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, January 7, 2009

Solving the "Palestinian Problem"

Renowned International Analyst Daniel Pipes has now joined former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton this week in advocating a Jordanian - Egypt solution to the West Bank and Gaza in this article in the Jerusalem Post on January 6, 2009.

In essence the so called "Palestinian problem" is insoluble because the Arab League conditions for its resolution are unattainable by any negotiating process as a result of the following two unyielding non-negotiable demands that Israel is not prepared to accept:

1. The removal of all Jews living in the territory captured by Israel from Jordan and Egypt in the Six Days War in 1967 now numbering 500000 in the West Bank

2. The right of return to Israel being granted to millions of Arabs (and their descendants) made homeless at that time by the Arab-Israel War in 1948

Negotiating processes instituted pursuant to the Oslo Accords 1993, the Bush Road Map 2003 and proposed under the Saudi Peace Initiative 2002 have no answers to resolving these two demands.

The international community has posited many solutions for the last 90 years to the conflict between Jews and Arabs to the territory once called "Palestine" - all of which have been refused by the Arabs resulting in trauma,suffering and misery for both Jews and Arabs.

Division of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza determined in trilateral negotiations between Israel,Jordan and Egypt (possibly under United Nations chairmanship)therefore remains the only way to manage - if not finally resolve - the conflict.

Successful conclusion of such negotiations will:

1. Offer the Arab residents of the West Bank and Gaza - presently stateless - Jordanian or Egyptian citizenship

2. End the current humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the West Bank

3. Allow every Arab or Jewish resident to stay in his current home

4. End any Israeli control over Gazan or West Bank Arabs.

5. Resolve sovereignty in the 6% of Palestine that still remains unallocated between Jews and Arabs since the Mandate for Palestine was promulgated by the League of Nations in 1922.

It will not answer the above two Arab demands but it will go a long way to creating a political climate that might be conducive in future to achieving or modifying these demands and allow a peaceful resolution of those demands at a later date.

Both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have been given enough time to achieve some positive advance towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict. They have both proved themselves unequal to the task. They must now both be replaced as negotiating parties by Jordan and Egypt.

Refusal of Israel,Egypt and Jordan to sit down and attempt to negotiate the division of the West Bank and Gaza on this basis - with the backing of promised financial aid, military and diplomatic assistance from the international community - will herald an end to any peaceful efforts to settle the conflicting Jewish and Arab claims.

The international community must not accept a straight out refusal by Israel,Egypt or Jordan to sit down and negotiate. It should make clear that to do so will result in all further diplomatic and financial assistance to the refusing parties being withheld. It should also make clear that it will in future devote its considerable time and effort in resolving "the Palestinian problem" to resolving other conflicts around the world.

President elect Obama will be searching for a way out of the current impasse caused by the failure of the Roadmap negotiations and the current invasion of Gaza by Israel. No doubt he will be made fully aware of the views of John Bolton and Daniel Pipes. Hopefully he sees the merits of their proposals and urges Israel, Egypt and Jordan to enter into negotiations to achieve the objectives proposed by Bolton and Pipes.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Three State Option

John Bolton - former US ambassador to the United Nations - has injected the possibility of Jordan coming back into the West Bank and Egypt returning to Gaza as occurred between 1948-1967.

He has posited this solution to end the plight of the Arab populations in the West Bank and Gaza following the disastrous occupation of Gaza by Hamas for the last eighteen months and the virtual end of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that have gone nowhere for the last 15 years.

International pressure can make this solution a real possibility.

Such a solution represents the best - and last - chance of peacefully settling Jewish and Arab claims to the former territory of Palestine.

Arab League refusal to consider this proposal must be forcefully resisted at all levels by the international community.

Arab rejections of proposals by the Peel Commission in 1937 and the United Nations in 1947, failing to create an independent State in the West Bank and Gaza between 1948-1967,rejecting any dialogue with Israel between 1967-1993, continuing to make demands since 1993 inconsistent with Security Council Resolution 242 and the Roadmap proposed by President Bush have led to the present crisis enveloping Gaza.

Surely - after 70 years of Arab rejectionism and total intransigence - it is time for the international community to call it a day. If the Arabs want to press on regardless then the rest of the world should make it quite clear that existing diplomatic support and financial assistance to the Palestinian Arabs will be ended.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gaza Explodes, Arab League Implodes

[Published January 2008]

750000 Gazan Arabs have vented their spleen - not against Israel - but against the policies of the Arab League which once again left them high and dry this week - as it has done for the last 60 years - after describing Israel’s refusal to supply oil to Gaza as a “humanitarian crisis.”

