One would assume that the large number of Jewish people who lived in Eurasian Lands (Europe and Asia) over many centuries after Assyrians and Romans exiled them from their homeland, should have been granted the right to reclaim their homeland, regardless of the modern demographic alteration. The second world war I and II and Nazi’s genocides compelled colonial powers to create the condition for establishing homeland and return of the Jews to their ancestral land.
Winston Churchill was an anti-Semite and “colonial-minded” British Prime Minister, who oversaw the execution of the world war against Nazi Germany. At the end of the war, the British were nearly bankrupt after draining the resources of their Empire. In haste, they redrew the maps and created new nations, while ignoring the history of the native lands. Israel and India became victims of ill-conceived map-making exercises.
In the case of both modern countries, the results were full of grief, loss of valuable possessions, family separation, and incorrect demarcation of land that created partition. In the case of Israel, there should be more territory apportioned because of the larger diaspora of Jewish people living overseas due to historical circumstances that were imposed on them by Romans and other invaders.
In the case of India with centuries of Muslim rule and forced conversion, the Bengali-speaking people with common Hindu ancestry were divided between majority Hindu west Bengal and Muslim North Bengal that is now the independent nation of Bangladesh. The same thing happened to the great state of Punjab that was divided into religious lines between Hindu and Muslims. The people on both sides lost their homes and possession and became refugees.
The political competition between two freedom fighters, both London educated, ultimately led Lord Mountbatten, a royal cousin of reigning monarch Elizabeth II, to partition India. Interestingly, the contest between Pakistan’s founder Jinnah and India’s first Prime Minister Nehru was personal ambitions. Both enjoyed the mixed ancestry of Half Hindu and Half Muslim that made Mountbatten choose them.
Needless to say, that both Mountbatten (Mr. and Mrs.) had a promiscuous lifestyle, not uncommon in the Royal history of England. Unfortunately, Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India and Burma was assassinated by the Irish Republican Army, while he was vacationing in Ireland. Before his death, he opined that “had he known that Jinnah was suffering from tuberculosis, he would not have partitioned India and caused untold misery to millions of people. Subsequent events have led to the bitter rivalry between two partitioned countries over Kashmir. India has become a victim of cross-border terrorism that the state of Israel has also suffered for nearly 70 plus years. Kashmir was the home of “Shiva” ( A Hindu God) just like Jerusalem was the home of “Yahweh”.
Initially, after World War I, there was a general recognition that Jews scattered around the world are entitled to their historic homeland with Jerusalem as his capital, under so-called “the Palestine Mandate of 1923” as part of the breaking up Islamic caliphate of the Ottoman Empire based in Istanbul, Turkey. The League of Nations’ mandate had reaffirmed the 1917 British commitment to the Balfour Declaration, for the establishment of the Jewish state in a region called Palestine that will become a “National Home” for the Jewish people. A British census of 1918 estimated 700,000 Arabs and 56,000 Jews lived in Palestine under Ottoman Caliphate. No census was taken at the time of partition after the arrival of Jewish immigrants.
What was missing in the above number, where the Jews who were forcibly relocated elsewhere in the world but still had the right to return to their homeland. This important factor was either ignored or not considered. The United Nations Partition Plan was adopted after world war 2, which became the “second missed” opportunity to be more inclusive of Jewish diaspora living abroad who would like to return home. The UN general assembly approved the proposal that required the British not to “dilly dally around” and follows through with the Mandatory Palestine Partition at the end of the British Mandate. Finally, On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted the Plan as Resolution 181 lacking specificity on the status of Jerusalem, where the second Jewish Temple once stood, during the Roman period.
Again, the British mishandled the partition the same way it did for Ireland and India. British never gave up their colonial policy of “Divide and Rule” and the creation of the commonwealth was the first vehicle to protect its commercial interest. The partition was the second. The British could have easily solved the problem by handing over the holy city of Jerusalem to Israel at the time of their withdrawal. Alternatively, a similar solution to “Rama Temple in Ayodhya” could have been found, where Al-Aqsa Mosque would be relocated elsewhere, and Jewish temple can be rebuilt at its original site that was destroyed and burned down by Romans. British were in no position to derive the right solution, when the order was issued by new Prime minister Attlee of the British Empire was to “cut loose these colonies and run”. This places a great burden on the new nations to untangle the perception of the historic injustice.
It’s an old geopolitical adage “That nations don’t choose their neighbors. The neighbors are given to them. It is also true that nations don’t have permanent friends or enemies but have interests.” Israel in her earlier infancy of “nation-building” enjoyed and benefitted from the tightly bound U.S.-Israeli relationship.
India due to its geographical location cannot be aligned with major powers of the world without causing self-harm to her core interest. Biden administration’s sudden flip flop on Jerusalem, two-state solution approach and resurrection of JCCPO causes anxiety in Tel Aviv. Similarly, India sees deviations from Biden from his predecessor in his approach to the Indo-Pacific alliance despite Washington’s official denial and their revival of the AUKUS deal behind France’s back.
Beginning with the cold war era, India has always maintained her “strategic autonomy” which means the pursuit of her interest, not hostile to any powers but mutually beneficial to India and partnering country, devoid of ideology and non-interference with other countries.
Now, U.S. and Israel no longer see eye to eye on the issue of Iran, and the status of Jerusalem, and the two-state solution. Although the USA has not openly declared any actions that will telegraph to Israel that openly suggests a course correction concerning Iran and restoring USA’s position on the two-state solution to post Obama era. Perhaps it suggests diluting the moves made by the previous administration or walking back on earlier pledges.
The USA feels the need to disengage from local conflicts and need to focus on China and Russia. One can argue that it is a well-justified change. Can it be done at the expense of allies? In response to some impending moves concerning Iran, Israel may drift toward exercising more “strategic autonomy” while keeping her tilt towards the USA’s policies. However, the trend points towards Israel will remain loose pursuing her interest in strengthening its relationship with Arab states and India.
The recent steps taken by Israel, UAR, and India are an indication that the nations are moving towards that goal by signing various trilateral or bilateral agreements in selected areas.
In the meantime. France took step towards “anti-Semitism” in Europe. The justice system delivered the verdict to a man who shouted, ‘Allah hu Akbar’ and killed a holocaust survivor. The guilty was sentenced to life imprisonment as capital punishment is barred.