Leonard Zwelling

There is no such country. As such, there is no such thing as a Palestinian. What there are are Arabs living on land that used to be part of the British Protectorate of Palestine that encompassed what is now Jordan, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Palestine was segmented after the First World War and subsequently, an Arab state was created. Today that Arab state is known as Jordan. What the world refers to as Palestinians are those Arabs left in the non-Jordan, non-Israel parts of what used to be British Palestine. Remember too that 20% of the Israeli population is Arab and the Arab parties in the Knesset hold some sway and may hold even more as Yair Lapid attempts to form a government. Many of those Arabs consider themselves Palestinian, but are Israeli citizens. It is wishful thinking on my part that the Arabs and Jews can form a government because it is likely that Israel is heading to yet another (its fifth in two years) election when there is another failure to form a real working majority in the Knesset.

This is the background for the latest fighting in that part of the world which, you can bet, is stoked by the ability of Hamas to acquire Iranian arms and serve as a proxy for the ayatollahs by launching rockets against Israel. The reason the less hostile “Palestinians” in the West Bank, ruled by the Palestinian Authority won’t hold elections is because Hamas would depose the PLA in any fair election.

I suspect that Hamas and the Israelis are looking for an off ramp to the latest round of destruction, but neither can take one until it can declare victory and who knows what that looks like?

My point here is to acknowledge the reality that seems to be distorted particularly by the liberal elements in the Democratic Party who are rushing to the defense of the “Palestinians.” I wonder if they’ve been to the West Bank?

The Israelis are not disputing the rights of the Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza to exist as Hamas feels about Israeli Jews. They are disputing whether the Arabs will control the destiny of the land that keeps Israel safe from invasion as happened in 1948, 1967 and 1973 and regularly ever since. Here’s the message, AOC. Israel is not going away. The Israeli relationship with the Arabs in what used to be Palestine is not really different than that between the American colonials and 19th century Americans and the American Indian. It was a brutal seizure of land in order to expand the country and maintain its security and its “manifest destiny.” Was it ethical? It doesn’t matter. It was.

The same is true in Israel. American liberals can complain all they want about Israeli incursion into Arab lands, but Israel is going to grow just as America grew in the 1800s. I would argue that who has the historical claim on the land that used to be Palestine is far more nebulous than anything that occurred in the American West where clearly Indians were there first. Both Arabs and Jews have been inhabiting the Holy Land off and on for centuries. No one has an intrinsic or historical right to the land. The owner of the land is the stronger of the combatants. Since 1948 and certainly since 1967, the owners of the land have been the Israelis despite repeated aggression on the part of many Arab countries to drive the Jews into the sea. That didn’t happen and now it won’t. Despite many attempts to come to a settlement with the Arabs of the region to create a true Palestinian nation, the Israelis have always been turned down as the Arabs have never, “missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Now the Sunni Arab nations of the region see an advantage to cooperating with the Israelis—technology and defense, especially against Iran. The die is cast. There’s no going back. I suspect the world will once again try to placate the Arabs living in the areas of “Palestine” they wish to make truly autonomous to do so once again. No doubt, the Palestinian Authority leadership will turn the world’s offer down and the fighting will continue. Each time, the Arabs fight with less leverage and less land. As this blog has said many times, the Arabs of Palestine ought to cut the best deal they can now. But they probably won’t. And Iran will continue to stir up trouble and the United States will be unable to do anything about it. And so it goes…

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