Israel’s action may have been drastic and ultimately proved to be temporary - for the moment at least.

It had come as the final response by a country that was no longer prepared to supply fuel to Gaza whilst Israel’s civilian population centers were subjected to a continuous barrage of rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza and whilst Gaza was controlled by Hamas - an organisation whose declared goal is the destruction of Israel.

The Arab League’s pathetic response to Israel’s action resulted in the Gazan breakout into Egypt by half of its total population .

Instead of despatching oil and food supplies to Gaza through Egypt to meet the population’s demands, the Arab League preferred to run off to the United Nations Security Council seeking the political condemnation of Israel for having the temerity to defend its citizens.

In scenes reminiscent of the demolition of the Berlin Wall, Gazan Arabs rebuffed the Arab League’s weak-kneed and inhumane policy and blew holes in the border fence separating Gaza from Egypt. Gazan Arabs were reunited with their Egyptian Arab brethren as they bought food and fuel in Egypt, which could easily have been transported into Gaza thus avoiding the chaotic scenes that followed the border’s demolition.

The Arab League in claiming Israel was solely responsible for the Gazan breakout still fails to recognise its own responsibility for what has occurred in Gaza during the last 60 years.

Gaza would not be the basket case it is today if the Arab League had pulled down the refugee camps and resettled and rehabilitated Gaza’s residents between 1948-1967 when the League’s most powerful and influential member - Egypt - exercised full control in Gaza with Arab League approval.

Those refugee camps still exist today. They were deliberately maintained as a festering sore breeding hatred and enmity and ruining the lives of countless generations of Gazan Arabs since.

Israel’s attempts to build housing and progressively close down the camps after assuming control in 1967 were met with fierce resistance by the Arab League.

The Arab attitude to such proposals is summed up by Norma Masriyeh in her article “Refugee resettlement: the Gaza Strip Experience” (Palestine-Israel Journal Volume 2 No. 4 1995) where she states:

“Israeli measures to resettle Gaza Strip refugees, which started in the early 1970s, do not conform with their humanitarian claims to improve the living conditions of refugees. Israeli measures can instead be seen as an integral part of modern counter-insurgency doctrines promoted by security considerations in response to revolutionary guerrilla warfare or Insurgency.”

Even where Israel is not involved - as in Lebanon - the refugees are housed in refugee camps as mendicants relying on UNWRA handouts, denied citizenship or any equality of human rights with the Lebanese Arabs in whose midst they reside - again with the intention of breeding hatred towards Jews and dreaming of revenge against Israel.

“Let the refugees rot in order that revolutionary guerilla warfare continue” has become the catchcry of Arab League policy and so it was employed again in Gaza during the past week - but the Gazans for the first time indicated they would not continue to be willing accomplices to this inhumane policy.

The Gaza breakout has given some indication that the residents of Gaza are sick and tired of being used as pawns and have sent a strong message to the Arab League that playing politics with their lives is no longer acceptable.

With this warning ringing firmly in its ears, the Arab League needs to review its 2002 Peace Initiative which professes to seek peace with Israel whilst imposing conditions that are impossible to accept and which have already been said to be unrealistic by President Bush - such as the right of return and the withdrawal by Israel to the 1967 armistice lines.

The Gazan Arabs have shown in the past week that political posturing and attempted points scoring is no substitute for giving them and future generations of Gazans real hope that their despair and suffering needs to be ended.

The Arab League needs to act with urgency to embrace policies of resettlement and rehabilitation - whether it be in Gaza, any host country in which Palestinian Arabs currently live or any other member State of the Arab League.

It is time for these refugees - trapped in a 60 year time warp - to direct their anger away from Israel and face their captors - the Arab League - and demand it undertake such programs within and with the support of the 22 member Arab States who purportedly have their interests at heart - but who in reality could not care if they remain in their state of misery and suffering forever.

The Arab League rejection of the United Nations Partition Resolution in 1947 and the subsequent invasion of Palestine in 1948 were the principal factors in creating the refugee situation that still continues in the Arab world today.

It is time the League started to make practical - not political - amends for those disastrous decisions.

The Arab League cannot continue acting as some disinterested bystander and turn its back on those who need its help and practical support in being given the opportunity to lead normal lives no different to other Arabs.

