Ariel Sharon’s recent death, after 8 years in a coma, marks the end of what was the last, but slim best chance for a solution to the Israeli / Palestinian turmoil. Sharon was hardly a beacon of hope for the region, but his last few actions, as prime minister, were moving in a positive direction.
Age might have been slowly bringing wisdom to this former soldier and enthusiastic, Arab bashing Zionist hero of the 1967 Arab Israeli war. Sharon, in 2006, just before his terminal stroke, as Prime Minister, was at the start of a realistic peace process with ‘Palestine’. Despite his long military career, where he was responsible for thousands of Palestinian & Lebanese deaths, parts of the Palestinian leadership were listening to him as was the Israeli Zionist right. He had begun the process of removing the laughably so called “settlers” from the West Bank and many Israelis were thinking he was right to do so. Sharon’s life story will fill many books but this blog is about a possible future.
Sharon was a secular Prime Minister, his Jewishness was cultural rather than faith based, but he was not a supporter of, what really is the only lasting solution to this horrific mess, the “Single State Solution”.
“Single State Solution”?
The SSS is explained later in this piece, but, ‘bear-with’, first we need a quick summary of the last 100 years; I’ll keep it short.
At the risk of sounding like a pompous arse, I have to say this has bugged me for several years (that’s one pompous arse bit), and while it has been of more serious concern for others, and for much longer, I will, at least, have my own thinking sorted out. The solution became suddenly obvious to me (that’s another pompous arse bit), but when I looked for similar views, many others had seen it years ago.
When Israel was carved out of bits of the Middle East in 1948 the usual territorial cockups were made by Britain and a fledgling U.N. (then called the ‘League of Nations’) in an understandable but nevertheless emotional response to the recent Nazi atrocities against the Jews. Arabs were turfed out of their farms and family homes to make way for a huge migration of Jews into Israel. The fact that Jew and Arab had lived side by side in the region for millennia was ignored and the fuel that created today’s Islamism was lit!
The events leading up to the creation of Israel are complex, and I would be the last to say that I fully understood them. However, I see clearly that the failure to create a Palestinian state at the same time as Israel was formed, was a huge error, and, it has to be said, partly of the Arabs own making. It is now far too late for a viable Palestinian state to be made out of the paltry parcels of scrub land left after Israel’s many illegal, but totally unchallenged, land and water grabs. See here for a truly shocking map view of what has happened to Arab Palestine since 1948. It is therefore far too late for a Two State Solution to be viable or just.
Although the cartoon says it was god’s fault, the real culprits are Britain, France and latterly, the USA. Lies were told to fledgling Arab states as is well told in Lawrence of Arabia. The, openly flawed, Balfour Declaration of 1917 is seen today as obfuscation at best and incompetent hypocrisy at worst.
This continuing tragedy has to be stopped, but the West’s reticence (I, of course, mean that of the USA and UK) to stand up to Israel’s repeated illegal land grabs is the largest elephant in the room! Party politics, here and in the USA, is the cause of this global tragedy. Statesmanship is the answer, not politics. What a tragedy that Obama wasn’t the man we thought he might become, but I suspect his hands are tied by a powerful Congress and an even more powerful Jewish lobby.
Everywhere we see politicians asking for a “Two State” solution to the current crisis in Israel & Palestine as if this is the only grown up and realistic compromise solution. Indeed, this is even what the current Palestinian Authorities are asking for in the United Nations a few months ago, although even that news was hardly being discussed at the time.
Perhaps more newsworthy might be the 10 to 1 death ratio of Palestinians to Israelis in the recent years escalations of violence, except that is hardly mentioned in the media either. Our media’s brave reporters donned their bullet proof vests, stood on smoking piles of rubble, and described the latest bomb damage and small child’s death with serious faces.
Correspondents in Israel stood in leafy, prosperous Tel Aviv looking at the occasional window smashed by Guy Fawkes sized rockets. Gaza based correspondents stood on a 3rd world rubbish dump with a level of overcrowding that makes Mexico City look like Shropshire! (Biased? Moi?)
