The need and justification of a “Palestinian homeland” has been repeated so often and so insistently that people all over the world have come to accept it as an inevitability. That “homeland,” it is generally agreed, would consist of the Gaza Strip and most of Judea/Samaria, generally referred to as the “West Bank.” Even many good people in the U.S. and even our president, a well-intentioned man, advocate a “homeland,” a Palestinian state, at the end of the so-called “road map.”?
What are the facts?
An unwarranted request. There is no such thing as a “Palestinian people.” That is a concept that, by the drumbeat of incessant propaganda, has been foisted on the world. The so-called Palestinians are the same Arabs that live in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. Never at any time in history did the “Palestinians” have a homeland, nor did they ever demand one.
In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted to set up both a Jewish and an Arab state within the borders of the territories. The Arabs were allotted three contiguous areas and the enclave of the city of Jaffa. The Jews were allotted three discontiguous areas. Jerusalem was to be an international city. In order to get their homeland, the Jews reluctantly accepted the unfavorable deal. The Arabs rejected it out of hand and instead invaded the nascent Jewish state with the armies of six nations. The ragtag Jewish forces decisively defeated the aggressors and stayed in control of most of the area. Egypt retained control of the Gaza Strip, and Jordan occupied Judea/Samaria (the “West Bank”). Had the Arabs accepted the United Nations partition plan, they would have had their “Palestinian homeland” for almost 60 years. They spurned the opportunity when it was available to them.
For nineteen years, until the Six-Day War, the territories involved were under the control of Jordan and Egypt. Never during those years was there ever a demand for a “Palestinian homeland.” Only after the Six-Day War in 1967, when the territories reverted to Israeli control, did the insistent clamor for a “Palestinian homeland” arise.
Although the Israelis would probably be glad to get rid of those bothersome and rebellious people, it is regrettably not that simple. The declared goal of the Arabs, a goal never rescinded, is the destruction of Israel. Were they granted an independent state, it would geographically and strategically dominate all of Israel. Within a very short time, this “Palestinian homeland” would be bristling with the most advanced weaponry, in all likelihood including weapons of mass destruction. Arab armies would be invited to participate in what they would hope to be the final onslaught against Israel and against the hated Jews.
How about other nationalities that yearn for a homeland, for their own state? There are first of all the Basques, the vast majority of whom live in the northern region of Spain. They are a unique people, with a language and a culture that has no relationship to anything else in the world. They have been fighting to become liberated. But Spain – most vociferous in the promotion of a “Palestinian homeland” – refuses that. An independent Basque homeland would not endanger Spain in any way. But does the world, does the UN support the Basques in their quest for independence? Of course not!
Or take the Kurds. They are a distinct group. They live in a land that is part of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Armenia. They have been fighting for independence for centuries, but it has never been granted. An independent Kurdestan would not endanger the countries that now occupy it. But does the world, does the UN support the Kurds in their quest for independence? Of course not!
And then there are the Tibetans. They are a distinct people, unique in language and religion. They have been annexed by China, which has flooded the country with its “settlers.” The Chinese are fully in the process of making Tibet into an integral part of China. Clearly, an independent Tibet would not be any existential threat to China. But does the world, does the UN support the Tibetans in their quest for independence? Of course not!
The quest for an independent homeland for the Palestinians is unwarranted because the Palestinians are not a distinct people which never had or even claimed such a homeland, and because the creation of such a homeland would be an existential threat to Israel. Both the world and especially the Europeans don’t really care about self-determination – they don’t lose any sleep over the Basques, the Kurds, the Tibetans or others who yearn for a homeland. They care about their own political and economic interests, which they cloak in the language of political morality. And of course, there are quite a few who wouldn’t shed a tear if, at the end of the day, Israel were indeed wiped from the face of the earth.
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Gerardo Joffe, President