Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Upper Hand

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during US President Obama's visit "We extend our hands in peace and in friendship to the Palestinian people", surely he meant "hand" in the singular?  The other one is still busy grabbing Palestinian land.

OK, my comment is a little facetious, and this map is dramatic, but as a pro-Israeli website points out, an over-simplification.  Then in debunking it as a supposed lie, it introduces new inaccuracies into the picture.
  • The first map, it says, is incorrect because much of the land shown in green was not privately owned, but held by the government, and therefore "when the state of Israel was established, it became legally Israel's".  This assumes of course that the population of the new state recognised its legitimacy, and glosses over the fact that the Arab (then) majority of its residents did not, and that many of them were forcibly dispossessed of land they may not have technically owned but had lived on and farmed for generations.
  • Map 2, it says, is incorrect because the Arabs never accepted the proposed partition plan.  Fair enough - though why should they, in the circumstances of the time?
  • Map 3, it argues, is incorrect because the "Palestinian" areas were not part of a Palestinian territory but held and administered by neighbouring countries, Egypt and Jordan.  What is omitted here is that those countries never accepted the Palestinians as part of their own nations, but continued to regard them as a separate people - just as the many Palestinians in Lebanon today are still treated as refugees.
The site then goes on to praise Israel for "giving up" large areas of land in exchange for peace.  Apart from the fact that it did not "give up" the largest area of land, the Sinai Peninsula, but lost it in war to Egypt, from which it had earlier seized it, it would be more correct to talk of "giving back" than "giving up",  The reality remains, however, that the Palestinian Authority has limited control over the areas nominally ceded to it, and that Israel continues to establish settlements in many of the occupied territories.  Draw your own conclusions about Israel's sincerity in making peace.

No comments: