TO ACHIEVE PEACE, WE NEED EQUAL RIGHTS
The generally accepted assessment of the Jewish-Palestinian conflict is that the Jews expelled the Palestinians from their native land and seized land that did not belong to them. A careful study of history shows, however, that such an assessment is inaccurate.
All the foreign invaders who owned Palestine over the past thousand years, or just passed through this land, slaughtered primarily the Jews who still remained in the country after the genocides committed by the Romans 2000 years ago, and then by the crusaders 900 years ago. For the past 1000 years, the country has remained almost empty.
The invaders, from the Mamluk to the Turkish Sultans, tried to populate this empty land with their soldiers and dependent peasants. Palestinian clans (Hamulas) keep a memory of their ancestors who re-settled to Palestine from Arabia, Syria, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Egypt, and even from Morocco, Bosnia, the Caucasus, etc. Most common among Palestinians are such surnames as Masri (Egyptian), Halabi (native from Aleppo in Syria), Hijazi (a person from Hijaz in Arabia).
Also is known one Palestinian clan in Judea, which has preserved the memory of Jewish ancestors.
Despite all efforts to colonize, until the mid-19th century, the country’s population did not grow and amounted to about 150-200 thousand people. Palestine was reasonably considered the poorest of the countries subject to the Ottoman Empire. All this despite the favorable geographical location, and the fact that here flocked numerous pilgrims, mainly Christians, as well as Jews.
In order to decipher this phenomenon, we will have to analyze the policies of the authorities and of the local population towards the original inhabitants of the country, the Jews. In short, this policy was extremely anti-Jewish. As a rule, Islamic rulers forbade Jews to return to their country.
True, during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, here was made a temporary exception. Then the fugitives from Spain were admitted in limited numbers to Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias, and Hebron.
However, the attitude of local Muslim settlers was much more important. It seems that they considered the Jews to be the true owners of the country they had conquered, so they tried in to establish themselves various ways as the only owners: to pull out both local (Arabized) Jews and the Zionists who returned to the country from the Mediterranean and Europe.
Since Muslims were traditionally armed, while Jews, like Christians, were forbidden to own weapons, Jews could only escape robberies and killings in “refuge cities”.
However, during the Fellahs Intifada (1834), three of the four refuge cities were subjected to pogroms. Only the Jews of Tiberias paid off the pogrom, having paid a huge ransom to the Bedouin Sheikh for «protection». Racket appears to be a very old invention.
Trade could not develop In conditions of anarchy and constant danger. Agriculture also fell into decay. Armed gangs, which took upon themselves the “collection of taxes” on behalf of the Sultan and Pasha, simply robbed the farmers, condemning them to starvation. The remnants of the proud conquerors, who (today) are called Palestinians, were robbing pilgrims and Jews that received ongoing assistance from abroad.
Travelers who visited the Holy Land and managed to get out of there alive, described in their notes how the authorities got rid of the Jews remained in the country, due to taxes. The «debtors» were arrested and demanded a ransom in exchange for freedom. The calculation was that the Jews of different countries, due to solidarity, would redeem the hostages. This technique was widely used by pirates and robbers, as well as by local rulers in Palestine.
To get rid of excessive taxes, the Jews who owned the land gave their allotments to Muslim neighbors. Usually, the case ended up with Jews abandoning their homes and moving to “refuge cities”, where they could hardly feed themselves at the expense of the help provided by the rich communities of the Middle East and Europe.
In the 18-19 centuries, the Turkish sultans felt that the «new crusaders», the rapidly strengthening European powers, could capture semi-empty Palestine. The process of distributing Palestinian lands to Muslim and Christian immigrants was sharply accelerated, while the ban on the resettlement of Jews was carried out more consistently. Today, when I ask the inhabitants of the Arab villages in Galilee who granted them their private land, the most frequent answer is “the Sultan”.
Currently, Turkish President Erdogan confirmed: the Turkish Sultan gave land to the Palestinians. In evidence of which Erdogan handed over to the Palestinian Government a Turkish archive containing donation documents.
According to tradition, most of the current Arabs of Galilee are descendants of immigrants from Syria and Lebanon, while most of the inhabitants of Gaza are descendants of Egyptian peasants, whom the Egyptian Pasha Mohammad Ali settled at the coastal strip of the country during his brief domination in Palestine (1830-1840).
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, in view of the pogroms in Russia, the Turkish authorities took drastic measures to deter the Jews from resettling Palestine. During World War I, Turkish authorities evicted from Palestine those Jews whom they refused to grant Turkish citizenship, for decades. Then 30% of Palestinian Jews were evicted.
Having captured Palestine and received the League of Nations mandate to rule the country, the British followed their Turkish predecessors. As a reward for the anti-Jewish pogrom that committed the British protégé Amin al Husseini, the British-Jewish ruler of Palestine Herbert Samuel persuaded Amin to return to Jerusalem and to lead the Palestinian people.
The League of Nations decision on the free resettlement of Jews in Palestine was carried out for 8 years, from 1921 to 1929. When it seemed to the British and Palestinians that there were coming too many Jews, Amin staged another series of pogroms (1929), and the British introduced a quota on the issued entry permits.
In 1936, the Palestinians staged intifada, as a result of which the quota for the entry of Jews was reduced to 5,000 people a year. In 1936-39, Jews were forced to flee from East Jerusalem to the western part of the city, abandoning their homes and land, which they had owned there for hundreds of years. Let me remind you that in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Jews made up the majority of the population of Jerusalem.
In 1920-30, the British staged a grand scam with lands in Palestine. The British colonial authorities confiscated the lands that the Turkish Sultan failed to distribute to the Arabs and began to distribute them too (we are talking about 700,000 dunams). Distribute to whom? To Palestinian and Syrian landowners! And what have these new private owners of the land of Palestine done? These lands were sold to Jews, of course, at a speculative price.
At this time (the 30s), rich and not so rich Jews felt that the earth was leaving under their feet, not only in Germany but also in Poland, Hungary, Romania, and other countries. Those who did not count on salvation in the USSR (for example, they were afraid of confiscation and repression in the USSR), began to buy up land in Palestine, preparing there a refuge for themselves. Land prices in Palestine have swelled dozens of times, significantly exceeding land prices in Europe and the United States. When the happy «landowners» decided to flee to Palestine, a door was slammed in front of their nose (1939).
Palestinian land tenants remained in their places, the landowners put a lot of money in their pockets, and the Jews who bought the land disappeared in concentration camp stoves. There’s no data, how much profited colonial officials from this scam.
When the big mess started in 1948, it was the landowners who first left Palestine (see Benny Morris, “The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem”). They were followed by their tenants and city dwellers who became unemployed due to the civil war.
The severance of ties with the Jews dealt a crushing blow to the welfare of the Palestinians. This story repeated when the Palestinians staged the 2001 Intifada. To this day, the Palestinian people live and arm themselves on handouts.
In 1948, the chief initiator of the Palestinian escape was the leader of the Palestinian people, Amin al Husseini, connected with Britain (and before that with Hitler). Following the example of his teacher Hitler, having been defeated in battle, Amin decided to sacrifice his people in the name of the planned destruction of Jews. The Palestinian-organized Nakba motivated Arab governments to intervene in the conflict and to send troops into Palestine. This way Al Husseini provoked the war of 1948-49.
Another goal that Amin achieved due to Nakba was riots, pogroms, and the expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. As a result, half of today’s Jewish population of Israel are descendants of Jewish refugees from Islamic countries, while the other half are descendants of Holocaust survivors from Europe and the USSR.
The Palestinians were offered different options for the division of the territory with the Jews. As early as 1921, the League of Nations agreed to separate Jordan from Palestine and create an Arab state ethnically cleansed of Jews.
The idea was that this way the national rights of the Palestinian Arabs to their own state would be protected. Jews were allowed to return only to the territory of Western Palestine remaining after the first partition, which today is called Israel and Palestine. In fact, this territory represents 20% of the original Mandate of Palestine, as the League of Nations affirmed it.
Then in 1937, Lord Peel’s commission proposed the creation of a small Jewish enclave in the territory remaining from the first partition of Palestine, which included a coastal strip from Tel Aviv to Haifa, while the Palestinian state would include the rest of Palestine, together with previously separated Jordan.
