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A MULTI-STATE SOLUTION: AN ALTERNATIVE TO FAILURE

by Moshe Dann

  

PART I: A SHORT HISTORY OF THE "OCCUPATION" OF JUDEA, SAMARIA AND GAZA

The underlying assumption of "Israeli occupation" of Yehuda, Shomron and Gaza — and East Jerusalem (which includes the Old City and Temple Mount) -- is that this territory belongs to someone else. The problem is, to whom?

After WWI, it was occupied by the British, who took it from the Turks, who took it from various Christian and Moslem occupiers, who took from Romans and Greeks, Babylonians and Assyrians, Philistines, Hittites and Canaanites. And others.

At no time was it occupied by "Palestinians."

So where do I belong and to whom does this land belong?

The designation of this area as a future second Arab Palestinian state, however, based on Armistice Lines that were established in 1949, was never accepted by any Arab state, since that would mean acceptance of the State of Israel. These were battle lines, not indications of acceptance or accommodation — least of all, "Palestinian."

The United Nations had proposed separate Jewish and Palestinian states in November, 1947, but this was rejected by the Arabs, who began a war of annihilation.

When the State of Israel was declared in May, 1948, 5 Arab armies and irregulars invaded, in addition to local Arab gangs, assisted by elements of British and French military.

Following the cease-fire in 1949, Jordan occupied Yehuda, Shomron and Jerusalem (later called "the West Bank") and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip.

During this period, Jordan annexed the "West Bank," while Egypt held Gaza under military rule; no attempts were made to establish a Palestinian state. Terrorist attacks against Israel continued from Gaza, the "West Bank," and Syrian-occupied Golan Heights. When the PLO was founded in 1966, their aim was to destroy Israel — not statehood.

PART 2: MULTI-STATE SOLUTION: AN ALTERNATIVE TO FAILURE

That Palestinians are not ready for, interested in, or capable of statehood alongside Israel seems unanimous — even among most Palestinians. Their leadership doesn't recognize the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, refuses to stop incitement and terrorism, and continues a tradition of corruption, victimization, and religious/tribal/sectarian war.

Palestinians cannot even acknowledge basic facts of history: that Jews had a highly developed civilization in the Land of Israel; two Commonwealths; Temples on the Temple Mount; that Jews survived exile and destruction, yet remained in The Land; that despite suffering and hardship, nevertheless they produced great literature. Israel was the home of spiritual giants.

Arab and Palestinian media continue to portray Jews as evil, satanic, sub-human, Nazi devils, foreign intruders in Palestine. PA schools teach a distorted form of history that does not include Jewish history, the Holocaust, or Jewish contributions to civilization. Part of a world-wide drive to wipe out Israel, Arabs and Palestinians have a genocidal agenda, not only physically, but culturally as well.

What hopes for peaceful coexistence can be expected from this contaminated environment?

Given this reality, a second Arab Palestinian state in Palestine is not only unrealistic, it poses a direct threat to Israel's existence.

A "two-state-solution" places the burden of rehabilitation and resettlement on Israel; Israel alone will suffer the consequences of another failure.

Another "two-state-solution," therefore, which has been tried, proposed and rejected many times before may seem reasonable in theory; in practice it is a looming disaster.

An alternative involves freedom from the obsession of Palestinian statehood and sovereignty. A new regional approach to resolving the conflict anchors national identity and political rights in already existing Arab, Muslim states. This would ensure a humanitarian solution to the "Palestinian problem."

Since the term "Palestinian" includes not only Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza, Arabs living in Lebanon, Syrian and Jordan, and "Palestinians" living throughout the world, but also Arabs with Israeli citizenship.

Ideologically, the assumption of a "Palestinian state" is that it would fulfill national hopes and aspirations of Arabs who believe that they are outcasts in countries in which they currently reside. A 'homeland' would resolve this condition of homelessness.

Initially, some may agree to a partial fulfillment in the West Bank and Gaza; but, as Palestinian leaders proclaim, their rightful place is what Israel now "occupies" — all of it.

A multi-state solution requires thinking out of the box, yet within the context of Arab and Muslim history and culture. All of the current Arab states are artificial, products of colonial powers, created arbitrarily, their existence based on military rule. Divided largely between Sunni and Shiite populations, national identities are secondary; neighborhoods and tribal areas are more consistent and relevant.

A modern phenomenon, "Palestinian" identity has no distinguishing features, nor historic geographical boundaries. There are no linguistic and few (minor) cultural differences between Palestinians and other Arabs; Palestinians have no history, or archeology.

Perpetuating 'Palestinianism' through institutions like UNWRA and the PLO, funded by radical Islamists and na├»ve or hate-filled politicians serves to maintain a large militant cadre of people dedicated to Israel's destruction — another form of jihad.

A multi-state approach eliminates the "right of return" as an option and incorporates "Palestinians" who have lived for generations in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and elsewhere as citizens in those countries.

UNWRA camps and services should be nationalized by the countries in which they now exist. Citizenship in each country includes, of course full civil and social rights.

A variety of economic incentives should accompany this relocation and incorporation plan to all participants, focused on building families, not weapons.

Such a plan combines the economic and social resources of all Arab countries for redevelopment. Water pipelines can be built from Turkey to areas of Syria and Jordan which are currently sparsely populated or uninhabited; this will assist their economic development.

Arabs who wish to remain in Israel and the West Bank can continue to do so, as residents, with a form of dual citizenship: full civil and social rights at local, municipal levels; political (national) rights exercised in Arab countries of their choice, or Israel.

Taxation will depend on where people reside and vote; those choosing to remain in Israel will pay Israeli taxes; those choosing to relocate will pay reduced taxes and, with citizenship, according to the laws of their country of choice. This includes (as Israelis) national service obligations.

A solution to the "Palestinian problem" requires bold and imaginative thinking, not redundant, unrealistic and unworkable failures.
 

The author, a former asst professor of History, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem. moshedan@netvision.net.il

These are originally separate essays. Part I was submitted May 25, 2009; Part II was submitted May 26, 2009.

 

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