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Why Israel erupted Distorted narratives about Arab evictions have become a proxy for the entire conflict

The Israeli Iron Dome (left) intercepts rockets fired by Hamas (right) (Photo by ANAS BABA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Israeli Iron Dome (left) intercepts rockets fired by Hamas (right) (Photo by ANAS BABA/AFP via Getty Images)


May 15, 2021   6 mins

That Sheikh Jarrah could become the focal point for the latest interminable bout of Israeli-Palestinian violence does not, on the face of it, seem to add up. Affluent and calm by East Jerusalem standards, it has none of the holiness of those contested sites in the Old City just to its south, none of the poverty and crowding of the Shuafat refugee camp just to its north, and none of the neglect and anarchy of parts of East Jerusalem that sit in a no man’s land beyond the concrete wall Israel hastily constructed during the Second Intifada.

That, presumably, is why it houses eight consulates from European countries which function as de facto embassies to the Palestinian Authority, whose administrative headquarters are actually in Ramallah, about 15 kilometres north of Jerusalem. It also is the centre of social and political life for a host of NGOs, consulate staff and activist organisations, and a hub for journalists who tend to be pretty friendly to the Palestinian cause. Indeed, if the revolving door of “humanitarian” NGOs and activist journalists has an axis, then it spins somewhere between the villas and hotel breakfast buffets of Sheikh Jarrah.

It is fitting, then, that the place has captured the attention of Palestinians and pro-Palestinian partisans: a decades-long property dispute over whether Arab families should be evicted from property claimed by Jewish owners has suddenly became a proxy for the entire Jewish-Arab conflict over Jerusalem. Almost overnight, a wave of violent protests exploded in Jerusalem, as surging nationalist and religious tensions erupted across the country.

“Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim ownership of land they vacated in 1948, but denies Palestinians the right to reclaim the properties they fled from in the same war,” is how the New York Times described it. This was all too typical of the radically distorted narrative that has taken hold in the West. The conflict might be here in the Middle East, but the conversation about the conflict in Western capitals and campuses seems to have become a screen on to which irrelevant historical demons come to get projected.

But the facts of the case don’t quite fit so neatly on to these fashionable narratives and categories; the Arabs and Jews are in conflict because of their own histories and interests, and not because they are play-acting parts in a drama of guilt expiation.

The disputed homes cluster in what was once the small Jewish neighbourhood of Shimon Ha-Tzadik, which was founded in the late nineteenth century on land close to a revered tomb. It lay adjacent to Sheikh Jarrah, which has since grown to surround it. Flare-ups of violence occasionally forced Jewish residents to flee, most notably during an Arab attack on the neighbourhood in 1936. Later, following the Arab-Israeli war in 1948, the entire area came under Jordanian control, together with Jerusalem’s Old City and the rest of what came to be known as East Jerusalem.

As in so many wars fought in lands vacated by imperial powers, masses of people fled the fighting, usually to places that were under the control of their side of the conflict. Displacement was, naturally, much higher on the losing side — Jews fleeing Sheikh Jarrah and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in 1948 were vastly outnumbered by Arabs fleeing parts of West Jerusalem. Compounding the humanitarian tragedy, displaced persons also left behind immovable property, often (but not always) on the other side of a new and hostile international boundary.

And so it was in what had once been Mandatory Palestine, the majority of which fell under Israeli rule and about a fifth under Jordanian rule. Both Jordan and Israel established Custodians for Absentee Property, roughly modelled on the British Custodian of Enemy Property, which took control of German and Italian property in Mandatory Palestine after 1939.

The amount of property held by the Israeli Custodian was much greater, and the handling of it remains controversial. The question of absentee property has long figured in debates about Arab-Jewish relations in Israel or peace talks with the Palestinians. But the issue of absentee property lurks in the background of contemporary political rows that seem superficially to have little to do with the conflict: for example, disagreements over the discrimination against Mizrahi immigrants (from Arab lands), the privatisation of kibbutzim, fees for national parks and even Sabbath laws.

On the Jordanian side of the Green Line there was much less absentee property to deal with, largely because the Jordanians were on the losing side of the war. They did conquer roughly one fifth of Mandatory Palestine, but that one fifth had very little Jewish property before the outbreak of hostilities. There were, after all, very few Arab military victories in that war in any part of Palestine that was inhabited by Jews.

The exceptions, of course, were in and around Jerusalem. Following 1948, several small agricultural communities around the city fell to the Jordanians and their inhabitants fled. And the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, was also conquered by Jordan and its remaining Jews were expelled under the terms of their surrender.

Both Jordanian and Israeli authorities were keen to divest themselves of absentee property as quickly as possible. Both also faced a tidal wave of refugees in urgent need of resettlement. In Jerusalem, displaced families on both sides were often housed in abandoned properties left by displaced families from the other side of the conflict.

In 1967 another war was fought in Jerusalem, this time with Israel prevailing over the Jordanians in the entire city, including Sheikh Jarrah. After the war, Israel annexed the formerly Jordanian part of Jerusalem (as well as other lands surrounding it) in a move that has not been internationally recognised. (Jordan relinquished its claim to East Jerusalem and the entire West Bank in 1988, but retains a special status over holy sites in the Old City in accordance with its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.)

The annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war created two odd legal challenges in the context of Israel’s 1950 Absentee Property Law; both of which cut to the heart of the dispute in Sheikh Jarrah. The law relates to property in Israel, and the determination that someone is an “absentee” based on, among other things, residing in an enemy state or territory during the period 1948-1950.

But now that East Jerusalem was part of Israel (according to Israeli law at least), and all its property owners — including those now in Sheikh Jarrah — were in Jordanian territory in 1948-50, their return could conceivably be described as a mass seizure of private property throughout East Jerusalem.

The Kafkaesque nature of the situation was further emphasised by an additional, more minor problem. Some of the abandoned property administered by the Jordanian Custodian had not been fully transferred to its new Arab owners. This meant that Israel was now administering small tracts of “enemy property” in East Jerusalem where the “enemies” with property deeds were Israeli Jews who had been forced to flee their homes 19 years earlier.

The law was updated in 1970 with the aim of addressing both problems. It determined that Arab residents of East Jerusalem could not be classified as “absentees”, and that absentee properties in East Jerusalem that were still held in guardianship could be claimed by the Jewish owners they were confiscated from.

This is how the claim on the Shimon Ha-Tzadik properties landed in the Israeli courts back in 1972. The Arab residents claimed that the Jordanian Custodian transferred ownership to them; but the court determined that what they had was a leasehold, and that therefore they were “protected tenants”, not owners. Crucially, a protected tenant cannot be asked to leave under any circumstance, except one: non-payment of rent. Which is exactly the situation here, with the residents of the properties in question refusing to pay rent for property which they believe they own.

After being bounced across the judicial system for decades, a final verdict was due to be issued this week. For now, amid a shower of bombs, it has been postponed.

But the dispute has taken on a totemic value for East Jerusalem Palestinians, and for supporters of the Palestinian cause worldwide. For a certain lazy kind of commentary, viewing the Jewish state as the bearer of accumulated sin — as white settlers stealing indigenous land — is too tempting a narrative; facts be damned.

At some point, however, despite the ongoing violence, the Israelis and the Arabs might very well enter into a negotiation for a comprehensive settlement of claims. There were, after all, properties abandoned in this conflict not just by Arabs and Jews in Mandatory Palestine, but by Jews who fled Arab countries throughout the Middle East in the most heated years of the conflict. Such a comprehensive settlement would have to not only account for vast amounts of abandoned property, but it would probably have to also make some kind of reckoning with origins and course of the conflict.

That will certainly be a difficult task. But whatever happens, it would surely be better now for Israeli authorities to defuse the situation and find a creative solution to a tiny legal loophole that should never have become a symbol for anything.


Shany Mor is Director of Research at United Nations Watch.

ShMMor

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jandhhorgan
jandhhorgan
2 years ago

Wow, an intelligent piece of journalism on a complex conflict from which I learned something. Thank you.

Mark H
MH
Mark H
2 years ago

Thank you; that historical perspective is very helpful in understanding the trigger for the present conflict.

Vikram Sharma
VS
Vikram Sharma
2 years ago

On Hindus and Jews the Quran says: “People of the Book, do you blame us for any other cause than that we believe in God, and what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down before, and that most of you are ungodly?…”

Whomsoever God has cursed, and with whom He is wroth, and made some of them apes and swine, and worshippers of idols — they are worse situated, and have gone further astray from the right way. (5:64-65)

And gives an indication of the battles against the Jews, and a divine authorization to kill them.

And He brought down those of the People of the Book who supported them from their fortresses and cast terror in their hearts; some you slew, some you made captive. And He bequeathed upon you their lands, their habitations, and their possessions, and a land you never trod. God is powerful over everything. (33:26)

So while the proximal cause the conflict is post WWII failure of the Arabs to accept the two state solution suggested by the departing British and UN, the distal and more primitive hatred lie in a world views.
the stronger the Islamic faith of a country, the more anti-Semitic it is. You can divide the land, but how do you bring hearts closer?

David Cockayne
David Cockayne
2 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Happily, such sacred texts have no force in international law nor Israeli domestic law; the latter being based, very sensibly, on English common law

Galeti Tavas
VS
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  David Cockayne

Really? So the large sections of the world which include some religious law in their system are not part of international law in any way? WTF is international law? If someone breaks it are there international Police to call? Where can I get a copy of this ‘International Law’?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  David Cockayne

That is interesting. Where in English common law does it make it legal to occupy other peoples, colonise their land and set up an apartheid State?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Over 20 percent of Israeli citizens are Arabs. But tell me more about this “apartheid state”. Or how Jewish people could “colonise” a land where Jewish people have lived for 3,000 years. Over half the Jews in Israel, Mizrahi Jews, descend from Jews who fled surrounding Arab countries in the 20th century, or had always lived in the region formerly known as Palestine. They are an indigenous Middle Eastern people, not Europeans.
Another interesting little factoid: the land now known as Jordan takes up over 70 percent of the former Ottoman territory known as Palestine, which was partitioned by the British in the 1920s. Palestinian propagandists rarely, if ever, show the map of the pre-1920s Palestine, just the post-partition one.
IOW there already is a “Palestinian state”, called Jordan. But there was never any state or nation known as Palestine. Prior to the 1960s, the only people who ever called themselves “Palestinians” were Jews who lived there. The Arabs there called themselves Arabs, or Southern Syrians. There was no Palestinian nationality. This was a fiction invented in the 1960s.
Anyway, the most serious problems in that region now seem to be coming from Gaza, which Israel withdrew from in 2005.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
2 years ago

Israel only withdrew from Gaza because there was nothing worth taking. It kept the West Bank because there was land and water to exploit.
Simple

ben.kest
ben.kest
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Logan

Erroneous. they withdrew from Gaza where they had built a world class agricultural exporting business, as well as homes, synagogues, cemeteries – basically, a complete rich and thriving society. when they withdrew, they even unearthed the graves and took the remains with them. they left the agricultural infrastructure for the “Palestinians”. they destroyed it to use the parts for weapons.

