Steve Kramer

Do Palestinian Arabs Deserve a State

Of course Palestinian Arabs deserve a state. It’s obvious, isn’t it? No, it isn’t. There are many stateless groups that are far more deserving of statehood, having proven their provenance, responsibility, and mettle. Nevertheless, it’s taken for granted by many that THERE MUST BE A PALESTINIAN STATE, based on specious information constantly promoted by Arabs, the United Nations, the EU and the media.

If there were a State of Palestine, peace wouldn’t break out in the Middle East, the Iranians wouldn’t stop fomenting terror or preparing for “the bomb,” nor would Syria cease to be a disaster. If there were a State of Palestine, according to everything known about the Palestinian Arab leadership and incitement, Israel would have to defend itself daily from terrorist attacks emanating from places just miles away from Ben Gurion Airport, the Knesset, and Israel’s largest population centers.

If the Palestinians don’t deserve a state, who does? The Kurds immediately come to mind as a people who deserve a state(s). They are a distinct group with a distinct territory and language, the proven ability to govern, a track record of administrative accomplishments, and a proven ability to coexist peacefully. Yet, the Kurds were denied a state after WWI, when many Arab states were delineated by the British and French, in numerous agreements and treaties. (1916-1922: Sykes-Picot Agreement, San Remo Conference, Paris Peace Conference, Treaty of Sèvres, League of Nations Mandates, etc.)

At the same time, the Jews were promised a state of their own in their homeland, described as “Palestine,” where they were encouraged to densely settle the countryside to build a “national home.” (Balfour Declaration, 1917) According to that document, later accepted as is by the League of Nations, the Jews were given civil, religious and political rights, while the Arabs were given civil and religious rights, but NOT political rights.
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Below is a partial list of peoples desiring self determination-
Spain: Basque country, Catalonia, Gibraltar
Russia: Chechnya
China: Hong Kong, Tibet
India: Kashmir
Sri Lanka: Tamil Eelam
USA: Puerto Rico
Morocco: Western Sahara
Scandinavia: Lapland (Sami people)

If one studies the history of the Jews, utilizing the Bible, archeological finds, epigraphy (ancient inscriptions), contemporaneous accounts (Egyptian and other), Jewish religious texts, and more, there is a repetition of references and prayers specifying the Jewish connection with the Land of Israel, known variously as Judah, Judea, Samaria, Zion, Jerusalem, etc. The Jews have thousands of years of history in the Land of Israel.

On the other hand, the name “Palestine” was first introduced by the Romans after defeating the upstart Israelites in the second century CE, in an attempt to erase the Jewish connection to the Land. “Palestine” was a reference to the Philistines, who were replaced by the Israelites before King David proclaimed Jerusalem his capital around 1,000 BCE.

In the 20th century, after the establishment by the League of Nations of the British Mandate for Palestine, the Jews adopted the designation “Palestinians,” also utilizing the term to describe institutions such as the Bank of Palestine and the Palestine Post (after 1948 renamed the Bank of Israel and the Jerusalem Post). Arabs living there adopted the term only in the second half of the 20th century, after disdaining its use for decades because they identified as part of the Arab nation.

David Ben-Gurion said that the Bible was the title deed of the Jews for Israel. What can the Arabs point to as their title deed? Jerusalem or Zion is not even mentioned once by name in the Koran, let alone by archeological finds, epigraphy, contemporaneous accounts, (Egyptian and other), Jewish religious texts.

By the late 19th century, Jews were the majority population of Jerusalem. The non-Jewish residents of Palestine called themselves Arabs, Armenians, Circassians, Assyrians, Turks, Bosnians, Samaritans, or whatever term specifically identified them. Only during the 1960s, Yasser Arafat brilliantly appropriated the name “Palestinians” for the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Arab residents followed suit.

In the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, Jews and Arabs (pointedly, not “Palestinians,” were given the opportunity to declare a state for themselves. The Jews did so; the Arabs rejected the idea, refusing to allocate one inch of Palestine to the Jews. In 1948, when Israel declared its independence – after the British repealed its Mandate for Palestine – there was no similar declaration by the Arabs. Instead, six Arab armies attacked Israel. Egypt and Jordan occupied parts of Palestine when the ceasefire lines were established in 1949. For 19 years, until the Six Day War of 1967, there was no popular movement among the Arabs for a State of Palestine because Jordan annexed the “West Bank” and Egypt governed the Gaza Strip. Since the Oslo Agreement of 1993, the Palestinian Arab leadership declined two overgenerous offers of independence, in 2000 and 2008, refusing to recognize the Jewish State of Israel on “Arab” land. (see for more details)

How do we explain the fixation of the Obama administration, the EU, the UN, and others for a State of Palestine, ahead of all the other petitions for statehood? I partially attribute it to the West’s mistaken belief that supporting Israel would mean a consequent loss of influence with the much more numerous, oil-rich Arabs. That theory has been discredited. I.e. Israel’s relationship with the Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. Mostly, I think anti-Semitism is at work.

Within the last few weeks, the UN Security Council applauded its denunciation of Israel and the “illegality” of Jewish communities beyond the 1947 ceasefire lines. More than that, the most holy Jewish sites in Israel have been stripped of their Jewish connection, which is incredibly ignorant, not to say absurd. Congruently, the same nations are determined to establish a racist (Judenrein) Palestinian state, with Israel forced to surrender its security, with no possibility of a democratic Palestine living peacefully alongside of Israel. (Quick- name one Arab democracy, or deny that in numerous Arab countries Muslims are busy killing each other.)

Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel. By definition, Jews are not occupiers of Judea and Samaria, which is almost exclusively called the West Bank, a name made up by King Hussein of Jordan in 1950. If the West is so desirous of creating a state in the Middle East, let it be Kurdistan. The Palestinian Arabs should be relegated to the bottom of the list of peoples deserving self-determination.

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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