After months of arguments in favor and opposing, pleas and petitions, November 29, 1947 the United Nations voted to approve Resolution 181, the partition of a Jewish state and Arab state. The vote was 33 in favor, 13 opposed and 10 abstentions. Quite naturally the Resolution was rejected by the Arab nations, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran and others.
The following year in 1948 Israel declared its independence which was followed by an invasion by 6 Arab nations, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. The war ended in January 1949 with Israel being victorious and acquiring an additional 2,500 square miles to the original territory allocated by the UN.
The passing of Resolution 181 marked the beginning of what has become one of the longest and definitely embroiled ethnic conflicts since Moses parted the Red Sea. Ironically, contrary to popular belief, Arabs and Jews had been living side-by-side for years under the British Palestine Mandate. Imagine that — Arabs and Jews co-existing. No Katyusha rockets, suicide bombings or air strikes. Given the current climate it’s difficult to even imagine such a paradigm.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one which seems to take center stage of all the world’s squabbles. It is one that seems to evoke more emotion, on both sides of the aisle. On November 4, 1995 Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated for his attempts to bring about a peace agreement between the two states. His assassin, Yigal Amir, claimed Rabin’s actions defied Jewish law. Just recently a visit by Egypt’s grand mufti, Ali Gomaa, to Jerusalem sparked outrage amongst Arab leaders, calling for his resignation. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called the visit a “catastrophe” which undermined Palestine’s aspirations for independence. It seems as though there is no middle ground anymore. No room for compromise. Only “us” against “them”.
Both sides say they want peace, but then command an enumeration of pre-requisites before any actual talks of peace can even begin. Not exactly the preface needed for bringing about reconciliation. Benjamin Netanyahu has made it unequivocally clear he has no intentions to halt settlements, a position which by all appearances undermines any possibility of peace. On the other hand Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has laid the freezing of settlement construction as a term for peace talks, in addition called for unity with opposition leadership Hamas, a move which Israel says would halt peace negotiations.
So we take one step forward and three steps back. And who carries the burden of this inertia? Who pays the price? The citizenry. The sons of every day people. The soldiers. And although we salute our fallen heroes every year, we pay tribute to them for the ultimate sacrifice they make, sing songs and light candles in their honor, what greater honor could be bestowed than peace? Peace, the true measure of independence. Until there is peace there is no freedom. There is no Yom Haatzmaut.
Mikki Israel is an American-Israeli or Israeli-American, depending on the circumstances. Mikki currently resides in Israel but comes to the U.S. whenever Israelis become too annoying, then returns after the Americans have become a headache. She is a featured writer for Borderless News and Views, and a freelance writer for whatever media outlet is brave enough to print the news — minus the spin.