Continuation of correspondence on the web site of The Herald, Scotland – following a letter by Scottish Jews calling on Israel to quit actions in Gaza
Maurice Ostroff paints Hamas and its followers within Gaza as the main impediment to a long and lasting peace with Israel. According to Maurice the main obstacle to achieving this peace is Hamas’ refusal to recognise Israel.
However, Maurice does not comment on the main rejectionist policy which has informed Israeli political thinking since Israel’s creation in 1948: the rejection of a Palestinian state on at least part of what was once Mandate Palestine.
If the Palestinain dream of statehood was to be realised- on the 22% of former Palestine (comprising Gaza and the West Bank with East Jerusalem as capital) and nothing less- many current problems would desist. The brutal occupation by Israel would end. Israel would no longer have control over the food, fuel and medicine entering Gaza. Democracy would have the opportunity to truly flourish as it was not following Hamas’ victory in a free and fair ballot recognized by international bodies but not by the governments of the US, Israel and the EU.
However, this situation is a long way off. Instead Gazans must deal with the daily nightmare that is life in the worlds harshest prison. Children watch as their playmates are slaughtered or dismembered, collatarel damage in ‘defensive’ IDF attacks against ‘militants’. Perhaps this is what fans the flames of hatred of Israel and the West amongst the hopeless and traumatised Palestinians and not, as Maurice suggests, the hate being taught in schools.
Sadly it is violent Israeli actions such as we have witnessed over the last few days that ensure Hamas will have an army of willing suicide bombers, eager to avenge those they have loved and lost, should it ever call decide to call on them.
March 8, 2008
Dear Tam T,
Thank you for your comments. As I am interested in learning the facts, as opposed to unsupported claims that have been accepted as conventional wisdom by much of the media, I would appreciate your clarification of the following statements in your letter.
1. You refer to the “main rejectionist policy which has informed Israeli political thinking since Israel’s creation in 1948”.
To my knowledge, Israel has consistently reached out for peaceful coexistence with its neighbors. Sadly, there is no counterpart in the Palestinian territories of the huge Peace Now and Gush Shalom movements in Israel and the unhindered activities of human rights organizations like B’Tselem. Realistically, the Arab response as reiterated to this day by Hamas, reflects the infamous “Three Noes” resolution of September 1, 1967 by leaders of eight Arab countries who met in Khartoum and publicly committed themselves to :
No peace with Israel
No recognition of Israel
No negotiations with Israel
2. You wrote of “the Palestinian dream of statehood on 22% of former Palestine. This 22% figure is another example of fallacious conventional wisdom accepted uncritically by media worldwide.
The facts are that in the Mandate conferred on Britain in 1922 by the League of Nations, the objective was to facilitate the “reconstitution” of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, which at the time included both sides of the Jordan River, an area of approximately 116,500 square kilometers.
However, in 1922-23, contradicting the terms of its mandate and ignoring Jewish protests, the British excised 80% of the area intended for the Jewish National Home. In the almost-empty area east of the Jordan River, it created a new state named Transjordan, which has since been renamed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
These facts are confirmed on the Jordanian web site http://www.kinghussein.gov.jo/his_transjordan.html in the following words.
“On May 15, 1923, Britain formally recognized the Emirate of Transjordan as a state under the leadership of Emir Abdullah. This angered the Zionists, as it effectively severed Transjordan from Palestine and so reduced the area of any future Jewish national home in the region”.
Since WW1 an additional 11 independent Arab states were created, namely Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and Morocco, covering over 9 million square kilometers. By comparison the total area of Israel excluding the West Bank covers a puny 20,770 sq km.
The UN adopted the Mandate complete with its obligation to promote Jewish settlement and in 1947 it passed Resolution 181 by a vote of 33 to13 with 10 abstentions, partitioning the area west of the Jordan between Jews and Arabs. This resolution affirming the creation of a Jewish state, was one of the few issues on which the US and Soviet Russia voted together.
The Jews accepted the resolution, despite the huge reduction in the area allocated for the promised homeland. Unfortunately, all the Arab states rejected the resolution and this great opportunity for a two state solution was lost, as have many opportunities been lost since then.
Had the Arab states accepted the partition resolution, there would be no Palestinian refugee problem today. Unfortunately the moment Israel was established in its reduced area, five Arab armies immediately invaded, publicly declaring their intention to slaughter all the Jews and leading to the very sad state of affairs that continues to this day.
3. You refer to “violent Israeli actions such as we have witnessed over the last few days”. In all earnestness, I ask what measures you would suggest to halt the daily barrage of rockets aimed from civilian areas in Gaza deliberately into civilian areas in Israel, (a double war crime) bearing in mind that every one of the thousands of rockets that have been fired was intended to kill and maim as many as possible. And bearing in mind too, that Israel refrained from responding for more than a year before taking the present actions.
Tam T, I believe I have related facts accurately, but I will willingly consider carefully any factual information you may offer that differs from the above.