The time for political grandstanding by the Arab League is over.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Gaza - Stateless,Leaderless,Mindless and Powerless

[Published January 2008]

“A humanitarian crisis” is how the Arab League described Gaza as it was plunged into darkness when its only power plant was shut down three days after Israel ceased the delivery of fuel supplies to the trouble-plagued territory. Fuel supplies have now been resumed but continued supply is certain to be disrupted.

The fuel stoppage - which represents about 70% of Gaza’s oil supplies - came after Gaza had caused “a humanitarian crisis” in Israel by permitting the indiscriminate firing of 230 rockets and mortars into Israeli civilian population centers during the previous four days.

Such a heavy and incessant barrage - following years of similar action that has seen thousands of such rockets and mortars fired at and landing in Israel - was the final straw as Israel began what will inevitably become the total severing all contact with Gaza - already declared to be a hostile entity by Israel.

Fair warning of such action had been served over the past six months but was ignored by a mindless leadership and terrorist sub-culture that dominates everything that has been occurring in Gaza - not only in regard to Israel but also as concerns the Arab population of Gaza.

This has divided Gaza into two bitterly opposing camps with each trying to inflict the maximum damage on the other in a deathly power struggle that unfortunately cannot be as easily resolved as cutting off the fuel supplies.

Gaza is one big mess. Supposedly now ruled by the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas - it displays anything but “strength and bravery” - its English translation.

When Israel totally withdrew its army and evacuated all 8000 Israeli civilians living in Gaza in August 2005, hopes were high that Gaza would take responsible and reasoned steps in showing the world that its solely Arab population was capable and ready to assume the responsibilities of statehood and to live in peace with a Jewish Israel.

Events since then have seen Gaza slide into an abyss of hopelessness from which there seems no way out.

The opportunity afforded by Israel’s evacuation has now been thrown to the wind - blown away along with the countless opportunities that have arisen in the last 60 years that could have seen Gaza develop and emerge as part of a new Arab State between 1948-1967 by a simple declaration of statehood.

The Hamas Covenant adopted on 18 August 1988 tells why it cannot happen now or in the future if the present chaotic situation persists.

The preamble to the Covenant explicitly states:

“Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious…The Movement [Hamas] is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised.”

One such squadron - the 22 member Arab League - is indeed offering its support but in doing so is contributing to the continued destabilisation occurring in the region.

Instead of immediately sending fuel and food supplies by the truckload through Egypt to Gaza to relieve the crisis it claims was being suffered by its Arab brethren, the Arab League was apparently happy for that crisis to continue to worsen as it chose to play the political game - running off to the United Nations calling for it “to hold international investigations into the Israeli crimes.”

Resolutions or pious self serving declarations cannot end a humanitarian crisis. They will not turn on the lights or put food in the belly.

The Arab League should be counselling Hamas to show “strength and bravery” by abandoning its insane policy of trying to get rid of the Jews. This is a policy still shared with its rival seeking control in Gaza - the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

It is this policy which has and will continue to sow the seeds of suffering and despair for the ordinary Arab on the street who is powerless to do anything to end this mindless hatred of Jews.

That ordinary Arab must now be ruing the day he voted Hamas to power - even though the corrupt PLO alternative was little different in its attitude to Israel. He has helped create the political environment that now threatens his daily existence. He is not just an “innocent citizen” and totally without blame - as claimed by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The Arab League needs to wash its hands of Hamas and to show its complete repudiation of what Hamas supports and stands for. In failing to do so it has become an accessory to endorsing the Hamas Covenant and has aligned itself with a movement that declares in Article 13 of the Covenant:

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavours.”

Supporting this policy makes a mockery of Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa’s current call on the countries that took part in the Annapolis conference to shoulder their responsibilities for Gaza and that the United States should be directly responsible for what was happening in Gaza.

The Arab League cannot have it both ways. It needs to choose between peaceful resolution or Jihad.

Intractability, duplicity and double dealing has marked the Arab League’s policies since its futile invasion of Palestine in 1948.

In dealing with Gaza it is displaying the same ineptitude that has marked its attitude and approach towards Israel at every critical stage over the last 60 years - when real opportunities for a negotiated settlement presented themselves only to be rejected each time by the Arab League imposing conditions that it knew could never be accepted by Israel.

The current support given to Hamas must end if there is ever to be any chance of Gaza emerging from the quicksand that is rapidly threatening to swallow it up.

One solution is to return Gaza to Egyptian control - a situation that existed between 1948-1967 - to end the rocket and mortar barrage and restore order and stability. Arab League support for such action could make it happen. Given its past performance the Arab League will do nothing -as usual.

