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%.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Palestinians Must Change Mindset

[Published June 2007]

Tony Blair had started his new job as special envoy for the Quartet - America, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations - even before he had been appointed.

He affirmed the Quartet’s mantra to the House of Commons in his departure speech :

"The only way of bringing stability and peace to the Middle East is a two-state solution, which means a state of Israel that is secure and confident in its security and a Palestinian state that is not merely viable in terms of its territory, but in terms of its institutions and government."

Is he really serious -“the only way“? No other options at all? What a doomsday prognosis.

After 14 years of trying and failing dismally to create a State between Israel and Jordan it seems that the same flawed policy objective is going to be around at least until Mr Blair is replaced by some other eminent person of the status of a former US President, British Prime Minister or head of the World Bank.

George Bush or Condoleezza Rice will probably relish such a job in two years time.

If Mr Blair is serious in his pronouncement and believes the “two -state solution” is the only way, then there first has to be an immediate change of mindset by the Palestinians before he starts any new negotiations to achieve that goal.

For this he will need the support of Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas. His adviser, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP that Mr Abbas had given Mr Blair an assurance that he will work with Mr Blair to arrive at a peaceful solution on the basis of two states.

Mr Abbas - the head of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority - must immediately call a meeting of the Palestinian National Council to amend or repeal the following offensive and belligerent provisions of the PLO Charter - which totally contradict the “two- state solution“ to which the Quartet is so inextricably tied and make a mockery of any “peace process“ to be undertaken by Mr Blair:

Article 1:“Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people.”

This must be amended to state it is also the homeland of the Jewish people. What does a“two-state” solution otherwise mean?

Article 2:“Palestine with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate is an indivisible territorial unit.”

British Mandatory Palestine comprised Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. This clause must be repealed. It is a total denial of the “two state solution”.

Article 9:“Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine”

If this is allowed to stand, the Quartet and Mr. Blair may as well go and fly kites now.

Article 10: “Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war”

How does this type of officially sanctioned conduct gel with a peace process ?

Article 15: “The liberation of Palestine … aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine”

This is totally incompatible with the “two state solution” and must be repealed now.

Article 19: "The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time”

How does this permit a “two-state” solution to ever be negotiated?

Article 20: “The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine and everything that has been based on them, are deemed null and void.”

Total disregard for international law and the rule of law including Security Council Resolution 242 have no place in negotiations being conducted by the Quartet. If Mr Blair wants his authority to be respected and treated seriously, this clause must go.

“Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history ..”

Offensive - not only for Jews - but for Christians as well. These ideas need to be erased.

“Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own;

Letting this stand makes the two state solution impossible to attain.

Article 22: Displays a racist and anti-Semitic state of mind and attitude totally inimical to any peaceful resolution and must be expunged entirely.

It takes a majority of two-thirds of the total membership of the Palestinian National Council at a special session convened for that purpose to amend the above articles.

In 2003 the Council had 669 members, 88 from the Palestinian Legislative Council, 98 representing the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza and 483 representing the Palestinian Diaspora
(Source: Wikipedia).

Such numbers now would represent a fair and representative cross section of the movers and shakers in Palestinian public opinion. Action taken by them to amend these offensive articles would send a powerful message to the constituency that the days of hating Jews, armed struggle, resistance and terror are over.

This meeting can be called in 60 days to see if the Council members are really serious in wanting to end the conflict by taking such ground breaking and historic decisions.

There would be those who would ignore the change of direction and continue to engage in terror. They would have to be dealt with as ruthlessly and effectively as possible.

Oslo and everything that has followed has had no chance of success because this quantum leap in thinking was not demanded before any negotiations took place. A handshake on the White House lawns was not sufficient.

The charade that Mr Blair can play peace games whilst the body politic can play war games and engage in pathological hatred of your “partner for peace” must end.

If Mr Blair doesn’t press for this meeting of the Palestinian National Council, then his mission will - like so many of those before him - have only one certain outcome - lots of frequent flyer points, heaps of photo opportunities, and a few extra kilos in weight put on at lavish banquets held in his honour.

No amendments now to the PLO Charter = no further negotiations, no State.

The equation for progressing the “two state solution” is really is as simple as that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Palestine, Partition and Propaganda

[Published June 2007]

President Bush and Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stubbornly and foolishly continue to push for the creation of an independent Palestinian State between Israel and Jordan, as Hamas and Fatah turn the proposed site for such a state - Gaza and the West Bank - into battlegrounds of blood, misery and privation for the Arab populations caught in their deadly crossfire.

The 70th Anniversary of the Peel Commission Report released on 7 July 1937 presents a unique and impartial insight into understanding what the so called "Palestinian problem" was - and still is today - really about.

The Peel Commission recognised there was an insoluble conflict in Palestine between the Arabs and Jews necessitating the partition of Palestine into two independent sovereign states.

There was no mention of a third interested party - the "Palestinians" or "the Palestinian people" - who also deserved a separate state. This "people" was the subsequent creation of skilful Arab propaganda in the 50's and 60's in response to Israel's creation in 1948.

The Peel Commission Report succinctly summed up the nature of the conflict in the following words:

"An irrepressible conflict has arisen between two national communities within the narrow bounds of one small country. There is no common ground between them. Their national aspirations are incompatible. The Arabs desire to revive the traditions of the Arab golden age. The Jews desire to show what they can achieve when restored to the land in which the Jewish nation was born. Neither of the two national ideals permits of combination in the service of a single State."

In 1937 there was no independent State called Jordan. It was then called Trans-Jordan, it comprised 77% of the territory administered by Great Britain under the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine - the operation of which was specifically the subject of inquiry and consideration by the Peel Commission .

The right of Jews to settle in Trans-jordan pursuant to the Mandate had been "postponed or withheld" by Britain with the consent of the League of Nations from 16 September 1922 thus restricting the right of the Jews to reconstitute their national homeland in only the remaining 23% of Palestine.

The Peel Report records that:

"The articles of the Mandate concerning the [Jewish] National Home do not apply to Trans-Jordan and the possibility of enlarging the National Home by Jewish immigration into Trans-Jordan rests on the assumption of concord between Arabs and Jews."

That concord never eventuated and Trans-Jordan remained an exclusively Arab reserved territory in 77% of Palestine - free of any Jewish settlement - until independence was granted by Great Britain in 1946 with the approval of the League of Nations at its last sitting before dissolution. No Jew resides there today.

The Peel Commission proposed partition into two independent Arab and Jewish sovereign States.

The Arab State was to be in all of Trans-Jordan - where no Jews and an estimated 300000 Arabs lived - united with a further part of Palestine in which only about 1250Jews lived among about 750000 Arabs. This would have given the Arabs a sovereign State in about 90% of the territory of the Mandate.

The remaining 10% was to become the sovereign Jewish State where about 400000 Jews and 225000 Arabs then lived, whilst a new Mandate was to be enacted "for the protection of the Holy Places, solemnly guaranteed by the League of Nations, to remove all anxiety lest the Holy Places should ever come under Jewish control."

Transfer of the minority population in each State was also proposed to follow the precedent set by the exchange between the Greek and Turkish populations following the Greco-Turkish War of 1922.

The Peel Report noted:

"There was a time when Arab statesmen were willing to concede little Palestine to the Jews, provided that the rest of Arab Asia were free. That condition was not fulfilled then, but it is on the eve of fulfilment now. In less than three years' time all the wide Arab area outside Palestine between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean will be independent, and, if Partition is adopted, the greater part of Palestine will be independent too. "

The Report stated the advantages to the Arabs and the Jews of Partition in the following terms:

"The advantages to the Arabs of Partition on the lines we have proposed may be summarized as follows:--

(i) They obtain their national independence and can co-operate on an equal footing with the Arabs of the neighbouring countries in the cause of Arab unity and progress.

(ii) They are finally delivered from the fear of being swamped by the Jews, and from the possibility of ultimate subjection to Jewish rule."

"The advantages of Partition to the Jews may be summarized as follows:--

(i) Partition secures the establishment of the Jewish National Home and relieves it from the possibility of its being subjected in the future to Arab rule.

(ii) Partition enables the Jews in the fullest sense to call their National Home their own; for it converts it into a Jewish State. Its citizens will be able to admit as many Jews into it as they themselves believe can be absorbed. They will attain the primary objective of Zionism--a Jewish nation, planted in Palestine, giving its nationals the same status in the world as other nations give theirs. They will cease at last to live a minority life."

The Arabs rejected the proposal and therein sowed the seeds for the continuation of the conflict that still remains unresolved in 2007 in just the West Bank and Gaza - only 6% of Palestine - where sovereignty still remains unallocated between Arabs and Jews .

President Bush and Mr Olmert need to recognise that the proposal to create a State between Israel and Jordan - the product of the totally discredited 1993 Oslo Process - has turned out to be a dismal failure and that it flies in the face of the conflict and its history, geography and demography.

Looking back 70 years can be the catalyst and inspiration for a new direction in 2007which consigns the idea of a third State in former Palestine to the garbage bin and substitutes for it the partition of the West Bank between Jordan and Israel to finally complete what the Peel Commission had recommended.

Failure to change course will have only two assured outcomes - continued death and suffering for both Jews and Arabs and a continuing threat to world peace.