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Israel and the Future of a Palestinian State
Emergence of the Modern World
Chaim H. Respes
Sunday, November 26, 2000
Israel and the Future of a Palestinian State
Introduction: Video – A Search For Solid Ground
I. The Palestinians claims to the region
A. Brief oral description of Palestinian biblical claims
B. Description on how Palestinians lost their land
C. Outside influence that shaped today for Palestinians
II. The Historical components
A. A look at the land under Arab conquest
B. A look at Arab nationalism and local population
C. The British Mandate and its Effects
III. The Modern past
A. W.W.I and its effects
B. Arab Palestine, the Christian Community, and State of Israel
C. American and Russia?s foreign policy
IV. Peace vs. Identity
A. The role of the PLO
C. How much land can the Palestinians identify as a homeland
V. The Leadership
A. A look at the Arab populations leaders
B. Other Leaders within the Palestinian people
Conclusion: A brief description of how I feel things will shape out in the future
The topic that I discussed today is entitled Israel and the future of a Palestinian State.
What I plan to do is give a little insight on a subject that has been fought over or discussed since
Biblical times. With tools like the video and handouts I wanted to show opposing views, ideas,
hopes, and oppositions. I hope to have given historical background, information about Israeli?s
control and clues about American involvement among other things. By the end of my
presentation and paper I hope to have accomplished two things:
to give a more factual understanding of what is going on.
to have seamlessly pieced together all of the factors into
one cohesive report.
The Palestinian problem has presented itself as a problem globally since W.W.I, roughly
the past 70 years. Since the Independence War of 1948 the conflict between Arabs-Israel has
culminated in a major war almost every decade thereafter. The plight of the Palestinians is a
sympathetic one on international tables, as the United States, the Pacific Rim, and the European
Union vie for economic domination of the emerging world. It is a problem I feel will never be
resolved because of the emotional entanglements and the money making propensity that lie
within the regions borders. It must be pointed out that prior to 1947 Palestine was not a very holy
land. Governed by the British under the League of Nations Mandate, the country was dominated
by violence and terrorism. The Palestinian problem was, is, and probably forever will be a
conflict of rights as well as a complexity of wrongs. For the purpose of this report I will examine
several key factors in this issue
American Foreign Policy
Failed attempts at peace
Key leaders/mitigating factors
To say that the Palestinians lost their homeland is a factual point that most Israeli?s will
not argue against. This is a problem that the Palestinians, Jews, Bedouins, Druze all share. You
see this is bigger than just the Jews and the Palestinians. A misconception that is held however is
that the Palestinians controlled the land then lost it because of treachery/bribery between the
British government, Zionist political leaders, & Western influences. The truth is the Palestinians
rejected the original two-state partition plan that the United Nations, Great Britain, & Zionist
political leaders all agreed to. The Palestinians trace their claim Biblically like the Jews in more
recent times they stake a claim in the once Ottoman controlled territory.
Once the Ottoman Empire was defeated Palestine and its people served as the bridge
geographically, economically, and socially between the Mashreq (Arab East) and Maghreb (Arab
West). The Palestinian people are related to the people of Lebanon and Syria to the north, Jordan
and Iraq to the east, Saudi Arabia to the southeast, and Egypt to the West. It should be noted that
in times of peace and war only Lebanon & Jordan have allowed Palestinians other than political
figures across their borders for extended periods of refuge. All Arab led countries in the region
(with the exception of Anwar Sadat after a defeat in battle) had made some denouncing
statement when it came to the Palestinians making peace with Israel.
Prior to 1917 the area of Palestine was controlled by eight different political factions.
From 1917 to 1948 the British governed the area. It is interesting that the British wanted to hand
over their power to anyone but the French after 1933. The British government courted
propositions and ideas from Arabs living in Palestine, outside of Palestine, and European Jewry
repeatedly from 1933 to 1948. The British government upon suggestion from the Peel
Commission wanted and planned to partition Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a
British zone in and around Jerusalem for 3-5 years or until the two people could live
harmoniously with one another.1 For whatever reason the Palestinians rejected the agreement.
Up until the last minute the British tried to negotiate a fair deal with the Palestinians. In 1939 the
British repealed a part of the Balfour Declaration that called for unchecked immigration of
Palestine by the Jews. Instead the ?White Paper? put limits on how many Jews could immigrate
to the land2.
