Israel and Its First Peoples, the Jews, Are Not the Problem

(Australian Jewish News) Nyunggai Warren Mundine - Australia helped create Israel. In 1917 Australian soldiers helped defeat the Ottoman Empire's 400-year occupation of Palestine. Australia cast the first UN General Assembly vote for the partition plan in 1947. So I was disappointed that during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit, some Labor luminaries called on Australia to formally recognize a Palestinian state. Symbolic recognition of a state when none exists is a hollow gesture that doesn't confront the elephant in the room: Palestinian leadership doesn't really support a two-state solution. Likewise, most Arab nations. They won't recognize Israel's right to exist. The partition plan was a compromise in the face of Arab opposition to a Jewish state. Jews accepted the partition. Arabs didn't, wanting an Arab state only. Arab nations immediately invaded Israel. After the 1967 war Israel offered to return everything except east Jerusalem in exchange for recognition. Arab leaders refused. Israel has been under constant threat, surrounded by countries who would drive it off the face of the earth. The Palestinian Authority rewards Palestinians for attacking Israeli citizens with generous monthly payments. Conceding Jewish claims to Jerusalem means acknowledging Jews' ancient and continuing presence there, contradicting Arab propaganda that Jews are interlopers in Israel, not its first peoples who lived there for millennia before Arab colonization. Palestinian intransigence has repeatedly stood in the way of statehood. If not overcome, there'll never be a Palestinian state. Israel has ceded settlements and land but will never cede its right to exist. The writer is an Australian Aboriginal leader and the former national president of the Australian Labor Party.

2017-03-10 00:00:00

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