In 1949, who wanted a Palestinian state? Only Israel!

In 1949
May 14

It won’t stop the revisionist propaganda underpinning the Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence campaign, but newspaper accounts from 1949 prove that the nascent State of Israel supported the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza and opposed the land being absorbed by surrounding Arab countries.

Blogger ElderofZiyon has uncovered a remarkable Reuters news story run in the English language Palestine Post dated May 15, 1949 which shows that Israel’s delegate to the Palestine Conciliation Commission – a United Nations body tasked with resolving outstanding issues from the previous year’s war – pushed for the creation of a democratic Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.

The article (my emphasis in bold) quoted in the blog post reads:

LAUSANNE, Saturday (Reuter). – The Palestine Conciliation Commission today heard a preliminary outline of Israel’s views for territorial settlement given by Dr. Walter Eytan, held of the Israel delegation.

(Dr. Ertan challenged the right or any Arab state to act in the affairs of Palestine Arabs, and said that Israel was not prepared to recognize the incorporation of Arab Palestine in any other Arab state, according to Jon Kimche, ONA correspondent.)

It was understood he told the Commission that the first step toward territorial settlement must be the withdrawal of forces of neighbouring Arab States from all Arab territory, and was believed to have insisted on observance of the U.N. General Assembly Resolution of November 29, 1947, providing for independent Jewish and Arab States.

An independent sovereign Jewish State had come into existence despite the Arab War and the only result of that war had been to prevent the creation of an independent Arab state, he said. Dr. Eytan was also understood to have insisted that the future of Arab Palestine must be decided by the Arab inhabitants themselves. The General Assembly gave the neighbouring States no title to any part of the country, he said.

Kimche reports that the Commission had proposed the Partition resolution as the basis for discussion. He further reports that Dr. Eytan suggetsed that the Commission hold a plebiscite in the Arab area to ascertain the wishes of the inhabitants, and assist in the establishment of a genuine representative body for Arab Palestine.

The article goes some way to disproving Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ repeated claim that Israel’s creation in 1948 was achieved at the expense of a Palestinian state. If anything, it reveals even more starkly how Israel was the only party in the region to advocate a state on behalf of Palestinian Arabs.

The article’s date is also highly significant, coming exactly a year and a day after Israel was created – on the first anniversary of the day five Arab armies invaded to strangle the Jewish state at birth but ended up strangling the planned Arab one in Palestine instead.

That neither Egypt, which occupied the Gaza Strip, nor Jordan, which annexed the West Bank, attempted to establish a Palestinian state at any stage between 1948 and the Six Day War in 1967, suggests that had Israel lost the battle for survival in 1948 a Palestinian state would never have been created.

Indeed, it could be argued that even now, 60 plus years later, however delayed it may be, it is only because Israel survived that a Palestinian state could conceivably arise.

– Allon Lee