Guest Post: The Palestinians – the people who always refuse a state

This is another guest post by frequent contributor and reader Brian Goldfarb.


Israel accepts Quartet's peace negotiations proposal. Palestinians objectAbba Eban it was who came up with two of the greatest quotes on the post-1967 Israel/Palestine situation. The first was that “I think that this is the first war in history that on the morrow the victors sued for peace and the vanquished called for unconditional surrender.” We must bear in mind that it is usually the defeated who sue for peace,  just to stop the further destruction of their territory and what’s left of their armed forces. This was not a sign of Israel’s weakness – hardly: it had just destroyed 3 Arab states’ armies and air forces in less than a week – but a sign that the last thing it wanted was to control and rule over Gaza, the West Bank (as everyone knew it then) and the Golan Heights. The Palestinians (as they weren’t yet known: that came a bit later) could have had their own state by the end of 1967, had they seriously wanted anything other the destruction of Israel. And, of course, Assad the elder could have had the Golan Heights back as well.

Eban also came up with this superb aphorism: “The Arabs never miss and opportunity to miss an opportunity”. It surprises none of us that they are still doing so. In evidence, note that the headline of this Algemeiner article is “Palestine Arabs – The People Who Always Refuse a State“. Pity about the plagiarism of the Eban quote. Still, perhaps the authors (Lee S. Bender and Jerome R. Verlin) are too young to remember Eban! 

Academic (as a retired one) complaining apart, there are quite a number of delightful quotes here. For example:

There are many peoples on this planet that would do anything for their independence, sovereignty, and a state of their own if it was offered to them. Just ask the Kurds, Tibetans, Basques, and Chechens. “

Some of them, of course, are doing just that – anything (the Tibetans apart – they are Buddhists and remarkably peaceable towards others. Not that the same can be said of all the others!) Well, you know what’s coming, of course. It is, in fact, the very next paragraph, and contains no surprises, given the headline already quoted:

“Yet there is one singular group that continues to spurn offers of statehood, missing and wasting numerous opportunities, and blaming others for its “victimhood”- and then commits horrendous acts of terrorism and violence when offered almost all of what it wants. We are referring, of course, to the Palestinian Arabs – a people who, unlike the Kurds, do not have their own religion, language, or culture that’s different in essence from their Arab brethren in neighboring ‎Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The Palestinian Arabs have answered every peace offer for their own “Palestinian” state with one unequivocal word, “no,” and then initiated a wave of hatred, violence, and terrorism. The reason? Because it would also mean recognition of and co-existence with a non-Arab people, the Jews.”

Bender and Verlin then go on to make the obvious point (obvious, at least, in these columns – if not in the unhallowed halls of the BDS movement) that there is already a Palestinian state in 78% of the land set aside in the Balfour Declaration and in the original British Mandate document, and it’s called Jordan. Jordan also occupied, until 1967 of course, a further portion of this area, called, at the time, the West Bank. We need to note, as do Bender and Verlin, that 

“The offers of another Palestinian Arab state (which would be the 23rd Arab state) in the remaining western portion of the Palestine Mandate date back to the 1937 Peel Commission. That began a consistent pattern of rejected offers through to the present…The current Kerry-led negotiations also appear to be heading in that direction. Yet the Palestinian Arabs still adamantly reject the “two state solution” of an “Arab State” and “Jewish State” referenced in the 1947 UN partition resolution.” 

Of course they do: remember, they “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. Why should they? After all, they’ve only lost every war they’ve ever mounted to get their own state: 1947 (the Arab militias – see Benny Morris “1948: The First Arab-Israeli War”); the 1948 War of Independence (Morris, ditto); the undeclared terrorist war leading up to the 1967 War; the First and Second Intifidas; the undeclared missile wars launched by Hamas from Gaza (leading to Operation Cast Lead –  at best, only partly successful from Israel’s point of view; and the more  successful “Pillar of Cloud”, which appears to have set Hamas back on its heels, with not an Israeli boot across the border). 

So, why should the Obama/Kerry initiative be any more successful? This assumes that we are naive enough to think that (unlike Clinton, twice) they actually want it to succeed and wish to see the acknowledgement of a Jewish State by the PA. Personally, I’m sceptical, given that duo’s attitude towards negotiations with Iran over their bomb.

Tempting as it is to stop there and leave the rest of the article for you to read, I feel the need to go further. Thus, they continue with this:

So it is instructive to ask, what do the Palestinian Arabs really want? If we would only listen to what they persistently say and read their charters, we would understand: the eradication of ‎Israel through armed struggle, replacing the Jewish state with a Palestinian Arab state. Just read the charters of the Palestinian Authority, PLO, Fatah, and Hamas, and it is laid out in straightforward unambiguous terms. It really is no wonder they say “no” to a state if it also means that they have to recognize the tiny Jewish state alongside it. There are already 22 Arab states with a population of 400 million and land mass 625 times that of Israel, versus 6.2 million Jews in a sliver of land the size of New Jersey.”

