Palestinian statehood bid premature, immature and minor concern for Arab world
by Moshe Dann
The Palestinian struggle to wipe out Israel, although ongoing and front page news has never been more than a sideshow in the Arab world. A convenient tool used by Arab dictators to divert attention away from local corruption and abuse, it has not and will not be of major consequence. The Arab world has more important concerns.
That is why exaggerating the consequences of Palestinian moves toward UN recognition distorts reality and creates a false sense of impending doom for Israelis and for the world. Hyping Palestinian causes and efforts to delegitimize and demonize Israel are in effect propaganda gimmicks aimed at Israel's destruction. These methods were common throughout history in different forms – blood libels, racist theories, Nazi screed, the Protocols, Holocaust denial – and promoted in churches and mosques. For some, it is a way of life.
With all the hoopla and media attention, however, the surge for Palestinian statehood is a minor event in the Arab world exploding with civil wars, demonstrations and riots. In real terms, the Palestinian diplomatic sideshow cannot compete with hundreds of people killed daily by Arab security forces in the Middle East and North Africa, revolutions and counter-revolutions without end.
Since they already have diplomatic recognition from 150 countries, the EU and the UN, what more does the PLO seek in statehood at the UN? The political self-definition of the Palestinians includes non- recognition of Israel and terrorist factions, like Hamas. Statehood, moreover, involves the ability to effectively control the territory claimed, reasonable and just civil institutions, desire for peaceful relations, and in the case of the PLO, an end to the "Palestinian refugee" issue.
Most significantly, the current Palestinian leadership has decided to go to the UN before holding oft-postponed elections, raising questions about its internal power struggle and future leaders; experts predict Hamas will take power. Amidst an ongoing civil war between Fatah and Hamas, despite their temporary "reconciliations," Palestinian leaps towards statehood are not only premature; they are immature.
Jew-hatred to persist
Jew-hatred will not change with or without recognition of Palestinian statehood. The PLO and Hamas will continue to pursue their goal of eliminating Israel, supported by Islamists, Jihadists, the Muslim Brotherhood and others. Hezbollah will continue to amass missiles – although its current stock estimated at 50,000 seems more than enough to destroy Israel. And, regardless of President Obama's request that they come up with answers, Palestinian leaders can continue to remain silent while planning for conflict.
Exaggerating Palestinian moves toward UN recognition is dangerous when linked with demands for Israel to "do something!" It encourages opponents of Israel and settlements to pressure the Jewish State into more concessions to "head off the tsunami." Even more dangerous, it shifts the onus of preventing violence and promoting peace to Israel.
Finally, if the Palestinians make this move it will have no practical or diplomatic effect. It will, however, have one very important benefit for Israel: It will free us from the restrictions of the Oslo Agreements and the delusions that spawned.
If Arabs claim sovereignty in Palestine, Jews should match that with our own: Sovereignty now.
The author is a historian, writer and journalist
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -