We were all highly amused last week when we heard that Palestinian President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas wants to sue Britain for the “crime” of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which laid the basis for the eventual establishment of the State of Israel. “Only 99 years too late” we chuckled to ourselves.
But the truth is, this is no laughing matter. Not because the British are in danger of being hauled in front of the ICC any time soon, but because it is indicative of a much deeper problem: the Palestinians do not actually want a state of their own – not now, and not at any time in the past. What they do want, as has become increasingly clear, is that we – the Jews – do NOT have a state of our own.
It’s not even as if they want to destroy our state and replace it with one of their own. No! They are quite content to destroy our state and for themselves to remain wallowing in their own self-imposed victimhood and helplessness at the tender mercies of their brother Arabs.
This becomes evident if we only look at what the Palestinians have achieved, or rather, at what they have not achieved, during the lifetime of their non-statehood, especially when contrasted with what the Jews achieved against of almost insurmountable odds in the face of enormous hostility and violence up to the declaration of Independence and continuing to this day.
During the years of pre-Statehood – the Yishuv as it was known then – the Jewish Agency, as the governing body of the quasi-state of Israel, with other Jewish leaders, established a health system with top class hospitals, educational institutions from kindergartens to yeshivot to world-class universities and research facilities, trade unions, a judicial system which is the envy of much of the world, pioneering agricultural settlements including kibbutzim and moshavim, built towns and cities, provided housing, fed the population, and established the nucleus of an army which became the mighty IDF after independence.
In contrast the Palestinians have built few hospitals, are dependent on Israel for much of their medical care, energy and food; their army is no more than a glorified terrorist group, and their leaders deliberately keep themselves dependent on international aid for salaries and food. The few things they have invented are airline hijackings and terrorism. Oh, and the Kassam rocket.
Given the starting positions of both nations (assuming that the Palestinians are indeed a nation and not an invented people, which is another question altogether), there is no reason on earth why the Palestinians should be in such a regressive position vis-a-vis Israel unless they didn’t want to be there.
In explaining this situation, Gilad Sharon in his article in the Jerusalem Post posits, correctly, that there exists a Palestinian fiction: (emphases are mine):
A quick review of Palestinian activities over the past hundred years reveals no evidence of any efforts of that sort. In Zionism’s early decades, there was no such thing as a Palestinian nation. At most, the Palestinians were a vestige of some pan-Arab nation, which also turned out to be an oriental fairy tale (pan-Arabism breathed its last with the death of Nasser).
Until the UN Partition Plan in 1947, Zionism devoted all its energy to creating national institutions and making preparations for the establishment of a state.
What were the Palestinians doing during that time? Were they also busy preparing for the founding of their state? No. Their efforts were directed entirely toward preventing the founding of ours.
Had they accepted the Partition Plan, they would now have a state the same age as Israel. All the territory they are demanding today – and more – would already belong to them, and there wouldn’t be a single Palestinian refugee. But they didn’t even consider that option. As far as they were concerned, their rejection of the plan was a foregone conclusion.
Why? Because they didn’t aspire to a state of their own. All they wanted was to thwart the establishment of ours.
Almost 70 years have elapsed, and there’s been no change in Palestinian aspirations. In the 19 years between the War of Independence and the Six Day War, they never established a state. In fact, Article 24 of the first Palestinian National Charter (the one they’d like to forget), published in east Jerusalem in 1964, states that the Palestine Liberation Organization “does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank… [or] on the Gaza Strip.”.
Sharon arrives at the conclusion which is so obvious to so many of us, yet appears unimaginable and impossible to the “do-gooders” of the West:
Is a nation whose members’ fondest dream is to be granted an identity card by the enemy really a nation? There are only three Muslim nations in the region: the Egyptians, the Persians, and the Turks.
All the rest are tribes at best. The Palestinians hitched a ride on the back of Zionism. Many of them came here in the wake of the Zionists, to make a living from them. Their spurious nationality is a by-product of Zionism. It wouldn’t have been invented if it weren’t for Zionism, and couldn’t survive without it.
It is also crucial to keep in mind that not only do the Palestinians not want a state, but they are distorting the Balfour Declaration when they claim that its “original sin” was the displacement of the “indigenous people”, i.e. the Palestinians themselves. The truth is the exact opposite, as Lyn Julius, of Harif, a UK Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, writes in the Algemeiner:
The Balfour Declaration, named after then-UK Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour, pledged Britain’s support for the establishment “in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” This was not intended to be at the expense of the local Arabs, whose civil rights would not be prejudiced: later, the 1936 Peel Commission proposed to partition western Palestine into an Arab, as well as a Jewish state.
“Nearly a century has passed since the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in 1917,” Malki was quoted as recently saying,”And based on this ill-omened promise hundreds of thousands of Jews were moved from Europe and elsewhere to Palestine at the expense of our Palestinian people whose parents and grandparents had lived for thousands of years on the soil of their homeland.”
Almost every word in Malki’s statement is a lie. Britain reneged on its promises to the Zionists. It gave 70 percent of Palestine to Transjordan in 1921 and curtailed Jewish emigration, sealing the fate of countless Jews trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe.
No Arab states were enjoined to respect the civil rights of their Jewish citizens. These Jews were unceremoniously thrown out of the Arab world without apology and without compensation — and their pre-Islamic communities were destroyed.
The Palestinians say they cannot be held responsible for what happened to the Jewish refugees. While Israel can legitimately discuss Palestinian refugees in peace talks, Jewish refugees would have to address their grievances with the Arab states.
Arab League states, which instigated the 1948 war against Israel, did indeed create both sets of refugees. However, an extremist Palestinian leadership, which collaborated with the Nazis and incited anti-Jewish hatred all over the Arab world, dragged five Arab states into conflict with the new Jewish state — a conflict they lost and whose consequences they must suffer. The Palestinian move to sue is as if Germans sued the Allies for starting World War II.
From the outset, the Palestinian cause was a pan-Arab nationalist cause. It has also a powerful Islamist, antisemitic dimension. In Arab eyes, the Jews have no claim to a single inch of “Palestine.”
Lyn Julius identifies who the real refugees are:
It is these Jews who have been denied justice, the right to compensation for their loss of assets and land several times the size of Israel itself, and the human rights abuses they suffered. It is these Jews who have every right to sue those who wronged them.
The Palestinians nevertheless are content to wait us out. They say so over and over again.They delude themselves that just like the other invaders and occupiers were eventually beaten, we too will eventually disappear, whether by force or by nature, from the map of the Middle East if not of the world. They have convinced themselves that they are the true indigenous people of Israel and that we are but a foreign implant.
But they have a nasty surprise in store. The pre-eminent historian of the Middle East, Professor Bernard Lewis relates in his Notes on A Century :
…he was chatting with Arab friends in Amman when one of them trotted out an argument familiar in that part of the world.
“We have time, we can wait,” he quotes the Jordanian as saying. “We got rid of the Crusaders. We got rid of the Turks. We’ll get rid of the Jews.”
Hearing this claim “one too many times,” Mr. Lewis says, he politely shot back, “Excuse me, but you’ve got your history wrong. The Turks got rid of the Crusaders. The British got rid of the Turks. The Jews got rid of the British. I wonder who is coming here next.”
Lewis doesn’t tell us what his interlocutors’ reaction was. I would love to have seen their faces.