Some say God promised the land to both the Palestinians and the Israelis. Some say it was the British. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British-Mandate-for-Palestine-(legal-instrument). No matter the provenance, it appears that the promised land indeed overlapped – with Palestine having had claim to all of the land that is Israel and Jordan, and Israel having had claim to all of the land designated as Palestine. http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/jordan.html Given the circumstances, Bill Clinton stated the obvious, “there is no choice but … to divide this land into two states for two people” – (the Arab State of Palestine and the Jewish State of Israel). Unfortunately, intolerance perpetuated by distrust makes this logical outcome near impossible.
Over 60 years of endless fighting created generations that have only known the other nation as the “enemy”, a brutal people who cannot be trusted. Without rehashing all the reasons for this distrust, two bear mentioning.
Immediately upon the creation of Israel, the Palestinians with the aid of Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries invaded Israel in the hopes of claiming the land that is Israel for Palestine. They lost, the “Cataclysm” – the exile of the Palestinians began, and the Palestinians became a people without a country as Egypt annexed the Gaza Strip and Jordan annexed the West Bank, both land masses designated as part of Palestine. From that point forward, the Palestinians with their “friends” fought the common enemy, Israel, by many means, including military attacks (both airborne and ground) across the Israeli borders. With each incursion, Israel’s distrust of the Arab world continues to grow.
In June 1967, Israel, acting on its distrust, initiated a military campaign in which Israel (a) destroyed the air forces of Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, (b) beat the Egyptian army in the Sinai Desert, (c) cleared the West Bank of Jordanian forces, and (d) captured the Golan Heights from Syria. After signing a peace treaty with Egypt, Israel returned Sinai to Egypt. See, www.historylearningsite.co.uk/six_day_war_1967.htm. Hoping to augment the security of its borders, Israel annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Arab world as well as some in the international community consider these actions violations of the Oslo Accords and the Fourth Geneva Convention. For the most part, the Israeli occupation continues with the establishment and expansion of settlements on Palestine designated land. Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement. With each expansion and creation of settlements, the Palestinians’ distrust of Israel continues to grow.
Israel requires safe borders, and Palestine requires the curtailment and dismantling of settlements – a simple enough agenda for peace. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. See, http://nyti.ms/101c1Dn. Peace is only possible if the two-nation solution is a viable option, and the two-nation solution is only a viable option if each nation can tolerate the other’s existence. When Hamas screams, “One State, No Jews”, http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/12/10/hamas-doubles-down-on-its-one-state-no-jews-peace-plan/, and the Arab world constantly blames Israel for every evil, it’s hard to envision a Palestine that is willing to live side by side with Israel. When allegations of Israeli racism against its Arab citizens are deemed proven by, for example, the Israeli government’s introduction of a “Palestinian-only” bus line for workers entering Israel from the West Bank, Israel makes it expotentially more difficult for the Palestinian people to ever accept Israel as a neighbor. See, http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/05/17194265-a-palestinian-rosa-parks-is-needed-israels-segregated-buses-spark-outrage?lite.
Both sides continue to lose when vital resources are diverted from building flourishing societies by the waging of war. As Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, has asked “where does it say that Palestinians should live in squalid conditions?” It’s time for a free, independent and prosperous Palestine and for Israel, a nation born of survivors, to exist among people who no longer vow its extinction.