removing the "mis" from information

Monday, July 12, 2004

On the Rights of Palestinian Arabs in the Disputed Territories

In discussing the International Court of Justice's opinion that the Israeli security wall was "illegal", it was asserted to me, in support of that opinion, that the Palestinians had a valid claim to control much of the territory on which the wall was built.

Brushing aside the dubious means by which the ICJ appropriated to itself jurisdiction over the matter, the decision was based on the assertion that the wall violated Palestinian rights.

But the Palestinians don't have the rights to the territories. The ownership of those territories is disputed. Those territories were gained lawfully by Israel in defensive war in 1967 from its Syrian, Jordanian, and Egyptian neighbors who, along with Iraq, attempted to exterminate it, and nearly succeeded. Israel cannot cede control over these territories and survive, while its neighbors remain hostile. Demanding it do so, or to disarm, or fail to take necessary defensive measures in the face of this unremitting hostility is quite simply futile.

It is not a matter of whether Israel may or may not want to relinquish the territories. Israel simply cannot do so and continue to exist, while Arab hostility continues. There is no solution to Arab hostility - it is generated as a function of the oppression in Arab nations by the various despots and tyrants who rule the Arab world. Thus there is no solution in which Israel can be restricted to the indefensible pre-1967 borders.

The only solution that I see is that the Arabs in the territories must be repatriated into Arab lands, specifically into Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq, whose aggressive acts caused the current condition of the Palestinians. (In defense of Jordan, it too needed to defend itself... from the Palestinians.) While this may be a painful process, it is not at all unprecedented - witness the massive population transfer between India and Pakistan in 1948, as but one of many examples - and it completes the population transfer begun when the Arab states expelled their 900,000 Jews.

I not only find this the only reasonable and logistically possible solution, but also the inevitable one. Land lost in an aggressive war is lost permanently - this has always been the case. (Very recently this principle was applied in Kosovo.) The WB, Golan, and Gaza territories are Israeli territories won rightfully from Jordan, Syria, and Egypt respectively.

Would giving up a claim to the land really help Israel? I don't think so. Israel gave up the Sinai, an important piece of strategic ground, and a territory larger than Israel and the disputed territories combined, to Egypt, as part of a peace deal. Yet Egypt runs anti-Israeli propaganda as part and parcel of its state media service, and runs weapons to the Arabs in the territories, both gross violations of the peace treaty between them.

So if the relatively vast territory of the Sinai can only buy Israel a de-escalation from all-out war with Egypt to a covert one, what sort of security could all the disputed territories buy? Not even close to enough.

And Jews have nowhere else to go. Europe didn't really work out too well, and the Muslim countries won't accept Jews. Israel is the homeland of Jews, a relationship with the land that extends back for thousands of years.

The Arabs are not in a similar position. There are 22 other Arab nations; if each took a mere 50,000 Arabs from the territories, it would be enough. No matter where they lived they would have no fear of being exterminated, excepting by their own tyrants. Arab nations own 99.7% of the Middle East, after all.

I think the lives of Palestinians can only be improved by such a plan. First, they have to be dispersed among the Arab nations, because they have an awful reputation - Jordan massacred them, they took Lebanon to civil war, Kuwait expelled them all. So a distributed repatriation will help remove the false distinction of calling them Palestinians, and they can also learn better habits and ways of live than the poverty and misery that Arafat has brought them in the territories. There is no opportunity for them in Israel - after suicide terror there is no way the Israelis will trust them enough for the Arabs to prosper. Different Arabs, sure, but as Palestinians, no.

Iraq might be a good place to put a lot of them. It is a free country, they could be properly educated and have the benefits of free press, elections, and free markets. There is plenty of space in Iraq, as well, and a lot more water to go around, especially now that the marshes are being restored.

If things go this route, there are a lot of good possibilites for both the Israelis and the Palestinians. I don't see any other outcome that results in anything but a war in which a lot of people die.


  • At Wednesday, August 11, 2004 12:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Of course the made-up in 1967 palestinians need to go home.

    Since Jordan (the majority of them are from that state) doesn't want them, the idea of repatriating them to other Arab states is the only way to go.

    So: Way to Go, David!



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