(August 23, 2018 / JNS) President Donald Trump said this week that following the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, now the Palestinian Arabs “will get something very good because it’s their turn next.”
Somebody ought to explain to the president that the Palestinians have already had “their turn”—again and again and again.
They got their turn in 1921, when the British separated the eastern 78 percent of Palestine, declared it off-limits to Jews and established the Palestinian Arab state of “Trans-Jordan,” whose name was later changed to “Jordan.”
They got their turn in 1937, when the British government’s Peel Commission proposed to give the Arabs a second Palestinian state, comprising most of western Palestine, with a tiny Jewish state alongside it.
They got another turn in 1938, when another British government body, the Woodhead Commission, proposed to give the Arabs an even larger part—and the Jews an even smaller part—of western Palestine.
They got yet another turn in 1939, when the British White Paper blocked off almost all Jewish immigration, precisely at the moment that the Jews in Europe were trying to flee from Hitler. All the British asked in return was that the Palestinian Arabs support the Allies, not the Nazis, in World War II. The Arabs supported the Nazis anyway.
Yet more turns were coming for the ever-coddled Arabs of Palestine.
In 1947, the United Nations proposed to turn half of western Palestine into an Arab state, leaving the Jews a truncated, indefensible state consisting of three easily dissected sections. The Palestinian Arabs said no to that, too.
As the Palestinian Arabs and their Arab neighbors waged jihad against the newborn state of Israel in 1948, the West decided that the Palestinian Arabs deserved another “turn.” British officers helped command the Arab forces in the war, while the Truman administration declared an embargo against sending any weapons to Israel.
In more recent times, the turns have kept on coming for the Palestinians.
In 1993, Israel agreed to the Oslo Accords—withdrawing from the areas where 98 percent of the Palestinians reside, creating the de facto state known as the Palestinian Authority, freeing thousands of imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and giving tens of thousands of weapons to the de facto army known as the Palestinian security forces.
How did the Palestinians respond? By waging an intifada against Israel, slaughtering hundreds of Jews in suicide bombings and trying to smuggle in 50 tons of weapons on the SS Karine A.
Despite all that, the Palestinians got even more turns.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak gave them a turn in 2000, reportedly offering to create a Palestinian state in nearly all of Judea-Samaria. The Palestinians said no. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gave them a turn in 2005, withdrawing from Gaza and permitting them to create a state there. They responded by firing thousands of rockets. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave them a turn in 2008, reportedly offering the Palestinians even more than Barak did. They still said no.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave them yet more turns. He froze settlement construction for 10 months. He freed hundreds of additional terrorists. He offered them a demilitarized state.
Despite all that, the Palestinian Authority still won’t fulfill its obligations in the Oslo Accords, such as disarming, outlawing and extraditing terrorists, or ending incitement. In fact, the P.A. won’t even negotiate with Israel.
Mr. President, you have it all wrong. The Palestinians don’t deserve to “get something very good” from Israel. They’ve already received plenty. They’ve already had their “turn”—again and again and again.
Stephen M. Flatow is a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” will be published later this year.