Something doesn’t add up…

Now I’m no genius.  And I’m not afraid to admit it.  My former boss is not afraid to admit it either.  Neither is my landlord.  Or the grocer… the guy I buy the paper from… the lollipop man… he happily admits it too… the gardener who when I remarked that the sunflowers were looking quite sprightly, told me they were weeds.  It often comes up at the book club, the PTA meetings… My recent blog about Jews, drew a barrage of people enthusiastically admitting it.  Even my mother admits it quite frequently… but nevertheless, despite my intelligence deficiency, it does not take a genius to recognise that the current approach to Israel and the whole peace process is a mixture of folly, fantasy and downright comedy with a dash of tragedy.

On the one hand, we have Israel, an ancient country of about twenty thousand square kilometers, very little natural resources, a population of almost 8 million, of which 6 million are Jews, a bona fide democracy and the only Jewish state on earth.  On the other hand, we have the Arab world, over 13 million square kilometres, vast natural resources, a population of 370 million consisting of 22 countries of which there are just a few thousand Jews, and predominantly all Muslim states with not a single genuine democracy among them.  Yet, the ones getting pressured are not the Arabian Empire, but the tiny sliver of land, where doing a race from the coast to the border is so small that it would be considered a fun run rather than a marathon!  We are told that to achieve peace, Israel must give up around a quarter of its territory, because I guess to many people, 13 million square kilometres just ain’t enough! Somehow, there is this ridiculous belief that if you add a few thousand square kilometres to the Arab world, there will be peace.  Now, despite Israel being the cause of all the world’s problems – or so we’re told, I am nevertheless prepared to go out on a limb and say that even if another Arab state called Palestine was created today – nothing much is going to change!

The world also love referring to the 1947 partition plan, where the UN voted to divide the land into an Arab state and a Jewish state.  The Jews accepted it and the Arab world rejected it invading Israel and leading to the War of Independence.  Now almost 70 years later, they suddenly want to accept it or something close to it?  How does that make sense?  It’s like someone offering to sell me some land for $10 and me saying no.  Then 50 years later, when the land is worth one million dollars, I turn around and say you know what – I’ll take that deal after all  – for $10.   Life doesn’t work that way and this constant referring to the 1967 lines, which is in effect the 1948 armistice line is silly.  If the Palestinians ever manage to achieve this, then give me their negotiators’ number, because I plan on going after every lost opportunity I’ve ever had in life!

And then there’s the refugees.  The UN signed a convention of refugees in 1951, which defined a refugee as someone “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”  But guess what?  The Palestinians came up with their own separate definition under UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) which defined a refugee as a person “whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict” including their descendants!  So that means that a Palestinian refugee was anyone who lived in pre-state Israel for less than 2 years!  This ridiculous definition was insisted upon by the Arab states, and supported by the world in general not for any moralistic reasons, but because the refugees were considered a destabilising force, and at that time, the world wanted a good supply of oil as Europe began to rebuild itself after world war 2 – in other words appeasement.  That also means that under that definition, if I go on a working holiday to say… France for two years, and for some reason I get displaced, then me, my kids, my grandkids, their grandkids and so forth until the end of time will be considered a French refugee.  But, unfortunately for all other refugees in the world, this only applies to the Palestinians.

There is no doubt that through history and the fog of war and other factors, there have been many refugees.  There’ve been refugees from India, Pakistan, Iran, Vietnam, Africa and many other places – refugees who have been accepted into other countries and many who have gone on to live their lives in safety and prosperity.  In 1948 there were roughly 820000 Jewish refugees who were forced to leave their homes in the Arab world – a world in which they lived for thousands of years, while there were roughly 700000 Palestinians refugees who also left their homes in which they had lived for at least two years – at least according to the definition of UNRWA…  By the way, you remember UNRWA, don’t you?  They were the ones whose schools contained Hamas rockets.  At that time they were shocked and appalled at the findings and claimed it had never happened before.  Then a week later it happened again… and they were shocked and appalled… a couple of days later… again… shocked and appalled… Well, you get the picture.  A UNRWA report is about as objective as Russia conducting an independent enquiry into the downing of flight MH17 over the Ukraine.  Nevertheless, the great Arab Brotherhood and concern for the plight of the Palestinians must have been on holiday at the time, because while Israel absorbed the majority of the Jewish refugees, the Arabs were unable to find any space in their empire, despite it being 650 times larger than Israel…

To be honest, the Arab-Israeli conflict is not really complex.  It is actually quite simple – but it is made complex by a world community who see oil rather than obligation, who see money rather than morals, who see contracts rather than compassion.   It is based on a foundation of intolerance by the majority of the Arab world towards the Jewish state – a foundation that rather than being stamped out, is perpetuated by most of the world community who continue to hold Israel at fault, no matter what they do.

I’m no great mathematician, but I can add, and when you look at all that’s occurred, it’s abundantly clear that something doesn’t add up.




About the Author
Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based writer who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.