Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Monday, 26 May 2014

David Singer On A Tantalising Prospect For Negotiations

In this, his latest article, Sydney lawyer and international affairs analyst David Singer ponders the question "Palestine Imminent Breakthrough Or Lost Opportunity?"

He writes:

The publication of "A Palestinian State Not A Priority" in the Palestine Telegraph on May 23 offers the tantalising prospect of a possible breakthrough in resolving the Arab-Jewish conflict.

Three reasons support such optimism:
First the Palestine Telegraph is published in Gaza, its web site declaring:
"The PT is a non-profit project that depends totally on donations from people of good will committed to freedom of speech for all people. Our success will come from the commitment of our volunteer reporters and the interest of people of good will seeking true change in our world; one where all people are respected and indeed have equal human rights...
...The Palestine Telegraph/PT is the first Electronic Newspaper based in the Gaza Strip, Palestine, staffed by Palestinians and international volunteers; professional journalists and members of the New Fourth Estate – citizen journalists who do not take assignments from editors or paychecks from corporate controlled media."
Secondly the article's editor, Yoram Ettinger, is a distinguished Israeli whose CV includes:
"(Since 1993) Consultant to Israel’s Cabinet Members, to Israeli legislators and to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on US-Israel bilateral projects, US policy and Mideast politics.
Executive Director of "Second Thought – A U.S. Israel Initiative," dedicated to generate out-of-the-box thinking on US-Israel relations, Middle East politics, the Palestinian issue, Jewish-Arab demographics, Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria."
Thirdly Ettinger's article contains the following powerful message for Gaza's readers to digest indeed for all who seek to end this conflict that has raged unresolved for the last 130 years:
 'The Palestinian issue has benefited from the Arab/Muslim talk, but due to the Palestinian record of intra-Arab subversion has never been supported by the Arab/Muslim walk. Arab/Muslim policy makers have never considered the Palestinian issue a strategic interest, but rather a tactical instrument to advance intra-Arab or Muslim interests and to annihilate the Jewish state.
Irrespective of this, Palestine has been a geographic, not a national, concept, as evidenced by the lack of distinct, cohesive national character of its Arab inhabitants. This lack of cohesion has been intensified by the violent internal fragmentation along various lines: cultural (such as Bedouin vs. rural vs. urban sectors), geographic (e.g. mountain vs. coastal Arabs, southern vs. northern, Hebron vs. Bethlehem, Nablus vs. Ramallah, Nablus vs. Hebron), ethnic, ideological, political (pro- or anti-Jordan), historical and tribal identity. Such turbulent fragmentation was fueled by the multitude of Arab or Muslim migration waves from Bosnia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and Lebanon.
The establishment of a Palestinian state was not on the agenda of the non-Arab Muslim Ottoman Empire, which ruled the area from 1517 through 1917. The Ottomans linked the area, defined by most Arabs as a region within Southern Syria or the Levant, to the Damascus and Beirut provinces.
The British Empire, which dominated the Middle East from 1917 until the end of World War II, did not contemplate a Palestinian Arab state, while establishing a series of Arab countries throughout the Middle East. Moreover, the 1917 Balfour Declaration dedicated Palestine, including Jordan, to the Jewish homeland. The 1920 San Remo Resolution, formulated by the principal Allied Powers, formalized the Balfour Declaration-based British Mandate for Palestine, which was ratified on Aug. 12, 1922, by the League of Nations, eventually transferring 77 percent of Palestine (Jordan) to the Arabs. The U.S. House and Senate approved it unanimously on June 30, 1922. In 1945, the Mandate for Palestine was integrated into the U.N. Charter via Article 80, which precludes alterations, and is still legally binding.
Jordan and Egypt occupied Judea and Samaria and Gaza from 1949 through 1967, but did not ponder the establishment of a Palestinian state; nor did the Arab League.
According to Dr. Yuval Arnon-Ohanna of Ariel University, who headed the Palestinian Desk at the Mossad Research Division, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Azzam Pasha, stated in September 1947 that the core problem was not a Palestinian state or Jewish expansionism. The only priority was the duty to uproot the Jewish presence from Palestine, which was defined by Muslims as “Waqf” an area divinely endowed to Islam and not to the “infidel.” ....'
Such an article appearing in a Gaza electronic newspaper written by so eminent an Israeli with such close links to the Israeli Government would have been unthinkable just one month ago.

Did the publication of this article somehow accidentally slip through the Hamas Government censor's scrutiny or does it signify the willingness of Hamas to engage in negotiations whose agenda for the first time would be based on the facts presented so succinctly by Ettinger?