PABLO GASOS
PG
PABLO GASOS
2 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Is that not very much the history of Ireland under English rule?

Cynthia Neville
Cynthia Neville
2 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Facile. Go read some history.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
2 years ago
Reply to  David Cockayne

It’s sharia law that one half of the present conflict would abide by. I imagine the sacred text quoted would be at least influential in forming the views on that side. Good luck getting a peaceful solution from them.
Most persuasive would be to note that what God has apparently sent down to them is Israeli law, on Israeli territory, backed up by the legally justified force of that democratic, advanced and proud nation state. God is, after all, powerful over everything.

Keith Sutton
Keith Sutton
2 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Most Muslims today do not accept that Hindus are “People of the Book”; that title is reserved for the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which share most of the same prophets, including Nabi Isa (Jesus). Islam generally abhors polytheists and indeed Saudi Arabia prohibited the entrance to the Kingdom of Sikhs during the time I was living there, and didn’t much like Buddhists either. That may still be the case.

ldbenj
LB
ldbenj
2 years ago
Reply to  Keith Sutton

I think he meant “Christians,” not “Hindus.” “People of the book” in the Quran refers to Jews and Christians.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  Keith Sutton

The Koran mentions polytheists as Kafirs of which Hindus are leaders. I remember a flight attendant on a Jordanian Airlines flight back from Calcutta to London asking me what I thought about India with all their different god images. In Islam its mono theism and anything else is haram and no human images permitted. I just suggested that might cause less conflict as there would be a god for every different taste and I continued eating my chicken Keiv and rice.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Hiduism seems to be a personification of all aspects of reality.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
2 years ago
Reply to  Keith Sutton

I’m not sure they like anyone who isn’t them very much, poly or mono theistic.
Still, if you are absolutely right and correct in your beliefs, and if God has chosen you (this time), why not be all ‘f*ck yeah, I’m the holy one you God forsaken sinner, lick my boots or I will kill you’?

Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
2 years ago
Reply to  Keith Sutton

I should have clarified
In the Quran Hindus are idol worshippers
People of the book are Jews and Christians

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Some God. Most people in the world have no interest in the Jewish, Christian or Muslim God, let alone the pantheon of Hindus. Not in a fundamentalist sense anyway.

Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

This is why the House of Saud with its massive oil wealth supports the Islamic doctrines but does nothing about supporting the Palistinians openly. Of course they tacitly give money and Koranic support as they do around the Islamic world with their aim toward a global Umma.
Certainly in Britain the left is allying itself with the Palistunian cause and Islam. Maybe that is why the Islamic ‘grooming’ gangs are getting away with emulating their prophet with young underage female children!

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

KSA funds them, but has locked borders to Palestinian Migrants. They let them in to work, but they are gone when the contract ends. Saudi does not want them moving in.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Hindu are ‘People of the Book? I do not think Wokeism even goes that far.

But anyway the entire situation described above is sheer crazy. Figure up a list of all the property held which some claim can be made for ownership by people driven off.

Find the old owners, or their estate.

PAY THEM for their loss out of a fund and be DONE with it.

Greg Mullen
Greg Mullen
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

That would be all well and good and sounds like a very straightforward plan. But the issue is people with fundamentally different idealsto the the ideals of your society in the sense they want you gone, then that’s a problem.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

There was a time when an Islamic general invaded India and massacred inhabitants of cities. Some learned then intervened and suggested that Hindus be treated as “People of the Book”.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
2 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

He seems to be very angry a lot of the time, this God. It must be a relief to those who claim His favour that he is angry with all the others, and not them.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago

It isn’t that simple.

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

This is not about Arabs this is about the Palestinian people who had their land partitioned against their will by foreign powers and given to European colonists who have since taken all of it.
I truly doubt if the UK had been partitioned in such a way and subjected to what Palestine has suffered, with the same outcomes, anyone would be blaming the British for their resistance.
Why should the Palestinians have accepted partition? The French did not accept occupation and called on their Allies. The French were lucky because their Allies won the war. The Palestinians were unlucky because their Allies lost.
Even Israeli historians, the brave ones, have written about how Israel has started all of the wars as a bid to take more of Palestine. Now it has it all it holds 6 million Christians and Muslims under military occupation, including 2 million in the Gaza prison and denies them human and civil rights.
Quoting religious texts is trite and irrelevant in the face of the horrific realities the Palestinians live every moment of every day.

Aron T
Aron T
2 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

If Gaza is such a prison, where did they find the material goods to build an underground city of 100 km with its own electric grid, packed to the brim with sophisticated military equipment? How were they able to build industrial plants to manufacture thousands of missiles? If they had used those resources to build up the infrastructure of Gaza, instead of turning it into a warlord playground, it would be a beautiful place to live and the Gazans would have a great life.
BTW I remember a time when the borders between Gaza and Israel were completely open and Palestinian workers by the thousands came here. If 14 years ago, the border was sealed and a wall build around Gaza by Israel, it was to keep out Hamas terrorists who came into the country and blew up buses.
I too am a son of refugees who fled Europe to save their lives. My grandfather who grew up in dire poverty moved to Belgium when he was a young man and became very wealthy. He abandoned the beautiful house he had worked so hard for one fine day, to save his family’s life after the German conquest of Belgium. After the war he got a pittance compensation for a property worth millions and of course neither he nor any of his descendant have the “right of return” to that house, a fake “right” invented to justify ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Jews of Israel.
The Palestinian have gotten 70 years of free education, housing and health care through UNRWA along with billions of dollars of additional aid from Arab gulf states and now Iran. If they live in dire poverty while Israeli Jews live in a powerful OECD country, it’s because our grandparents threw away the keys of their stolen homes and told us to build a new and better life, while theirs taught them to hate Jews and live in the pipe dream of winning back their abandoned homes.
BTW I can trace one of my ancestors to 16th century Jerusalem and Safed (a town in northern Israel) and my grandfather owned property here before 1948. I won’t get into a long rant about how ridiculous it is to call Israel a “settler colonial” state (particularly when that come from people in the UK, US or Arab/Muslim countries). Suffice it to say, my expectation for people on this site is that they be a bit more knowledgeable about world history.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
SR
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Aron T

Hamas, like so many groups in human history, has its own agendas. A peaceful, equitable solution is not in the interests of Hamas.

K Sheedy
K Sheedy
2 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

It is stealing people’s property that causes ongoing strife. The same in 1948 and in 2021. Imagine if it happened in Hampshire.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  K Sheedy

There’s no war going on in or around Hampshire, that I’m aware of, unlike the region in question throughout much of the first half of the 20th century.
People lose their property in war, and those on the losing side tend to lose much more than those on the winning side. It’s the nature of the beast.
Thousands of ethnic Germans were expelled from Eastern Europe after WW II; I’m pretty sure none of them ever got their property back, or were compensated for it.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

However, in most Islamic countries indigenous Jews were accepted. More so than were Christians.

ben.kest
ben.kest
2 years ago

until they were raped, pillaged, killed and expelled leading up to and after the creation of Israel.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
2 years ago

When instigation and retaliation are treated as equal events, there can be no good faith discussion. Until Hamas is more concerned about the security and future of its own people than with its hatred of Israel, nothing will change.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

They are raising their population to make life there impossible to keep the fight alive.

The MENA is a mess because Imams tell the people to have many children in a place with no real jobs to absorb the young. Then the culture tells the young men their entire manhood is based on marrying and having children and supporting them in their own house.

It is a policy which only can lead to fighting. Make too many young to have jobs in a macho culture. Tell them they must have a good job and marry and have children to be MEN, when that is impossible. Have them sit around unemployed and broke at the mosque tea rooms to talk to each other of how this MUST be someone else’s fault – as are they not men? They are ready to work and have a family, BUT Someone must be holding them Back! So they will always destabilize and fight the region.

Young men with nothing to do to work off their high energies, men made to be failures as they cannot fill their manly duties – these either turn to anti social or self destructive ways.

This is what Welfare does in the West, the dole is a horrible trap which destroys young men, who destroy their community and their own lives. And Welfare as a twisted International Charity does it to the country which gets it. Charity is destructive if unwisely administered – and our NGOs are mostly secular/Lefty/Liberal idiots driving around in Mercedes and staying at 5 star hotels on huge pay, and wrecking where ever they operate,. Much of how it works is not just stupid and corrupt, but evil.

Last edited 2 years ago by Galeti Tavas
Hardee Hodges
HH
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Thanks for a root cause look. Beyond spoils of war and religious dogma are actual people. The cultural development of those groups is surrounded by the perception of unfairness which can never be resolved. Elsewhere in the aftermath of war displacements, people move on but the Israel conflict seems forever stuck.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
2 years ago

Coincidentally I am currently reading To Jerusalem And Back by Saul Bellow, an account of his extended visit to Jerusalem in 1975. Not that the book has much to do with any of this, none of which I claim to understand anyway.
I have been to Israel and I am broadly sympathetic to their cause. But what really interests me is why the Left in the West gets so agitated about tthe Palestinians. After all, there are many other such displaced and (supposedly) persecuted people around the world whose cause they could take up, yet they fixate endlessly on this one.
I guess it’s because they don’t like democracies that are characterized by the freedoms of expression, association and commerce etc. Any such countries are abhorrent to the Left’s belief system, and must always be opposed.

Ian McKinney
IM
Ian McKinney
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It’s because they are still harbouring the old tropes of antisemitism in their hearts. Witness Corbyn and others talking about ‘the few’ – they didn’t mean Anglo-Normans.

hayden eastwood
hayden eastwood
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I have been trying to bring to the attention of the Wokerati the plight of the tens of thousands of villagers in Mozambique driven from their homes, beheaded and starved by bloodthirsty jihadists. For some reason the Wokerati only see bad in Israel, and are otherwise silent. None of the Black Lives Matter brigade seem to care either.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
2 years ago

The Left and the Woke are inherently and always sympathetic to bloodthirsty jihadists.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

They descry that “leftists” don’t murder. Ipso facto, any groups that murder must be right wing. That is historically absurd.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The “Left” in this country has leaned toward Marxist ideology and there are countless individuals internationally who support those ideas.
Socialism isn’t synonymous with Marxism, but they want people to think so.
VT has been taken over.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago

Arabs “conquer” but Israelis “annex” and “occupy”. Here is your bias on display. NO, NO, NO ! Jews, Israelis, conquered this land Eretz Israel and if the Arabs won’t live in peace they must go. Losers DON’T get to return. Stop the double standard applied to Israel. There are 15 million Jews in the world today. They are not a threat to anyone. Jews deserve to live in peace in their own land.