News, in November 2012, that the UK abstained in the UN vote, on Palestine being granted ‘UN Observer Status’, was truly sickening. I listened to William Hague’s weasel worded political claptrap with a growing sense of rage at our government’s weakness and lack of vision. He mentioned several times that the only solution is a negotiated ‘Two State’ solution. Even more sickening, is the recent announcement from Israel of yet another illegal ‘settlement’ to be built on the West Bank. I am ashamed of my government for missing an opportunity to right the wrongs we help make between 1916 & 1946 when Palestine was a British Protectorate.
The Two State Solution cannot ever provide a lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians because it does not resolve, or even address, the errors made, by the UN and Great Britain and France, when Palestine & Israel were “created” in 1948.
This article was started about three years ago and I felt distinctly uneasy in publishing it then for several reasons, the main one being, that I have never visited Palestine or Israel and yet dare to pontificate on the subject. My unease was removed by the last bout of retribution by Israel where yet again the Palestinian death toll was 10 times that of Israel.
Even senior, battle hardened ex Mossad leaders have called for Netanyahu to change direction because they realised that Israel has little time left to get away with it’s truly atrocious behaviour to the Palestinians and its continuing decimation of what was Palestine in 1948.
The Single State Solution discussion is completely absent from mainstream news, although, if you look below the surface, you will find many politicians, academics, philosophers and even a few religious leaders giving this subject realistic thinking time.
Here then, is the Single State Solution advocated by many wise people, both Jew & Arab (see end of article for details):-
- Israel and Palestine are merged, their populations become one nation, under one secular government;
- The disgusting wall, cutting through lemon groves on former Arab owned land, is torn down and Zionists are told to shut up, by the USA;
- The Palestinian authority and Hamas denounce their version of terror and recognise that Judaism has as much right to exist as does Islam, Christianity and Atheism.
That will take 50 years to achieve but with help from the Arab League, The UN and most of all the USA, Russia, France and China, it can happen.
To put this SSS into an historical perspective, at the time of Herod, Palestine incorporated today’s Israel, the whole of Jordan and a few other land parcels. Neither Jew nor Arab has ever had an exclusive right to this land and if they could only ignore their respective gods (different names but the same non-existent chap) there might yet be a chance for peace.
On the one hand the Israelis might seem to have most to lose, but, on the other, much to gain. What price for everlasting peace?
West Germany has absorbed, and is still absorbing, East Germany; South African apartheid has gone, two almost unbelievable events at the time. OK the jury is still out on the aftermath and Mandela’s declining influence but at least the seemingly impossible does happen.
Here are the main plus points for the SSS:
- It is simply the most logical solution for the beleaguered people of Israel and Palestine
- It saves uncountable future lives
- It gives a moral validity for the 1948 creation of Israel (which in the view of many is highly dubious)
- It rights the wrongs done when Arabs were forcibly evicted from their own homes when Israel was created
- It saves Israel a huge amount of money (defence budget cuts)
- It saves a fortune for the Europe Union. Guess how much we and the EU fund Gaza/Palestine each year?
- Jerusalem becomes a little more peaceful
- Everybody’s god would be happy
- It gives Islamism a much needed kick in the balls
- It will put a few arms dealers out of business
- There are a few precedents that politicians can do the right thing:-
- Germany, East absorbed into West (walls will always be torn down!)
- South Africa abolishing apartheid
- and finally, and in any case, it has already happened see here and here
These are the main arguments against the SSS:
- “Don’t be so damn naive / stupid, that could never work”
- The monstrously powerful Jewish political lobby in the USA
- It will put quite a few arms dealers out of business. Jobs will be lost in the USA, Russia, England, Iran, China and France
- … did I mention religion?
What is the alternative? Another 100 years of what we have seen for the last 100?
Here it is being discussed rationally:-
and many many more …
Einstein said: “Only two things are infinite; the universe and man’s stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe”.
Acknowledgement: Cartoon by Baloo