The Arab population of Palestine was small and limited until Jewish resettlement
restored the barren land and drew to it Arabs from neighboring countries. When organized
Jewish colonization began there were fewer than 150,000 Arabs in the land. In the twelve and a
half centuries between the Muslim conquest in the seventh century and the beginning of the
organized Jewish return to Palestine was laid waste.
A second misconception that needs to be looked at is Israeli occupation of Palestine.
There are those who would have us believe that Great Britain just moved out and Israel seized
power. Facts however unpleasant for some, show us a different picture. In fact the British
government handed over the issue of Palestine to the UN in February of 1947. The General
Assembly appointed the UN Special Committee on Palestine – UNSCOP – to investigate the
entire problem and make recommendations toward a solution.
Appointed in May 1947, UNSCOP, included eleven ?middle powers? and smaller
nations: Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Guatemala, Holland, India, Iran, Peru, Sweden,
Uruguay, and Yugoslavia. Its report, prepared after three months of investigation in Europe,
Palestine, and the Arab states, listed eleven unanimous recommendations, the most important of
which emphasized the need
to terminate the Mandate at the earliest practical date
to preserve the ?economic unity of Palestine as a whole?
to safeguard ?the character of the Holy Places.?
On September 25th of that year the report was submitted to the General revisions a
majority view was adopted on November 29th of that year3. The Arab League which included
Palestinian leaders voted unanimously to reject this proposal. The Arabs went so far as to send
military units into Palestine to disrupt communications and attack Jewish settlements.
When the British began to withdraw from Palestine the Arab countries encouraged the
chance for a jihad4 to destroy the new Jewish state. It was at this time that large of Palestinians
began to leave their home and the country. These refugees were told to do so by their community
leaders and the global Arab leaders at the time. Throughout its times of trying to gain recognition
to modern day, Israel has garnered some type of support from America. Every President since
Wilson has acknowledged the need for an Israeli state. It is paramount in reviewing all
information about this subject that one use history as a guide to what probably would occur in
the future. it is key to note that the Arab countries of power Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and
Lebanon only sought peace or traces with Israel after the 1967 war. Their military debacle
brought shame and harsh realization to the Arab sword.
When Egypt and later on Jordan signed their treaties with Israel nothing was mentioned
on their part about the plight of the Palestinians or the situation of Palestine. The countries that
were at the forefront of all previous political discussions and who represented the Palestinian
people along with the leaders such as Yasser Arafat only negotiated for what their countries had
lost. Is this the fault of the Jews? In fact, Yasser Arafat criticized these countries when they
accepted peace with Israel and told their leaders and people that they would be dealt with.
Clearly, there are questions that need to be answered regarding who has the Palestinian people?s
true interests in mind. Palestinian political leaders from the beginning have spoken from both
sides of their mouths. Claiming on the one hand to want to be a neighboring state with Israel and
blaming Israel for countless delays. In fact, the PLO, PNC, PPP, nor the PNF have fulfilled step I
of the Oslo Accords which states ? Israel should be recognized; and also calls for and
amendment in the Palestinian Declaration of Principles which calls for the destruction of the
Jewish state and annihilation of its people.
Unlike the Palestinians, Israel?s Proclamation of Independence promises social and
political equality to all of its citizens, regardless of faith or heritage. Arabs who remained in the
country after in the country after both wars became full citizens. Moreover, most of the Arab
refugees who return to Israel, whether by legal or illegal means have been granted full
citizenship rights. Arabs have the right to vote and hold political offices of the government at any
level. They have a right to freedom of the press. Arabic, their official language is an official
language in the Knesset,5 government publications, and all forms of media. It is the language of
instruction in Arab public schools. Today more than 90 percent of Arab children attend school as
against 45 percent prior to the establishment of Israel. Has the Israeli majority then been cruel or
unusually harsh to the Palestinian/Arab population.
While the Israeli government has taken positive steps Palestinian leaders have made
questionable ones. Despite the global stance towards education Palestinian leaders continuously
tell their people to forsake the school system and keep their children at home or in jobs.
Knowing that the U.S. is a democracy and showing Democratic ideals would gain favor in global
relations with other countries Yasser Arafat has turned his cheek. Arafat instead is a devout
follower of Communist principles. His rise to power included Marxist strategies and tactics.
Leaders under Yasser Arafat have done even worse. These unchecked leaders have established a
branch of police similar to the secret police of Russia and Germany.
They seek out and execute males who they believe to be sympathetic to Israeli rules and
ideals. Harsher things happen to women who have sought more independence in Israeli culture.