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
2 years ago

What is ‘their own land’ ?
Do all ethnic groups or religions have an ‘own land’ or just the Jews ?

Paul Goodman
PG
Paul Goodman
2 years ago
Reply to  Lee Johnson

How ignorant.

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Goodman

Then they should be easy questions to answer
I’m waiting ….

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
2 years ago

The preposterous notion that because a people lived in an area 2,000 years ago they have some special rights to return, let alone to expel people who live there now, is not accepted for any other nation or ethnic group in the world. Nor is a “right of conquest” such as that you suggest recognised for any country in the world. Those are the double standards.

Last edited 2 years ago by William MacDougall
Clem Alford
Clem Alford
2 years ago

Haven’t Jews always lived in that Middle Eastern region?

William MacDougall
WM
William MacDougall
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Of course. There are millions of Jews with substantial rights due to birth or long residence, just as there are millions of Palestinians with similar rights, but no one has rights because of where their ancestors lived 2000 years ago; such claims are not recognised for any group anywhere.

Scott Norman Rosenthal
SR
Scott Norman Rosenthal
2 years ago
Reply to  Clem Alford

Yes. Mostly they were tolerated and accepted as fellow Arabs.

Mike K
MK
Mike K
2 years ago

Well, Jews disagree.

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike K

It is rightly said that having a double standard for Jews is anti-Semitic. But rejecting claims based on residence 2000 years ago is the same standard applied to all ethnic and religious groups in the world.

PABLO GASOS
PABLO GASOS
2 years ago

Very few etchnic and religious groups, if any, have had to endure the massive genocide policies undertaken in Europe in the last century against Jewish people. They deserve to have their own country and the right to self defense.

Last edited 2 years ago by PABLO GASOS
Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike K

And there you have the problem in 3 words

Danny K
Danny K
2 years ago

If you ask how Palestinians are supposed to get *their* pre-1948 houses back, people yell at you.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago

They didn’t live there just 2,000 years ago. The Jewish people have mainstained a constant presence in that region from then up to the present.

Peter Sparrow
PS
Peter Sparrow
2 years ago

The right of the Jews to Israel is not based on a “right of return” but on the right to survive and live free from persecution. 
It is always surprising how easy it is for people who make comments like yours — and there are many — to erase themselves and their own history from the picture. Your country & countrymen, almost regardless of which it might be, failed over a period of millennia to provide security and justice for its Jewish citizens. In almost all cases Jewish rights were precarious, temporary and contingent on the mood of the majority or whether they wanted something that Jews had (such as, say, Jerusalem). There was a brief period when the extremity of persecution in some places combined with desperate Jewish efforts to rescue themselves and sympathy & goodwill in others. The result was international acceptance of the need and right of a Jewish state, and the ancient Jewish homeland was the only place on offer. Israel was formed by dividing up, not an existing country, but a minuscule, underpopulated corner of a defunct empire’s backwater that had never had independent existence in the 2,000 years since it was last a Jewish state. The same process created almost every other present-day country in the region and it would have created a new Arab Palestinian one if they hadn’t refused it.
On to “expelling people who live there now”: Mostly it didn’t happen. Mostly, people did what they do in war everywhere, they fled the fighting. To the extent it did happen, it was in the context of a war that the Jews didn’t seek and didn’t start, which many of the Arabs in Israeli territory joined on the opposing side. On the other hand, a roughly equal number of Jewish citizens of Arab countries, who weren’t engaged in the conflict, were stripped of everything they had and forced into exile — and that is accepted, to use your word, because who but Jews know or care about that now?
As for “right of conquest”, the examples are too numerous to count, even if we assume you’re only talking about the modern era. Think Tibet: When did the oh-so-virtuous left last stop traffic in London or anywhere else over that? With no consequences to China after 70 years of annexation it’s increasingly hard to argue that it isn’t accepted. A closer example was the conquest of Judea & Samaria including eastern Jerusalem in 1948 by Jordan. It was recognized by the government of the United Kingdom (which is fitting since it was the UK that made it happen). Even more to the point, if the Jews had lost their war of independence the rest of Mandatory Palestine would have been swallowed by Egypt & Syria and annexed just as Jordan renamed and annexed the “West Bank”. The Jews would have gone back to exile, waiting for the next slaughter. There would have been no Jewish state, but also no state of Palestine. Europe and America would have mumbled a few regrets, pushed the whole episode aside and forgotten about it. So would the likes of you, though you might have skipped the regrets. And just like Tibet, the conquest would be accepted.

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Sparrow
Kristof K
Kristof K
2 years ago

Gayle, _your_ bias is certainly not on display! For one thing, everyone surely deserves to live in peace — or no-one; why should that assertion apply only to the jewish peoples. Further, as I would understand it:

To conquer is to seize territory by violent means from those who were there before you started conquering it.

To annex is to undertake a legal act that extends your territory by incorporating territory that was previously not part of it (might or might not precede conquest).

To occupy is to maintain an armed and/or oppressive presence in territory without the formal consent of the people/s that were there before you came along. After you annex it, your lot will no longer consider it occupied, but the lot that were there to start with will probably carry on thinking of it that way.

All these terms are I would say neutral in that they unambiguously denote what countries/clans/tribes have done to each other throughout the ages and have no especial political connotations. When you use any of these terms it is easy for _an objective_ listener/reader to decide if you are telling the truth as long as they take care to speak to anyone involved in both “camps”. PLUS the word “occupy” is not even used in the article; maybe you should take care to read it before commenting. Once you do I will be interested in what you have to say.

K Sheedy
K Sheedy
2 years ago

There should be NO sectarian or racist states. Not Iran, not Israel. They are all anti Human Rights and should be condemned by anyone who believes in justice.

Kathy Prendergast
KP
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  K Sheedy

lol, you’ve got your work cut out for you, then. Do you know how many sectarian Muslm nations there are in the world? You’re not going to be able to sleep for all the “condemning” you’ll have to do.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
2 years ago

Great article on a detail of the conflict. But one must never lose sight of the forest.

Israel’s largest problem is self-identification. It wishes to be a Jewish democratic state stretching from the Jordan River to the sea. Two of these are historical (Jewish and boundaries), one is not (ancient Israel was a monarchy, not a democracy).

Israel’s problem is that you can only have 2 of those 3. A Jewish, democratic state must be smaller. A democratic state on ancient boundaries will be majority Arab. A Jewish state on ancient boundaries cannot be a democracy since it’s majority Arab. This conundrum will never be solved until Israel decides which of those 3 it’s willing to give up.

The only way to have all 3 is to kick out everyone you don’t want and screw the bad PR. It seems 19th century and brutal to us, but it’s actually pretty common: Germany / France in 1871, Allies after WWI (thanks for gifting us this mess, guys), Jordan / Israel in 1948, Vietnam, Korea, Russia / Ukraine in 2014 (and maybe again soon). In fact, this is what usually happens in wars, and it’s a myth of modern civilization that there’s a better way. There was lots of hand-wringing when Azerbaijan & Turkey did this to Armenia last year, but everyone moved on pretty quick. Possession really is 9/10ths of the law, especially in intl relations.

As weird as it sounds, long term, that might be the best solution even for the Palestinians. While they would lose a great deal in such confiscation and forced relocation, they’ve spent generations stuck in 1948. At least then, they can rebuild their lives on land that is not contested in Jordan, Egypt, and Lybia.

Last edited 2 years ago by Brian Villanueva
Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
2 years ago

Eminently good sensible proposal.
It’s a disgrace that PR holds such hegemony on politics these days.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago

You are right. Israel could have done this in 1948. But in the single greatest ethical act in human history they did not ethnically cleanse the Palestinians. What a cost they’re paying for their morality. It’s enough to make you believe they really are the chosen people.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

Gosh – you mean actually attempting to be a realist !!

raymond.morace
raymond.morace
2 years ago

And Kuwait. After the U.S. and United Nations forces liberated Kuwait from Iraq occupation, the Kuwaiti monarchy was reinstated and immediately kicked-out…the Palestinians. Many took refuge in Jordan, and are still there to this day.

zacharia77
zacharia77
2 years ago
Reply to  raymond.morace

As someone who lived in Kuwait prior to the invasion and whose parents were caught up in it, I can tell you why. Palestinian refugees were given a lot of love and assistance by way of jobs n benefits in Kuwait before the invasion. When Saddam invaded, they joined him to loot and kick their benefactors out. This didn’t go unnoticed in the Arab world and particularly in the GCC.

a b
AB
a b
2 years ago

ummm ““Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim ownership of land they vacated in 1948, but denies Palestinians the right to reclaim the properties they fled from in the same war,” is how the New York Times described it.”
Yet accordingly to Israeli law, every Jew in the Diaspora – throughout the world – has Right of Return (to somewhere neither they nor their ancestors ever knew) but NO Palestinians.
Odd that.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
2 years ago
Reply to  a b

You seem to be saying that all the land of Israel belongs to the Palestinians. There have been Jews on that land since Old Testament times. Until the Palestinians accept that Jews have a right to occupy that land there will be no progress on negotiations to share it.

Tom Fox
TF
Tom Fox
2 years ago
Reply to  a b

Palestinians with a right to live inside Israel, can also lose their right to live there by travelling abroad for too long. What is more, while every Jewish resident of Israel can find a spouse abroad and bring them home, no Arab resident of Israel can do the same. Israel is operating in plain sight a policy of discrimination among its citizens that is plainly based on ethnicity. no civilised country on the planet does this, although of course there are countries which do so.

David Nebeský
DN
David Nebeský
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Israel is in war since 1948. Do not compare it with countries which live in peace since 1945 – if you have to compare, compare Israel with “civilised countries” during WWII.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  David Nebeský

Compare it to North Ireland during the Troubles till the 1970s. But without the British Military to stop full civil war.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

If you were a Jew in Israel would you be content to see the Arab population steadily rise and in time see yourself become a minority?
Many Jews in Israel have had a rude awakening in recent days and weeks as their Arab neighbours turned on them and sought to kill and maim them.
If I were an Jew in Israel I would them same policy that Arab states apply to Jews: – no admittance.
Israel is surrounded by enemies that wish its destruction. It doesn’t need a growing population of enemies within its borders.