We have seen a preview of what their state will be like: ‎Gaza, which has become a terrorist launching pad for tens of thousands of rockets and missiles into Israel since Israel left…It is a failed entity ruled by the corrupt, genocidal, terrorist entity Hamas, which steadfastly refuses to recognize Israel.”

In summary, “Israel ‎‎has no reliable “peace partner” in the Western sense”. So, even if Kerry and Obama are pursuing the “peace process” in good faith, the outcome is unlikely to be one that “two-staters” will welcome, land swaps or no land swaps, agreement on Jerusalem or no agreement on Jerusalem.

Bender and Verlin have more to say (much of it depressing to those of us who wish for a final settlement, satisfactory to Israel and Israelis (even I am getting to the stage of caring less whether it would be satisfactory to Palestinians, just that it would stop them attacking Israel and Israelis), and I urge you to read it for yourselves. They make the mistake of failing to include Hezbollah in their list of those who say “no” to everything: a serious error, as Hezbollah are sitting balefully on much of Israel’s border with Lebanon.

You might also care to note that they have “form” in these matters: Lee S. Bender and Jerome R. Verlin are co-President and co-Vice President, respectively, of the Zionist Organization of America- Greater Philadelphia District. They are the authors of Pressing Israel: Media Bias Exposed From A-Z (Pavilion Press, 2012). Verlin is the author of Israel 3000 Years: The Jewish People’s 3000 Year Presence in Palestine (Pavilion Press, 2011)

Seem good guys to me!


Anne adds:

Brian, thank you for your cogent summarisation of this excellent, if depressing, article.

A golden oldie, as relevant today as ever

I would add a further article on a similar subject which goes to show the lengths that the Palestinians will go in order to avoid agreeing to a state of their own if it does not entail the destruction of Israel. Khaled Abu Toameh in the Gatestone Institute writes that Mahmoud Abbas has come under criticism from his own people for not agreeing to flood Israel with millions of refugees – which would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish, democratic or free country. Not that I actually believe that Abbas has had a change of heart. He was simply doing that “Taqiyya” (aka lying) thing – saying one thing in English or Hebrew for the willing and useful idiots of the West, and another thing entirely in Arabic for domestic consumption.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is facing criticism from Palestinian refugees for saying that he does not want to “flood” Israel with millions of refugees.

Abbas made his statement during a meeting in his Ramallah office earlier this week with dozens of Israeli students – the first direct encounter of its kind between the Palestinian Authority president and Israeli youths.

[…]

Abbas’s controversial remarks about the “right of return” highlight the difficulties facing U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in his efforts to achieve a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian reactions to Abbas’s remarks show that the issue of the refugees remains a sensitive and explosive one that could torpedo any agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Abbas told the Israeli students that the claim that he was seeking to “flood” Israel with five million refugees was nonsense.

“There is propaganda saying that Abu Mazen [Abbas] wants the return of five million refugees to destroy the state of Israel,” he said. “This is not true at all. All what we said was: Let’s place the issue of the refugees on the table because it’s a sensitive case which needs to be solved in order to end the conflict and so that the refugees would be satisfied with a peace agreement. But we are not seeking to drown Israel with millions in order to change its demography. This is nonsense.”

[…]

Dr. Esam Udwan, an expert on refugee affairs, was quoted as saying that “Abbas’s statements have caused damage to Palestinian rights.” Accusing Abbas of providing Israel with concessions in return for nothing, Udwan said, “These remarks reflect Abbas’s conviction that the issue of the refugees is ineffective and they have no right to return because this would mean drowning Israel. This is completely unacceptable. Who said that there are only five million refugees? The real number is eight million. Abbas mentioned the five million who are registered with UNRWA and benefit from its services. But there are millions of others who do not receive services from UNRWA and are not registered with it. This does not mean that they should be denied the right of return.”

I love the way Palestinian maths work. I would love to hear how the 1/2 million or so refugees from 1948 grew to 5 million within 60 years and then jumped another 3 million within a further 5 years.

Ali Huwaidi, another expert on refugee affairs, also lashed out at Abbas: “Regardless of Abbas’s statements, the right of return is guaranteed, individually and collectively, through UN resolutions. The refugees will not give up their right no matter where they are living today. Abbas is worried about flooding Israel with five million refugees while Israel has brought one million people from the former Soviet Union and no one complained about this. Our refugees will not accept any alternative to their right to return to their homeland and we do not care what Abbas’s position is.”

Many Palestinians said that Abbas was not authorized to make any concessions or speak on behalf of the refugees.

With that mindset, together with all the examples shown in Brian’s post above, can anyone foresee a Palestinian state any time in the future at all?

You won’t catch me crying about the lack of a Palestinian state. I happen to think it would be a dreadful idea, an existential threat on Israel’s very doorstep, a literal stone’s throw and missile shot from our commercial, industrial, civilian and historical heartland.  But this constant refusal and rejectionism on the part of the Palestinians means that the state of war in which Israel finds itself will continue indefinitely, with no hope of any peaceful resolution. It also means that israel will find itself under constant international pressure to “do something, anything” to satisfy the insatiable beast that is Palestinian rejectionism.

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14 Responses to Guest Post: The Palestinians – the people who always refuse a state

  1. ealha3 says:

    An analysis of a cartoon fiction tends to lend credence to the fiction. It would be quite refreshing to reject any analysis of peace efforts and, in its place offer a simple, explicit response such as, “The world anxiously awaits the Palestinian action to cease its pursuit of their religious obligation to destroy Israel and Jews so that there can follow credible efforts toward a peaceful Palestinian co-existence.”

  2. jcee says:

    The Palestinians shouldn’t be in the position they are in. The question of “refusing a state” is really a position forced on them by settler colonial invaders who essentially stole their land, destroyed their communities and in the process damaged Palestinian heritage. It was a crime. So it is adding insult to injury to ask why the victim “refuses a state.” It is in a sense further abuse by people who have aggrandized themselves at the victim’s expense. What needs to happen isn’t the compromise “choice” of a Bantustan-like state but rather the right to return to their ancestral lands in Israel and compensation for the crimes that have been enacted against them. That would at least be in some measure real justice.

    It’s very simple… if Israel persists in its Zionist enterprise and aggressive expansionism there will be a Kosovo in the Galilee. But of course the chances of real justice or real democracy ever emerging is zero under Netanyahu and Likud hardliners, so we are on the road to hell. Zionism is not only a threat to the Middle East, it is a threat to the planet.

    • Lynne T says:

      Tell that to an audience that is unaware of the continuous existence of a significant and highly persecuted minority that remained in the Holy Land over two millenia contrasted by counter-claimants of various origins who came flocking over the Jordan River in the late 19th/early 20th century to enjoy the economic boom brought on by the early Zionists. The amount of land Israel has expanded on since ’48 is pretty minescule compared to the provocation.

    • ealha3 says:

      An analysis of a cartoon fiction tends to lend credence to the fiction. It would be quite refreshing to reject any analysis of peace efforts and, in its place offer a simple, explicit response such as, “The world anxiously awaits the Palestinian action to cease its pursuit of their religious obligation to destroy Israel and Jews so that there can follow credible efforts toward a peaceful Palestinian co-existence.”

    • Brian Goldfarb says:

      jcee says above that “The Palestinians shouldn’t be in the position they are in”. And, of course, he’s(?) quite right, they shouldn’t be. And all they have to do is say “yes” to a Jewish state, and they will be amazed at what would follow.

      But, of course, jcee can’t admit this (not least because, if you track back to his/her website, you meet someone who appears to be an old-fashioned communist/bolshevik, even Stalinist). [I refuse to insult the shade of the late Norman Geras by labelling jcee a Marxist.]

      Indeed, if we examine the real history of the relevant period, we find that the Jews of the Yishuv (the overwhelming majority of whom who were there legitimately, anyway), however reluctantly, accepted the UN partition plan of 1947 – and jcee can find their own map of what this would have looked like – and the Arabs who didn’t. And guess who lost the resulting war(s) big time.

      And guess who continues to lose big time by demanding the settlement before last: the one that’s no longer on the table.

      If jcee believes otherwise, give us some evidence and not just assertion and ideological gum-flapping.

      Most other people here do, what’s so hard for you?

    • anneinpt says:

      Other commenters have ably and amply rebutted some of your arguments so I won’t repeat those messages here. However, here are some further points. You say:

      a position forced on them by settler colonial invaders who essentially stole their land,

      As Lynne T and Brian Goldfarb point out, you have ignored the salient fact that Jews have had a continuous presence in the Land of Israel since Roman times. Their connection to the land was never cut off, and it was universally acknowledged that Israel (or Palestine as it was known until 1948) was the homeland of the Jews. This didn’t prevent other nations from preventing the Jews from returning, but this prevention did not negate the a priori Jewish connection to Israel. Far from being colonial invaders, the Jews were returning home. It was the Arabs who were the invaders.

      the right to return to their ancestral lands in Israel

      The “Palestinians” do not have ancestral lands in Israel. Their ancestral lands, if they were not wandering nomadic Bedouin, were in the lands of the Hejaz, i.e. Jordan and Saudi Arabia, not to mention Egypt and other Arab countries further afield.

