[Published 4 October 2012]
PLO Chairman and Palestinian Authority President — Mahmoud Abbas — continues to promote the deceptive and misleading claim that the areas lost by Jordan and Egypt to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War constituted 22% - not 5% - of historic Palestine..
His propagation of this dishonest fact was shamelessly repeated in the presence of world leaders at the United Nations last week:
”The two-State solution, i.e. the State of Palestine coexisting alongside the State of Israel, represents the spirit and essence of the historic compromise embodied in the Oslo Declaration of Principles, the agreement signed 19 years ago between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Government of Israel under the auspices of the United States of America on the White House Lawn, a compromise by which the Palestinian people accepted to establish their State on only 22% of the territory of historic Palestine for the sake of making peace.”
1. Israel comprises only 17% of former Palestine,Abbas’s spurious claim has been repeated on hundreds of Arab oriented web sites asserting that the Jews established the State of Israel on 78% of Palestine in the War of Independence in 1948 and subsequently conquered the remaining 22% - the West Bank and Gaza - in the Six Day War of 1967.
2. The West Bank and Gaza 5%, and
3. Jordan makes up the remaining 78%.
This propaganda has created the perception that Israel now occupies 100% of Palestine, the Arab residents of former Palestine have been deprived of a State of their own in Palestine, and that the only just solution to resolve Arab grievances is the creation of an Arab state in at least that 22% of Palestine captured by Israel from Jordan and Egypt in 1967.
Quarantining Jordan and Egypt from shouldering any responsibility in negotiating the resolution of a lasting two-state solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict has been the single most important factor leading to the failure of negotiations over the last 19 years designed to achieve the objectives of Oslo.
Instead the PLO has been seeking to create a “three state” solution in historic Palestine comprising two Arab states — Jordan and Palestine — and a third non-recognized Jewish state — Israel — 20% of whose population are currently of Palestinian Arab descent.
In addition the PLO is demanding that millions of other Arabs of similar descent be given the right to emigrate from their present countries of abode — not to the newly to be created state of Palestine or the existing state of Jordan - but to Israel.
Abbas has been acting in blatant contravention of the 1968 PLO Charter and 1971 Resolution of the Palestinian National Congress.
Article 2 of the PLO Charter states:
”Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.”
Jordan (then called Transjordan) was part of the British Mandate between 1920-1946 — when it ultimately was granted independence by Great Britain in dubious circumstances — since to do so breached article 5 of the Mandate document—which stated:
”The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of, the Government of any foreign Power.”
For the PLO - the sole spokesman of the Palestinian Arabs — its own Charter therefore makes it abundantly clear that Jordan remains an inseparable part of former Palestine.
The PLO’s stated position was reinforced at the 8th Palestinian National Council meeting in February-March 1971 - which declared:
” Jordan is linked to Palestine by a national relationship and a national unity forged by history and culture from the earliest times. The creation of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine would have no basis either in legality or as to the elements universally accepted as fundamental to a political entity. .. In raising the slogan of the liberation of Palestine and presenting the problem of the Palestine revolution, it was not the intention of the Palestine revolution to separate the east of the River from the West, nor did it believe the struggle of the Palestinian people can be separated from the struggle of the masses in Jordan…”
Despite these clear and unrevoked declarations - the Quartet - Russia, America, the European Union and the United Nations - still remain foolishly fixated on creating an independent Arab State between Israel and Jordan in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - thus separating the East Bank of the Jordan River from the West Bank and dividing the Arabs who live on each side of the Jordan River from one another.
Israel’s then Defence Minister Yitzchak Rabin succinctly sized up the situation when declaring on 27 May 1985:
“The Palestinians should have a sovereign State which includes most of the Palestinians. It should be Jordan with a considerable part of the West Bank and Gaza. East of the river Jordan, there is enough room to settle the Palestinian refugees. One tiny State between Israel and Jordan will solve nothing. It will be a time bomb”
How right Mr Rabin was and how wrong the PLO, the Quartet and the UN will be in continuing to pursue an outcome based on propaganda and misinformation - not geography, history and demography.
Jordan - and possibly Egypt - must be brought into any future negotiations and not allowed to escape playing any part in finding a solution to the final carve up of historic Palestine — having been the last two sovereign Arab States to occupy Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem between 1948-1967.
Jordan is part of the problem. It - and possibly Egypt - must become part of any solution.
Trying to achieve any resolution to the Jewish-Arab conflict within 22% of historic Palestine — whilst totally ignoring the other 78% - is — and has proved to be — a recipe for disaster.
Those who sat in the UN Chamber listening to President Abbas should be the first to repudiate his false statement and forcefully tell him so.
Size certainly does matter where “Palestine” is concerned.