These groups once controlled and backed by the upper echelon of Palestinian government have
sprung out on their own to create a more complex picture. These groups founded by extremists
in the Arab world some seeking to overthrow Yasser Arafat began strategized terrorist attacks on
Jews, Israeli?s, and Palestinians. It is these groups and their Intifada6 which has caused most of
the schism between the Palestinian people and the Israeli people.
It is clear to all parties involved that a fair settlement be reached. This conflict has
claimed too many lives in this century and hopefully will not drag to deep into the upcoming
one. The Palestinians view Israelis as oppressors. Arabs in general feel that Jews are dhimmi7
because of cultural differences. The Israelis and Jews not living in Israel want to ensure that
there is a safe place for all its inhabitants and Jews to call home. They seek to avoid events that
took place during W.W.II. At one point and time or another G.B. France, Russia, the U.S. and
the UN have played major roles in policies and failed attempts at peace. The Palestinians as well
as Jews have claims to the land. Historically, the Palestinians forfeited most of that right when
they chose not to accept a two-state solution proposed in 1947 and 1967. It was only in the late
80?s and 1990?s during the collapse of the S.U. that the PLO wanted to accept this plan.
After the 1967 war Israel doubled its size allotted by the Partition Plan. It was only
because of wars initiated by the surrounding Arab countries that they did so. Terrorist activities
and the probability of imminent danger has caused the need for Israeli control over certain
territories to preserve national security. These are the area in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that
were won during the war. it has been because of a great alliance with Democratic countries
especially the U.S. that Israel has been able to defend itself in times of crisis. It is possible U.S.
support has been so great because of its inaction towards Jews during W.W.II. Whatever the
reason U.S. economic support goes into the billions every year. What most don?t know is this
same money is distributed among Palestinians as equally as possible.
We must look carefully at the region in which we are talking about. As you can see Israel
is not a large piece of land to begin with. It becomes even smaller when you factor in the
cultural, religious, and economical ties that all parties share. For the Israelis to give up
everything they would surely be putting themselves in danger. For the Palestinians to receive
nothing would be a clear tragedy. From the beginning to the end trust is the underlying issue.
Despite the closeness in heritage peace hasn?t been achieved fully in this fragile region. The
process of peace has been very unstable and far from predictable. Steps have been taken by
governments such as Jordan, Russia, GB China, and the U.S. to bring the parties involved to an
amiable conclusion in which both parties compromise and gain.
A major step occurred in the middle 1990?s when then Prime Minister of Israel Yitzchak
Rabin met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and a conditional peace proposal was agreed
upon. They met in Washington, D.C. signed this agreement called the Oslo Accords, and shook
hands. This agreement was and is a paramount occurrence for any and all future settlements. It is
nearly impossible for any other nations to influence the leaders of the Israelis and Palestinians
because of their emotional ties to what they fight for.
Nearly every family whether they be Christian, Druze, Yemenite, Armenian, Palestinian,
Bedouin, or Jewish has experienced the loss of a family member be it father, brother, uncle, etc.
because of war or terrorist attack. There is no doubt that something needs to be done. it is
evident that Palestinians need an autonomous homeland. At the same time it is imperative the
threat of destruction be lifted by the Arab surrounding countries. The Israelis need to be given
assurances of safety. The key to all of this though is looking beyond the propaganda and
evaluating the facts. Trust is the determining factor that needs to be brought forth. Who can the
Palestinian people trust to look out for their wishes? Who can the Palestinian Leaders trust to
push onward without terrorism? Who can the Israelis trust in it all?
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Nissan, Dr. Mordechai Contemporary Middle East
Bender, David L. Are Palestinian Rights Being Ignored
Abcarius, M. F. Palestine Through the Fog of Propaganda
Aronson, G. Creating Facts: Israel, Palestinians and the West Bank
Bethell, N. The Palestine Triangle: The Struggle Between the British, the Jews and the Arabs
Andrew Gowers and Tony Walker Behind the Myth: Yasser Arafat
Rishmawi, M. ?The Actions of the Palestinian Authority Under the Gaza/Jericho Agreements.?
The Palestine National Authority : A Critical Appraisal
Berger, Morroe The Arab World Today
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Greenstein, Ran Genealogies of Conflict
Hart, Alan Arafat Terrorist or Peacemaker
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Becker, Jillian The PLO
Caplan, Gerald Arab & Jew in Jerusalem
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