Unless the Jew-hatred endemic in Gaza’s Government and its population is ended, Gaza is in for a tough time - and the Arab League will have to share the major responsibility for allowing a deteriorating situation to become far worse.

President Bush Leaves Lasting Legacy For Arab League

[Published January 2008]

President George Bush delivered a severe rebuff to the Arab League in remarks made by him at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 10 January 2008 (“the King David Declaration”).

The President had already made it clear in April 2004 that the Arab League needed to abandon its long standing demand that millions of Arabs be allowed to go and live in Israel when he stated :

“It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.”

The Arab League has failed to embrace this suggestion as the solution to the refugee issue.

The King David Declaration has now raised the diplomatic bar even higher with the President stating :

“I believe we need to look to the establishment of a Palestinian state and new international mechanisms, including compensation, to resolve the refugee issue.”

These well chosen and carefully crafted words make it clear that President Bush is proposing additional “international mechanisms” to solve the refugee issue - other than resettlement in the proposed new Arab State. One of those “international mechanisms” will be “compensation” - and Israel won’t be the only country asked to pay it.

The President has thereby tacitly acknowledged that Israel cannot be held solely responsible for what befell the Arab residents who left Palestine in the wake of the Arab-Jewish conflict in 1947-1948.

Other countries - including members of the Arab League who have perpetuated the refugee issue for the last 60 years - will also be expected to contribute generously to an internationally administered and funded compensation package.

Any other “new international mechanisms” contemplated by the President were unidentified by him. The possibilities however are ominous and they do not bode well for the Arab League.

One could involve a demand that the refugees be given the option of being granted full rights of citizenship and equality in the Arab states where they have been kept stateless and in refugee camps for the last 60 years - dependent for survival on hand outs by the United Nations Works and Relief Agency (UNWRA) running into hundreds of billions of dollars.

Generations of dysfunctional human beings have been the end result of this inhumane policy - resulting in bitterness, hatred and despair as persons of all ages turn themselves into human bombs - choosing to kill Jews and achieve martyrdom as their way out of this pitiless existence.

The denial of citizenship and equality by their own Arab brethren has been buried in Foreign Office and State Department filing cabinets as nations have bent over backwards in their desire to maintain good relations with despotic Arab oil suppliers and cashed up Arab buyers for military equipment - tangible benefits flowing to these nations for their continuing silence or just looking the other way.

Now with oil hitting US$100 a barrel, the US economy facing recession and the Arab League having done nothing to endorse the President’s 2004 proposal for solving the refugee issue, President Bush has been forced to rethink this earlier policy - which had left the Arab States relatively free of any responsibility for solving the refugee issue.

That problem had been caused initially by the Arab League decision to refuse to accept partition of Western Palestine between Arabs and Jews pursuant to United Nations Partition Resolution 181 on 29 November 1947 followed by the subsequent Arab League decision to invade Palestine on 15 May 1948.

The grounds for that invasion - as contained in the declaration issued by the Arab League on the actual day of the invasion - still remain dominant in Arab League thinking today and have acted as the major cause for the refugee problem remaining unresolved 60 years later :

“The Governments of the Arab States emphasise, on this occasion, what they have already declared before the London Conference and the United Nations, that the only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian State, in accordance with democratic principles, whereby its inhabitants will enjoy complete equality before the law, minorities will be assured of all the guarantees recognised in democratic constitutional countries, and the holy places will be preserved and the right of access thereto guaranteed.”

The King David Declaration reiterated once more for the benefit of the Arab League that the President’s Roadmap envisioned not one but two States - Israel and Palestine - living side by side in peace and security and that there will be no withdrawal by Israel to the pre -1967 armistice lines.

This message - and warning - was conveyed to the Arab League by President Bush from the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on 10 January:

1. Wake up to reality and abandon the idea of a unitary state - unequivocally and without reservation - and get the PLO to explicitly excise this objective from its Charter.

2. End the conflict by agreeing to the creation of an Arab state between Israel and Jordan in that part of the West Bank which leaves Israel with secure, recognised and defensible borders.

3. Accept resettlement of the refugees in this new State or alternatively receive compensation from an internationally sponsored and supported fund if they are not willing to emigrate there.

4. If you fail to endorse this solution over the next twelve months then you can say goodbye to a new 23rd member State called Palestine joining the Arab League. My successor will certainly not want to be publicly humiliated by the Arab League as has happened to me over the last 5 years.

