To the sea

Ahmad Shukeiri, founding chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization in 1964, was kind enough to explain the saying “from the river to the sea” that has been uttered by every subsequent chairman and such organizations as Hamas and Hezbollah. The river in question is the Jordan, and the sea is the Mediterranean.

Ahmad: “This is a fight for the homeland; it is either us or the Israelis. There is no middle road. The Jews of Palestine will have to leave. … Any of the old Palestine Jewish population who survive may stay, but it is my impression that none of them will survive.”

Other chairmen, such as the current one, Mahmoud Abbas, have stated that there must be, apart from diplomacy, a “final solution” in which the Jews will cease to exist. When he or his predecessor Yasser Arafat were quizzed on such statements by sympathetic Western journalists, they explained that they could not possibly remain in politics if they put it any other way. The “Palestinian people” wouldn’t have it.

But the “Palestinian people” (i.e. the Arabs living now or once-upon-a-time between “the river and the sea”) are not all of one mind. More than live in Gaza are, for instance, Israeli citizens, who have proved loyal to the “colonialist” regime. They did not make themselves into refugees when Israel was founded, and they have flourished within the Israeli state. That there are more than two million of them (fairly represented in the Israeli Knesset) is worth noting: for there are zero Jews living under the PLO, and almost zero in all the other Arab countries combined, from which Jews were essentially evicted when Israeli independence was declared.

These are facts worth remembering on this Remembrance Day, when “Palestinians” and their supporters will be demonstrating for the sixth consecutive Saturday around the world, shouting slogans such as, “Gas the Jews!” Nearly eight decades after the defeat of the Nazis, we have, as it were, a worthy successor.

Curiously, I think Ahmad Shukeiri was right. There is no room between the river and the sea for two states, as a consequence of the way Arab leaders have behaved, through eight decades. Arabs in this location should be given a path to Israeli citizenship, if they want it and will choose fidelity to the Israeli state. But many of them, perhaps a few million, would refuse such an offer.

That they are not wanted in Egypt, Jordan, or any other Arab country, has been made plain, repeatedly, by each of the respective governments.

But they have to go somewhere, and I would suggest Yemen, which has plenty of open space. It is ruled as an Iranian proxy, and the arrival of several million “Palestinian” refugees (presumably by sea from Eilat to Aden, avoiding a controversial passage through the Suez Canal, or the waste of fuel circumnavigating Africa) would keep the ruling Houthis busy for a while. The various aid organizations could redirect their supplies for the “Palestinians” to their new home.


POST SCRIPTUM — The “Palestinian” motto is, incidentally, more or less identical to Canada’s. Ours was extracted from Psalm 72:8 (or 71:8, in Catholic), which promised Dominion from sea to sea — et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae. That is to say (to cite the King James Version) “from the river unto the ends of the earth.” Now, our river was the Saint Lawrence, which we have meanwhile more or less surrounded; and our seas are not limited to just the one.