Why there is no ideal solution to the Palestinian imbroglio.
The usual understanding of Israel as an aggressive, colonial, apartheid state robbing the Palestinians of their heritage is quite possibly the greatest political scam of modern times. It is the outcome of a mixture of historical amnesia, ideological prejudice and reflex hostility, which serves to keep it mind-proof. This species of unreason explains why, in the interminable conflict raging in the Middle East, the Palestinians have been given a free pass.
It is why the press has bowdlerized the word “terrorist” and substituted inoffensive synonyms like “militant,” “activist” and “insurgent.” It is why any Israeli response to Gaza rocket fire is denounced as “collective punishment” and a violation of international norms by the United Nations, which has no problem turning a blind eye to the continuing barrage of rocket fire, kidnappings and attempted kidnappings, and ambushes emanating from the terrorist enclave.
This knee-jerk reaction to Israel is the reason Hezbollah was permitted to re-arm itself in violation of UN Resolution 1701. It accounts for the fact that Human Rights outfits and NGOs have been hijacked by the anti-Israeli crowd hiding behind their anesthetic titles. It is the reason that foreign nations funding left-wing, anti-Zionist groups that operate in Israel object to the passing of transparency legislation by the Knesset, though they themselves stringently monitor such interference in their own affairs. It accounts for the sanctimonious and hypocritical outcry against the Israeli security barrier as an apartheid wall, without evincing the slightest concern for the Jewish victims of Palestinian terror: 1,218 fatalities and 8,431 maimed between 2000-2007.
Such unfounded partiality explains why so dysfunctional a society as “Palestine” is the recipient of lavish American and European largesse, despite the hemorrhaging economies of most Western nations. It is the reason that the rejection by the 1974 Palestinian National Council of UN Resolution 242, which recognized Israeli sovereignty, is never mentioned. It throws light upon the general refusal to acknowledge that the casus belli in the region is not a wrangle over borders but the Palestinian rejection of both the concept and reality of a Jewish state, which is why the Haq al-Awda or “right of return” of millions of foreign-born, manufactured “refugees” has been a non-negotiable issue for the Palestinians, from Arafat to Abbas. In fact, in no other case on record has the United Nations recognized multi-generational descendants as authentic “refugees” entitled to repatriation.
Nor is the fact ever mentioned that the first Arab women to exercise the vote were those who live in Israel. It makes no difference to the soi-disant international community that an independent “Palestine” adjacent to Israel would be officially Judenrein, or Jew-free, which means it would not be a democratic state. It makes no difference that the Palestinian Arabs have failed or reneged in every area of their commitments to Israel and the “peace process,” from putting the lid on media incitement to debelling the terrorists in their ranks to reforming the school curriculum.
Further, the claim bruited by Arab propagandists of various stripes that the Palestinian refugees were driven out by Israeli forces during the War of Independence is more than likely only minimally valid. The brunt of the responsibility for the flight of Palestinian villagers and fellaheen must be borne almost exclusively by the Arabs. “Every year,” writes Sol Stern in A Century of Palestinian Rejectionism and Jew Hatred, “the legend grows about the historical crimes committed against the Palestinians in 1948.” This is the “nakba myth,” which “has become a lethal political cocktail.” But it is for the most part falsified history. Even Sir John Glubb of “Glubb Pasha” fame, the British general of the Arab Legion that conducted a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” against the newborn Jewish state, wrote in the London Daily Mail for August 12, 1948 that “The Arab civilians panicked and fled ignominiously. Villages were frequently abandoned before they were threatened by the progress of war.” Emile Ghoury, secretary of the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee, interviewed in the Beirut Telegraph for September 6, 1948, stressed that “these refugees [are] the direct consequence of the act of the Arab states in opposing partition and the Jewish state,” and the Jordanian daily Falastin in an article for February 19, 1949 blamed the “Arab states which had encouraged the Palestine Arabs to leave their homes.” These are only a brace among other such affidavits.
With all this information at our fingertips, readily accessible to anyone who cares to do a modicum of research, the question practically asks itself. Why is the international community so quick to accept Palestinian victimhood and to condemn Israel? The answer is self-evident. What the Palestinians have going for them is the latent—and more often manifest—hatred of Israel and the Zionist enterprise in much of the world, which is only the contemporary permutation of age-old antisemitism and which they can tap into and exploit to their own advantage. This is why the Palestinian narrative has “taken.” As Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick puts it, “Anti-Semitism is back in style. Its new justification is not race or religion. It is nationalism….And like its racist and religious predecessors, its aim is to deny the right of Jews to be free.”
