Saturday, March 08, 2014
How Israel Saved 'Palestine'
The Palestinians' Real Enemies - Efraim Karsh
Had Israel lost its war of independence in 1948, its territory would have been divided among the invading Arab forces. The name Palestine would have vanished into the dustbin of history.
By surviving the pan-Arab assault, Israel paradoxically saved the Palestinian national movement from complete oblivion. After the war, the Arab states continued to manipulate the Palestinian national cause to their own ends. Neither Egypt nor Jordan allowed Palestinian self-determination in the parts of Palestine they occupied. In the West Bank, King Abdullah of Jordan moved to erase all traces of Palestinian Arab identity. On April 4, 1950, he formally annexed the territory and its residents became Jordanian citizens.
In Egyptian-occupied Gaza, the Palestinians were kept under oppressive military rule. "The Palestinians are useful to the Arab states as they are," President Gamal Abdel Nasser told a Western reporter. "We will always see that they do not become too powerful. Can you imagine yet another nation on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean?"
The writer is professor of Middle East and Mediterranean studies at King's College London and professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University.
(Middle East Quarterly)