Israeli, Canadian, Software Engineer
First of all, the Arabs rejected the partition plan outright.
Second, they have failed to establish a functioning set of economic and civil institutions that could manage a state, as the Jews did, during the British mandate (their institutions existed in name only, and whatever semblance of function was essentially a dictatorship ran by the Husseini family).
Third, the Arab league organized an invasion that promised to drive the Jews into the sea after which the local inhabitants will take the homes, farmland and women for themselves.
The resulting conflict resulted in the complete decimation of whatever social cohesion and whatever hope of civic leadership to try and establish a modern state.
The Egyptian and Jordanian occupation did nothing to encourage anything in the sort of local governance instead using it either as a way to increase their own power and prestige, and as a launch pad of attacks against the civilian population of the nascent and volnurable Jewish state.
Real estate manager
After WW1 the British planned a Palestinian mandate, which included all of the land which is currently Jordan, Israel, West Bank and Gaza. Churchill thought like a westerner. “Jews and Arabs both live in the region, let’s give each of them a state. Arabs get 80% Jews get 20% everyone will be thrilled.
So….. that didn’t happen.
The Hashemite kingdom gladly took independence from Britain and formed Jordan. Instead of all the Arabs going there however, they turned their focus to the Jews and demanded that they be refused a state. The Arabs who lived in the remaining territory stayed there, confident that if they stood their ground the Jews would be prevented from ever forming their state, and eventually it would be annexed by either Jordan, Egypt, or some and some.
Pressure on the British from their Arab allies mounted, and they sought a way to escape from their commitment to the Jews. They restricted all Jewish immigration and kept a solid military force to keep the peace.
The Jews had just been through the holocaust and were growing impatient, especially with millions of homeless, stateless survivors stranded in Europe.
They started putting pressure on the British, carrying out attacks on British soldiers and infrastructure in Palestine and England.
Gradually the Jews wore away the will and patience of the British and they decided the whole palestine issue was far more trouble than it was worth – and they left. Yay!
Now the issue was turned over to the UN for a vote, and the result was the partition plan. One state for the Jews, and one more for the Arabs. In order to accept, each side had to recognize the others legitimacy.
Here’s what the two states would have looked like:
Jews said “Yes!”
Arabs said “No way, war will solve this pesky Jew problem!”
So the combined armies of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all launched an all out war on the newborn state with the expressed intent of murdering ever last Jew they find, but they got their faces kicked in instead.
The new Israeli state fought hard and against all odds beat back the Arab coalition, and even gained territory.
At the end of the war the borders looked like this:
The UN had expected the Arabs to accept at least what they had been given, and in the event of a war they predicted that the Jews would lose. Neither of those things happened and the situation on the ground was one that no one had anticipated or prepared for. We now have a Jewish state (they accepted the original plan and were officially recognized) and stateless Arabs just sitting there, still refusing to recognize Israel and therefore not being recognized themselves.
Just like in 1947, when the Arabs launched a war against the Jews to eradicate them from the land, since then they have been carrying out whatever attacks they can. Shootings, stabbings, suicide bombs, plane hijackings, kidnappings, decapitations, lynchings, and most notably – rock throwing.
That’s the deal, and that has been the deal ever since. The Arabs have turned down every offer of statehood, because each of them included recognition of Israel. They want a state without having to recognize Israel.
Actually, their chances of ever getting a state dramatically decreased in 1967 when Jordan, Egypt and Syria tried again (idiots) to wipe Israel off the map.
Unlike the war of independence which was basically a stop of the Arab advance, the 1967 war was a complete and total obliteration of the Arab forces. All the territory which had been set aside for the Palestinians was now under Israeli control. Israel even captured some territory belonging to Syria and Egypt.
It looked like this:
Now the Palestinian state was really far off. Unlike pre-1967 when the Arabs would have been able simply to appoint a representative and formally accept Israel and they would have their state, now with Israel having won the territory, they would need to negotiate a deal with Israel in order for them to allow them to build their state.
Some Israeli’s saw the victory of 1967 as permanent, and started building towns and cities in the territories. These are what are commonly know as “Settlements”.
The settlements are the simply the latest development in the conflict. To some they are a reflection of the lack of faith in the Palestinians desire for a peaceful state. For others they are simply territory won in a war, and they now belong solely and unapologetically to Israel. Some Israelis however, are against settling and building in those territories, and believe regardless of right or wrong – it makes peace less likely.
The public Arab position since 1967 has been that the settlements are the reason there is no peace. One does have to wonder how anyone can take this seriously if the aggression against the Jews has been constant – before and after the war of ’67 or any settlements ever existed.
Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz
I have lived in Israel since 1991 and write about the politics.
It was. The Palestinians turned it down. They have been offered a state in this land 5 times and have turned it down each time. This begs the question, if they don’t want a state, what do they really want?