Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Welcome to the “State of Palestine”?

January 30, 2013 8:51 am 0 comments

Members of the Palestinian delegation at the United Nations General Assembly celebrate Nov. 29 upon the vote to upgrade Palestinian status to a non-member observer state Nov. 29. Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.

Nationalism and peoplehood are just part of the ingredients of statehood, or rather state building. Pronouncing their existence does not actually connote that the work is actually being done. The best illustration of this imaginary state is the newly inaugurated Palestinian one, as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas officially changed his government’s name to “the State of Palestine” in an attempt to implement, albeit cosmetically, the recent UN vote granting it status of nonmember observer state.

Therefore, US United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice unequivocally stated that the US does not recognize the “State of Palestine” and that “the only way to establish a real Palestinian state is through the painstaking work of direct negotiations on final-status issues, without preconditions, between the Israelis and Palestinians.” Yet, the question of what stands behind this declaration still remains.

Tantamount to Palestinian identity is the shared belief in a right of return to “Palestine,” which would presumably become home to those people, although we are not seeing that with the Syrian-Palestinians.

Palestinian identity is rooted in three parts. One is that struggle against Israel is permanent and holy. Another is that Palestinians are, individually and communally, refugees, made so at the hands of Israel.

The third part is that the world, specifically the UN and Western countries, must support these refugees until they can return to a future Palestine and to homes in what is now Israel.

In contrast to the Palestinian project, the Zionist project, which established the modern State of Israel, actually build a vibrant functioning state. The commitments of the early Zionists to state building trumped Arab-Palestinian rejectionism, which worked towards state destruction.

Soil conservationist Walter Clay Lowdermilk observed the Zionist project in 1944 in his book Palestine Land of Promise:

“Accomplishments such as I have seen in Palestine can be attained only when human spirit is fired by an ideal which reaches beyond the individual to the group and on into the future. Since the destruction of the Temple nearly two thousand years ago, the longing for Palestine (Israel) has been ever present with the Jew. It was undying hope to return to the land of his fathers that buoyed him up during centuries of persecution.

The devout have ever prayed for the restoration of the Jewish people to Palestine, but it was only about sixty or seventy years ago that Jews began to do practical work in Palestine in order to make the return possible. Zionism has offered persecuted Jews the opportunity to make their ancient dream come true, just as other great dreams of the world have been realized when men worked for them with devotion, intelligence and self sacrifice.”

Consequently, four years later Israel’s first prime minister and founding father David Ben-Gurion followed suit and announced on May 14, 1948 the creation of the modern State of Israel.

However, 1948 was not the beginning of Jewish state building, but rather the continuation of the path the Zionist congress laid out in Europe years before. It did stymie the Arab notion that Jews would disappear voluntarily.

Palestinian identity has been largely debated, especially as to whether such an identity exists independently of anti-Zionism. Rashid Khalidi, who occupies the Edward Said Chair at Columbia University deconstructs his version of the topic in his book entitled Palestinian Identity, where he describes what he believes are the major trials and indignities endured by Palestinians, writing “the quintessential Palestinian experience, which illustrates some of the most basic issues raised by Palestinian identity, takes place at a border, an airport, a checkpoint… For it is at these borders and barriers that six million Palestinians are singled out for ‘special treatment,’ and (are) forcefully reminded of their identity… (E)very Palestinian is exposed to the possibility of harassment, exclusion and sometimes worse, simply because of his or her identity.”

Today, even Khalidi believes that Palestinians have moved even further away from the two-state solution model in favor of the “one-state solution.” And he is even more convinced that Israel has ignored Palestinian suffering and that at the core of the problem is a “Palestinian Holocaust.”

All of this should raise many concerns as to Abbas’ real motivations for declaring the “State of Palestine,” which has been based on false hopes and the deprivation of his own people. In the absence of real state-building and direct talks with Israel we will more likely see a third intifada (which many claim, correctly, is already here) if not full blown war.

