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falling into ruins

Reader comment on item: Netanyahu's Steady Hand
in response to reader comment: The Arab Spring series will run and run....

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Mar 9, 2015 at 19:44

Jon, you made a curious comment:

"Of course the Israelis have listened probably to Daniel Pipes "We have no dog in this fight", but perhaps they do... as Palestine emerges from the ruins of TransJordan.... ripe for a transfer of an educated elite, with UNWRA subsidies from the West Bank..."

I know there's a pseudo-state called "Palestine" trying to emerge from its self-inflicted ruin; but it certainly has never been in Transjordan. The first claim to statehood was by the Egyptian Yasser Arafat and his PLO bunch, in 1964. Their original charter specifically excluded the "West Bank" of what was then Jordan from their claims. That fantasy "Palestine" consisted of present-day Israel, MINUS Judea, Samaria and Golan, all of which were won in the 1967 war. I am not sure what their plans were at the time for Gaza, which was ruled by Egypt as a territory (with no citizenship for the Gazans). "Palestine", in short, was what we now call "Green Line Israel".

"Transjordan" was, as the name implies, the part of the original British "Mandate of Palestine". It was originally reserved for Jewish settlement, but the British reneged on their promise and separated it as an Arab homeland. In that respect, Transjordan could actually be thought of as "Arab Palestine". In 1948, Transjordan seized and occupied Jewish lands west of the Jordan River, in an occupation that was never recognized by the international community (save the UK and Pakistan). Jordan (as Transjordan was re-named after the annexation) officially quit the "West Bank" (so-named from Transjordan's perspective) in October, 1994.

In July, 1967, meanwhile, Arafat & Co. revised the PLO charter to include the "West Bank" and Gaza; but this claimed entity of "Palestine" had no reality on the ground: The land was Israeli sovereign territory in July, 1967, and has been ever since. None of it arose out of "Transjordan"; all of it had been part of the British Mandate of Palestine reserved for Jewish settlement, until the British unilaterally quit the area in May, 1948.

I have been trying, lately, to follow events in the Middle East; but am continually confronted by proclamations of legitimacy for entities that do not exist. Libya, for instance, is claimed by two rival governments. The same is true for Yemen. The Syrian government has been called "illegitimate" by the international community, and legitimacy transferred to a government that has never held power and resides in exile. The government in Baghdad claims authority over all of Iraq; but the Kurds are largely self-governing; and the Islamic Caliphate; which rules on what is internatioanally called "Iraq" and "Syria", recognizes neither as legitimate. Egypt had a recognized government in 2011, ruled by Hosni Mubarak; but the international community decided that he was illegitimate; so he was replaced by Mohammed Mosri and then by Abdel al-Sisi. This last has been accepted as legitimate by the Egyptian people, but not much of the international community, who insist that he seized power in a "coup". Meanwhile, a leader long considered "legitimate" (though he actually did come to power in a coup) ruled in Sudan, presumably a sovereign state; but the international community has decided that he is a criminal because of "crimes" he committed in a country that he presumably ruled (and therefore had the say-so as to what was a "crime" and what wasn't). Fortunately for him, the actual member states of that "international community" have not seen fit to arrest and therefore depose him.

Some countries, of course, do not exist as countries at all except in fantasies of some in the "international community". The foremost example is Somalia, which consists of independent Somaliland, autonomous Puntland, a "central government" that consists essentially of Ethiopan and Kenyan occupation troops, and an Islamist regime. "Western Sahara", likewise, consists primarily of a refugee camp in Algeria. And on the margins of the area, let us not forget the real but largely unrecognized entities of Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, the Donetsk Republic, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and the Nuer and South Yemen separatists -- all of them claiming to be "peoples" with "legitimate rights". It's anyone's guess, where this will all end.

It has occurred to me that all of these "peoples" with "legitimate rights" throughout the chaotic region, had their spiritual birth with the "legitimate rights of the Palestinian people". You spoke of a country "arising from the ruins". What I see instead, is many former countries that have become ruins. This could be thought of as Yasser Arafat's legacy -- come to fruition, as you have noted, with considerable help from Barack Obama and other Western leaders.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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