This article is in response to Yashvini Deva’s article, “Israel-Palestine violence ups campus tension,” published in Volume 109, Issue 11 of the Technique.
Deva omitted the core issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict — namely Palestinian, and broader Arab, rejection of Jewish self-determination in any form.
In 1948, Jews accepted a two-state solution, granting them about 10 percent of the land promised by the Balfour Declaration. Arab countries rejected it and six armies invaded the tiny Jewish state. East Jerusalem had a Jewish majority from at least the 1850s until the attacks of the 1920s. In 1948, the remaining Jews in East Jerusalem were expelled.
In the following decades, there were two refugee populations. Israel absorbed and uplifted all the Jewish refugees from Arab countries. Their forebears had suffered a millennium of “dhimmi” status, yet they looked
forward and rebuilt their lives. Their descendants form more than half of its population. Arab countries such as Lebanon and Syria still keep descendants of Palestinian refugees stateless. For comparison, the population exchange between India and Pakistan after 1947 was about 10 times larger, yet neither side perpetuated the refugee issue.
There could have been a Palestinian state alongside Israel in 1948, 1967, 2001 and 2008.
Every Palestinian faction has rejected every peace process that would allow a permanent Israel in any form. Jordan itself is majority Palestinian and comprises some 78% of Balfour Mandate Palestine.
It controlled the West Bank until 1967, but refused to set up a second Palestinian state there. Egypt controlled Gaza till 1967, but used it purely for fedayeen raids. Israel handed over the Sinai for peace with Egypt. It withdrew from Gaza in 2005. It handed over much of the West Bank to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after the Oslo Accords. These risky concessions were “rewarded” with more attacks and more political warfare. Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007, does not only seek Israel’s destruction. Article 7 of its original charter calls for genocide. That was amply on display in the recent atrocities, but amongst Hamas’ victims were Israeli-Arab doctors and Israeli Bedouin civilians.
If Israel handed over all of the West Bank to the current Palestinian leadership as it did with Gaza, there would soon be attacks all along Israel’s narrow waist.
Imagine how different the region could have been if Palestinian leadership had looked forward, as did Israel?
It built a modern economy and democracy while under siege. Arab-Israelis are well represented in medicine, banking and have served in government.
In contrast, the PLO and Hamas call for Judenrein states. Yes, there are severe problems in the West Bank and Israel is far from perfect, but until the Palestinians end their obsession with destroying Israel, there can never be peace.