Last edited 2 years ago by Marcus Leach
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

From the beginning, Israel knew that it would be a democracy, but that such a state with a minority with a higher birth rate than the majority might end up with power reversed. Given what has happened to Jews in many other countries, that would be a serious problem.
Such demographic problems seem common in the world. I don’t like Orban’s methods, but on one thing he has a point, when he says he doesn’t want to replicate problems experienced elsewhere. It eventually means trouble.

Tom Fox
TF
Tom Fox
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

They only created the majority in 1948 by driving out hundreds of thousands of Arab residents in the land both parties had shared for hundreds of years.

Jonathan Ellman
Jonathan Ellman
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

My Indian Hindu friend said something similar about his country.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
2 years ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Hilarious that you apparently missed all of the incidents in which armed settlers came into Arab Israeli areas and terrorised their fellow citizens…
This is not the simple goodies vs baddies scenario that some people pretend. They happily ignore violent provocative settlers giving them an entirely free pass, but want Arab Israeli citizens deported or harshly dealt with for throwing a stone. There are bad people on both sides and provocateurs too. A plague on all their houses.

I despair of seeing any kind of common sense or honesty in this debate and this horrible situation. It has gone on for far too long already.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tom Fox
Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

This is how it is. That the INSANE and self destroying West fetishises the total equality between those who would build and those who would tear down does not mean other places must be as stupid.

julian rose
JR
julian rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

It´s called apartheid. Funny how the heirs of the holocoust are discriminating by race. But Hollywood keeps the narrative safe.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  a b

“but NO Palestinians.
Odd that.”
Really? Do you know how it is there in reality?

‘Come on, man – open those borders Israel, stop hassling people who want to come in.’ It works in the West, why not there. You Liberals are so ignorant of the real world – if you lived unprotected outside your cossetted land you would be devoured by the people in non-Western places, wile saying, ‘But…my Rights…’

Last edited 2 years ago by Galeti Tavas
chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

If the arabs managed to get ecstacy into the Israeli water supply so that the israelis welcomed all arabs in for a trusting cuddly dinner the Israelis would be ALL butchered immediately – with the constant and regularly voiced threats of genoside from all their neighbours what do their supporters actually suggest they do in the midst of that situation ??? I have not heard a sensible suggestion yet – and the armchair feel good supporters would crap themselves in the same situation as you point out. If one party in a conflict keep saying “we are going to kill you all – if not this week but eventually – how is the other side expected to deal with that. If someone was saying to me ‘I am going to get to kill you one day and i will never waver and I will lie and do whatever it takes to achieve that -I rather think I would be far more aggressive than the Isrealis-or am I missing something here ???????

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

This is what happens when one population in a shared land (Palestinian Mandate Palestine) suddenly rise up and ethnically cleanse hundreds of thousands of people with roots in a society and drive them away. What did you expect? That they’d love you?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Except they didn’t “suddenly rise up and ethnically cleanse hunfreds of thousands of people”; the Arabs and Jews in the region had been squabbling over division of the land for decades. In a proposed deal brokered by the UN, the Jews were willing to accept half of what now makes up the state of Israel as their homeland, with the other half going to the Arabs in what remained of Palestine (after the partitioning of Jordan, which took over 70 percent of the original Palestine) to establish their own state (they weren’t called “Palestinians” then). The Arabs flatly rejected it, because they could not accept any Jewish homeland in the region, however small (unsurprisingly, considering these people had sided with Hitler during the war). When that happened, the Jews unilaterally declared their own state. The Arabs – including the four surrounded Arab states – immediately declared war on them and attacked them. They hadn’t realized what a hornet’s nest they were kicking, but they soon found out. The hundreds of thousands of Arabs who left did so during or after that Arab-initiated war. They were hoodwinked by Arab leaders who assured them that they could return to their homes in a few days after they had driven the Jews into the sea. Instead, they had to remain as refugees in the surrounding Arab lands of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, where they were treated like garbage.

Stanley Beardshall
Stanley Beardshall
2 years ago

Odd that the media never mention that Abbas has been in power for sixteen years when a full term is, in fact, four. Also odd that the silent war between Fatah and Hamas is rarely mentioned; the rocket attacks have more to do with these two terrorist organisations fighting for power than any property disputes.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

How about that the PLO destroyed Lebanon. How about the huge story, well there is not time.

John Brown
John Brown
2 years ago

Judging by the recent protest in London (with star guest Jeremy Corbyn), it would appear that the Labour party continues to care more about Gaza than Grimsby.

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
2 years ago

‘ find a creative solution ‘.. I am trying one: keep Jerusalem free as an international centre for religion, freedom and democracy.. make a treaty involving other players in the area such as Jordan, Uae, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt etc.. Obviously the Palestinians want their own country.. if the two Jews-Palestinians do not want to mix.. then they should be given a land to establish their state.. or living together equally under the same state.. What surprises me though.. is although most western countries are very open in accepting religious and political freedom, I have the sense that is not the case for Israel- .. and I think, that is an opportunity for m*slim countries as well, to adopt flexibility and acceptance towards all the other religions and cultures. Perhaps the ongoing conflict betrays extremely firm ideas from both sides.. It is all perplexing because in the western world we are being brain washed, Christianity and democracy are being exploited for a kind of obligation to be tolerant towards other cultures even totalitarian regimes, but when it comes to certain countries and religions then it is a different story as they do not abide to similar values, and although in the west we are being harassed with the globalization narrative, I do not see anything similar happening in non-western countries, but they stay strong to their traditions .. that all puts a question to us the westerners if our openness, compassion and tolerance has any meaning when all others are reluctant to make any amendments. 

Last edited 2 years ago by Vasiliki Farmaki
Fraser Bailey
FB
Fraser Bailey
2 years ago

‘that is an opportunity for m*slim countries as well, to adopt flexibility and acceptance towards all the other religions and cultures.’
Never going to happen.

Vasiliki Farmaki
VF
Vasiliki Farmaki
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

well.. if you are right then what?.. I do have some hope to the younger generations..

Last edited 2 years ago by Vasiliki Farmaki
ldbenj
ldbenj
2 years ago

As the younger generations abandon religion for atheism, the rapprochement you describe may be possible, with Jerusalem eventually becoming a city-sized museum.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
2 years ago
Reply to  ldbenj

As the younger generations abandon religion for atheism

Precisely the opposite is happening to the younger generations of muslims.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

Once the world abandons the religions of the book it will become Satans property – and hell will be the reality. Read 1984, that is what the end of ethics and morality will being, which will be the reality without religion.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I did read 1984 as a teenager, quite likely in the year of 1984, in translation. I lived in a state-communist country at the time, so to me it did read more as a documentary and less as fiction. Haven’t understood the hype – it was “just how we lived” back then.
It appears the current left in the West takes it as an instruction manual rather than a cautionary dystopian tale.

julian rose
julian rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

All religions should be something personal, something you do privately. There´s no need for organized religion. I read 1984 and there´s nothing in it to support your claim, rather the opposite really, the total control of some dogmatic regime that rules unchecked.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  ldbenj

Look – Be Real and not some Woke Liberal. If the region becomes secular it will not matter as the outcomes between the two peoples will NEVER be equal. The Jews had about 10000 times more Nobel Prizes per person than Arabs (other than token ones, Muslims have 1 for chemistry, Jews have by far most in the world).
Ashkenazi Jews have the highest IQ of any people in the world as a group. I would refer you to IQ by nation tables on the internet to see how Palestinians stand up, you may be surprised…. The birth rates, the historical differences, the cultural differences, not going to make ANY differences.

Vasiliki Farmaki
Vasiliki Farmaki
2 years ago
Reply to  ldbenj

I agree with the city-sized museum.. shall we claim ownership of the idea?.. as for atheism I think you mean to abandon the three major religions? Judaism, Christianity and Islam.? Ok.. But I think most people on earth would agree that regardless of science and technology boosting and claiming too much credits for themselves.. In fact we have very little clue of anything.. The possibility of a powerful source and creator or similar, I think is creditable and we should keep looking to what we call metaphysical.. Atheism has no good record for making people better if not amoralists and corrupted the least..

Last edited 2 years ago by Vasiliki Farmaki
CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago
Reply to  ldbenj

Unfortunately there is much more likelihood of Jerusalem ending up as both Titus and Hadrian* left it. Flattened.

(* 70AD & 135 AD.)

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
2 years ago

If you look at the younger musl¡m generations – both residing in the West and in their homelands -, it’s precisely the younger generations who keep devolving into religious zeal, much to the chagrin of their elders who are pretty laidback and secularised in comparison.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago

If it’s happening it’s because those “laidback and secularized” parents are failing to raise their kids, so I wouldn’t let them off the hook. You can’t instill your own values into your kids without spending a lot of time with them, talking with them a lot, and paying a lot of attention to the messages they’re getting from the world beyond their home.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago

Ultimately it will mean a ‘nuclear exchange’ between Israel and Iran, and possibly even Pakistan.

Fortunately Israel is well equipped thanks to the purchase of fissile material from the UK in the 1960’s, which allowed them to develop their own plant at Dimona.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
2 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

It could but west has to support Isreal while promoting peace. Concessions to Arabs for promises of peace will NEVER work.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago

18% of Israel’s population is m’sl’m, and there are at least 20 large mosques in Israel.
There are almost no J’ws remaining in Syria and Egypt communities that were thriving sixty, even twenty years ago.
It is not symmetrical intolerance.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

how do you acheive this whilst being regularly told by ALL your neighbours that they are going to kill you first chance they get – and that they would love to use an H bomb to do it…I uunderstand that at the end of WW2 virtually no western country would accept totally PTSD ed Jewish refugees – and now the self righteous dimwits of the west are surprized that the Isralis might not give a crap what said westies might say……or think

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago

Jerusalen was supposed to have been an international city in the original partition plan to divide the remaining land of Palestine into two states, under the control of neither the Jewish nor Arab governments but an international committee. The Jews accepted that; the Arabs rejected it.

Terence Riordan
Terence Riordan
2 years ago

Thank you for this analysis and that key area of ownership and leasehold was clearly key and fascinating It seems a shame that there are so many understandable property and location flashpoints when if the Arab States would recognise Israel and then Israel worked with the Arab states with it’s agricultural and other technologies then the whole area from Lebanon through to Gaza and beyond could blossom for the good of all sides.
Religion has a lot to answer for.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

“Religion has a lot to answer for”
You do not know what you are talking about. State Atheism (and Hi* le r was atheist) killed 150,000,000 between 1914 and 1974! Hell of a track record there. (Just under Pol Pot, Hit* le r, Sta* in, Ma*!)