The Palestinians responded to this proposal with an intifada, which the British suppressed with the help of the part of the Palestinians who were inclined to compromise with the Jews. And not only to a compromise but also to an alliance aimed at expelling the British by the joint efforts of the Zionists and Arabs.
The militant leader of the uprising, the Islamic leader Amin al-Husseini, sided with Hitler. True, after the Second World War, he returned to the British and with their help led the struggle of the Palestinians against the Jews (and simultaneously against the Palestinian supporters of peace with the Jews).
In 2013, John Kerry proposed to the Palestinians the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip in exchange for peace with Israel, but they rejected the offer.
The eternal problem of the Palestinian people is that the Palestinians are striving for the complete destruction of Jews and then of Israel, and to achieve this goal, they rely on the help of anti-Semites. The influence of their own and foreign anti-Semitism does not allow the Palestinians to find any reasonable solution to their own problems.
Such behavior is not so surprising. In the past, the Turkish and British Empire, Nazi Germany, then the USSR, Arab nationalists, Islamists, United Europe, Iran, and even some forces in the United States, helped Palestine to achieve its goal of the destruction of Israel.
The UN has already given the Palestinians carte blanche for the genocide of Jews: Israel was forbidden to actively defend itself against Hamas, which is intensively building up their military power. Europe imposed sanctions against Israel, a victim of Palestinian aggression.
Naturally, the Palestinians vote for Hamas, which promises (and prepares) the genocide of the Jews. The entire anti-Semitic world calls on the Palestinians to continue the aggression and gives them money for war and for food.
All we can do in this situation is to occupy the West Bank and block Gaza in order to force the Palestinians to sit still. I propose recognizing the Palestinian state (or two states) and continuing the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, as far as necessary for Israel security.
Trump is right claiming that Jews living in the West Bank do not interfere with peace. They did not violate any international or local laws; all Jewish settlements existing today are legal. I examined this issue in detail in the article «Trump is right, Jewish settlements are legal.»
Those who oppose peace are just the Palestinians who demand the eviction of Jews from their homes. Well, they imitate Muhammad, who once evicted Jews from their homes in Medina and Khaibar.
Why can’t Palestinians accept Jews living in the West Bank as Palestinian citizens? After all, Israel does not expel its Arab citizens! Why does no one recognize equal rights for the Jews?
Well, yes, Muhammad told Muslims that they have more rights than non-Muslims. But he was striving for victory, not for compromise. If the Palestinians still want peace, they must recognize the equal rights of the Jews. In the examples of Oslo and Disengagement, we have seen that Israel’s unilateral concessions only provoke Palestinian aggression and undermine the possibility of peace.
The main obstacle to any solution of the Palestinian problem has been and remains the Palestinian efforts for the destruction of Israel. Both of the basic conditions that Mahmoud Abbas put forward, namely the invasion of 4 million descendants of Palestinian refugees in Israel and the eviction of all Jews from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, are the means to destroy Israel, or just a pretext to reject peace with Israel.
Hamas is more honest in this matter: this most influential Palestinian group frankly demands the destruction of Israel. The ban that the UN has imposed on Israel’s self-defense against Hamas aggression is actually a call for genocide of the Jews.
From the point of view of the real interests of Palestine, the Palestinian-Jordanian option is preferable. In the conditions of peace, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip can join Jordan, creating a large and united Palestinian-Arab state, instead of the three current Palestinian micro-states.
All who seek peace between Israel and Palestine must recognize that Jews and Palestinians have equal rights to this land. Israel does not owe Palestine. The partition of a country that happened historically was inevitable.
The “painful concessions” that are demanded of us “in the name of peace”, as we have seen, lead not to peace, but to a new round of anti-Semitic aggressiveness, and to new attempts of the Palestinians to destroy Israel. Therefore, the Palestinian problem created by anti-Semites, including the Palestinian anti-Semites, must be addressed in a way that ensures the security of Israel.
The war we are waging is forced upon us by the Palestinians and their powerful anti-Semitic patrons. Today’s demands of the left in Europe and the USA to “punish” Israel for not agreeing to slaughter of the Jews, let alone the sanctions imposed by the European Union on Israel and the UN’s persecution, are actually a revival of Hitler’s idea of annihilation Jews.
To end this endless war, the international community must recognize the equal rights of Jews and Palestinians, including Israel’s right to self-defense.