Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Do Jews have "more right" to the land in dispute?

Prior to Israel as we see it today, the region of Jerusalem and its surrounding territory (which adopted many names in its history) has had only one moment where the Hebrews actually ruled the land.

For many centuries, they were either a minority scattered throughout the world or otherwise ruled by another entity in the land in question.

Even since the beginning of their lineage with the father of the Hebrews, Jacob, along with his children they didn't settle there. They migrated to live in Egypt and many generations passed with the Hebrews living in Ancient Egypt before their emigration under Moses.

Their most notable period was approximately 1000 BC, when David defeated Goliath and ruled as king of his newly conquered land. His successor and son, king Solomon claimed the throne thereafter, and then after his death civil war struck and split the kingdom into Judea and Samaria.
The divided kingdom became weak and fell prey to the Empire's around them (namely the Assyrian Empire), until Nebuchadnezzar conquered the land and the Hebrews were exiled to Babylon.

That was all they had, three or four generations to add to the 70 years of their colonization today. 

They weren't the first people there either. People lived there before them when it was called the land of Canaan.

The most important fact to take from this is that Jews don't have "more right" on the land simply because they ruled for three or four generations. The concept that people lived before them, and people lived after them means their rule was just a passing moment in history. In fact the Arabs under the Caliphate ruled for almost 1000 years, so the concept of "more right" on the land has very little context.

Jews through Zionism have conquered the land today with the help of Britain, but for how long, especially considering they are constantly under international pressure.

Conquering lands and colonizing people doesn't really work the same way it did centuries ago, and the Zionist movement has found it extremely difficult to maintain so far.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

One-State or Two-State, that is the Question.

The initial proposal of the Partition Plan drafted by the UN in the form of Resolution 181 in 1947 was the first notion of a two-state solution, following the mass migration of Jews that caused severe clashes between those seeking refuge from the antisemitic movement in Europe and the native Arabs that were being displaced by the thousands because of this migration.

This proposal was only a realization to separate the two people based on their ethnicity because there was no end in sight for the conflict between Arabs and Jews. Neither side seemed to be able to live together for years following the mass influx of European Jews, though ironically native Arabs and native Jews were living together in harmony prior to this for 1000's of years.

The difference was the Zionist movement behind the migration which incidentally was founded well before antisemitism grew in Europe. Arabs considered Zionism a threat to the demographics of the region, especially following Jabotinsky's shockingly honest account of the colonial plan in his 1923 essay "The Iron Wall":  The Iron Wall 191207_49117.pdf
Jabotinsky accurately explained the expected reaction of a native population towards the prospect of being colonized, which lead to the blunt realization that it would be impossible to expect a "voluntary agreement" with the Arabs. He realized the only way to achieve a state where the Jews were the masters of the land rather than a people absorbed within the population as a minority, was to use force.

Jabotinsky questioned it himself, why would the Arabs want to concede an area they inhabit for a colonial entity that wants to enforce a majority of its own? Why would any native want that? It would mean a "transfer" of Arabs in order to make the migrants the majority. Even under British Occupation and before that under the Ottoman Empire, Arabs were ruled by the respective authority's security forces, but the demographics were never threatened.

And that is precisely the backbone of the conflict.

As the decades went by the Arabs were not able to hold their position and maintain their lands and territories, only to concede more and more of it to the Zionist movement. While some Arabs refuse to acknowledge the defeats they faced and continue to talk about a one-state solution, those who do, feel they can only approach the conflict with one compromise: the two-state solution, based on the last known legitimate truce regarding borders - the Armistice "green line" Agreement of 1949, or popularly known as the pre-67 borders.

Theoretically, the one-state solution is the best solution.

For Israel however, the one-state solution obviously doesn't work since the Arabs outnumber the Jews, which would mean that a pure democratic process where all people who have a claim on the land (displaced or otherwise) have equal rights to vote and that would result in an Arab leadership. That means that Israel would face the same fate as the South African democracy which ended white minority rule. It is ironic that Israel claim it is the "only democracy" in the Middle East, yet a pure democratic process inclusive of all its people would deny Israel's entire existence. Democracy and Zionism therefore are mutually exclusive.

Fortunately for the Zionist movement, the Arabs are not strong enough to force a hand at making such a bold claim for the one-state solution, and therefore have no other option but to approach the negotiation table with the two-state concept.

Practically, the two-state solution is the only compromise.

However, just as the Palestinian Papers have shown, neither the issues surrounding the right of return, nor the ever-changing "land swaps" seems acceptable to Israel, regardless of the extreme concessions made by the Palestinian Authority even on key issues surrounding Jerusalem.

That's because the two-state solution doesn't really work for Israel either, even if the PA agree to all of Israel's preconditions. Zionism, as Jabotinsky puts it, is the colonization of the region, and any final agreement for a two-state solution would put an abrupt halt on the ongoing growth of the "Jewishness" of the land.

The real answer for Zionism is to maintain the status-quo. As long as they are in a state of conflict and the Palestinians don't have an official state, the Israeli government believe that the occupied territory can be annexed by Jewish-only settlements since there is no "official claim" to the land, regardless of what could potentially be part of a future Palestinian state.

The key question that arise from this dilemma is how Israel can get away with building settlements that encroach on a potential future state of Palestine. Even Israel's only ally the US has admitted that the core issue preventing peace talks from resuming is the ongoing settlement activities that have been deemed illegal by international law as per the 4th Geneva Convention.

"Might is right" some may say, and in this case, unfortunately it is quite accurate. While the United Nations was established never to allow such atrocities as were witnessed during WWII, it is ironically the very mechanism Israel is using to maintain this current state of conflict. 
That is because the US have in fact been guilty of being Israel's "lawyer", rather than their "honest broker".

The rest of the world has overwhelmingly voted for a state of Palestine, while the US with Israel have been able to prevent it. The security council voted for an immediate halt of the illegal settlement activities, but the US with Israel have been able to prevent it.

All they needed was the power of the veto. It is the hypocrisy of "democracy".
If we cannot implement it on the international stage, then it is a farce that is used by the 5 permanent member nations to control the world's decision-making by playing their political games for strategic advantages. Incidentally, they are only permanent because they were the victors of WWII - clearly a sign that the very foundation of the UN is already outdated.

Ultimately, the veto is the true power behind world decisions, not the world's voices themselves.

The best way to rectify such deadlocked conflicts as the Israel-Palestinian issue, is to have a "majority" vote in the UN rather than a concept of a veto, where the definition of "majority" could be determined based on the weighting of a nation's contribution to the UN security council, or even based on an overwhelming vote of 95% or higher to any resolution.

That would end Israeli occupation in a heartbeat... 
And a true solution would finally transpire... whether it is one state or two states.