A SECOND PALESTINE

by Boris Shusteff

On May 6, 1998 speaking via satellite from Washington to a gathering of Arab and Israeli youths in Villars, Switzerland, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said that she supports the eventual creation of an independent Palestinian state. In remarks released by US officials she stated: "I think it will be in the long-term interests of the Middle East for Palestine to be a state, and for it to be a state that is responsible for its citizens' well-being ... a state that has to accept the responsibility of governing."

Mrs. Clinton likes to make sophisticated statements. She thinks, for example, that "it takes a village" to raise a child. Now she thinks that it takes twenty two Arab States to make peace with Israel; that somehow, after a second Palestinian state is established, peace will descend on the Middle East.In one of her other remarks she said, "I think it is very important to always ask yourselves, 'Is what I am being asked to do honest and right and ethical?'" So let us ask Mrs. Clinton, "Is it honest, right and ethical to create a second Palestinian state?" Maybe it is more ethical to create a state for the Basques, or the Kurds first? Why is it necessary to satisfy the desires of Yasser Arafat and the PLO, who are committed to Israel's destruction?

It is important to be honest. For the sake of honesty let us return to the year 1974, let us enter the halls of United Nations General Assembly and listen to Yosef Tekoah, the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations at that time. On November 13, 1974, Tekoah delivered an address in which he thoroughly explained to the world that a Palestinian state already existed. The excerpts that follow are from this address:

"No nation has enjoyed greater fulfillment of its political rights, no nation has been endowed with territory, sovereignty and independence more abundantly, then the Arabs. Of common language, culture, religion and origin, the Arab nation stormed out of its birthland in the seventh century and conquered one people after another until its rule encompassed the entire Arab peninsula, the Fertile Crescent and North Africa. As a result of centuries of acquisition of territory by war, the Arab nation is represented in the United Nations by twenty sovereign States. Among them is also the Palestinian Arab State of Jordan. Geographically and ethnically Jordan is Palestine. Historically both the West and East Banks of the Jordan River are parts of the land of Israel or Palestine. . The population of Jordan is composed of two elements - the sedentary population and nomads. Both are, of course, Palestinian. The nomad Bedouin constitute a minority of Jordan's population. Moreover, the majority of the sedentary inhabitants, even of the East Bank, are of Palestinian West Bank origin. Without the Palestinians, Jordan is a State without a people. "

On August 23,1959, the Prime Minister of Jordan stated, "We are the Government of Palestine, the army of Palestine and the refugees, indeed the majority of Palestinian refugees never left Palestine, but moved as a result of the 1948 and 1967 wars from one part of the country to another. It is therefore false to allege that the Palestinian people has been deprived of a State of its own or that it has been uprooted from its national homeland. Most Palestinians continue to live in Palestine.Most Palestinians continue to live in a Palestinian State. The vast majority of Palestinian Arabs are citizens of that Palestinian State."Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan," declared on December 9, 1970, the late Dr. Kadri Toukan, a prominent West Bank leader and former Foreign Minister of Jordan.

Mr. Anwar Nusseibi, another Palestinian West Bank personality and a former Jordanian Defense Minister, stated on October 23, 1970: "The Jordanians are also Palestinians. This is one State. This is one people. The name is not important. The families living in Salt, Irbid and Karak maintain not only family and matrimonial ties with the families in Nablus and Hebron. They are one people."

Like all other branches of the Arab nation, the Palestinians too possess the political entity within which they exercise their national, political and cultural rights.

For Arafat and the PLO, the second Palestinian state issue is a main weapon in the unending war against the Jewish state. For strategic reasons they do not like to recall that in May of 1965 Ahmad Shuqairy, the first President of the PLO, told the Palestine National Council meeting in Cairo, "our Jordanian brothers are actually Palestinians." They do not want to be reminded of their failure to wrest power from Jordan's King Hussein and to replace Jordan with "Palestine." Shuqairy said in his speech on Radio Cairo on June 17, 1966, that this was supposed to be "the first essential step towards the liberation of Palestine;" for him Palestine was a country, "whose proper boundaries were the Mediterranean on the West and the Syrian Desert on the East."

Today Arafat and the PLO still have the same design for "Palestine."The person who understands the situation better than anybody else is Jordan's King Hussein. The Palestinian Arabs constitute almost 70% of Jordan's population and Hussein realizes that the day might come when the Hashemites may be forced to give full power to the Palestinian Arabs. The Jordan Times published excerpts from King Hussein's address to army troops on February 21, 1998. He said, "On the western side of the river, if anything happens there, the remaining Palestinian people will come to Jordan, which will then be considered a substitute homeland for the Palestinians, and Jordan will be finished."

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), forty-one percent of Palestinian "refugees" are residents of Jordan, of whom some 250,000 live in camp settlements and 1,500,000 in Amman, al-Zarqa', and Irbid. These so-called refugees enjoy the same rights as all of the King's other subjects. Tekoah said in his address, "Certain Palestinians might be unhappy with their system of government, with the constitutional structure of their State or with its leadership. This, however, can in no way substantiate a claim that the Palestinian Arabs have been shorn of their rights as a people." It is fashionable to speak about UN Resolution 181, which called for the creation in Palestine of two states for two peoples. There are two states in Palestine. One state - the bigger one, Jordan - is an Arab one inhabited mainly by the Palestinian Arabs. The other state - three times smaller - is a Jewish state, the only state in the world where the Jews constitute the majority of the population. To allow the creation of one more state for the Palestinian Arabs in a territory where there are already two states, is equivalent to signing a death warrant for the Jewish state. After the creation of a second state for the Palestinian Arabs, a third one will immediately take an prominent place on the Arabs' agenda. This time in lieu of Israel, aren't the Arabs living in Israel Palestinian Arabs, too? [05/07/98]

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Boris Shusteff is an engineer in upstate New York. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies.



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