This article was originally published by YNet.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Personalities Sports Book Pitches World War II as Lasting Part of Hank Greenberg’s Legacy

    Book Pitches World War II as Lasting Part of Hank Greenberg’s Legacy

    JNS.org – Baseball fans might most vividly remember Hank Greenberg for his chase of Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in 1938 and his other impressive exploits on the field. The smaller universe of Jewish baseball fans may remember him for sitting out a crucial game on Yom Kippur decades before Sandy Koufax would do the same. But author John Klima wants readers of any background to know the unsung story of Greenberg’s World War II service. As indicated by its […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    Can ‘Islamic Reformation’ Work? (REVIEW)

    It is cocktail hour on an April afternoon in 2004. The sun is hot on Amsterdam’s canals, and I am sitting at Café den Leeuw on the Herengracht with Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali is still a member of the Dutch Parliament, and we talk about Islam. Specifically, we talk about the concept of “moderate Islam,” or what she calls “liberal Islam.” And she has one word for it. “It’s absurd,” she says. “It’s complete nonsense. There is no ‘liberal […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    A Look at the Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook (REVIEW)

    Everybody knows that cooking varies from country to country. There are Italian restaurants, Chinese restaurants, etc. We associate different styles of cuisine with different languages. Do we also think of the association of different cuisines with different dialects? We should, because cooking also varies from region to region. Litvaks and Galitsyaners have their own traditions of preparing gefilte fish. Marvin I. Herzog, in his book The Yiddish Language in Northern Poland: Its Geography and History (Indiana University, Bloomington, and Mouton & Co., The […]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    Analysis: Jewish Women Less Likely Than Catholics to Take Husband’s Name

    An analysis of New York Times wedding announcements showed that women married in Jewish ceremonies were less likely to take their husband’s last names than those married in Roman Catholic ceremonies, the Times reported on Saturday. The largest gap between the two groups was in 1995 when 66 percent of Catholic women took their husband’s names and 33 percent of Jewish women did the same. Nearly half of the women featured in the publication’s wedding pages since 1985 took their husband’s name after marriage, while about […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    Jerry Lewis, Legendary Jewish Comic and Humanitarian, Stays Relevant at 89

    JNS.org – Through appreciation of both his comedy and humanitarian work, legendary Jewish entertainer Jerry Lewis is staying relevant at age 89. The only comic to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Lewis added another award to his trophy case in April, when he received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Gordon Smith, NAB’s president and CEO, said the organization was “honored to recognize not only [Lewis’s] comedic innovation, but also his remarkable […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli Gymnasts Win Bronze, Silver Medals at 2015 European Games in Baku

    Israeli athletes marked a successful day on Sunday, as gymnasts won multiple bronze and silver medals in the 2015 European Games in Baku. The Gymnastics team won two silver medals and one bronze in group events, while Neta Rivkin, an Israeli Olympic gymnast, won bronze for the Solo Hoops event. Sunday’s gymnastics wins follow Sergey Richter’s bronze on June 16 for the Men’s 10 meter air-rifle, and Ilana Kratysh’s silver for women’s freestyle wrestling. The 2015 European Games in Baku are […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Report Highlights Success of Russian-Jewish-American Ballroom Dancers

    Russian-American Jews are some of the most successful ballroom dancing competitors in the U.S., South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) Radio reported on Thursday. Jonathan Sarna, a professor of Jewish history at Brandeis University, said their success can be traced back to Jewish discrimination in the former Soviet Union. Because of the prejudice they faced, Russian Jews had to perform better than their peers in every field, including dancing, in order to have a chance of getting ahead. “They knew that if they […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    Israeli Dancer With Shofar, Prayer Shawl Wows ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Judges (VIDEO)

    An Israeli dancer made use of Jewish props in an extraordinary routine that left judges amazed when he auditioned for season 12 of TV dance competition So You Think You Can Dance on Monday. At first, the panel of judges appeared confused when Asaf Goren, 23, began his audition in Los Angeles with a tallit (prayer shawl) over his head and the blowing of a shofar, which he explained “opens the sky” for people’s prayers. However, as soon as he started his “Hebrew breaking” performance, […]

    Read more →