Yesterday, in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish State , Dena Takruri, Senior Presenter at A.J. Plus, tweeted: “Netanyahu says Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state. In case you didn’t know, 20% of the Israel’s citizens are Palestinian.” Tragically, Takruri (pictured above) and the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to recognize a Jewish state illustrates the core problem of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Unfortunately, Palestinians have been rejecting the idea of a Jewish State since before they decided to identify as Palestinian. That is very ironic, because the creation of a Jewish state not only led to emergence of the collective Palestinian identity we see today, but it also led to the liberation of the local Arabs from the oppressive yoke of the Ottoman Empire, which occupied that part of the Middle East from 1516 until 1918. It was not until the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which promised both the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and no prejudice to “the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine,” that the local Arabs were first guaranteed the right to take part in a Palestinian state.
Additionally, it also must be noted that the Arabs destined to live under the British Mandate for Palestine enjoyed superior rights to all the other Arabs living under British rule at the time. After the war, Britain’s other territories in the Middle East consisted of Egypt, Trans-Jordan, and Iraq, all of which were destined to become monarchies under their respective mandates. Under a monarchy the people are merely subjects of a king, with little rights if any to take part in the governance of the monarchy. There are some Monarchies, like Britain, that do offer their subjects a substantial right to govern through a parliament, but Jordan’s King Abudllah II dissolved his parliament in 2016.
Sadly, rather than joining Jews and fighting for their right to an independent homeland under the Balfour Declaration (see NY Times), the local Arabs resisted to their collective detriment. This resistance led to Arab riots in the 1920s, the Arab revolt in the late 1930s, the Arab rejection of the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947, an all out war in 1947, and eventually the Nakba of 1948.
Palestinians, like Takruri, dispute this and claim they were always Palestinian. Takruri even went so far as to posit that Jesus might have been a Palestinian (see her video: “Christians in Palestine—Yes they exist.”). However, if Palestinians, like Takruri, were historically Palestinian, then they need to ask themselves some hard questions. If they historically identified as Palestinian, then why did their grandparents run away so quickly from a war they started in 1948 rather than defend their historic homeland? Why is it that the Jews stayed and defended Palestine from the overwhelming force of five invading Arab armies (Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria)? Perhaps, it is because the Jews truly recognized Palestine as their homeland, while the local Arabs did not.
If only the Palestinian Authority, Takruri, and other Palestinians would finally recognize the Jewish State, we could, perhaps, put this long conflict to rest and bring about a reconciliation. Sadly, Palestinians are not ready to join Israel and the World in recognizing the Jewish Homeland, a recognition that was made a hundred years ago in the Balfour Declaration and reaffirmed in international law by the United Nations in Resolution 181.