Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The West Bank - Terrorize or Jordanize?

[Published May 2007]

Gaza has become a basket case as Arab kills Arab in a fight for power and control between Fatah and Hamas.

Simultaneously Kassam rockets are being fired indiscriminately from Gaza into civilian population centres in Israel inviting retaliation by Israel that has so far been remarkably restrained but threatens to erupt into all out war.

Gaza’s population has become totally dysfunctional embracing a culture of death and martyrdom rather than engage in the project of nation building following Israel‘s unilateral withdrawal in 2005.

A Mickey Mouse look alike cartoon character called Farfur stars in a children’s television show exhorting young viewers to look forward to Islam dominating the world, one in three men carries a gun, and a bewildering number of armed groups roam the streets at will in an environment of complete lawlessness.

Murders, kidnappings and torching of public buildings are happening with regular frequency.

Now the web site Debkafile has reported (May 21) that Hamas military chief Mohammad Jabari has instructed all West Bank cells to launch suicide attacks in Israeli towns forthwith and that sniper teams should target roads on the West Bank as well as Jerusalem and the Sharon district in Israel.

Not one word protesting such a call to arms has been heard from Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, or Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

The West Bank’s Arab residents now face a real dilemma as a result Jabari’s proclamation, which comes precisely at the time that Jordan’s King Abdullah has been taking tentative steps to re-enter the West Bank, which it last occupied between 1948-1967.

Jordan is the key to resolving the issue of sovereignty in the West Bank - just five per cent of historic Palestine and the only area remaining unallocated between the Arabs - who currently hold 78% called Jordan and Gaza - and the Jews - who currently hold 17% called Israel.

Jordan ceded all claims to the West Bank in 1988. At that time Jordan’s then monarch, King Hussein, in an address to the nation on 31 July 1988 said this action was “taken only in response to the wish of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and the prevailing Arab conviction that such measures will contribute to the struggle of the Palestinian people and their glorious uprising”

That decision has turned out disastrously for the Arab residents of Gaza and the West Bank, who have seen their hopes and aspirations wrecked on the dreams of a leadership that has always had the destruction of the State of Israel as its goal, despite frequently claiming that it had abandoned that policy.

Brought back to Gaza and the West Bank in 1994 from exile in Tunisia where they had been plotting and murdering since being expelled from Lebanon in 1982 to which they had gone after being driven out of Jordan in 1970, that leadership including Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, has turned “the glorious uprising” into a bewildering number of lost opportunities in the last 13 years to cement a peace treaty with Israel and end the Arab-Israel conflict.

The insistence of that leadership that Israel surrender every square inch of Gaza and the West Bank to them to allow the creation of a second Arab State in Palestine -in addition to Jordan - with Jerusalem as its capitol, as well as allowing millions of Arabs to go and live in Israel, have proved to be stumbling blocks that were and will always be incapable of resolution.

What then should happen with the Arab populations of Gaza and the West Bank?

Unless there are radical changes in Gaza, it will continue to be a hotbed of rejectionism and hatred of Israel. The population has become so traumatised by the ongoing struggles of the last 13 years that it is impossible to see how moderation and reason can prevail that will lead to the inhabitants breaking the pattern of hatred and violence that has become a feature of every aspect of their lives.

The West Bank Arabs have better choices as Israel has kept a tighter lid on the development of terrorist cells, armed gangs and the smuggling and supply of weapons to the region.

The just announced arrest by Israel of a Palestinian Cabinet Minister and 32 other Hamas leaders in the West Bank signals a determined approach by Israel to maintaining that policy.

No one should be complacent. The situation in the West Bank could well explode if Jabari’s path of terrorism is heeded. Its prevention will require the wholehearted co-operation of the population in exposing those who would seek to impose on the population the same kind of misery and suffering presently occurring in Gaza.

Jordan is now poised to return to centre stage in the West Bank as the Palestinian Authority loses all semblance of control and the two state solution proposed by the Quartet and the Arab League involving the creation of a new Arab state between Jordan and Israel slowly sinks into oblivion.

Jordan offers the best hope to end the Israeli occupation of the Arab populated areas of the West Bank.

Jordan is the most suitable negotiating Arab partner to resolve with Israel - within the framework of their existing peace treaty - the competing claims by Jews and Arabs to sovereignty in the West Bank.

The Arab League and the Quartet need to understand that the West Bank in 2007 is a vastly different place to what it was in 1988 or 1994 and need to actively support and encourage Jordan to enter into and assume sovereignty over the Arab populated areas of the West Bank within the boundaries of an expanded state of Jordan.

The Arab residents of the West Bank now have a stark choice to make - become citizens of Jordan or heed Jabari’s advice and proceed down the path of madness and terrorism taken by their Gaza brethren.

To terrorize or Jordanize? - that is the question.

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