“Those people have been fighting for a millennium. It’s in their blood”- retired US Army Lt. Colonel from PTC
For many years, I carpooled with the Officer referred to above. He should have known better regarding the causes of the conflict but clearly didn’t. Americans and Europeans both want to forget how the problem started.
It was not Middle Easterners who created the Palestinian-Israeli issue. It was the Europeans, specifically, my maternal Italian forefathers, the Romans.
In or around the first century CE, the Romans decided to disperse the rebellious Israelites over the known world. This action was done in order to stop their insurrections. The Romans were largely successful, with many Jews ending up in Europe, Africa and Asia via the diaspora.
Through DNA, Jews can now be broken into these groups: Ashkenazy; Sephardic/Mizrachi; and Falasha. Ashkenazy is predominant in the West, coming from North and Eastern Europe. Sephardic/Mizrachi Jews derive their origin from Middle Eastern nations and Spain/Portugal. Falasha’s are from sub-Saharan Africa (primarily Ethiopia). Most current Israelis have Sephardic/Mizrachi genes, a fact ignored by some on the left who refer to “invading” white Jews from Europe.
The Jews and Arabs didn’t create the Jewish diaspora. But they were stuck with the result: persecuted, wandering Jews in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East yearning to come “home.” After 6 million Jews were murdered by the German Nazis and their many accomplices in occupied Europe, the modern State of Israel was created via a 1947 UN partition plan (which also established an Arab state).
Israel was recognized in 1948 by the United Nations and virtually all non-Arab nations, including the US and Russia. Within a few years, Jordan and Egypt took over the Arab portion of what was once greater “Palestine.”
Due to space, I will not go through a history of the Israeli State, its founding or wars. Over time it has grown in area and population (8 million total, including 6 million Jews) and prospered, despite many wars and conflicts with its Arab neighbors, including the Palestinians.
The Palestinians have not been as fortunate. The depressed West Bank is currently run by the corrupt Palestinian Authority (with Israeli oversight). The poverty-stricken Gaza Strip is controlled by the radical Hamas, still dedicated to driving the Jews into the sea.
What about the endless peace plans proposed over the last 70 years? Some were balanced, some were not. However, even when the Palestinians have won major concessions, as in the Bill Clinton negotiated “two state” plan, their leadership has been unable to accept winning. In fact, not only did PLO Chairman Arafat reject that very generous offer (with no counter plan at all), but he also then declared war (the Second Intifada) against Israel.
Per polling, frustrated younger Israelis now have less confidence that a two-state solution can ever come about. So, over the decades, the Israeli government has taken a more nationalistic course resulting in right-wing PM Netanyahu. Plus, unfortunately for the Palestinians, Israel is only getting stronger economically, technically and militarily. And expanding its West Bank settlements.
Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan (structured by Jared Kushner) reflected Trump’s desire to attract Evangelical and Jewish support, critical for his election prospects in swing states like Florida. However, his dead-in-the-water plan gave very little incentive to the Palestinians, a hard sell in any case. Trump then took a “stick” approach and cut aid to the Palestinians based on their refusal to negotiate.
Meanwhile, the Abraham Accords structured under Trump have led to Israel having peaceful, positive open relationships with the UAE and several other Muslim nations. That may be Trump’s only lasting significant foreign policy achievement.
The Biden administration has resumed funding for the Palestinian Authority. But the chances of the Palestinians ever getting a better peace deal are remote.
So, the Palestinians are losing ground every year, but their leadership will not admit it. A single state controlled by Israeli Jews will solve nothing in that Palestinians will be disgruntled second class citizens. But the frustrated Israeli public, once solidly behind an equitable two state solution, has stopped supporting that tactic. And objective observers see very little chance of any major positive changes in the near future.
Jack Bernard was formerly SVP of a national healthcare corporation and the first Director of Health Planning for GA. He was Chairman of the Jasper County GA GOP. He's now Vice Chairman of a Board of Health in Fayette County, a suburb of Atlanta.