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Ground realities
Israel's claim is devoid of any legal foundations, but...

By Iqbal Latif
April 3, 2002
The Iranian

Dr Mr Radmehrian,

I thank you for your passionate arguments in favour of the Palestinian cause [Human nature]. However I will like to elaborate a little further if that may help to clear some aspects of my article! You misinterpreted the gist of my article. It was not a treatise on the wrongdoings on the Israelis or the Palestinians; it took a decidedly neutral stance on that conflict. It only highlighted the ineffectual leadership of the Palestinians and that of the Arab world in general and the infeasibility of their policies. It intended to trace the route of the suicide bombing (which shall be done in the next article) and raised some poignant issues not considered by the mainstream participants in the conflict of the Levant.

On your comments -- "The one reality that drives this whole mess in the Middle Eastern conflict is 'occupation'" -- Let's look at the history little objectively. Britain, unable and unwilling to continue its governance of Palestine, requested the United Nations to take steps to resolve the communal conflict between Palestinians and Zionists.

In 1947, the United Nations General Assembly resolved, by a two-thirds majority, to endorse the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state (Resolution No. 181). Israel and its supporters say that the Palestinian rejection of the Partition Plan in 1947 was tantamount to their forfeiture of any future claim to Palestine. Now if this is forced occupation, I think we need to condemn the UN General Assembly resolution for creation of Israel.

Now the religious issue as far what God promised Jews and what Allah promised Muslims are little complicated things outside the mortal comprehension of man like me. These are issue that resides in dark era of human history. I like to take references and learn form our past mistakes to make corrective measures for future. The disagreements range from the nature of British mandate over Palestine and it is said that it was not ownership; they had no legitimate basis to dispose of it. Therefore state of Israel has no moral or legal legitimacy. Its instigation in 1948 was based on scheming and political machination.

However the Palestinians forget completely to mention the United Nations General Assembly resolved, by a two-thirds majority, to endorse the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state (Resolution No. 181). They keep harping the same old script that the impetus for the reestablishment of Israel was the Russian pogroms of the late 19th and early 20th century. The final impetus was the holocaust in Europe.

I am not here building a case that who occupied what but if we go by how nations are made and destroyed, UN and League of Nations mandates have been very important. We cannot overlook the basis of the recent creation of Israel through a 2/3rd mandated UN general assembly resolution, the very reason that you overlook this fact and call Israeli land as occupied is self-denial. Since 1948 war after war imposed by ineffective Arabs lost every time huge chunk of territory.

These wars created more refuges amongst the territories newly occupied as spoils of war. Now in war and gambling game of roulette once you are loser the winner takes the spoils and the bets of losers goes higher. My article deals with habit of losing that becomes a part of some nation consciousness, become a habitual loser is quite enigmatic.

I concede that the actual accomplishment of the establishing of the modern bigger state of Israel after 1948 war and "economic boycott" was based purely and simply on superior military force. More bombs, more tanks, more aircraft and better military tactics. I argue that national self-realisation of adversary strength should lead to realistic objectives. Israel's claim that since the Palestinians rejected the partition resolution it therefore has is a claim devoid of any legal foundations.

Israel by wining the wars, called the expanded territories as spoils of war. Now, I hate ot condone the spoils of war analogy but I do profess that at certain times in life of nations, self reflection and self assessment of their strength and weaknesses is very important, the failure to do so leads to one way street of destruction unfortunately Palestinians and their Arab brethren never did that self appraisal.

My whole notion has been that the Palestinian leadership could have maintained more pragmatic relationship knowing that more than 400,000 Palestinians still lived in 1947 mandated territories by UN to Israel. By imposing a war they could not be won not once in 1948, 1967 and 1973 they lost the umpteenth opportunity to create confidence and trust with the Jews, which is and was the requirement of the day. They are as human and as loving as we all are, ask the Bosnians Muslims and Albanian Muslims in recent Serbian based aggression, the Jews of the world did more for their survival than all of the 1.23 billon people efforts put together.