The Western embrace of the Palestinians may be nothing more than the furtive policy and privy intention of an international community that plainly wishes for Israel to disappear from the historical proscenium. The fact that Israel within its current borders, as well as Judea and Samaria (aka the “West Bank”), comprise the historic and legal home of the Jewish people is conveniently brushed aside. I am reminded of a moving passage from poet Clive Wilmer, in his New and Collected: “I can’t live where I once lived, though/the roof there used to cover me.” Moreover, there is little willingness to recognize that when terrorism becomes a way of life as it has for the Palestinians, there is scant prospect for peace.
We need to see things as they are. There is no ideal solution to the Palestinian imbroglio. The so-called “two state” solution was never a plausible outcome, being nothing more than a Western delusion and a Palestinian phased strategy for the subversion of Israel. It simply won’t fly. Some analysts have accordingly come to believe that it makes more sense for the Palestinians to look east rather than west, to consider Jordan rather than Israel as the object of their campaign for nationhood.
Indeed, a new proposal involving the future of Jordan and its relation to the Palestinians has begun to gain preliminary traction. Mordechai Nisan in his recent Only Israel West of the River persuasively argues that “Redefining Jordan as an official Palestinian entity offers the solution to the conflict.” This is the “new paradigm” and the only one, he believes, that is likely to work. Similarly, Alan Bergreen in American Thinker points out that the days of the Hashemite monarchy may be numbered in any event. He suggests that Jordan’s ruling family would be wise to get ahead of the curve by establishing a Palestinian constitutional monarchy as the symbolic head of a full-fledged Palestinian state. The recommendation certainly seems reasonable to Knesset member Aryeh Eldad who, in the words of Gavriel Queenann in Arutz Sheva, is a “long-time proponent of defining Jordan as the ‘Palestinian state’ over creating such an entity in Israel’s biblical heartland.”
Writing in The Middle East Quarterly, expatriate Jordanian-Palestinian writer Mudar Zahran calls it “the Jordanian option,” namely, the democratization of the country, which is already majority Palestinian. “Empowering Palestinian control of Jordan and giving Palestinians all over the world a place they can call home,” he contends, “could not only defuse the population and demographic problem for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria but would also solve the much more complicated issue of the ‘right of return’ for Palestinians in other Arab countries.” Jordan, in effect, is Palestine. “It is historically perplexing,” Zahran continues, “that the world should be reluctant to ask the Hashemites to leave Jordan, a country to which they are alien, while at the same time demanding that Israeli families be removed by force from decades-old communities in their ancestral homeland.” The new Jordan “could also greatly benefit from financial and economic incentives attending good-neighbor relations with Israel.” He concludes: “A moderate, peaceful, economically thriving, Palestinian home in Jordan would allow both Israelis and Palestinians to see a true and lasting peace.” The trouble with this proposal, as should be immediately obvious, is that it is eminently reasonable.
Another option is simply to maintain the status quo, however unpalatable, with Israel living in a condition of military readiness—as it has had to do since 1948—and the “West Bank” Palestinians continuing to threaten, lobby, gesticulate, ply their propaganda and make a perpetual nuisance of themselves. (Though now that Fatah in the “West Bank” has apparently reconciled with Hamas in Gaza to form a united front against Israel, the new alliance, assuming it does not unravel as it has on previous occasions, may eventually have to be dealt with decisively.)
Israel may also consider reinforcing the status quo by annexing the majority-Jewish administrative division known as Area C, as per the Oslo Accords, in order to establish a strong defensive perimeter while fully incorporating the Area’s inhabitants into the Israeli homeland. As Jeremy Saltan explains in The Jewish Press, “Following the Palestinians’ unilateral bid for statehood at the United Nations, many expect the Israeli government to announce their own large scale unilateral move. The Oslo Accords… allow one side to respond with their own unilateral action if the other side decides to engage in one first.” Despite international disapproval and regional pressures, Israel is certainly within its rights to proceed in this manner.
As far as I can tell, these are the only two rational options before us. They are by no means ideal solutions, and the odds for the Jordanian option are currently far from promising. But anything else—the “two state” hallucination which is going nowhere or the “binational state” absurdity which would spell the end of Israel, recommended by fantasists and false friends like Jay Bushinsky and the late Tony Judt—is self-deception and a prospectus for perpetual discord and endless suffering.
Unpleasant as it may be, more of the same seems the only practical alternative at the present historical moment, with the proviso that “the same” must not only be accepted as the condition of survival but also strengthened, resolutely defended, and perhaps supplemented. It’s time to get real.
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