This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Israel, Palestinians, Solutions Elude

"Trump and Netanyahu will adopt the plan of Egypt's Sisi. A Palestinian state in Gaza and Sinai. Instead of Judea and Samaria [the historical nomenclature for the disputed West Bank territory]."
"This is how we will pave a path to peace, including with the Sunni coalition."
Ayoub Kara, 61, Druze Knesset minister, Government of Israel
The-then Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara arrives for the weekly government conference at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, December 4, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem)
The-then Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara arrives for the weekly government conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, December 4, 2016. (Marc Israel Sellem)
"Due to the destruction and displacement that has affected the Middle East in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, the Palestinian cause is no longer central [to Arab interests and pressure on Israel]."
Saudi weekly Asharq al-Awsat
The Arab world is not fond of Palestinians. They are viewed as troublemakers and their presence is barely tolerated where they have settled throughout the Middle East. And wherever they have settled they have not been welcomed with open arms. They have not been offered citizenship and they are viewed as interlopers, a temporary presence until they can be shuttled back whence they came. In fact, they originally came from the Arab countries which will now not recognize them. When the State of Israel was created those same Arab countries summarily exiled the Arab Jews who had lived among them for millennia, confiscating their properties and ridding themselves of an ancient Jewish presence.

Yet they were not prepared to absorb the Palestinians who fled the area now called the State of Israel. Granted, the reasons were more complicated than just not wanting to absorb them; originally it was to keep them a festering sore of refugees, a blunt tool with which to bludgeon both Israel and the international community with the 'plight' of Palestinian refugees. Had the refugees been absorbed they would no longer be refugees.  And the purpose of keeping them refugees was to blame Israel for their flight and their plight. And those refugees, to the present day represent the most permanent group calling themselves refugees entirely supported, financially and administratively by the international community.

They choose to remain 'refugees',  anguishing for their return from land they fled, while the 800,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries were absorbed by Israel. The original 700,000 Palestinian refugees now claim the right of return to Israel for their descendants, numbering in the millions, an estimated 6.5-million. Israel has offered to compensate them for their property losses, but not to absorb them, as their presence would overwhelm the Jewish State. Palestinians do have citizenship in Jordan, the sole Arab state that has given them recognition.

Despite which in 1970, under Yasser Arafat's militias of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its offshoots, the Palestinians attempted to overthrow the Jordanian Hashemites and to remove their monarch, King Abdullah. The civil war that ensued saw Yasser Arafat and his militias battered and they removed themselves to Lebanon, where cross-border assaults into Israel led Israel to enter Lebanon with its military to confront and to remove the Palestinian militias from Lebanon. The current Jordanian monarch's consort is a Palestinian, reflecting the fact that 70 percent of Jordanians are of Palestinian origin, not Bedouin.

The entire area that is now Jordan was originally meant to be included for a restoration of the Jewish homeland. Then it was divided, and meant to be partitioned between Jews and Palestinians. And finally, the British agreed to give TransJordan to the Hashemites who were driven out of Arabia when the Saudis took control. Now, all that is left to Israel is a tiny sliver. But the historical areas of Judea and Samaria which the Palestinians claim for their own, along with the ancient city of Jerusalem represents claims supported by the international community. For what other nation on Earth are the boundaries declared by outsiders rather than the sovereign nation involved?

Particularly a sovereign nation that has been repeatedly, since 1948, attacked by its neighbours, each time defending itself successfully, and beating back the onslaughts meant to destroy it. Under such circumstances, land defended and land conquered has always remained with the victor in such conflicts. The intervention of the international community, with its entitlements to dictate to the Jewish State what it may and may not do, ensures that the Jewish State, occupying a sliver of territory remains hostage to an agglomeration of Arabs claiming the Palestinian designation and land for themselves, co-opted from historical Judea.

egypt nitzana border crossing
An Israeli flag (L) flutters next to an Egyptian one at the Nitzana crossing, along Israel's border with Egypt's Sinai desert. (photo credit:REUTERS)

More latterly, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is said to have proposed a regional peace plan to involve most Sunni Arab nations in the Middle East, where part of the Sinai Peninsula, adjacent to Gaza, would comprise a Palestinian state, vacating the West Bank area of historical heritage Judea and Samaria for an expanded Jewish presence, taking in the settlements, and leaving ancient Jerusalem to the Jewish State, for its acknowledged capital.

The Palestinians may claim Jerusalem but the fact is that Arabs' only link to that city has been as neglectful overseers over the millennia leading from the Islamic conquest. Muslims speak of Jerusalem as their holy city, but the Koran fails to mention it even once. It has always been a Jewish city in antiquity, and it is a Jewish heritage to this present day. If any city has a claim to have been usurped post-Biblical times, it is ancient Medina, where many Jewish trading tribes lived and prospered among pre-Islamic Arab tribes. When Muhammad went to Medina to proselytize, expecting the Jewish tribes to leave Judaism and embrace Islam, he was incensed when the Jews refused.

What transpired then was a bloody conquest, with Jews fighting to protect themselves from the invading and marauding Arab Muslims, and being vanquished by Muhammad's nascent Muslim umma plying their trade of jihad. The slaughter of the Jewish tribes then took place; the Banu Aws, Banu Harith, Banu Jusham, Banu Majjar, Banu Ghifar, Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Sa'ida, Banu Shutayba were massacred and those that were not were exiled from Medina, the women taken into slavery. How would Muslims feel about Israel declaring its ancient heritage in Mecca (Yathrib) entitling it to a return?

The plan forwarded by President el-Sisi to turn over part of the Sinai which links Egypt and Gaza has theoretical credibility. But just as the Palestinians refused one offer after another of peace and land agreements with Israel over the years, so too has Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas purportedly rejected this offer as well, one that was described by a leading Palestinian news agency several years ago. Finally, because of their alarm over non-Arab, Aryan Iran's plans for its Shiite crescent to dominate the larger, more populous Arab Sunni population, Israel's presence appears to have been accepted by Sunni Arab states.

They see common cause with Israel over Iran's malevolence toward all other states in the region with the exception of (Shiite) Iraq, Lebanon (where its {Shiite} Hezbollah terrorist proxies operate out of) and the Houthi Yemenites, along with the Sultanate of Oman. Although the wealthy Arab states have spent untold billions on modern military equipment, none has focused as Iran has done on nuclear arms and intercontinental ballistic missiles, an agenda that has created huge consternation among its neighbours.

That 'proposal' by the Egyptian President, unfortunately, doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Egypt has had nothing but problems with Hamas in the Sinai. The Sinai, as well, is full of Salafist Bedouin, with groups affiliated with al-Qaeda, and it has been infiltrated as well by Islamic State, just as Gaza has been. All of these jihadi groups have attacked Egyptian military and police outposts. Egypt has no need to burden itself with the close presence of millions of Palestinians who are particularly given to violence. And official Egypt has denied that it had any intention of surrendering any part of Sinai, a geography that Israel returned to Egypt on the signing of their peace treaty.

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