      If Israel was so precious to the “Palestinians”, why did they not create a currency of their own? What was their capital in Palestine? Why did they neglect Jerusalem which they now claim as their “3rd holiest site”? Who was their Palestinian government which would have been overthrown by the Jews? Which language did they speak? (hint: Arabic, the language of the neighbouring countries).

      if Israel persists in its Zionist enterprise and aggressive expansionism there will be a Kosovo in the Galilee.

      I really don’t know where you’re going with that threat. Israel must be the only expansionist country in the history of the world that is so expansionist that it has actually shrunk – by giving away parts of its homeland to appease the ravenous beast that is its Palestinian enemy.

      As for Kosovo in the Galilee, it is clear you haven’t visited the country in, oh, forever I would guess.

      the chances of real justice or real democracy ever emerging is zero under Netanyahu and Likud hardliners

      Hmm. Which political party handed over the Sinai to Egypt? Which party surrendered Gaza to the Hamas monsters? Let me think… its name begins with L and ends with d, with a k in the middle… And which political party built the settlements? It begins with L and ends with r and has a b in the middle.

      Zionism is not only a threat to the Middle East, it is a threat to the planet.

      Really, you must be a professional comedian or have an official joke-writer. This is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time! 😀

      Oh, sorry, you were being serious?! Zionism is worse than the threat of nuclear annihilation by Iran? Worse than the vicious civil war in Syria which threatens to engulf the entire region? Worse than the brewing civil war in Lebanon, run by the terrorist organization Hezbollah? Worse than the travails of the “Arab Spring” which has turned into the coldest of winters, hotter than hell itself.

      You really need your head examined.

      But thank you for the entertainment.

    • The Palestinians have nothing to do with the name Palestine.
      The name Palestine is named after the Philistines, not the Palestinians or any Arab group.
      The name Palestine was applied by the Romans, as a chagrin against Israel.
      It was certainly not directed or bestowed to the Arabs in this area.

      The Philistines were from Crete in Europe and came to Israel 3000 years ago and were not Arabs or Muslims. Delilah and Goliath were Philistines. (Philistines died out.)

      Yassir Arafat was not a Philistine, but an ARAB born in Egypt. Philistine originates from the Hebrew verb Palash, which means to invade. So the Arabs who started to call themselves Palestinians in the late 60′s are invaders and they want to create an Invadia state.

      There was never in history any state called Palestine governed by Palestinians.
      Tell us when did it ever belong to Palestinians? Answer Never. It was never a Pal land to begin with, so your question is invalid.The Palestinians never governed or controlled any land before 1993. To make it simple, please tell me one Palestinian President before 1993? Keep thinking.
      The Palestinians want a capital, which they never had, in a country that never existed.

  3. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Darn it, why does Anne always come up with better titles for my offerings than I can? I wanted to call this article “So no change there then!”, which only native UK English speakers would have got.

    Thanks Anne for the better title.

    • anneinpt says:

      I cheated and took the title of the Algemeiner article. 🙂

      Seriously, I wanted it to be clear what the subject of the post was about, though I liked the snark in your suggestion. 😉

  4. Palestinians get more aid per capita then any people on earth yet they are always angry. All foreign aid should be cut off till they grow up, stop firing missiles at civilians, and learn to be productive humans instead of moochers and terrorists.

    The real problem is global Arab/Moslem insistence to spread hate, violence, wars, terrorism, lies, false accusations against Jews and reducing Jews to subhumans or second class citizens – slaves or servants – without any human rights.

    My advice to these Pals is very simple.
    Quit trying to blow up innocent Israeli families on buses. Stop trying to murder Jews at pizzeria’s and disco’s..
    Tell the Pals! You want your welfare handout from the West, than stop with the terrorism and your child abuse death cult.

    Hamas and Fatah are always ready to sacrifice women and children for their greed and hatred.

    The Palestinians will blow up the same hospital that gave them excellent care. The will try to blow up the power plant providing electricity from Israel. Their hate knows no end. Until they love their children more than they hate the Jews as Golda Meir said.

    • anneinpt says:

      Well said Barry. In essence the Palestinians and their supporters hate Israel more than they love the Palestinians. They don’t want a state of their own, they want OUR state.

      Well, they’re not going to get it.

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