Pre-war events explain Israel-Palestine divide
ISRAEL’S victory in the Six-Day war saved it from destruction and reunited Jerusalem. Ultimately, it also delivered peace with Egypt and Jordan.
The Palestinians, by contrast, are mourning a half-century of suffering, blaming Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, colonisation and a denial of statehood.
The reason for the difference in outlook can be explained only by events that preceded it. The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is in fact about 1917, 1937 and 1947. Those anniversaries can teach us much about the origins of the IsraeliPalestinian dispute long before 1967.
A century ago Britain, anticipating Turkey’s defeat in the Middle East, where they were the occupying country via their 600-year-old Ottoman Empire, issued the Balfour Declaration. Endorsed by the League of Nations, the declaration pledged to create in Palestine a “national home for the Jewish people”. The Arabs vehemently rejected the document.
The Balfour Declaration formalised the international community’s recognition of a Jewish nation and its 3 000-year attachment to its homeland.
The Zionist leadership recognised in July 1937, through the Peel Commission, which divided Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, that the Palestinian Arabs were a people with sovereign rights. Although the Jews were allotted only one-third of the land, they supported the plan. The Arabs rejected it, and, buckling to Arab pressure, the British cut off almost all Jewish immigration to Palestine, shutting European Jewry’s last escape route from Hitler.
Finally, in 1947, after 6 million Jews had been murdered in Europe, the UN stepped in. This November marks 70 years since the UN General Assembly passed the Partition Resolution creating independent Arab and Jewish states in Palestine.
The Zionist leadership embraced the plan. But the Palestinian Arabs’ leader, Haj Amin al-Husseini, a Nazi collaborator, met Hitler insisting that he extend his Holocaust plan into the Middle East.
Husseini swore that the Arabs would “continue fighting until the Zionists were annihilated”.
The “Nakbah,” or catastrophe, would not have occurred if the Arabs in Palestine had accepted partition.
Instead, the surrounding states supported this intransigence and invaded Israel at the moment of its birth. Israel, with no army or equipment, was forced into a defensive war, which against all odds, they won. The rest, as they say, is history. WILLIAM Saunderson-Meyer hit the nail on the head in his column, (“Idiocy marks DA leadership’s push to dump Zille”, Weekend Argus, June 10). I have followed politics since my school days in the 1940s and have supported the Progs and all their subsequent derivations into their present form, the DA.
The witch-hunt against Helen Zille based on an inability to understand what she said in pretty plain and understandable English does not reflect well on her critics.
She never praised colonialism. Read and understand what she said!
This is the most monumental shooting in the foot I have seen in decades. All other parties are gleefully watching the imminent destruction of our best political party.
Will it recover? Who knows!