Jordan’s King Abdullah - in talks with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on 8 April - highlighted the importance of the role of Europe and the world community
“in pushing forward the peace talks between the Palestinian and Israeli sides towards the establishment of a just peace based on relevant UN resolutions and the Arab peace initiative.”
according to a royal court statement [RTT News 9 April 2009]
The King’s failure to include the Annapolis process - begun in 2007 - as part of such peace talks certainly amounts to an admission by him that Annapolis has been effectively dead and buried so far as he is concerned. He is to be congratulated for his recognition of the end of a process that was doomed to fail from the day it was announced.
His Majesty needs to elaborate on what he meant by the term “relevant UN resolutions”. Another royal court statement explaining and elaborating what resolutions King Abdullah had in mind would help clarify and explain his rather vague and presently unchallengeable remark.
The King was more precise in urging Europe and the world community to push forward the peace talks based on the Arab peace initiative.
However His Majesty is well aware that the Arab peace initiative - dreamt up by Saudi Arabia and endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 - has been rejected by Israel. He also knows that the initiative has been offered on a “take it or leave it basis “ by the Arab League preventing Israel making any possible amendment or modification to its terms.
King Abdullah’s current call for serious negotiations on the basis outlined to Mr. Miliband is therefore just a lot of hot air with no substance whatsoever. His present call will do nothing to help bring an end to the conflict between Jews and Arabs over the West Bank and Gaza- an area of land that once comprised 6% of the territory formerly called “Palestine“.
It was no doubt pure coincidence that King Abdullah’s meeting with David Miliband occurred on the eve of Passover - the Jewish festival celebrating the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian slavery and bondage .
David Miliband might therefore do better to focus on the real nature of the current dispute that caused him to meet with King Abdullah by considering the following statement of David Ben Gurion made to the United Nations Commission on the Partition of Palestine in 1947
“Three hundred years ago a ship called the Mayflower set sail to the New World. This was a great event in the history of England. Yet I wonder if there is one Englishman who knows at what time the ship set sail? Do the English know how many people embarked on the voyage? What quality of bread did they eat? Yet more than three thousand three hundred years ago, before the Mayflower set sail, the Jews left Egypt. Every Jew in the world, even in America or Soviet Russia, knows what kind of bread the Jews ate - Matza. Even today the Jews worldwide eat Matza on the 15th of Nisan. They retell the story of the Exodus and all of the troubles Jews have endured since being exiled, saying: This year, slaves, next year, free! This year here - Next year in Jerusalem, in Zion, in Eretz Yisrael. That is the nature of the Jews.”
If David Miliband does not have the answers to the Mayflower questions posed by Ben Gurion then he has a large department of public servants to help him find the answers.
Mr Miliband would however certainly be well aware of the perennial call made by the Jews - “next year in Jerusalem “ - that inspired the Balfour Declaration in 1917 calling for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.
The League of Nations subsequent conferral on Great Britain in 1922 of the Mandate for Palestine gave recognition “to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country”.
Few would have thought that just three months later 77% of Palestine would be closed by Great Britain to Jewish settlement and the establishment of the Jewish National Home and that the sovereign Arab State of Jordan (Transjordan as it was then called) would eventually be created on that major proportion of the territory of Palestine - free of any Jews whatsoever - just 24 years later.
This perfidious act by Great Britain in 1922 was dictated at the time by Arab pressure - as was an equally perfidious act in 1939 when Great Britain restricted the entry of Jews into Palestine - the prospective Jewish National Home - at a time when a safe haven for all Jews fleeing Nazi persecution was urgently needed.
Now once again 87 years later Arab pressure demands that a second Arab state be created on the remaining 6% of former Palestine - the West Bank and Gaza - where sovereignty still remains unallocated between Arabs and Jews.
Great Britain has been prepared to turn history and international law on its head to encourage and support such a demand which has been impossible to achieve after 16 years of wasted diplomatic effort to make it occur. Arab intransigence has ensured - and will continue to ensure - its failure
David Miliband needs to take King Abdullah aside and quietly ask him one question :
“Your Majesty you now are the ruler of Jordan - 77% of Palestine - which we the British conferred on your family in 1922 and subsequently granted independence to in 1946. When will Jordan be prepared to enter into serious negotiations with Israel as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine to resolve the issue of sovereignty in the West .Bank and Gaza and so finally complete the division of Palestine into two sovereign States one Jewish - Israel and one Arab - Jordan?”
If he can get a definitive answer from King Abdullah Mr Miliband will have gone a long way to finally ending the conflict between Jews and Arabs over sovereignty in the former territory of Palestine and completing the work left unfinished when Great Britain handed back the Mandate to the United Nations in 1948.
No doubt Mr Miliband will find it hard to get a direct answer from King Abdullah. But he needs to do so if the current international demand for a “two state solution” is to have any meaningful or realistic hope of ever eventuating.
Meanwhile Jews the world over will continue to eat Matza and express thanks that they have been spared to personally see the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in its biblical homeland with Jerusalem as its capitol after 2000 years in exile and its continued existence as the one and only Jewish State in the world.