March 6, 2007
The Arab League, Apple Pie and IndigestionBy David Singer
Jordan's King Abdullah is at it again, repeating the mantra of the Arab League, of which Jordan is a foundational member:
Palestine comprised an area of about 120000 square kilometers, which has now been divided into two sovereign States - Israel (22000 square kilometers) and Jordan (92000 square kilometers) - plus an area of 6000 square kilometers called the West Bank and Gaza in which statehood still remains undeclared.
The Arab League has called for full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank and Israel's acceptance of an independent Arab State there with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The Arab League has shown no indication of any readiness to abandon this "all or nothing approach" by agreeing to the Jews retaining and living in a portion of this disputed territory whilst the remainder and its Arab residents becomes part of Jordan, as it was between 1948 and 1967.
A second Arab State in Palestine, which has been propounded for the last 15 years, is as ridiculous as suggesting a second Jewish State in Palestine.
Two peoples need two States not three.
Whilst the Arab League persists with this intransigent attitude there is indeed a problem, but one solely of the Arab League's choosing.
The Arab League presently is made up of 22 member States covering almost 14 million square kilometers in which almost 320 million Arabs reside.
It is ridiculous and completely false to continually advocate that a dispute over 6000 square kilometers housing 3 million Arabs must first be settled before all the other problems in the region can be resolved.
Yet this is precisely what the Arab League has sold to the Quartet - America, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union. - and they have swallowed it hook line and sinker
Besotted by this tale that could have come from the Arabian Nights, the Quartet has thrown billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours in aid and diplomatic maneuvering in trying to solve this problem. They have not gotten the disputants to even move off the starting block.
Meanwhile the Arab League has allowed far more serious bushfires to rage out of control in some of its' own member States, conflicts that threaten to eventually consume the Arab League itself.
In fact some League members such as Syria are actively helping to fan the fires by providing arms, money and safe transit for terrorists to bring down the governments of other member states where life is anything but pleasant.
The League's biggest problem involves a non Arab state - Iran - as it seeks leadership of the Islamic world through the supremacy of Shia Islam as the dominant Islamic religion over Sunni Islam , the religion of the majority of the Arabs.
This is the clash of ideologies that must first take place before militant Islam can hope to achieve its aim of making Islam the world's dominant religion.
Islam can only have one leader not two to achieve this objective. Will that leader be Shia or Sunni?
The Arab League's failure to prevent Iran interfering in the affairs of Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Iraq has given Iran and the Shiites easy entrée into the Arab World and put the Arab League's very future existence under serious threat.
The white ants are on the march and the Arab edifice is in danger of total collapse.
Perhaps it is time for the Quartet to tell the Arab League to start solving the problems affecting their own member States such as Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Somalia and Sudan, where the lives of 100 million people are at risk every day and where the sight of Moslem blowing up Moslem and mosque after mosque being bombed is unbelievable
The Quartet should also put the Palestinian question on the backburner and focus their attention, effort and political clout (if any is left) on the real and pressing issues outlined above.
Creating another Arab State on 6000 square kilometers of land when you already have 22 Arab States on 14 million square kilometers of land reminds me of the glutton who was given 99.5% of the apple pie but still was not satisfied and demanded the rest.
He ended up with severe indigestion.
[The writer acknowledges Wikipedia as the source for the statistics appearing in this article]
David Singer is an Australian lawyer and convenor of Jordan is Palestine International, an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor states to the Mandate for Palestine.