If it had not been for the intensely intellectual, and moral, religions driving society forward you would be out in some muddy field digging turnip roots with a digging stick, shivering in winter and sweating in summer. Go back to your Frankfurt School education of militant atheism and question that, and find some truth in all the lies your entire education and MSM has indoctrinated you in.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Adolph was a Catholic until the end according to Albert Speer, and he should know?

julian rose
JR
julian rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The History of Religions is written in blood. The force to civilize mankind does not come from organized religions. If you cannot see that then go back to Jerusalem and bang the walls of the temple, or go to Mecca and circle the black stone. The opium of the masses someone said.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

well put sir- without Jesus attempting to point out that if we are nice to each other life would be pretty good – we would have NOTHING to compare the opposite with (buddism excepted and a few other small sects)

zacharia77
TT
zacharia77
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Conflicts everywhere has always been about material gain, either resources or land or both. Religion and other social constructs helped provide a moral justification for economic needs/greed. If you can accept this fundamental truth, you can see through a lot of the bullshit and attempt some kind of objectivity. History is written by the victor and the truth is rarely acknowledged if it doesn’t suit the narrative of the time.

Ian McKinney
IM
Ian McKinney
2 years ago

Excellent article. It’s a real shame that media supposedly for intelligent people can’t seem to present any nuance or insight other than “these guys baddies”.

Walter Brigham
WB
Walter Brigham
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Only the media still believes in their intelligence.

Johannes Kreisler
JK
Johannes Kreisler
2 years ago

A good article on how antisem¡tism became one of the core tenets of the US campus wokerati back in the late 1960s: https://forward.com/opinion/428549/30-years-ago-activists-and-intellectuals-told-the-left-hate-to-israel-and/

Galeti Tavas
VS
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

This is from the Wiemar Republic Marxist intellectuals at the Goethe institute antisemitism, which was called ‘The Frankfurt School’, and moved to Colunbia University in 1950, and so spread through out the education and media industries.

Kathy Prendergast
KP
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Marx himself was a rabid anti-Semite, even though he came from a Jewish family.

Neil John
Neil John
2 years ago

Reading a piece in ‘the conversation’ by a Palestinian academic this week it would seem much of the driving force behind this present flare up is down the Hamas’s attempts to usurp the elected Fatah dominated Palestinian Authority. Personally I prefer my mother in laws view, she’s visited both Israel and Jordan and says its the effect of sun addled brains…

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  Neil John

Ever the optimist, I still hope to eventually visit both places before I die. Not this year though, and never in the summer.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago
Reply to  Neil John

O for the days of the Decapolis and the Pax Romana.
Centuries of hedonistic peace and plenty.

You can still get a slight whiff of it at the ruins of Gerash.

Last edited 2 years ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
William MacDougall
WM
William MacDougall
2 years ago

Interesting details, but in the end how does it differ from the New York Times: “Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim ownership of land they vacated in 1948, but denies Palestinians the right to reclaim the properties they fled from in the same war” ?

Last edited 2 years ago by William MacDougall
Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago

They lost the war … correction …. they have lost several wars, which Arabs started. Losing wars has consquences.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
2 years ago

Yea? Now apply that logic to the atrocious philosophy of people like the leaders of the Third Reich in let’s say 1933.

Your approach says ‘might is right’. I don’t accept that. The wicked waste of life and joy going on inside and around Israel will NEVER EVER end, unless you either murder all of the people you don’t like, or come to an agreement to share the land.

I know which solution I would prefer.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

We accept that ‘might is right’ is unethical in principle, yet it is a fact of life which is often accepted, especially over the long reach of history.
For example, you mention the Third Reich 1933, but choose a situation no one can dispute as wrong. Now I’ll put another to you; was it right for Russia to claim a large part of Poland in 1945, and compensate by granting a large part of Germany to Poland (we’re talking about inhabitants who were probably innocent or helpless)? Are you aware that, for example, there are (or were) Silesians in Germany who dreamt of the lands of which they were dispossessed?
The fact is that there has been a deliberate effort to maintain the claim of Palestinians for the lands they fled in 1948, usually in conjunction with a threat of ridding it of all Jews. Similar situations have occurred elsewhere before and since, but this one has probably proved the most persistent and dangerous of all.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

You comparing Hamas with the 1930’s Germany? Strong words there, get you banned from Twitter.

Walter Brigham
WB
Walter Brigham
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

Israel accepted the 2 state solution. Arabs did not Palestinians are victims of Arab intransigence.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago

When did the Arabs last win a war?
Even the Crusaders were seen off by the Mamluks! Seven hundred years ago.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

Gosh you mean its unrealistic to start a war and then complain about its negative outcome – that sounds ridiculous ! – hang on that is what happened time after time !

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
2 years ago

Because, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, the war hasn’t ended.

Matthew Freedman
Matthew Freedman
2 years ago

I think this is an intelligent article, but I think if Israel is justified in saying that refugees of the 1948 war should be absorbed by the surrounding countries, then it shouldn’t claim Jewish property lost in 1948 either.
I wouldn’t want to be a young Jewish person in this country, antisemitism along the theme of 1930 germany is justified by the ongoing conflict and including calls for genocide of Jews, comments like “hitler was right” and the idea that Jews can be expelled from the region.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matthew Freedman
Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
2 years ago

I think popular opinion has it that all the trouble began with the creation of the modern state of Israel, but you only have to look at the years leading up to this to know this is not the case.
Take a look at the activities of the Grand Mufti – wined and dined by the Nazis during WW2. This hero of Islam sought the death of Jews long before Israel came into existence. And people wonder why Jewish people in Israel feel under siege.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago

Even many westerners who mostly sympathize with Israel and believe it has a right to exist say, “Why do they want to live in a place where they are surrounded by people who hate them?” They seem to misunderstand two things, one being, the Jewish people of Israel stopped worrying about being liked by the rest of the world a long time ago, and two, many Palestinian Arabs really don’t hate Jews and in fact live and work alongside them in many parts of Israel and even the West Bank. The very popular Soda Stream brand is made in the West Bank, in a factory employing both Jews and Arabs. Intense ethnic hatred and conflict is really not a day-to-day reality for most of the people there. They’re just getting on with their lives and making the best of it, like most people everywhere.

G Harris
GH
G Harris
2 years ago

The fundamental problem here, the so-called ‘original sin’, isn’t who is apparently legally entitled to subsequently do and claim what after the foundation of Israel in 1948, but the failure to honour the spirit of the law in which its founding was first envisaged much earlier in the hugely instrumental and influential Balfour Declaration published across the national press in 1917.

That short letter from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, preceded by years the oncoming horrors presented to Jewish people by the rise of Hitler and whilst it was unequivocal in its support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, then part of the fast declining Ottoman Empire with which Britain was then at war and where Jews were then a small minority, there was the following caveat,

‘it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,’

In 2017, Britain rather belatedly admitted that the word ‘political’ should have been included in those rights incidentally.

Due to the circumstances and disputed location of its creation amidst a sea of inevitable Arab hostility then, Israel’s seige mentality was essentially built in from the very beginning, so whilst I can appreciate the author’s attempts to take issue with the New York Time’s assertion that,

“Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim ownership of land they vacated in 1948, but denies Palestinians the right to reclaim the properties they fled from in the same war,”

He seems to be using a zeroing in, year zero premise implying that this all this somehow began in the late 1940s which clearly isn’t the case I’m afraid.

Laws generally ‘work’ and are adhered to because they are largely perceived as being fair, correct and legitimately conceived by a majority who are subjected to them, but unfortunately those which are conceived on a shaky premise, that are essentially discriminatory in nature and that ultimately rely on the premise of might always being right are always going to prove problematic.

Last edited 2 years ago by G Harris
G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago

I’m hoping that my entirely fair, factual and acutely pertinent answer to this article, now posted over two hours ago, will not be forever held in Unherd’s ‘awaiting for approval’ limboland…..it went from ‘was’ approved for a few hours back to ‘awaiting for approval again’ with no change.

What gives Unherd?

Last edited 2 years ago by G Harris
Rob Alka
RA
Rob Alka
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Oh dear, I thought I was escaping from all that moronic moderating or sub-AI by reorientating from The Times forum to Unherd. Increasingly I end up finding I’m writing to myself.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rob Alka
Chris Perry
CP
Chris Perry
2 years ago

Does the legal history and current law being applied here to underpin the right of Jews to take over the houses in East Jerusalem have relevance and applicability to the large tracts of land in the West Bank that have been occupied by settlers, the associated roads, the wall, etc?

David Nebeský
DN
David Nebeský
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Perry

Bought, not occupied.

Chris Perry
CP
Chris Perry
2 years ago
Reply to  David Nebeský

Land for the wall was bought? All the roads?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Perry

Land seized in a defensive war. Who cares if it was paid for or not?

josh.d.wine
josh.d.wine
2 years ago

Thanks for a fact rich and dispassionate analysis of a totemic issue – rare and welcome! Too bad about the comments! Israel is a topic that turns people into nutters.

Jonathan Barker
Jonathan Barker
2 years ago

There is of course one thing which will forever prevent any reconciliation of the deadly “religious” based identity politics that has always been a feature of the collective lunatic asylum centered around the so called holy lands.
That is the obvious lie/conceit that the vast creative power and intelligence (aka “God”) that created/creates and sustains both the Earth-world and all of the countless worlds in all of the paradoxical space-time dimensions of the Cosmos somehow Promised a (then) small and very aggressive expansive tribalistic cult to have exclusive and forever ownership of a tiny speck of real estate on this planet which was at the same time inhabited by countless other tribes all over the world (each with their own tribalistic deity or deities)
And the irrational belief that the Jews were/are chosen by this vast power and intelligence to be the “Chosen people” with all kinds of forever exclusive benefits and dispensations.

Graham Perfitt
Graham Perfitt
2 years ago

Without wishing to you have hit the nail on the head. And yes I do have a faith and yes I do believe Israel are God’s chosen people just as I believe the Bible to be inspired by God. Having these things makes it very easy for me to understand why Jews/Israel have the history they do. And while everyone scratches their heads about a solution the world’s best selling book holds all the answers.

G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago

An acquaintance of mine who used to work in oil across the Middle East once said something that really stuck with me alluding to the ‘Palestinian question’.

He said that if there’s one group of people that an Arab dislikes more than Jews, it’s Palestinians.

One can’t help feeling that, in true keeping with many of the proxy conflicts past and present in the world undertaken by the more powerful global players that try and avoid the politically destabilising effects and bad PR of the body bags of their own piling up to any great degree on their own doorsteps whilst still quietly pursuing their own policy agendas, that somehow the Palestinians are forever condemned to be the hapless footballs or the meat in the sandwich of powers far greater than them and over which they will always have very little leverage.