The Palestinians continue to claim their ancestry to Abraham as the basis of their right of refusal to accept the partition, the others find equally strong pedigree to claim their roots from. However, permanent state of war breed hatred and once hatred and venom comes in to play between relationships of nations things intensify. I am unable to adjudicate between historical arguments with God prescribed texts and Allah authenticated verdicts, those are impossible to resolve, the very reason that it all got so messed up was that Palestinians being Arab speaking were encouraged by Arabs like Iraqi, Syrians and others to be used as cannon fodder.

Their own leadership played a dirty role undoubtedly but if they would have pragmatically looked at their weaknesses and tried peace the two people nearly a distant cousins could have been great neighbours. The very venom and very effort to destroy Israel has caused irreparable damage to the Palestinian cause. The Arab-Israeli war of 1948 took away the rights of the Palestinians and provided the excuse to Israel to expand. I think that this very thinking of every Muslim thinks that he does no wrong and history has been unfair to him perhaps is the self-pity that keeps self-destruction the biggest game in the town unfortunately.

Regarding the assimilation of the Palestinians in their new homes, I only mentioned that it was curious as to why the Palestinians could not integrate into the nations occupied by the kinsmen. Population transfers have been a hallmark of the previous century and in fact the Palestinians would've been able to be absorbed with great ease in the Arab states, due to the similarity in language, custom and religion. The fact remains that the Palestinian struggle would have been in no way undermined if they were made citizens of their host countries, instead it would have been strengthened, as they would have had a stronger economic and social base with which to carry out their resistance.

Your analogy between the Palestinians situation and the Federation's antagonism to the Borg is spurious. My progeny are tremendous fans of Star Trek and as a result I am acquainted with the species Borg. The Borg are senseless assimilators, whose ambitions are bent on Galactic conquest. They have no ability to rationalise and share no common ground with the human species, which is why the Federation has consistently maintained its hostile attitude towards the Borg.

I would also like to remind that when the opportunity arose to negotiate with the Borg, the Star Trek "Voyager" did so in order to preserve itself. I do not wish to discuss the psyche driving "aliyah' however it would stand to reason that the continued feature of anti Semitism in nearly every country in the world was a driving factor in establishing a Jewish haven, based on the historic reality of Israel. This in no way validates their seizure of Palestinian land nonetheless the Palestinians rejected every proposal in order to pursue idealistic, and not to mention unpractical, dreams.

I would like to pose a counter-question to you! Now that Jewish immigrants have successfully settled Israel what is your solution to this pressing dilemma, expel every Jewish person from the Levant? You astutely state that "In addition to the frustration stemming from occupation, there is the huge problem of mistreatment, economic injustice, prejudicial treatment by the administrative and governmental entities, unfair water rights and usage, unfair educational opportunities and many other facts on the ground that have led to the frustration and suffocation of the Palestinians into the current rage."

The economic, social and administrative failure is directly sourced to the failure of the Palestinian leadership, throughout every generation since the Jewish settlement of the historic Palestine, to accept the current political reality and adjust their policies accordingly, which was the underlying message in my article in the

You subliminally attempt the justify the current wave of suicide bombing by comparing the settlements, of the occupied territories by the Israelis, to that of a hypothetical colonisation, of European lands by the Nazis Germans, and I personally find that quite astonishing. Israel, despite its many shortcomings, is a democratic state and the Palestinian cause could revert to that of a peaceful movement without being repressed. Under Nazi totalitarianism, no dissent was tolerated especially from the "non-Germanic inferior" nations or their citizens. Thus there would have been no other recourse but opposition through violence!

My narration of Granada's fall is very effective in illustrating the danger of a leadership remaining under a delusion of greatness and invincibility, that is what I see in Palestinian polity, failure to adept to ground realities that what was the fault of the last Umayyad of Granada. The fall of Granada was of such import that even after 700 years of Muslim rule not only Muslim principality remained in the Iberian Peninsula. The obstinacy of the Palestinians could very well mean the mutual destruction of the all parties concerned in the Middle East and that of a habitable West Asia.

I thank you for your letter and your well thought-out opinions but my raison d'etre still stands and my article remains germane as a guide to the unsettling events in the Middle East.


Iqbal Latif

Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer Iqbal Latif


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Darkest day
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What money can't buy
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