A Fool’s Errand

Israelis, Arabs and others are impatiently waiting to see the “peace plan” devised by the Trump administration for Palestinian Arabs in the land beyond the 1949 Armistice Line, which was occupied by Jordan for 19 years. Inevitably, the effort will amount to nothing because the leaders of the Palestinian Arabs, and a large proportion of the populace, will only accept the disappearance of Israel.

“We will neither reduce nor withhold the allowances of the families of martyrs, prisoners, and released prisoners, as some want [us to do]; if we had only a single penny left, we would pay it to families of the martyrs and prisoners.” (MEMRI TV Clip No. 6692, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Vows to Continue Funding Families of “Martyrs” and Prisoners: Even If We Had One Single Penny Left, July 24, 2018)

The above quote from the president of the Palestinian Authority vowing to never stop rewarding terrorists who try to kill Jews, shows the steadfast, intransigent attitude of the Palestinian Arabs towards reaching a peace agreement with Israel. The PA, PLO, and political group Fatah (all the same basic entity) are only interested in replacing Israel, not living “side-by-side in peace” with it.

In Gaza, Hamas is even worse, if that is possible. “If Hamas liberated 99.9% of the land of Palestine, it will not give up on the rest. We cannot religiously, morally or nationally give up on one inch of the land of Palestine.” Mahmoud al-Zahar, co-founder of Hamas, speaking at a Hamas rally in Gaza on December 14, 2015, commented on Hamas’ new political program. (timesofisrael.com)

Capsule history: Britain promised an independent Arab state in Palestine to Hussein ibn Ali, Emir of Mecca and leader of the Hashemite clan, in the Ḥussein-McMahon correspondence of 1916. This was a quid pro quo for Arab assistance in opposing the Ottoman Empire during the Great War (later WWI).

However, when the Balfour Declaration was promulgated in 1917, it included all of today’s Israel and Jordan, with the idea that the “National Home” for the Jews would be established “in Palestine.” The name “Provincia Syria Palaestina,” was applied to the Judea in 135 CE by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who renamed it in an attempt to erase the Jewish connection to the region.

In the Churchill White Paper of 1922, it was stipulated that the whole of Palestine west of the Jordan was excluded from Sir Henry McMahon’s pledge to the Hashemite rulers. Conversely, the whole area east of the Jordan was excluded from Lord Balfour’s pledge. Thus, when the British Mandate for Palestine was instituted later in 1922, only about 22% of Palestine, just the land west of the Jordan River, was available for Jewish settlement (and even some of that land was prohibited by the British to Jewish purchasers). The case thus can be made that the area for Arab settlement was east of the Jordan River and that the area west of the Jordan River was for “close settlement” by the Jews. This is the genesis of the statement that Jordan is “Palestine” and the remaining 22% of the land is Jewish. (jewishvirtuallibrary.org)

The population of Jordan is mostly Palestinian Arabs, by a two-thirds majority or more. From this information, it can easily be deduced that Transjordan (or Transjordania, the original name of Jordan in 1921) is the state of the “Palestinians.” Thus the two-state solution is already accomplished, despite the complication of King Abdullah, whose days may be numbered. (See my article on this subject at https://www.israpundit.org/there-is-no-diplomatic-solution-3/)

The Gaza Strip is a major problem. It is bordered by Israel and Egypt, with no connection to Jordan or to the Palestinian Authority. It is a pariah state dedicated to terrorism. Israel is extremely reluctant to invade Gaza and be responsible for its 1.5+ million inhabitants. Nor is Egypt interested in taking responsibility there. It’s a permanent basket case, engineered by Israel’s former prime minister Ariel Sharon, who managed to convince the Knesset that evacuating all Israelis from Gaza would be a better situation than leaving 9,000 Israeli residents and IDF units there.

Judging from the many thousands of rockets aimed at Israel from Gaza, and other acts of terror against Jews, that strategy was totally bankrupt. (460 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel in the week of this writing.) Gaza can only be a hindrance to any hopes of the Palestinian Arabs to rule themselves. For the time being at least, Gaza is a terrorist enclave with a compliant population, who support Hamas (to their own detriment) in its efforts to eradicate the Jews from Israel.

The Trump Administration should stop wasting its energy on establishing the State of Palestine in Israel’s Judea, Samaria, and Golan Heights sectors. Whatever one thinks of the political situation in the Palestinian Authority today, it’s incomparably preferable to a situation where Arab terrorists are in charge without Israeli control. Any thought that Israel will cooperate in establishing a terrorist state alongside it is misguided. Israel made a huge mistake by thinking the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza would concentrate on building a better place for themselves. It won’t make that mistake by giving sovereignty in Israel to Palestinian Arabs.

In actuality, there is already one state (Jordan) and one other entity (Gaza Strip) that are Palestinian majority populated. The Trump administration should stop wasting time on a fool’s errand to establish another Palestinian entity, which could only make a bad situation worse.

About the Author
Steve Kramer was born and raised in Atlantic City. He is an opinion journalist and author who made Aliya in 1991. Prior to that, Steve was in business in New Jersey after graduating from Johns Hopkins University.
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