in which you termed Abbas a “statesman” for his supposed willingness to come to the negotiating table as opposed to Netanyahu whom you described as being someone that “never fails to disappoint us,” you added a most interesting line. While discussing your support for the creation of a Palestinian state you justified your stand by stating that “the Palestinians have been waiting for a state they deserve for 60 years now”.
I hate to burst your bubble but not everyone agrees with that sentence or the implicit accusation that Israel is to blame for not helping the Palestinians attain statehood. History, in fact, seems to say otherwise.
As I’m sure you know, following World War 1 and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire the Middle East was divided up by the great powers of the day. While most of the territory in the region was given to the Arabs for the creation of several new countries, one area, via the Mandate for Palestine, was set aside to be the national home for the Jewish people. Based upon the recognition of Jewish historical rights in Palestine, the mandate charged the British with facilitating the creation of a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan River. However, despite the fact that the mandate was a legally binding document that was conferred at the San Remo Conference and approved by the League of Nations, the British disregarded their responsibility and in an act of duplicity transferred roughly 80% of Palestine to the Arabs for the creation of Transjordan, the forerunner of Jordan.
Moreover, even on the roughly 20% of Palestine that was left for the creation of a Jewish state, the British continued to betray the role that was assigned to them. Rather than permitting Jews to easily settle in Palestine they actually limited the amount of Jewish immigration, even during the dark years of the Nazis, while simultaneously allowing the influx of large amounts of Arabs from the surrounding countries. Not surprisingly years of such injustice by the British only increased the tension between Jews and Arabs, so much so that in 1947 an offer was made to partition the country. The Jews accepted, even though this was only a tiny portion of the original area that had been promised them while the Arabs refused. In other words Mr. Sarkozy, roughly sixty years ago the Arabs, not yet called the Palestinians as that name only came into vogue two decades later, rejected a state on land that legally had been granted to the Jews! So do you still believe that the Arabs deserve a state on more or less the same land they rejected sixty years ago?
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