Palestine, The No-State Solution
With Palestine having been elevated to observer status by the United Nations, the issue of a Palestinian homeland seems to have moved to the back burner. Maybe, that was the idea all along. I’ve read a lot of other people’s opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, but in the end everything, on both sides, has been just so much highly-charged, emotional rhetoric. Everybody seems to have self-serving reasons behind their proposed solution.
At the risk of seeming biased myself, let me give my opinion on the matter as well. As a responsible parent I would never give the keys to the family car to my sixteen year old, especially if he said that he didn’t think that other drivers on the road had the same rights as him. So why then should anyone take the Palestinians seriously? Their only stated objective seems to be to drive the Jews into the sea. On that basis alone, I can’t see turning them loose in the family car let alone giving them their own homeland with all that that implies.
My angst has nothing to do with the issue of whether or not the Palestinians deserve a homeland. Rather, it’s about the world making a responsible decision with respect to this dispute. As a parent if I have two unruly children, I’m going to send them to their respective rooms so that hopefully they will cool off. The problem is that the Middle East is such a small area that this becomes problematic.
The United Nations Link
However, I have a much bigger bone to pick and it’s with the United Nations. If governments are corrupt, and we all know that they are, then the most corrupt bureaucracy in the world is the U.N. (e.g. their oil-for-food program). The U.N. has absolutely no jurisdiction over any sovereign nation and yet they are constantly trying to control the actions of world governments, including the United States. Recently, they have even had observers at U.S. elections and have asked for jurisdiction over U.S. territorial waters (the so-called Law of the Sea Treaty).
Well I, for one, don’t believe that the U.N. has any power to enforce a settlement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I’m certainly concerned about the implications of setting such a precedent. For all I know, the U.N. might then want the U.S. to give back Texas and California to Mexico! As for the U.N. addressing human rights concerns, one would probably not start in Palestine. How about China or better yet the continual genocide in Africa? Of course, the U.N. has really no interest in addressing those issues.
The No-State Solution
Unfortunately, the best solution to this problem isn’t going to happen because of political concerns. That solution would be to go back to the pre-1967 borders, with the West Bank reverting back to Jordan and Gaza reverting back to Egypt. That would make the Arab world responsible for the Palestinian issue. Almost everybody is going to object, though, to this solution.
Many people are going to object because this solution doesn’t give a homeland to the Palestinians. My response to that objection is if the issue of a homeland is such an overriding issue, why haven’t we already given a homeland to much larger minority groups in the Middle East, namely, the Kurds and the Shiites. The Arab world, of course, will not embrace this solution either because they have little to no sympathy for their Palestinian brothers. So if the Arab world won’t take some responsibility for this issue, why should they expect the rest of the world to solve this problem for them?
An Historical Perspective
At the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire had been defeated and Western world leaders took a magic marker to the map of the Middle East. When they were done, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and eventually Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, had become full-fledge countries (created out of thin air). The West was ultimately successful in installing pro-Western minority governments in all of those countries.
The ongoing conflict in the region today, including Arab Spring, is simply the result of Western colonialism dating from WW I. Even today, the West will not admit that they manipulate Middle Eastern governments in order to advance their own special interests in the area (primarily oil, although the region also has other geopolitical value to the West vis-a-vis Russia and China).
The Palestinian Homeland Solution
In my opinion, there actually is a way, though, to give the Palestinians a homeland and possibly solve this conflict. The solution would be to give Palestine back to the Palestinians. By that, I mean Jordan of course. As a matter of history, Palestine has never been a country. It was a region that was under the control of England after WW I and out of that territory both Israel and Jordan were formed.
Jordan, like the other Middle Eastern countries formed after WW I, has a minority government while the majority of its citizens are actually Palestinians. The country’s ruling family actually hails from the Arabian Peninsula and had never previously lived in the Jordan area. The official language of Jordan is Arabic, same as the Palestinians. Their religion is Islam – Sunni, the same as the Palestinians. What better way to correct 100 years of Western meddling than by giving Jordan to the Palestinians. By all rights, it’s probably theirs anyway.
So if the West was really serious about resolving this crisis, the solution in the final analysis is really pretty simple. However, world leaders have had the last 50 years to make this problem go away and they certainly have had the resources to implement any kind of possible solution. So why haven’t they? Could it be because it’s in Western interests to continue the conflict? Maybe peace was never the objective of peace talks. As Rahm Emanuel said, “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste”.