Relations did not just deteriorate, however. The Palestinian Arabs led by the Grand Mufti Haj Amin el Husseini launched a three-year bloody revolt in 1936. The aim of this protracted violence was to completely terminate Jewish settlement and Jewish immigration in Palestine. According to best estimates the Arab population in Palestine circa 1937 was around 900,000.
The British authorities stopped the Arab violence in the final analysis but the Arabs also got what they wanted. The British White Paper of 1939 closed the door on Jewish immigration to Mandatory Palestine. Tragically, this policy was implemented by the Mandate Authorities precisely when Hitler was starting his plan to annihilate European Jewry. Palestine was the only refuge for Europe’s threatened Jews, but the British White Paper of 1939 just slammed the door in their faces and left them to their fate.
A limit of 75,000 Jewish immigrants was set for the five-year period 1940-1944, consisting of a regular yearly quota of 10,000, and a supplementary quota of 25,000, spread out over the same period, to cover refugee emergencies. After this cut-off date, further immigration would depend on the permission of the Arab majority. Restrictions were also placed on the rights of Jews to buy land from Arabs.
The UN decision to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish states and the termination of the British Mandate led to Israel’s War of Independence. Israel’s victory was instrumental in opening the floodgates of Jewish immigration to the country from Europe as well as the Arab countries – an estimated 700,000 Jewish immigrants settled in Israel immediately following the war. The country’s Jewish population doubled.
Simultaneously, the Arab population of the country shrank. On account of the war for Israel’s independence an estimated 400,000 local Arabs fled the country and settled in neighboring Arab countries, including the Jordanian held West Bank and the Egyptian held Gaza Strip. The Arabs who remained in the territory of the state of Israel in 1949-1950 numbered less than 200,000. Today Israel’s total population numbers around 7 million and around 1.5 million are Israeli Arab citizens.
Declaration of war
However, according to Prof. Dan Schueftan Israel’s Arab citizens are far from being at peace with their status as citizens of the Jewish state.
"On the political level, we have no option for a solution on the issue of Arabs in Israel," Schueftan asserts today. "They are unwilling to accept a solution that is less than what is perceived as the Jewish nation-state's suicide. We are dealing with an especially difficult branch of the complete rejection of the Jewish state in the Arab world."
Schueftan claims that the use of universal messages such as "a state of all its citizens" hides a wholly different notion: An attempt to establish a bi-national state on the ruins of the Jewish state that will gradually change its demographic balance by rejecting the Law of Return and adopting the right of return. In the following phase, he says, the new demographic balance will dictate an Arab state. Despite the growing integration into Israel's society and economy, Israel's Arabs are committed to undermining the Jewish state's current format, he says.
Meanwhile, since 1964, when the PLO was established, the Palestinian leadership has spearheaded a barbaric and deadly violent effort to undermine the existence of Israel and replace it with an Arab Muslim state. Since the 1980s the PLO was joined by Islamic terrorist organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whose aim also is to eliminate Israel.
But while Palestinian terrorists employ ruthless Islamic violence and Israel’s Arab leaders don’t, their aims coincide. Hamas, Fatah and many Israeli Arabs both aim for a political settlement where there will be one state for two peoples and perhaps no Jewish people at all.
The consequences of this are that Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state, and the people of Israel will be subjugated to the wishes of an Arab regime operating an Islamic government. Benny Morris encapsulates what will happen if measures are not taken to block this trend:
“The effacement of the Jewishness of Palestine has characterized the Palestinian Arab national movement since it began. They want complete deletion of the Jewish presence in and history of the country…”
At present, the players in the Arab versus Jewish statehood drama are poised for the UN General Assembly session in September. In theory, unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state in the UN is aimed to achieve a two-state solution that will adequately serve the political and demographic needs of the Jewish and Palestinian populations in the area of Mandatory Palestine.
But there is a tremendous gaping hole between theory and practice in this case because the Palestinians have no intention of living in peace and coexistence with the people of Israel. Their national ethos lacks even one drop of good will for peace or coexistence with Israel. Their turning to the UN unilaterally to obtain a statehood declaration is the most hostile move they can possibly undertake. Its aim is, in the final analysis, not two states for two peoples but the submergence of the Jewish state under Palestinian Islamic rule.
Indeed, the Palestinian declaration of statehood in the UN in September is in fact a declaration of war against Israel. This is also, unfortunately, how many Israeli Arabs understand the situation. On this issue, also unfortunately, the aims of the two Arab sectors coincide.
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