Last edited 2 years ago by G Harris
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I’ve worked across the middle East Arab countries and Egypt for many years and also in Israel and I have noticed and commented the same as your acquaintance.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Not these days. Other middle eastern countries are far more worried about Iran that concerned about the Palestinians. With the Abraham accords, they have admitted as much. Israel is increasingly seen as a potential security ally in the event of an Iranian attack. They are also an attractive potential trade partner. The Middle East has moved on and the Palestinians no longer control the narrative, they have missed their chance to make a deal. They had many many chances and blew every one.

Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
2 years ago

If people are worried about Iran why do so many studies conclude the US as the greatest threat to world peace and Israel not far behind with Iran a very long way down the list?
It is not enough to wish something was true to say that it is.
You are partly right however, Middle Eastern countries are not concerned about the Palestinians crushed under the most brutal military colonial occupation in modern history.
But the rest of the world is, including more and more Americans and more American Jews. The BDS movement to end apartheid in Israel, end the occupation and bring justice and freedom to Palestine grows stronger by the day and even more strongly in the US and amongst international Jewry.
Those who believe might is right will find that ultimately, justice will prevail and Palestine and its people will be free.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

I too believe that the Palestinians are viewed by the Middle East as a blot on the landscape, an unsanctioned community, ovwrwhelmed by hatred and nihilism. If that wasn’t the case they would easily have afforded scraping off some land from their own borders as a home for Palestinians

Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

If the Palestinians, occupied by European colonists since 1947, can have a ‘bit of land scraped off’ somewhere else’and leave Palestine to the foreign occupiers, then why did millions die in two world wars fighting to end occupation in various European countries?
If your principle were applied, then surely “a bit of land could have been scraped off elsewhere” and the occupied peoples ferried out, instead of fighting for justice, freedom, rule of law, democracy and common human decency.
I remain bemused at how so many apply totally different principles and standards to the crushing plight of the Palestinians, and speak so lightly of their links to a land which has existed for 5,000 years and been home to the ancestors of those who live there for many centuries. There are people in refugee camps, holding keys and titles to homes in what is now called Israel, where their family lived for a thousand years until 1947.
They were thrown out and their homes given to Jewish colonists. Israel is still doing the same thing in Occupied East Jerusalem.
It seems odd that Jews who lost homes, land, possessions in war and occupation should receive compensation but Palestinian Christians and Muslims have received absolutely nothing. One rule for one religion and another for the rest it seems.
Hardly just, hardly right and hardly civilized.

Last edited 2 years ago by Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
RC
Robert Camplin
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

This is not about Jews, a religion, or Arab a culture. Get the comparisons correct. The way people ignore the key reality of this as a brutal and unjust colonial war never ceases to astonish those who are informed.
Yes, religions are involved. European colonists invaded, occupied and began to colonise Palestine in 1947 with the help of the UN. Such a partition would never be allowed in the modern age and should not have been allowed then.
The State of Israel wanted to be a State for followers of Judaism, i.e. Jews and demanded and still demand, Jews are a majority. So, Palestinian Christians and Muslims would not be tolerated.
A few were given citizenship because the Zionist armies had killed and driven out so many – wiping 500 and more Palestinian villages from the face of the earth in 47/48, but not from British Mandate maps – there was a limit. Those non-Jewish Israelis are second-class citizens.
The real problem was the rest since the Israeli goal was to take all of Palestine which it has done. Israel occupies all of Palestine and has seeded beyond the UN Mandate, its only potentially legitimate borders, the land with illegal Jewish settlements, scattered amongs the Palestinians, connected by roads only Jews, i.e. followers of Judaism can use.
Some 6 million Palestinians are crushed under the Israeli colonial military boot with 2 million of them imprisoned in the Gaza concentration camp. On Jewish Holy Days, the pathetic levels of ‘freedom’Palestinian Christians and Muslims have to move around is turned into house arrest so the Jews can more easily move between their illegal settlements.
And people think this is an issue between religion, Jews, and culture, Arab. The irony is while the Israelis are basically European colonists with a lot of fundamentalist Americans now as settlers, the culture is increasingly Arab.
And Israel never had a problem with Arabs or Palestinians. We know that because in 1947 it gave immediate citizenship to the few Palestinian Arab Jews who lived there.
The only issue is the demand that Israel is dominated by followers of Judaism and no other religion can be tolerated as a majority. Which of course it will be in the one-state solution which is now inevitable since Israel has made two states impossible.

Rob Alka
RA
Rob Alka
2 years ago

May I pose some rhetorical questions? In no particular order:
Q1 What’s going to happen to the homeland for Jews?
Q2 How many other Arab or Middle East countries truly want Israel to remain? Or are they two-faced or fair-weather friends? Are they letting expendable Palestinians do their dirty work, while supplying the necessary weapons?  Do they regard Palestinians as a nuisance or even a blot on the Middle East landscape?
Q3 Why would anyone in their right mind have thought that a homeland for Jews would be feasible in the Middle East? Granted Entebbe wasn’t any better a solution.   
Q4 Back in 1948 what kind of mentality by Balfour or the United Nations could overlook or think it unimportant that the homeland for Jews would be created by displacing Palestinians from where they were living?
Q5 Now that oil is yesterday’s rather than tomorrow’s energy source, does American hegemony require that they support a “Fort Israel” in the Middle East?
Q6 Does Sleepy Joe Biden and the Democrat Party truly care what happens to Israel? 
Q7 How could a piece of land be suitable as a homeland for Jews if it has to be shared with and occupied by Arabs or Muslims, especially whose birth-rate far exceeds Israel’s?
Q8 Why would anyone other than Jews think the justification for displacing Palestinians is confirmed in the Old Testament, establishing that (a) Jews have a freehold on that land and (b) that God considers Jews are “The Chosen Few”?
Q9 Why do gentiles conceal their antisemitism (sometimes even from themselves) by drawing a phony distinction between Israel versus Jews when the fact of the matter is that Israel is practically entirely Jews and Israel’s government, for better or worse, was democratically elected by Jews?
Q10 Why is that no other religion but Judaism needs its very own homeland? Could it be that Jews, in behaviour and attitude, have surrounded themselves with a psychological eruv that prevents relaxed assimilation into a society of mixed religions, including atheism and secularism? Bottom line: do the Jews want to mix or don’t they? If they don’t feel like mixing, it is inevitable that feeling will be mutual? Is it fair to argue that anti-semitism and anti-gentile-ism are two side of the same coin?

Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Alka

Since most Jews do not, never did and never will live in UN Mandated Israel or Occupied Palestine, the question is, why should followers of one religion, Judaism, have a right to a homeland as you say?
Second question is, since Judaism originated in what is now Iraq, why would the religion have any rights to Palestine in the first place? Christianity began in Palestine but Christians have no such rights.

Giles Chance
GC
Giles Chance
2 years ago

Thank you for this clear statement of the piece of grit in the system, which has given rise to this appalling and disturbing violence. There will be no peace in and around Israel until the Palestinians feel that they are being fairly treated. That is just a statement of fact. As the article intimates, the sooner that the Israelis stop trying to overwhelm and bully the Palestinians with excessive force, and sit down at the table to discuss, the sooner they, the Israelis, will start to feel more secure. That is the way forward, not an ever-escalating and ever more violent dispute in which many die, and not all of them Palestinians.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

May I suggest that the Israelis will not feel secure as long as the Palestinian side believes 1) that all of Palestine ought to belong to them as a muslim-governed state, and 2) that if they persevere long enough they can achieve that aim. As long as that holds,what can Israel hope to gain by negotiation?

Antony Goodman
AG
Antony Goodman
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I see that as a naive view. Israel wants peace and after so many years of being attacked, including at its birth it came to the conclusion that withdrawing completely from the west bank would be signing its death warrant. Everything that has happened in Gaza reinforces this view. Israel, on the promise by the international community that such action would lead to peace, withdrew completely from Gaza in approx 2008. It forced all Israelis to leave, to abandon their businesses, their greenhouses. The result, Hamas destroyed all those greenhouses and have constantly attacked Israel with rockets, tunnels and more.
Israel cannot leave the West Bank and expect to survive. Israelis only want to live in peace with their neighbours. 20% of the population are Arab with full legal rights and participation in Israeli society. And yet it is the Arab neighbours who evicted and banished all Jews that call Israel racist. Western governments see this, but until their populations ignore the false propaganda and realise the truth, the provocations from Gaza and the west bank will continue.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

If “peace around X ” is dependent upon “the Ys feeling that they are being fairly treated” then there will be no peace around X. The very best that you can aim for is “a large enough number of Y’s feeling that, although they have been unfairly treated, this result is something that they can live with”. And something needs to be done about the people who don’t want peace at any price — they are into grievances, crimes, armed struggle/policing, punishment and payback as a way of life.
Somebody calculated for Bosnia-Herzegovina the magic number was 8%. In any town, village, etc. if 8% or more wanted a civil war they could get one, even over the objections of the 92% who strongly wanted to avoid such a fate. I am not sure how that number was calculated, and whether or not to believe the precise figure, but it really does seem that it is the committed minority tail that wags the dog of public opinion, and not the reverse.
See also Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, about more tails that wag dogs.

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Creighton
CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago

Sounds about right for Northern Ireland back in 1969-70.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

The Palestinian activists will never feel they have been fairly treated until they achieve their stated aim of wiping Israel off the map. Even if, somehow, Palestinians came to feel fairly treated, the Iranian backers of Hezbollah etc. will not allow matters to rest while Israel still exists.
The Israelis tried “land for peace”. It didn’t work.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

Part of the Hamas charter is the destruction of Israel. There will be no peace negotiations in good faith.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Giles Chance

I suggest a good start to a detente would be that the Arabs would stop saying we will kill you all at regular intervals – hardly a sign of genuine committment what – and yes I am somewhat simplistic about this particular reality because in my country if you threaten to kill you go to prison. i am shocked that somehow the west find it acceptable behaviour – no wonder the Israelis wont give an inch – what choice do they have……

Angus J
Angus J
2 years ago

An analysis by (I think) an Israeli professor of the legal position regarding Sheikh Jarrah can be read here:
https://en.kohelet.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/sheikh-jarrah-brief.pdf

Matt B
MB
Matt B
2 years ago
Reply to  Angus J

Good find

John Lamble
John Lamble
2 years ago

The case of the Czech lands is relevant. Czechoslovakia was created in 1918 within historic and defensible boundaries of ancient Bohemia and Moravia. The many Germans who had moved onto those lands during the Austro-Hungarian Empire were given the right to become Czechoslovak citizens but many did not. As German nationalism increased in the ’30s, the Nazis encouraged ideas of separatism and eventually annexed areas such as the Sudeten with the connivance of Britain. Now Czechoslovakia was left without defensible boundaries and soon the Germans just walked in and took over. Treated as a vassal state when it had so recently escaped imperial control was doubly irksome for the Czechs and after WW2 ended they unceremoniously threw out the Germans residing inside their newly restored frontier.
Has the manifest justice of this healed the resentment of the Sudeten Germans? Not a bit of it. The situation is different from the Middle East in the sense that no-one is going to war (as yet) but the pointless and interminable Sudeten German hankering goes on and by now spans the generations. These people would probably settle for generous compensation, not that anyone feels like giving it. But to my mind it raises an idea which would be cheaper in the long run than endless conflict around Israel. Offer significant wealth and a grant of land to every Arab family which agrees to be permanently resettled away from the West Bank and Gaza. Even at a cost of billions this would be worth it.

Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
2 years ago
Reply to  John Lamble

Czechoslovakia was created in 1918 within historic and defensible boundaries of ancient Bohemia and Moravia. 

Indeed; apart from the fact that one half of the conglomerate – Slovakia – was created within the historic and defensible boundaries of ancient Hungary. A wee bit less ancient of course, as the settling Magyars nicked it from the Great Moravian Empire only in the 10th century, but still quite historical. Slovakia as a separate sovereign country exists only since the 1993 secession from Czech.

Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
2 years ago
Reply to  John Lamble

The mistake you make is thinking this is about Arab, a culture. It is not. Yes, Palestinians have Arabic culture because they speak Arabic. However, having their land invaded, occupied and colonised by Europeans in the name of a religion is not something to be lightly dismissed.
Why should they leave? Why should European colonists have the right to take someone else’s country to set up a religious state which gives superior rights to followers of one religion, Judaism, and which disenfranchises all others, i.e. the majority of Palestinians were and are, Muslim or Christian.
Germans are a nationality. Jews are a religion. Very different. If Israel wants to rename itself as Jewdistan then yes, Jews can be a nationality and a people. But they are not, they are a religion.
In a modern world, particularly the democratic world, why on earth should followers of one religion have the right to deny all human and civil rights and seek to dispossess the indigenous people of Palestine simply because they are not Jews?

Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
2 years ago
Reply to  John Lamble

‘These people,’ you say. Belittling the reality of the Palestinian love of their land, a land which has been around for 5,000 years compared to a mere 74 years for Israel. Let us forget the religious myth of an Israel which never existed in the distant past, and which was inhabited even then by colonists from what is now Iraq.
I would ask you a hypothetical but relevant question. If the Germans had succeeded in occupying Britain and then colonised it and 74 years on, were treating the British as Israel treats the Palestinians, and the British were resisting, would you so casually dismiss thousands of years of British history and suggest ‘these people’ be bribed to give up their land to the colonisers?

Giles Chance
Giles Chance
2 years ago

So….the UN Security Council will meet. This is a good and necessary step. For the solution to the violence can ONLY be a discussion, ending in an agreement which all sides can respect, supported and policed by the US (on behalf of Israel), Russia (on behalf of Iran), China, France and the UK on behalf of everyone else. Iran has to be a part of the solution. The immediate key is for the US to agree and support such a step, Camp David 2 if you like, and bring Israel along, if necessary by holding the Israeli feet to the fire. The same has to happen with Hamas (and therefore, with Iran). Once the two are ready to talk, then everything else will fall into place. The problem may be local, but the solution can only be global.

G Harris
GH
G Harris
2 years ago

…..ditto the one posted just now.

vince porter
vince porter
2 years ago

Religion, like all irrational ideologies, displaces the innate “human-ness” in humans with hate, suspicion, and, evil intent.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
2 years ago
Reply to  vince porter

Right. Cuz, like, never a drop of blood was spilled by secular atheists.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  vince porter

I see hate in your post, which seems to be in every atheist. Your ilk kill more and destroy more lives that religion ever thought of. Very few killing is actually about religion, but traditionally has been between people who have religion. Now Atheists, well 150,000,000 between 1914 and 1974 alone, trying to create their state atheist, utopia!

julian rose
julian rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Sorry but you are very wrong. I am guessing you haven´t really grasp the historic toll of destruction and death done by organize religions since Adam and Eve. Have you thought of keeping your own religious beliefs and dogmas as a personal and private affair? Why would you need to preach your own beliefs?

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  julian rose

Julian you need to read a bit more history and get stuck into the arithmetic thereof !!

James Chater
JC
James Chater
2 years ago

In

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Matt B
Matt B
2 years ago

As so often, the devil is in the detail, whereas quick-fire comments often seek first to detail a devil.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt B
Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
2 years ago

Very complex article.
But if you want a version which easily explains everything you need only read the comments on here.
You have to ask whether either side really wants peace. Very very sad.

Athena Jones
AJ
Athena Jones
2 years ago

The creative solution is one state for colonisers and indigenous Palestinians alike as every other nation founded through colonisation, particularly those calling themselves democracies, has done, with full and equal rights for all. A democracy where religion is secondary to citizenship.
Why are the key realities always ignored? Palestine is occupied and colonised by Europeans who have subjugated the indigenous people for nearly a century.
Violence can break out at any time because of the following:

  1. in 1947 the UN, immorally and probably illegally, since never tested in a court of law, approved the partition of Palestine so European colonists could set up their own religious State which would be designed to give preference to followers of Judaism, immediately disenfranchising the majority of the indigenous Palestinians who were Christian or Muslim.
  2. Israel has never apologised for the wrongs inherent in its foundation, or provided compensation to the Palestinians for the theft of their land, homes, country, artefacts, history and culture.
  3. Still today, some 74 years on, Israel holds 6 million Palestinians crushed under its military boot and denies them civil and human rights. Two million of them are in the Gaza prison which Israel regularly bombs if the Palestinians protest their occupation and the colonisation of their land.
  4. Israel occupies all of Palestine refusing all rights and freedom to the Palestinian Christians and Muslims and continues to take their lands and homes. The Palestinians are powerless as an occupied people and have no military to even begin to defend themselves against Israel’s high-tech weaponry.
  5. As the occupier, Israel has all of the power and all of the responsibility to provide justice to the people of the land it has taken. It refuses to do so and for one reason alone, that Israel was founded on the bigoted premise that followers of Judaism, i.e. Jews, must remain totally in control, a majority, and can never allow the inferior non-Jewish Palestinians to be a majority as they will be in the one-state solution. Quite how Jews survive as a truly tiny minority in the US, where they are greater in number than those in Israel is the question? But that is the nub of it, religious bigotry prevents Israel doing what every other coloniser has done and has had to do – one state shared between the indigenous people and their colonisers.
G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

Agree with most but not all of that and, given the century of animus, I think we’re way beyond a one state solution now.

Last edited 2 years ago by G Harris
Kathy Prendergast
KP
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

You’ve been sold a pack of lies about the history of this region.
“Indigenous people”? Both Jews and Arabs are indigenous to that land, although Jews have been there at least 1500 years longer.
“Coloniser”…you do realize that about 50 percent ofthe Jews of Israel are 100 percent Middle Eastern, i.e. their ancestors never set foot in Europe?
But to paraphrase Mark Twain, it’s far easier to fool a person than it is to convince them that they’ve been fooled.

G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago

Always loved that Mark Twain quote.

Although Jews, Christians and Muslims have long been found in the Palestine region ie the area that corresponds to the boundaries of modern Israel and the Palestinian territories, ‘indigenous’ Jews ceased to be a majority in the 4th Century

Christians were the majority thereafter until the end of the 11th Century and Muslims became the majority at the end of the 12th Century and remained so at least until the founding of Israel in the middle of last century, according to the records.

Prior to the rise of Zionism, in 1850, Palestine had around 350k inhabitants of which, at the most, 5% were Jewish.

A British survey in 1920, but a few years after the 1917 Balfour Declaration that seriously set the wheels in motion for the creation of the nation state of Israel, found that there were barely 700,000 residents in Palestine*, of which four fifths were Muslim with the remaining fifth being made up of Christians and Jews in roughly equal proportions.

*Compared to around 14m today, with just over 9m in Israel and just under 5m in the Palestinian territories.

Last edited 2 years ago by G Harris
CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

How many of those 560,000 odd of the 1920 census were descended from Jews who had converted to Islam on or shortly after the Battle of Yarmuk?*

(* 636 AD.)

Last edited 2 years ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago

Not sure Charles to be honest, but I’m happy to be enlightened.

Point being that ‘sole ownership’ of the region purely based on its history is demonstrably highly debatable and an endlessly movable feast, but once it is based around an apparent destiny preordained by one true god and secured by an exclusive bloodline to the exclusion of all others then people start acting weird, take all leave of their senses and then use it to justify the most unspeakable, objectionable acts whichever ‘side’ of the righteous spiritual divide they might imagine themselves to be on.

Personally, I genuinely take no sides here, but articles like the one above are not at their heart designed to shed light, although they are touted as such, and I’m glad that they appear in the interests of free speech, but their deliberately forensically narrow viewpoint designed to sway needs to be open to question and long may it remain so.

Last edited 2 years ago by G Harris
CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

Although no original source deigns to mention it, when the Arabs arrived in 636 AD it would have been pragmatic to say the very least for the indigenous inhabitants to embrace Islam.

(Shorty afterwards the population of Sassanian Persian were quite happy to do so.)

Here was another monotheistic Semitic faith with many of the same social/hygienic customs,, circumcision, misogyny etc.

Now off course today to tell the Palestinians that they were originally Jews would be anathema.

Additionally there is the idea of the ‘Diaspora’, but there is precious little evidence that the Jews were driven out of Judea/Syria Palaestina during the Pax Romana.

Even when Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a Roman Colonia*, modestly renaming it after himself, Aelia Capitolina, in about 130 AD, Jews were allowed to visit the city on one day of the year. That rather implies that there was still a large extant Jewish population nearby.

(* A legal distinction whereby the inhabitants were/had to be, Roman Citizens.)

Last edited 2 years ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
G Harris
G Harris
2 years ago

‘Now off course today to tell the Palestinians that they were originally Jews would be anathema.’

Equally, to convince all Jews that Palestinians were originally all Jews would also be an anathema.

The fact is is an interpretation of history doesn’t change the reality of the current situation.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago
Reply to  G Harris

“ where ignorance is bliss,
‘Tis folly to be wise”.*

(* Thomas Gray. ‘Ode on a distant prospect of Eton College.)

