Sunday, September 25, 2011

Arab Rejectionism; Jewish Illogic

Rick Richman, writing in the blog section Contentions of Commentary Magazine, contends:

In the National Interest, Benny Morris​ succinctly summarizes the peace process, writing that there can be disagreement about tactical mistakes made over the years, but that:

[T]here can be no serious argument about what transpired in July and December 2000, when Arafat sequentially rejected comprehensive Israeli and Israeli-American proposals for a two-state solution which would have given the Palestinians (“the Clinton Parameters”) sovereignty and independence in 95% of the West Bank, all of the Gaza Strip, and half of Jerusalem (including half or three-quarters of the Old City).

And further that:

[T]here can be no serious argument either about Abbas’s rejection of the similar, perhaps even slightly better deal, offered by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008. (Indeed, these rejections of a two-state solution were already a tradition set in stone: The Palestinians’ leaders had rejected two-state compromises in 1937 (the Peel proposals), 1947 (the UN General Assembly partition resolution) and (implicitly) in 1978 (when Arafat rejected the Sadat-Begin Camp David agreement, which provided for “autonomy” in the Palestinan territories).

That is six Palestinian rejections of a Palestinian state: 1937, 1947, 1978, 2000 (twice), 2008.

Actually, the correct number is seven, since Morris omitted the first one: in 1919, Chaim Weizmann​, president of the World Zionist Organization, and Emir Feisal Ibn al-Hussein al-Hashemi signed an agreement providing for Arab recognition of the Balfour Declaration, Arab retention of the Muslim holy sites, and WZO agreement to the establishment of an Arab state. Later that year, the Arabs repudiated the agreement.

Well, I would add the Woodhead Commission partition plan, even though it is a development of the Peel Partition plan which recommended

the exchange of populations between the Jewish
territory and the Arab territory: “If Partition is to be effective in promoting a final settlement it must mean more than drawing a frontier and establishing two States. Sooner or later there should be a transfer of land and, as far as possible, an exchange of population.”

The Commission envisioned a population exchange of approximately 225,000 Arabs and 1,250 Jews. The Commission asserted that partition would benefit the Arabs because it would grant them their independence, free them from the fear of Jewish domination, guarantee the protection of the Muslim holy places, and prevent their own impoverishment. The benefit for the Jews was that partition established a Jewish state free from Arab domination in which Jews constituted the majority, and with no restrictions on immigration...This plan also failed. The Supreme Muslim Council rejected the plan immediately. There would be no concession to the Jews. Palestine was Arab land and the Jews were colonizers who were unwelcome...Source. pgs. 89-90

The Woodhead Commission came to Mandate Palestine late the spring of 1938 and published its report in November. It suggested two alternatives to the Peel Partition. Plan B would have reduced the size of the Jewish State by the addition of Galilee to the permanently mandated area and of the southern part of the region south of Jaffa to the Arab State. Plan C would have limited the Jewish State to the coastal region between Zichron Yaakov and Rehovot while in the northern Palestine, including Emek Yizrael, and all the semi-arid region of the Negev would have been placed under separate mandate.

And there is also the Arab rejection at the St. James Conference in 1939.

The Arabs didn't campaign for that either.

Now, as for the Jews, it seems that there was a choice in the face of this consistent Arab intransigence but the academics and intellectuals thought they knew better, thought they were more rational and logical:

Magnes first voiced ideas on Arab–Jewish cooperation in his presidential address at Hebrew University in 1925...Magnes contrasted his position on Arab–Jewish relations in the aftermath of violence at the wall with that of Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky, founder of the Union of Zionist Revisionists, who advocated the establishment of a Jewish state on both banks of the Jordan River, encompassing the land in both the mandates for Palestine and Transjordan.

Jabotinsky and Magnes occupied the poles of Zionist belief, from militarism at the one extreme to pacifism at the other. Magnes wrote to Chaim Weizmann, then chair of the Jewish Agency Executive:

I think the time has come when the Jewish policy as to Palestine must be very clear, and that now only one of two policies is possible. Either the logical policy outlined by Jabotinsky . . . basing our Jewish life in Palestine on militarism and imperialism; Or a pacific policy that treats as entirely secondary such things as a “Jewish State” or a Jewish majority, or even “The Jewish National Home,” and as primary the development of a Jewish spiritual, educational, moral, and religious center in Palestine.

A pacific policy would be based in Jewish values and would take full consideration of Arab claims. The binational state – a state neither Jewish nor Arab – was Magnes’s pacific policy.  Source here, pgs. 67-68.

Magnes lives on - in J Street, in Meretz, in Jews for Justice, et al.

Arab rejectionism goes hand-in-hand with Jewish radicalism, the blind leading the blind but bumping into all us rationalists and realists.


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