If only they cared about the Arabs

The recently deceased Israeli writer Amos Elon wrote the following passage in 1967, a fascinating insight into where his country was already headed:

Had they [Palestine’s Arabs] agreed in 1919, not to turn Palestine into “the” Jewish homeland, but to incorporate “a” national home for the Jews, as stipulated by the Balfour Declaration, a Jewish minority, moderate in size, probably would in time have been absorbed into an Arab-Palestinian state. Had the Arabs not rejected British proposals for a Palestine Legislative Council a few years later, the Jews would have at best emerged a minority within the general Arab framework, similar perhaps to the Maronites in Lebanon”¦.If, if, if. On the other hand, had Israel after 1949 been more sensitive to the fate of the Palestinian refugees—had it permitted more to come back or compensated the rest for their abandoned property rather than allow the neighboring states to exploit the problem for political ends—perhaps some of the intense hatred of Israel that prevails among the Arab masses and ties the hands of more moderate leaders would slowly have abated”¦

More than 40 years later, the idea of Greater Israel has become its deathknell.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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