5. Expect that it will then become your obligation to solve the refugee issue and the ongoing conflict without any further diplomatic or financial support from the United States.

6. Don’t be surprised if the United States then calls on you to resolve the refugee issue by demanding that you grant citizenship and equal rights to all refugees living within the borders of your member States and that you pay for their rehabilitation out of your own oil-bloated revenues.

This is the legacy President Bush has bequeathed to the Arab League for 2008 - and beyond.

President Bush, The PLO,Rocket Science And Commonsense

[Published January 2008]

President Bush’s last ditch effort to save his two state vision will reach a climax with his visit to Israel and the West Bank this week.

The President must have shivered in his boots as he read some of the welcoming statements that were published in the Jerusalem Post last week [“PA official says Olmert must be living on a different planet” - 2 January] - obviously made with the President’s imminent visit clearly in contemplation.

First there was an anonymous spokesman for PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stating that Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “must be living on another planet. Peace and settlements don’t go together. If this is his policy , he can forget about finding a partner on the Palestinian side”.

This unidentified informant made no bones in stressing that all settlements “are illegal having been built on occupied lands belonging to the Palestinian people".

Chief PLO negotiator, Saeb Erekat was not so shy in coming forward to identify himself as he mouthed the monotonous one liner that has been PLO policy for the last 40 years:
“Israel should first withdraw to the pre-1967 borders and solve all the final status issues… We insist on a full withdrawal from the Palestinian territories“

Not to be outdone by this grand display of rhetoric, the unelected Abbas-appointed Prime Minister - Salaam Fayyad - chipped in:
“Construction work in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is illegal. This issue will be at the top of the agenda of the peace talks [with Israel].”

President Bush needs to repudiate these utterly outdated and irrelevant statements in clear and unequivocal terms for they have no place in the two state solution the President has been championing for the last four years.

President Bush must tell Chairman Abbas, his Prime Minister Fayyad, his chief negotiator Erekat and his. anonymous spokesman that there will be no new State created between Israel and Jordan unless they are prepared to acknowledge that President Bush himself agreed with Israel on 14 April 2004 that five necessary and fundamental conditions must be satisfied before any such state can come into existence:

1.Such a State cannot and will not be established in the whole of the West Bank.

2.Part of the West Bank will come under Israel’s sovereignty - the territory involved to be determined in negotiations between Israel and the PLO. Such territory will include already existing major Israeli population centers.

3.The PLO will have to abandon its demand that millions of Arabs be allowed to go and live in Israel and will have to resettle them in the new State to be created.

4.There will not be a full and complete return to the pre-1967 borders - or more correctly the pre-1967 armistice lines that were established between Jordan and Israel.

5.America is strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish State and the PLO need to root out the cancer that sees the PLO leadership continuing to deny the existence of Israel as the Jewish State.

President Bush does not have to be shy or timid in laying these conditions down as essential prerequisites for any further negotiations to continue. He has invested a lot of time and prestige in trying to bring his two state vision to fruition - only to be constantly rebuffed by an intransigent and recalcitrant PLO that has continued to ignore the President’s prescription for bringing yet another Arab state - the 23rd - into being.

Last week’s outburst by leading Palestinian spokesmen clearly indicate that continuing negotiations are a complete waste of time unless President Bush’s “five articles of faith” are accepted clearly and unequivocally as the basis for further negotiations.

Whilst he is at it, President Bush might just like to point out a few legal, historical and geographical facts to Chairman Abbas:

1.The West Bank does not belong to the Palestinian people. Israel has claims to the area under the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and the United Nations Charter. It is disputed territory to which both Jews and Arabs have competing claims.

2.Jews have the legal right under the Mandate and the UN Charter to settle in the West Bank for the purposes of reconstituting the Jewish National Home. Construction work by Jews there is not illegal.

3.The West Bank is the only area of former Palestine where sovereignty remains unallocated between Arabs and Jews. The Arabs already have one State which possesses complete and unfettered sovereignty in 78% of former Palestine which is today called Jordan.

4. Continued unwillingness by the Arabs to share Palestine with the Jews over the last 90 years has seen the territory available to the Arabs continue to diminish. The chance now offered by President Bush to end this sliding disaster will not return if it is rejected by the PLO.

The failure by the PLO to acknowledge these realities might well lead President Bush to conclude that it is the PLO that is off the planet and that perhaps the only way it will ever get its State is by establishing it on another planet.

That is not rocket science - only plain old fashioned commonsense.