Yesterday, 20th January 2020, twenty-odd British political worthies of the left and right –and of both chambers – wrote a short letter to The Times titled, “The Time is Right to Recognise Palestine”. (I’ve put a screenshot of the letter after the footnote references.)
The “time is now”, we are told, to “best serve the cause of peace”, because “Israel’s actions are pushing a two-state solution beyond reach”.
The signatories of the letter finish by telling us they want “equal rights for peoples in two states”.
The two-state solution is beyond reach – through no fault of Israel – regardless of the fact that two-states remains the official foreign-policy position of the UK Government. The two-state solution was emphasised by Boris Johnson when he was Foreign Secretary, who on the centenary of the Balfour Declaration in 2017 wrote his “vision for Middle East peace”. Prime Minister Johnson’s piece is still on gov.uk, where you will see that it is not visionary at all, but the same old British broken-record stuck on “two-state solution”, oblivious to the realities. [i]
The two-state solution was pushed beyond reach not by Israel, but by the region’s Arab regimes, and it still is. Jews accepted the two-state solution agreed by the UN in 1947. Arabs immediately turned it down, and told the Arabs and Bedouins of the land to temporarily move out of the way, to allow 7 Arab armies (or 7.5 if we include the British officers and men who fought with the Transjordan army) to destroy the nascent Jewish state and push all the Jews – including many refugees of the Holocaust – into the sea. Arabs lost the ensuing Arab-Israeli wars, of course. Many of the Arabs of the wars who had been told to move out of the way by invading Arabs, or were otherwise caught up in the conflict, became refugees. There were about 700,000 Arab refugees. And there were about 850,000 Jewish refugees who fled, or were expelled from, the Arab nations – the majority of whom aimed for Israel. Today, approximately half the Jewish population of Israel are refugees, or descendants of refugees, from the Arab lands. In contrast, the Arab nations to this day have, cruelly, refused to absorb the Arab refugees, or even their descendants, now into the fourth generation.
Arabs didn’t just lose the wars, but lost honour. And this loss of Arab honour, and its cultural association with blood and sacrifice, is something that is rarely acknowledged or understood in the UK. Arab loss of honour is, in Arab culture, a catastrophe that passes from generation to generation [ii] . The Arab medieval codes have, as yet, far from petered out, just as, in Christian Europe, salvaging honour by duelling to the death was not outlawed until well into the 20th century. For 1400 years of Islam, the Jews were not even allowed to arm themselves. And so how could this ill-equipped start-up army of WWII survivors defeat the whole of the mighty Islamic Arab world? The shame of it.
Many times since 1947, the Arabs have been offered two-state solutions. Israel has complied with agreements, such as unilaterally pulling out of Sinai, south Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and offering to kick-start their agriculture and economies, only to immediately see these areas filled with rockets and terrorist organisations (including from Iran) and the construction of miles of terror tunnels (costing $billions, and using all the concrete and other materials that should have been destined for schools, hospitals, homes etc.).
Today, who in their right mind, truly believes that Israel could defend herself against, say, all the factions now roaming Syria, if they were allowed access anywhere near the Green Line of the two-state solution, which is within an easy and flat stroll of Tel Aviv and the international airport?
And would Iran remove its 150,000 rockets from south Lebanon if Arabs were to get a new nation called “Palestine” neighbouring Israel? No, it wouldn’t because Iran wants nothing less than the obliteration of Israel, which the Iranian clerics have convinced themselves is “little Satan”: the Middle-Eastern metaphysical enemy of Islam that must be put to death before conquering the USA, the “great Satan”.
Few in the UK acknowledge, or even seem to know, that the whole of the Arab world, like much of Europe, had been thoroughly propagandised with Nazi and Christian antisemitism, largely through colonial powers, i.e. Fascist Italy, Vichy France (and before that the antisemitic French Third Republic) and even the British. And from Berlin, hosted by Hitler, the so-called Grand Mufti of Jerusalem – Mohammed Amin al-Husseini – broadcast Nazism globally in Arabic through powerful shortwave transmitters.
Post-War Europe, including in the 1960s the Roman Catholic Church, tried to reflect on why and how Christian Europe had become genocidally antisemitic and thereby to make amends. Germany and Austria banned the teaching of Mein Kampf and Holocaust denial, and the RC Church published its Nostra Aetate declaration on relations with Jews. The Arab world never tried to cure its antisemitism, and never came to share Western Europe’s sense of Holocaust guilt and shame (and neither did Communist Eastern Europe come to that). Hitler is still as admired throughout the Arab world as he was in the 1930s and 40s. Arabic translations of Mein Kampf and Protocols of the Elders of Zion are, today, bestselling. Protocols is believed to be true by the Arab elite, and is taught in the universities. Protocols is quoted on authority in the Hamas Covenant.
I wrote a long piece in August 2019, explaining that the primary and sustaining cause of the Arab-Israel conflict is genocidal antisemitism[iii]. If you do not acknowledge the seriousness of the region’s genocidal antisemitism, you have nothing serious to say about solutions for peace.
The British politicians want, “Equal rights for peoples in two states”? Show me any Arab nation that has equal rights, or anything resembling universal human rights, including for Jews, Christians, Sufis, Druze and others. Former Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told us last year that persecution of Christians in the region is now “near genocide”. [iv]
“The time is right” for a Palestinian state? Really? Who is to govern it? Who is going to prevent genocide? The three bodies that currently administer the Jew-free Arab regions are Hamas, Fatah (or Palestinian Authority) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Even according to their own covenants and charters, these three bodies are genocidally antisemitic and committed to the obliteration of Israel.
Antisemitism is a chronic illness that, when it flares up, eats away at the mind of those it infects, and destroys the hater more thoroughly than the hated. It can be cured, or at least controlled. The Germans, Austrians, Italians, French, Romanians… today are largely cured of genocidal antisemitism, but the Arab nations are not, and, alarmingly, we see much evidence now of cross-infection back to Europe (not least British politics). If British politicians are seriously interested in solutions to peace, they should be seeking solutions that help to cure the Arab nations and Iran of genocidal antisemitism. Only then can we say, “the time is right”, to do something constructive.
[iv] “Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels’ “: