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%.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Paris Produces Palestine Funding Frenzy

[Published December 2007]

Ninety Nations meeting in Paris this week fell over themselves in the rush to pledge US$7.4 billion dollars over the next three years - US$1.8 billion more than anticipated - in a desperate attempt to salvage their greatest failure in international diplomacy - the creation of a new Arab state between Israel and Jordan.

The international community has been propagating this idea for the last 70 years - in an area far larger than is now envisioned - only to see its proposals continuously rebuffed and rejected by Arab interlocutors.

It is an idea that could have worked when first proposed by the Peel Commission in 1937 and by the United Nations in 1947. Few Jews lived in the designated area at those times and the concept represented the best solution to resolving competing Jewish and Arab claims to sovereignty in Palestine.

It was still feasible and could have happened at any time between 1948-1967 when a simple declaration of independence made with the stroke of a pen would have guaranteed international political and financial support. - but the Arabs would not have a bar of it.

The idea was dealt a death blow when Jordan lost the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip in the Six Day War in 1967 and the Arab League and the PLO refused international urgings between 1967-1993 to recognise Israel and negotiate with it for the creation of such a State.

Since the Arabs finally agreed to do so in 1993 and the Oslo Peace Process was launched by President Clinton, the international community has put up tens of billions of dollars trying to make it happen. However the money - and the concept - have both gone down the drain in spectacular style.

The reasons are there for all to see - if they open their eyes. An idea that could have worked between 1937 -1967 has long been superseded by subsequent political events and facts established on the ground that make it impossible to meet the current and non-negotiable Arab demands that 450000 Jews leave their homes and that millions of Arabs be allowed to live in Israel.

The 90 Paris Pledgers appear to be in a state of complete denial in understanding that these fundamental deal breakers have guaranteed the consignment of their concept to the history books and that giving it more air - even for 12 months - is embarking on a very expensive journey to nowhere.

Their rush to put up this new money has been made despite the Arab populations of the West Bank and Gaza being hopelessly split and divided as a result of a violent and deadly power struggle between Hamas and the PLO. In their wisdom these donors have decided that Gazan Arabs will see very little from their latest outpouring of international largesse in Paris.

In humanitarian and political terms the selective granting of this massive injection of international aid to one segment of a divided community is only going to perpetuate - rather than end - the crisis in Gaza and the West Bank and make the attainment of statehood there an absolute impossibility.

The reason for this decision was foreshadowed and articulated by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

"It is the policies of Hamas that have led to its own isolation and by implication Gaza as well“
[Jerusalem Post - 16 December]

Hamas’ attitude to PLO Chairman Abbas and unelected prime Minister Fayyad pocketing the rich Paris pickings for the West Bank Arabs only, was made very clear by Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum:

"We completely reject politicised money tied to American and Western agendas, which is a direct interference in internal Palestinian affairs. (Abbas) is cosying up to the Zionist enemy and the American project (in the region) in exchange for millions of dollars to strengthen his security forces for his own personal interests." [AFP, 17 December ]

The international community will soon realise that their latest decision to financially support the PLO power clique at the expense of Hamas is the worst decision they could have possibly taken.

Rather than using those billions of dollars to build the foundations of a State, this money will soon disappear in an orgy of weapons procurement, corruption and influence peddling that will ensure the widening of the West Bank - Gaza divide in a way that will make the current situation look like a minor backyard scrap between two disgruntled neighbours

It is just another kiss of death to the international community’s pursuit of its outdated and now completely unworkable proposal.

Condoleezza Rice showed that the penny has not yet dropped when she solemnly declared in Paris:

"This is the most promising opportunity to seek peace that we have had in nearly seven years. And we need to seize it. The continued and unwavering support of the international community is absolutely vital. That is why we are here today, and not a moment too soon."
[IHT - 17 December]

The continued and unwavering support of the international community for the last 70 years has proved a total waste of time, effort and money - and has helped perpetuate a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of Arabs and Jews and traumatised the lives of millions of others.

Creating two separate States for one Arab population living in the territorial boundaries of former Palestine always was an artificial invention that had no basis in history, geography or demography. It was a fiction contrived by the international community at a particular time to solve a particular problem.

There are two questions that remain unanswered - when will the international community stop pursuing this fiction and when will they turn off the money tap trying to make it happen?

Solutions - other than another Arab State - are possible and achievable. Pursuing those solutions - and throwing money at them in amounts similar to the Paris pledges - have a far better chance of success than the continued promotion of a 70 years old concept that has well passed its 1967 expiry date.

Surely the time is fast approaching for these donors to cut their losses and simply say “enough is enough”.

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