Dan Ehrlich

New? ‘Palestine’ Has No Place In the 21st Century

As calls for a Palestinian state again become louder even after the Arabs rejected two previous offers, one thing can be accomplished and should be accepted by both sides of the issue: The name of such a future state.

Palestine isn’t just archaic, but actually insulting to Israelis. The name Palestine represents the Roman Empire’s attempt to erase Jewish identity from history. It’s a bitter term that has no place in a modern world peace process.

Whereas the Palestinian Arabs claim their Nabka was Israel’s resurrection, for the Jewish people Palestine was one of several Nabkas they have endured through a 4,000 year history.

It’s rather telling that Arabs who claim to have a strong tie to Jewish lands, have never given it an Arab name. Palestine actually died with the Roman Empire and was only resurrected by the British during WW1. So, how come the Arabs thought to rename Jerusalem ‘Quds’, but not to give and Arab name to Palestine?

With the prospect of a Palestinian state still uncertain, in the meantime it seems the Arab world should at least start dreaming up a name acceptable to both Arabs and Jews. This would be an initial step to illustrate the peaceful intentions of now hostile population.

As for any state, it can’t be run why rejectionist Arabs who see their new state as a first step in liberating ‘Arab lands.’ It may be difficult, but new liberal leadership has to be developed for Palestinians, leadership that will be accepting of Israel and dedicated to mutual cooperation with the Jewish state.

Ideally, such a state would have an administrative and public order connection to Jordan, an Arab state with a majority Palestinian population but at peace with Israel.

Which brings up the next question: What will a newly named Palestinian state look like?

As it now stands, such a state would consist of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But are two separate entities miles apart viable in the long term? It didn’t work with East and West Pakistan and we have seen what leaving Gaza to the Gazans has wrought.

There are some alternatives. One involves the voluntary resettlement of Gazans to the West Bank, along with forced resettlement of Hamas supporters to the West Bank.

Gazan Arabs who wish to stay put and pass Israeli security vetting will be offered eventual Israel citizenship in a Gaza Strip annexed by Israel.

On the other hand, many West Bank settlers will make room for the influx of Gazans by gradually relocating to Gaza. And some of those new lovely modern West Bank settlements will be given to the Gazans as compensation for levelling much of the strip.

Then there’s the land swap idea where Israel takes Gaza in exchange for more land adjoining the West Bank going to the Palestinians.

In any case, it’s important for both countries to have continuous borders. Anything other than that is a recipe for serious future problems.

Once the strip is secured, the clearing and rebuilding will have to begin with a new Gaza Strip being developed as a seaside residential and industrial area free of terrorists and terrorism.

Finally, the UN must insist the Arab League kill its law that bans the children and grandchildren of Palestinian refugees from being granted citizenship in host Arab nations they have been living in since 1948.

This unique situation has been a main reason for Arab-Israeli hostility. Nowhere else in the world are there permanent legacy refugees. Repealing it will put an end to the idea that Israel will be forced to eventually welcome in the millions of Palestinian descendents who have been multiplying in permanent camps since 1948.

About the Author
A London based American journalist with a long wide ranging career spanning print, radio TV and online news.