Reasons why Israelis shall never know peace
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2002
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The Bush administration has become quite critical of the part being played by Mr Arafat in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But before he voices his criticisms too openly, it would be better for him to review the events of the past 85 years - the ones which have produced the present situation - and the role America has played in these events:
The 1917 British government's declaration supporting an organised immigration of Jews to settle in Palestine, where the Jews then formed a very small minority of the population.
The 1922 League of Nations mandate to Britain to administer Palestine, coupled with the requirement that first priority be given to Jewish immigration to establish there a national home, although the British administrators already working in the territory had warned that organised Jewish immigration was being, and would continue to be, vehemently opposed by the indigenous population.
The division of Palestine in 1947 into Arab areas (44 per cent) and Jewish areas (56 per cent) after approval by the United Nations General Assembly, gained to substantial foothold through active US support.
The founding of the state of Israel in 1948 after attacks by external Jewish organisations had increased the percentage of Jewish controlled land. The arrival of nearly one million Palestinians from refugee camps in neighbouring countries, where they had gone to escape war.
The occupation by Israel after the Six Day War of the remaining Palestinian areas and the establishment of Jewish settlements there, despite UN resolutions requiring Israel to withdraw.
The assumption by the United States of the role of Israel's main supporter and ally, both politically and financially, and its clear reluctance to let the UN give a free hand to deal with the continuing confrontation between Palestinian and Israeli.
As a result of this sequence of events, the Palestinians, who in 1918 were hoping that they would live according to their own traditions and ways of life, now find that three quarters of Palestine has been swallowed by Israel and that the remaining one quarter is under effective Israeli occupation.
At the same time, the only really active support being given to their cause is from organisations such as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, which are classified as terrorist groups. The Palestinians regard these people as heroes. And these are the people Mr Arafat is now being accused of encouraging or failing to control.
In the various efforts to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians over the years, Israel has shown few indications to make concessions.
The logical ending of this attitude, if it does not change in some fundamental fashion, will be the sealing off by Israel of all the territory it controls and the expulsion of all the Arabs living there as potential terrorists.
Is that what the Bush administration really wants?
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