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
2 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

I very much like your analysis, so much so that I’ll probably steal bits from it to bolster my 10 rhetorical questions posted higher up an hour or so ago.
A 2-state solution cannot work, not least because the Jews are, for better or worse, fixated on having their very own homeland. The difference in birthrate would turn them into a minority within what was to be their very own homeland
The deep seated need of a Jewish homeland is understandable if Jews examine all the factors, even if they except their very selves. And therein lies the problem, in which the Jew-Gentile stand-off is mutual and the big question is who started it. In my opinion it is an invisible “eruv” lifestyle and outlook among Jews. There is an ambiguity here as to whether this is a function of jews’ self-determination, or self-preservation, or self-superiority, or disdain or contempt towards non-Jews, those not decreed by God as The Chosen Few. I don’t think this standoff can be cured by outward changes in behaviour or appearance, such as going to anti-shrugging classes or at least occasionally buying retail. Also, a black hat, long beard and prayer shawl sticking out of one’s trousers is no way to integrate within a Christian or athiest or secularist country. Most civilised citizens in Britain and America can be relied upon to react with a tolerant woke-ish, politically-correct, live-and-let-live attitude to those elements of identity but it nonetheless is a barrier to social integration.

Hugh Eveleigh
Hugh Eveleigh
2 years ago

Thank you for this most useful assessment of (part of) what’s going on in Israel at the moment,

Cynthia Neville
CB
Cynthia Neville
2 years ago

Only in UnHerd can one read something like this. Well done.

Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
2 years ago

A question to the author, why do you talk about Israelis and Arabs when Israeli is a nationality and Arab is a culture?
Either talk religions, Jews, Christians, Muslims.
or cultures, Arab and the European cultural background of most Israelis.
or, nationalities, Israeli and Palestinian, which still applies even though Palestine is occupied by Israel.

Robert Camplin
Robert Camplin
2 years ago

The only way to resolve this situation is for Israel to admit to the wrongs inherent in its foundation and provide justice to the Palestinians.
Beyond all of the myriad ‘reasons’ or excuses for the theft of Palestine to set up the State of Israel the simple realities are that Israel now occupies all of Palestine and denies 6 million indigenous people justice, freedom and their human and civil rights.
There is just no way in this modern age that the world would tolerate the partition of someone else’s country to set up a State for followers of one religion as happened in 1947. In the chaos after the war, and sourced in general ignorance, it happened.
Yes, many nations have been founded through colonisation but apart from Israel there are none, certainly calling themselves democracies, who treat the indigenous people of the land they have taken as Israel treats the Palestinian Christians and Muslims.
In 1947/48 Zionist armies killed or drove out close to a million Palestinians and eradicated around 600 villages, building and planting over them to disguise their loss, although they still remain on British Mandate maps.
No apology, compensation or redress has ever been given to the Palestinians for that carnage and loss and they are also denied the human right of returning to their land.
Worse, Israel continues to colonise Occupied Palestine with illegal settlements for followers of Judaism. It is unconscionable that such religious bigotry should be tolerated and increasingly, as more and more people, including many Jews, know the truth of Israel’s foundations and the horrors it has committed and continues to commit against the indigenous Palestinians some 74 years on, it will not be tolerated.
To write about this conflict without addressing the core issues is dishonest.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
2 years ago

It’s simple–Israel wildly overplayed its hand after the Abraham Accords.
Now it has paid the price, by allowing Hamas to assume the mantle of protector of all Palestinians. It really shows that the Israeli political system is broken.

Idiots like Bibi are in charge, and they are going to harm the US if we don’t either fix this ourselves–or cut loose.
No one on either side can fix it.

Zap Zenn
ZZ
Zap Zenn
2 years ago

“The Irael Project” at it’s best?

Athena Jones
Athena Jones
2 years ago

The writer of course presents the Zionist perspective and error of talking about Arabs, a culture and Jews, a religion.
Either talk about Arab culture, Palestinians, and European culture, Israelis, or talk about the religious labels of Muslim, Christian and Jew.
This issue is not about Arabs, or indeed, even religion, but is purely a colonial war waged by colonists in Palestine which has been going on too long because the world at large has allowed it to do so. Yes, religions are involved but all of this began when Palestine was invaded, occupied and colonised.
The fact is that the UN Mandate has never been tested in a court of law, but, Israel’s only legitimate borders, if found to be legitimate, remain the UN Mandated borders. Everything else is Occupied Palestine. And the UN Mandate also specified Jerusalem as an international city so that is certainly not a part of UN Mandated Israel.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
2 years ago
Reply to  Athena Jones

No country called Palestine was invaded. If the Palestinians want to make a deal, it’s up to them to do so. They were defeated in a war they started. They don’t get to demand anything back. As the losers they have to accept conditions that provide a means for Israel to be secure even if that means they lose land. See Germany for an example. That’s how it works when you lose after being the aggressor. See Japan as well.

K Sheedy
K Sheedy
2 years ago

A typical Zionist bias. The NYT article referred to:
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/15/world/middleeast/israel-palestinian-gaza-war.html?referringSource=articleShare

shows that Netinyahoo (sic) deliberately caused the tension to support his efforts to form a government. He is unconcerned by Palestinian or Jewish deaths provided he keeps power and stays out of jail.

Steve Payne
Steve Payne
2 years ago

It is really no surprise that Arabs living in Sheikh Jarrar refuse to bow to the ruling of an Israeli court which they might reasonably see as an instrument of the occupation.

Kathy Prendergast
KP
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  Steve Payne

It’s really no surpirse that people who have been living rent-free in someone else’s property for decades don’t want to leave it.

Robert Montgomery
Robert Montgomery
2 years ago

Nothing complex about any of it. A predominantly illegal immigrant European Jewish population took by force the land of the indigenous Palestinians. The Nakba happened, Jewish terrorists, using rape, murder, the theft and destruction of property drove over 700,000 Palestinians into exile. More than 500 towns and villages were razed, some buried under forests planted to hide the crimes. Lod was Lydda,till massive ethnic cleansing using all of the above methods changed Lydda to an artificial Jewish majority. Search Lydda death march. Subsequent to Nakba Israel has relentlessly stolen the rest of Palestine, establishing illegal colonies which render impossible the establishment of a viable Palestinian state.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
2 years ago

Maybe. What is your solution? The simple solution would presumably be to give the land back to the descendants of the original owners and send the Jews to – well – where exactly?

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

Pretty much sums it up.

Richard Brown
RB
Richard Brown
2 years ago

So you believe, like Hamas do, that Israel should not exist, and that the Jews should be driven into the sea? Got any ideas about how that might happen?

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Brown

As opposed, presumably, to driving the Palestinians into the desert. The one state solution is the only viable option.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago

If the palestinians had an ounce of sense they would have worked alongside the Israelis (The most creative and diligent force on earth) and would now be very very well off !!

Kathy Prendergast
KP
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago

Right; so go to South Asia and try to convince India and Pakistan to re-unite as a “one state solution.”

Paul Goodman
Paul Goodman
2 years ago

Are you Jeremy Corbyn in disguise?

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Goodman

Probably not, just a common garden lefty anti-Semite who’s uncritically gobbled up all the Pallywood garbage for his whole life.

Armand L
Armand L
2 years ago

More equivocation and nonsense. This is not “unherd” this is agitprop.
Israel is occupying the Palestinian territories and displacing Arabs to replace with its settler Jews — that’s ethnic cleansing. Settlements in the occupied West Bank have rendered a two-state solution impossible — these settlements are illegal, full stop.

Whatever you have to cry about Hamas or Gaza stone throwing teenagers or whatnot — if UnHerd editors insist on publishing propaganda they should emblazon a line above it: WE SUPPORT SETTLER COLONIZATION AND ETHNIC CLEANSING.

Last edited 2 years ago by Armand L
Simric Yarrow
Simric Yarrow
2 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Did you even read this very careful and specific article? Sounds like you would prefer to just continue without allowing people to talk and understand each other.

Giles Chance
GC
Giles Chance
2 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

It is easy for the Arabs to think that the founding of Israel was not just a mistake, but a crime. Nevertheless, in 2021, we are where we are, with appalling violence, apparently without limit and without end. Israelis and Arabs have to find common ground. They have to sit down, together. The past has to be unravelled, and both sides have to agree on how, in order to protect the future. Your strongly pro-Palestinian, pro-Arab post is as unhelpful as pro-Israeli posts, about Palestinians being evicted lawfully from their homes for not paying rent, and so on. Discussion is the only way to peace.

Mike Boosh
MB
Mike Boosh
2 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Lovely bit of understatement there: “Hamas or Gaza stone throwing teenagers or whatnot”. Would those be the rocket propelled “stones” with explosive warheads supplied by Iran and operated by “teenagers” trained by the revolutionary guards? I’ve no axe to grind in this, and no love for either side, but Im surprised you can complain about propaganda when you’re clearly spouting it yourself.

Last edited 2 years ago by Mike Boosh
Jon Redman
HJ
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Boosh

That’s a classic BBC trope: Hamas and its “crudely-made” rockets, as though they’re not dangerous or anything.

Simon Flynn
Simon Flynn
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Correct. Next, Al Beeba will be reporting ‘largely peaceful’ riots.
.
Oh, hang on …..

David Jory
David Jory
2 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

How far back do you go? Give Turkey back to the Byzantine Greeks, return Egypt to the Copts, and will nobody think of the Carthaginians?
Look at the Palestinian leadership which cares more for wealth and power than peace, as told by the son of the Hamas founder Youssef at a UN conference.

Last edited 2 years ago by David Jory
Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  David Jory

It’s a bit rich to invoke the ‘how far back do you go?’ argument in defence of a state that owes its existence to an attempt to go back a couple of thousand years. I have every sympathy with the plight of ordinary Israelis, but what a misbegotten project!

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
2 years ago
Reply to  Oliver Wright

Israel exists; deal with it.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
2 years ago
Reply to  David Jory

Don’t worry about the Carthaginians. In 607 AUC/146 BC the Romans totally destroyed the city and sold the survivors into bondage.

For good measures they did the same to Corinth in the same year, as warning to the troublesome Greeks.

How to run an Empire: Chapter I. Dealing with insubordination.

David Cockayne
David Cockayne
2 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Love that “full stop”. So important that it gets a sentence all to itself. So wonderfully expressive of the zeitgeist. Close your mind! Stop up yor ears! No more talking! Embrace my truth, oh you heretics! Unherd’s editors are to be castigated for even publishing such stuff. Nuance is equivocation. History is nonsense. Explanation is agitprop.
How dare you even read such stuff. All are condemned. All are cancelled.

Bianca Davies
Bianca Davies
2 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

100%

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Armand L

Why are you still calling it the “occupied” West Bank when, as the article reminds is, Jordan renounced its claim in 1988?
Is it because you’re an anti-Semite?