Thursday, August 18, 2005
The Palestinian Lie
The New York Times has printed a few things – an Op-Ed and a front page article on the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. They both boil down to “Israelis stole Palestinian land.” While I know that Yassir Arafat and the rest of the Arab nations have perpetuated this view for over 50 years now, it’s interesting to go back and see who stole (or rather attempted to steal) land since the UN partitioning of Britain’s Palestinian Mandate in 1947.
Jews fleeing from Europe became a majority in many areas of Palestine from the rise of Nazi Germany until 1947. They bought their land, worked on it, and did their own thing. Of course, they also had some conflicts with their 3000-year-old enemies, the Palestinians. Both groups had legitimate claims on the land, but it came down to whoever owned it had it. In an attempt to pull a Solomon, the UN split the land into semi-equal areas that roughly equated to where the different groups lived and made Jerusalem a city under UN control.
The big problem came when various Middle Eastern nations (Syria, Transjordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen) attacked the Jewish nation. Their stated objective was to drive the Jews out. Of course, there were hard-line Jewish elements that caused problems as well, especially in Jerusalem, but for the most part the IDF were fighting a defensive war. Nevertheless, a numerically inferior IDF prevailed over a Trans-Arab army. During this time, the Arab nations told the Palestinians to leave to protect them. Palestinian civilians fled across the borders into Egypt and Transjordan, deserting their homes. When the smoke cleared, Israel was much larger in size (although it was still only 6 miles across at its narrowest point). In addition, the West Bank was controlled by Transjordan (soon renamed Jordan) and Gaza was occupied by Egypt.
In 1967, the Arab nations began preparations for another attack on Israel to regain what was lost and more. Israel launched a preemptive strike and took the West Bank from Jordan, Gaza and the Sinai from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria (all of which were needed when the Arabs attacked again in 1973).
The Palestinians were culpable in all these battles. They were on the side of the Arabs and they lost the battle as well as more land in each successive war. The Israelis didn’t steal it, so much as the Palestinians lost it (Israel wouldn’t have invaded if they didn’t feel they needed it for security). Of course, now it’s hard for them to give back, but the Palestinians haven’t made it easy to do.
Israel can’t be seen as giving in to terror, so they can’t really cede the land until the intifada stops. Of course, the intifada also had the side effects of Israel walling off the occupied territories and eliminating jobs for Palestinians, but of course it’s not easy to think about those downsides to the glorious struggle.
I have to run, so I may continue in another entry, but the bottom line is that the Palestinians brought most of this misery on themselves.