(Second) Partition Plan Made Simple
Once upon a time, there was a huge piece of land that was taken under wing by arrogant European has-been empires when they successfully destroyed a rival empire. They divvied up the land and told the world they would hold it in trust for the indigenous peoples of those regions.One of these was named the Mandate of Palestine by the trustees. It was supposed to be a homeland for the Jewish people given that it was sitting on our ancestral lands.
The neighbours did not like what they saw — those Jews! “There goes the neighbourhood,” they exclaimed!
The Arabs protested to the British, who then cut up the land into a larger piece and a smaller piece, using the Jordan River as a convenient dividing line. They did not ask the Jews which piece they wanted – you know, unlike the wise parent of two children fighting over the last piece of cake. The parent tells one kid to cut the cake and the other kid gets to choose his or her half. In this case, the Jews were unconcerned with the difference in size between the two pieces of the Mandate. If given the choice, they would have selected the piece they got in any case, for that was the piece with the bulk of the lands of historical significance to us:
The Jews were prepared to continue the work they had already begun in developing the infrastructure of their new modern state. However, the Arabs just could not let it go. So the British came up with what came to be called The Partition Plan. It was really the SECOND partition plan, the first having already been executed and the keys to the newly invented kingdom having been given to the Hashemites in the 1920s, the deal signed finally in 1947.
We know that the Jews agreed to the second partition. But has anybody considered which half the Jews would have taken if they had been offered the choice? Let us look at the map showing the originally intended two-state solution (after already having a two-state-solution, i.e., Jordan and Israel — do not forget this detail):
You cannot step on any piece of dirt, or jump from one rock to another, in any part of the land west of the Jordan River without the strong likelihood that our Israelite ancestors walked across or tilled the soil in that very spot. That was way before the Muslim Conquest brought the Arabs raging across the lands that they would forever-after claim was theirs, lying about having been there before the Jews.
Among other important ancient Hebrew towns, the lands that were offered to the Arabs, marked in yellow on the map above, contained the second-most important piece of real estate upon which our indigenous culture was established and developed, Hebron. Other significant ancient towns were put into what was supposed to be the Jewish part of the partition: Tsfat, Tiberias, and Beersheva. Jerusalem, our capital city for eons was deemed too valuable to be kept in Jewish hands and so was supposed to be made an eternal international protectorate, accessible to the Jews only by going through the Arab part of the partition.
It would have been an excruciating decision to make had they been asked to: would the Jewish leaders of 1947 have chosen to hold onto Hebron and certain access to Jerusalem? We will never know. Anxious to have any part of our ancient homeland as a modern state, they accepted the crumbs offered us.
It almost parallels the “this baby is mine” case brought before King Solomon for judgement. Almost. The Arabs rejected partition, saying they would not cut the baby in half; that is true. But a land is not a baby. A land can be divided and it will not die. Just the people on it.
At the same time, I cannot imagine what it would have been like had the Arabs accepted the Second Partition Plan. How would it have felt to stand as close to Jerusalem as one could get, on the border of the second Arab Palestinian state that would have arisen, barely able to see Jerusalem and certainly unable to smell it and taste it and hear it? For have no doubt, it would not have remained “international” for very long, and the Arabs would not have let us in. But still, we were willing to accept crumbs as long as we could have independence as a free nation.
The Second Partition Plan was conceivable because the 1947 Jews somehow could not believe that we no longer needed to ask anyone for permission to live and breathe. The longevity of the Two-State-Solution Myth is because many of us still cannot get that we are a sovereign nation and need not beg others to recognize our right to exist as such.
The Second Partition Plan died when the Arabs rejected it and they cannot resuscitate it with a doomed Two-State “Solution”. End of chapter. Turning the page and moving on . . . and hopefully growing a pair, finally.