Why Do the Palestinians Not Have a State of Their Own?
By Matt Ward
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” —Joseph Goebbels (Nazi Minister of Propaganda)
On Monday, May 15, the day after Jewish Independence Day, the Muslim world will commemorate a day known as Nakba Day, or “Catastrophe” Day. Nakba Day commemorates the “catastrophe” that the establishment of the State of Israel was to the Muslim world in 1948.
In 1988, Palestinian Authority President, Yasser Arafat decided that whilst the Jewish State was celebrating its Independence with joy and gladness on May 14, the Palestinian people the next day should also mark the occasion formally and solemnly. They therefore began the commemoration of their own anniversary, the Nakba. To this end he declared May 15th, the day after Israeli independence in 1948, as Nakba Day.
Nakba Day has been commemorated and noted ever since by the Palestinians, and increasingly by the wider world. Some years pass more peacefully than others, some years see an explosion of extreme violence. But with each passing year, the demand for the establishment of a Palestinian state grows and grows. It is a pressure that, I believe, will be pivotal in Israel finally sealing an agreement God describes as “a covenant with death” and “an agreement with Hell” itself (Isaiah 28:18).
But why is it that the Palestinians do not have their own state? It is a genuine question. The truth, unknown by most, is that the Palestinians should have their own state by now. In 2017, the Palestinians should have their own fully functional, autonomous state. Yet they don’t, and they are nowhere near attaining it.
Why is this? The answer most give is as basic and simple as it is wrong: it is because of Israel. The perception many wrongly have is that Israel prevents the Palestinians from attaining their own statehood. It is inaccurate, it is perverse and it is entirely uninformed.
Yet this lie persists, and grows stronger with each passing year. It is the same old lie often stated by diplomats and politicians alike, and it goes something like this, “…if Israel just allowed the Palestinians to have their own state, there would then finally be peace in the Middle East.”
Yet this lie is as subtle in its trickery and deceit as it is dangerous to the state of Israel. If one follows this line of argument through to its logical conclusion then it means that the fault, and all the blame for the lack of a Palestinian state, and consequently for a lack of general and widespread peace in the Middle East, rests exclusively with Israel.
Not with Syria or Bashir al-Assad, not with IS, not with radical Islamism, not with Russia and her blatant expansionist aspirations, not with Saddam Hussein when he was still alive, not with the Muslim Brotherhood, nor with Iran or her proxy Hezbollah, not with Hamas or the Palestinians – but with little Israel. All the historical and current problems in the Middle East can be laid exclusively at the feet of Israel.
It is a lie from the very depths of Hell itself. It is heinous, it is untrue, it is factually incorrect and pushed exclusively by one of two types of people; the ignorant and historically uniformed or by anti-Semites. There is no third category here.
The simple and irrefutable truth is that the Palestinians should have a state of their own right now. Israel have already offered the Palestinians statehood on no fewer than five separate occasions, and on each occasion the Palestinians turned it down.
On the evening before the first Nakba Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented that “Israel was not responsible for the Palestinian tragedy, their leadership is.” He was right. The long and difficult history of the Palestinian quest for statehood, and the failure thereof, can only rightly be blamed on, and apportioned to one group, the corrupt, illegitimate leadership of the Palestinian people.
Facts simply do not lie, nor does the historical record.
The Palestinians have rejected offers for the creation of their own statehood on five distinct occasions. On a number of those occasions Israel even conceded to each and every Palestinian precondition they set for a state. Yet they still refused the deal that would have seen the establishment of their own state and homelands.
History verifies it, past U.S. presidents have attested to it, world leaders know it, yet the masses—including many within the church, are wholly uninformed and unaware of it. So let’s take a minute and actually examine the historical record, without comment and without judgment and let it tell us what actually happened.
Opportunity One – 1930s
Beginning in 1918, with the break-up of the Ottoman Empire, Britain took control of most of the Middle East region, including the area we now know as Palestine and Israel. In 1936, the Arabs living under this British mandate rebelled.
As a result of this rebellion, the British formed a task force known as the Peel Commission. Its aim was to understand the causes of this rebellion and seek solutions for the future. The conclusion of the commission was simple. The Peel Commission concluded that two separate people, the Jews and the Arabs, both wanted and were intent upon ruling the same land. The Commission therefore recommended a simple solution; a two state solution.
