This week is an extremely important one for both the Palestinians and the Israelis. This Friday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas goes before the United Nations and demands the creation of a homeland for his people. They want the West Bank as their own, with Jerusalem as their capital. The fact that the actual name of the West Bank is Samaria and Judea mean nothing to them. They want it. To understand the nature of the problem, you have to look back at the facts of history. You need to know what actually happened to make the Palestinians stateless.
The concept of Zionism began in the late 1890's, when many Jews wanted to immigrate back to their homeland, then called Palestine. The region was ruled by the Ottoman Empire, and seeing a way of making money, began selling land in Palestine to foundations to place Jewish people there. It was worthless land, not suitable for farming, or so they thought. So the sheiks of teh Ottoman Empire thought they would sell the land to the Jews, then get it back as they abandoned the land and left. Problem was, after many years of working the land, it started to pay off. The Jews were turning the worthless swampland into farmable land. They began building cities. Tel Aviv was built. It was provided with electricity. The Palestinian people saw definite benefits and those who were near Jewish communities prospered.
Meanwhile in the rest of the world, war was going on. Many of the Jewish men fought along side of the British forces in the area during the First World War, mainly against the Germans with Arab help. The Mufti of Jerusalem, the muslim leader of the area, had long led the effort to push the Jews out of the country, continued the effort during the war with raids on Jewish communities.
With the end of World War I, Great Britain received the mandate to govern the area of Palestine. They imposed a quota system on Jewish immigration, forgetting promises made to them for their own homeland. The raids by Arabs against Jewish communities continued, under guidance of the Mufti and the Arab League. Even then, the Palestinians believed their bullying tactics would prevail.
In the late 30's, The Arab League and the Mufti found a new alliance in Nazi Germany. The Germans wanted the natural resources of the area and had no love for the Jewish People. But, Palestine was still under British control. As war broke out again, the bulk of the Arab countries supported Germany, either in the open or covertly. The Jewish men again went to the aid of Great Britain against the Germans, although this time, the British were not interested in giving them a fighting role. We all know the events and the outcome of the war, with the possible exception of Iran, so let's fast forward.
With the end of the war, the Palestinian Mandate was inundated with requests of Jewish survivors to immigrate there. With the advent of the United Nations, Great Britain decided to let them decide what became of the mandate, secretly believing the UN would ask them to continue in their existing role. After doing their own investigation, the United Nations decided to draw a new map with Palestine being divided into two zones, with one being Jewish. Neither the Palestinians nor the Jewish liked the new map, but the Jewish people agreed to the plan, since at least they would have their own land. The vote for partition came in November of 1947. After a vote that came down to the wire, the partition plan passed, to be effective in May of 1948.
During those six months, the Arab League and some of the Palestinians attacked the Jewish communities, as they had done for the preceeding fifty years. The Jewish partition, realized that after the mandate ended, it would be all out war. They went about setting up a government, in preparation of declaring the Jewish state of Israel.
On 5 May, 1948, David Ben Gurion took to the radio and announced the creation of the state of Israel. Before the broadcast was over, the sounds of air raid warnings could be heard over the airwaves. Israel was only minutes old and the national armies of the surrounding Arab countries were launching an all-out attack on them. The Palestinians were told of the impending attacks by the Arab League, saying if they stayed, they would likely be killed but if they left, they would be welcomed back after the war ended to share in the booty. The majority left.
This was the key to the future of the Palestinian people. Israel told them they would not be attacked by the Israelis if they stayed. They chose to follow the advice of their fellow Arabs. They left. Problem was, the arabs armies weren't victorious. The Israelis fought to a draw miraculously with land gains in many places.
After the war of 1948, Israel welcomed the Jewish people from every corner of the world. Jews from all Arab nations flocked to Israel. On the other side of the coin, none of the the Arab countries welcomed the Palestinians. A portion of Jordan was set up as refugee camps for them, camps that lasted for over twenty years. The Palestinians simply weren't or wouldn't be assimilated.
In 1967, the nations of Egypt, Syria, Jordan and units of other countries decided to attack the Israelis and drive them into the sea. This time The israelis had an army, an air force and, more importantly, an intelligence system that had infiltrated the arab military. Six days later, Jerusalem belonged to Israel and the forces of the Arab nations were a smoking ruin.
From that time, the Palestinians have wanted a homeland. They have tried to obtain it by terrorism, by hijacking aircraft of other countries, even hijacking the Munich Olympics. They have participated in a war of attrition against innocent Israeli men, women and children. There have been peace initiatives and every one was ended by further attacks by Palestinians against Israelis.
So here we are today, with the Palestinian President wanting to address the United Nations. What they should be told is, if they want to be a nation, act like a nation and make peace. Why should the the UN grant the formation of a country to those who have used nothing but violence, have violated every term of agreements and believe the Israelis should just walk themselves into the sea?