Until now the PLO has dismissed the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1922 Mandate for Palestine and everything that has happened since then as being null and void.

However, three weeks ago Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told Middle East Monitor:
"Both nations, Jordan and Palestine, share the same history and present"
Jordan and Palestine's joint modern history commenced with the Balfour Declaration and Mandate for Palestine and subsequently unfolded as accurately recounted in Ettinger's article.

As negotiations to effect a reconciliation between Hamas and the PLO reportedly gain momentum, the beginnings of a commonly-agreed Jewish and Arab narrative based on fact not fiction could hopefully become the basis for resuming future negotiations.

Imminent breakthrough or yet another lost opportunity?


  1. The Gaza address is the give-away. Hamas has never seen a Palestinian State as a priority and pointedly refused to accept any agreement that includes a Jewish State. Hamas's goals are Islamic rather than national. They want to reestablish the Caliphate over all Muslim lands. Independence is irrelevant as palestibne would become a province. Sharia Law, strictly applied, will be the solution for any and all problems without requiring local input.

    1. David

      The headline "A Palestinian State - Not A Priority" was the author Yoram Ettinger's creation - and not that of the Palestine Telegraph.

      What led Ettinger to use that headline is the result of the following extract that appeared in his article - which space in my article did not allow me the freedom to include:

      "The Arab League and the U.N. did not raise the issue of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza until 1967, when the issue was raised as a means to undermine the survival of the Jewish state.

      In fact, the Palestinian issue has never been a chief axis of U.S.-Israel relations. While the two administrations have never agreed on the Palestinian issue, their strategic cooperation has surged dramatically due to joint interests, mutual threats and shared values, which significantly transcend the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

      However, ignoring reality, Western policy makers consider the Palestinian issue the crown jewel of Arab policy-making, the core cause of Middle Eastern developments and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. An erroneous underlying, Palestinian-driven assumption has produced an erroneous policy, radicalizing Arab and Palestinian expectations, fueling terrorism and inherent Middle Eastern instability, distancing the parties from peace and bringing them closer to war, and undermining Western national security and vital economic interests."

      In other words - this whole "Palestinian State" beat up is artificial and only had its roots in 1967. It hides the deliberate attempt to eliminate the State of Israel.

      The EU and UN have been well and truly duped by a clever but very dishonest propaganda campaign.

      When will they wake up? Maybe after the next war - which they will have played a major part in bringing about by failing to stand up and defend article 80 of the UN Charter.

      Ettinger says it all in his article - which makes its publication in Gaza so remarkable.

  2. They do this because they realize at this point it doesn't matter what they or anyone else says. The Jews will always be blamed.

    1. Empress Trudy

      Well then if you are correct - they will have lost yet another opportunity to resolve the 130 years old Arab-Jewish conflict to add to the myriad previous lost opportunities that have presented themselves during the course of this conflict.

      The publication of Ettinger's article in Gaza by the Palestine Telegraph and the failure by Hamas and the PLO to acknowledge the correctness and accuracy of its contents will be viewed in hindsight as an opportunity gone begging to match those in 1922, 1937, 1947, between 1948-1967, 1993, 2000/20001, 2008, 2010/2011, 2013-2014.

      The Palestinian Arabs should erect a memorial to lost opportunities and commemorate them annually as a reminder of their unyielding rejectionism and foolhardiness that has brought them nothing but suffering and misery.

      The memorial should have inscribed on it : "You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink."

    2. My sense of it is that lunacy is liberating. The Arabs and their boosters are free to ruminate however they like because the subtext is that none of this matters in the least. We could talk or not talk for the next 800 years and it won't make the least difference.

      And in fact all we're really on about is agreeing what our definition of 'peace' looks like. 150 people killed in the Ukraine in the last three days and barely a blip on the news. Whereas a goat in Gaza keels over and western liberals rise up by the millions and ask rhetorically whether it's time for another Holocaust.

      In a normal world, 'peace' is more or less an absence of mayhem and violence. But as regards Israel, 'peace' is that blessed state of there being no more Jews to slaughter, or at the least, that state where whatever happens, we can all smugly roll our eyes and tell each other that antisemitism is the Jews' fault too.

      I said years ago that all that would happen is a process of resetting the water level for what Israelis themselves would deem is an acceptable level of periodic violence and atrocities. That has happened. And as a result, our moral betters in the west have reset their own threshold for what Jews around the world should be happy to tolerate vis a vis occasional assaults, attacks and demi-pogroms.