Two states living side-by-side, one a Jewish state, the other an Arab state. The two state solution is nothing new, it’s older than most of our grandparents. The Jews jumped at this chance to establish their own state in the 1930s, even though the land they were being offered was miniscule compared to the offer forwarded to the Arabs. The Arabs were offered 80% of the disputed land, the Jews a mere 20%. The Jews said yes, the Arabs gave a resounding no.
Opportunity Two – 1947
In 1947, the United Nations came to the conclusion that the only way to resolve the ongoing animosity between the Jews and the Arabs was to divide the land formally. The UN therefore voted to formally create two states, living side by side – another two state solution.
Again, the Jews jumped at this opportunity, the Arabs Muslims responded by launching war against Israel, and were joined by Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. They were soundly defeated. Critically, it was at this point that the land set aside for the creation of an Arab state by the United Nations, mainly the West Bank and east Jerusalem, become for the first time occupied territory.
This was not an Israeli occupation though, the land was occupied by Jordan, not Israel.
Opportunity Three – 1967
It was in 1967 that the Arabs, who had just begun referring to themselves as “Palestinians” sought to destroy Israel, alongside Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Israel soundly defeated all comers and found itself at the conclusion of conflict controlling additional large amounts of territory, all of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, the West Bank and Gaza.
This amazing Israeli victory provoked widespread discussion within Jewish society. Many wanted to give this land back in exchange for peace, many more wanted to give this land to the Arabs, now calling themselves “Palestinians,” so that they could fashion and build their own state, in exchange for what Israel hoped would be a lasting peace.
This offer led to the infamous “three no’s” of the Arab League, who met in Sudan to discuss Israel’s magnanimous offer; “No!” to peace with Israel, “No!” to any recognition of Israel and “No!” to any future negotiations of Israel. The longed for Two State solution was now well and truly dead and would remain so for over thirty years.
Opportunity Four – 2000
In the year 2000 new leaders and new optimism abounded. There was genuine hope from Israel and Western leaders that either peace, or some other form of wider agreement was genuinely within reach. To that end, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak met with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at Camp David to conclude a new agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
At Camp David, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians a deal that had never been on the table before. It was such an offer that US President Bill Clinton, quite understandably, believed there were genuine prospects for a negotiated and permanent settlement between the two peoples. Clinton believed history was beckoning.
Barak offered Arafat a Palestinian state in all of Gaza and 94% of the West Bank and, crucially, east Jerusalem as its capital. Clinton was sure the Palestinians would jump at the chance. But he was wrong. Arafat refused every concession and every offer tabled by Barak. He said no to everything. So intransient was Arafat that afterwards, Clinton went on record as saying that Arafat was, “here fourteen days and said “no” to everything.”
The Palestinians responded to Israel’s generous offer by launching an intifada against them, and over 1,000 Israelis died as a consequence.
Opportunity Five – 2008
Despite serious misgiving, in 2008 Israel so eager for peace with the Palestinians that they went even further in their offer than they had in 2000. This time, the Jewish State, confirming the terms of the 2000 negotiations were still on the table for the Palestinians (including having east Jerusalem as their capital), also adding the extra promise of ”additional lands” as an incentive for the Palestinians to finally say yes.
Mahmoud Abbas, like all of his predecessors, flatly refused all the tabled offers, to the utter amazement of all.
So why is it, in 2017, that the Palestinians still do not have their own state? Is it, as Nakba Day portrays, because the Israelis are oppressing and denying the Palestinian people their rights or the opportunity for their own state, up until this present day? Or could there be a different reason?
The simple truth of the matter is that Israel have offered peace and statehood to the Palestinians on five occasions. On each occasion they have been met with abject rejections and often extreme violence in return.
Looking at the historical record I can only conclude that the Palestinians do not have a state of their own because they do not want one. This opinion seems to be verified by Ismail Haniyah, Hamas’ own Prime Minister of Gaza. Haniyah is an outspoken critic of Israel, and of peace with the “illegal Jewish entity.” On January 15th, 2014, Prime Minister Haniyah said the following about the Palestinians under his leadership with regards to the peace process,
“This is a generation which knows no fear. It is the generation of the missile, the tunnel and suicide operations.”
Later, on March 23 of the same year he said, “Stop negotiating with the enemy. We will not recognize Israel.”
The acquisition of a state is not the end game the Palestinians seem to be seeking. The ultimate end game for the Palestinians is not two states, living side by side, but rather a Middle East that exists without Israel in it.
The Palestinians do not have a state for one very simple reason; it is not a state they seek, it is the destruction of Israel. And this is why, short of the arrival of the Messiah Himself, there will never be a genuine or lasting peace in the Middle East.