Harry S Truman said "that an expert was a fella who was afraid to learn anything new because then he wouldn't be an expert anymore". Think about it: an expert is often someone unwilling to learn from past experience, especially from past mistakes in the area of his expertise.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". It doesn't require a genius to make this common sense observation.

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Putting those two quotes together is the framework of how I view those foreign affairs "experts" who "know" how the Arab-Israeli conflict can be resolved. Those experts "know" the final parameters of peace – they even claim that everyone knows them. It's all so simple, and if you can't see it you are considered to be either a head-in-the sand simpleton or evil ideologue.

The supposed solution that the experts all "know" is called the "two-state solution" – resolving the conflict by dividing the land between the Jews and the Arabs, specifically those presently termed "Palestinians".

If that was true, if the "experts" knew anything you and I don't know, then the conflict would have been solved long ago, but the experts are wrong.

Back during WWI, when the British were seeking allies in every nook and cranny, they promised much of the Ottoman Empire in Asia to a particular family in Arabia in exchange for a revolt against the Turks. The "Great Arab Revolt" was basically a bust, but the Arabs still received the areas today known as Iraq, Syria and the Arabian Peninsula. A tiny percent of the land under Ottoman rule was promised to other indigenous peoples who were neither Arabic nor Muslim. The tiny area known today as Lebanon was reserved for the Maronites; the Holy Land was to be returned to the Jews. Clearly well over 90% of the former Ottoman lands went to Arab sovereignty with just a tiny percent of land – the ancient Jewish homeland revived in the modern age by the Jews – going to the Jews.

At first the Arab leaders negotiating with the British Empire agreed, but then reneged on their agreement. In 1920, Arabs in the Holy Land claiming to be "Southern Syria" rioted and killed Jews. A year later came another wave of killings, rape and pillage, in which 47 Jews were killed and 140 wounded. Yet the British caved in to the Arab violence, starting their path of trying to appease tyranny both big and small. As a result the first attempt at a "two state solution" was made in 1922: all of the land east of the Jordan River was detached from the rest of the mandate. That closed off 75% of the original mandate to Jewish land-purchase and immigration. That was to be the Arab state, everything to the west the truncated Jewish homeland. The Jews accepted what was left for them, but the Arabs didn't want to share anything in the Middle East with anyone who wasn't Muslim-Arabic.

The second time was 1937 when the "experts" of the Peel Commission suggested a second partition of the Jewish homeland. The land developed by the Jews – a minority of the land – would be the Jewish state, the large remainder the Arab state. The Peel Commission also suggested population exchanges on the model of the 1923 Greek-Turkish population exchanges of about two million people. Again the Jews accepted, preferring something to nothing in the face of the looming Nazi threat, but the Arabs rejected the proposal. They wanted all and nothing: all for them, nothing for the Jews.

The third partition proposed by the "experts" was in 1947: the Jews accepted, the Arabs took no steps to establishing an Arab Palestine, taking only steps to annihilate the nascent Jewish state. After the Arab-initiated war there was no Arab initiative to establish an Arab Palestine between 1948 and 1967.

Since 1967 the "experts" know that only if Israel surrenders the heartland its homeland, Judea and Samaria, in favor of an Arab state, will there be peace. The Arab side has rejected all Israeli offers, as recently as in 2000 and again in 2008.

Perhaps a new fella who isn't afraid to learn something new should take a realistic look at the Middle East, realizing that it has nothing to do with creating two states?
 
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