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Israel and Palestine: A Tale of Two Narratives

king hussein of jordan in the last century

Then-King of Jordan Hussein Ibn Talal (L) and Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah (R) listen to national anthems at Kuwait airport - Jan. 26, 1987, prior to their meeting. (Marcel Mochet/AFP via Getty Images). 

Martin Sherman By Thursday, 15 December 2022 10:04 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

At the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict lies a clash of two narratives.

On the one hand the fact-based Zionist narrative, on the other, the openly conceded fabricated "Palestinian" narrative — which as one senior PLO official admitted, "serves only tactical purposes," and whose sole purpose is to function as "a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel."

Although enormous efforts have been invested in futile endeavors to portray these two narratives as reconcilable, the truth is that they are inherently mutually exclusive.

Either one of them will prevail, absolutely and exclusively, or the other will.

The reason for this impasse is that Palestinian-Arab enmity toward a Jewish state does not arise from anything the Jews do, but from what the Jews are.

This enmity, therefore, can only be dissipated if the Jews cease to be.

Successive Israeli governments, cowered by left-leaning elites, have refused to articulate this "inconvenient truth."

Accordingly, they have perpetuated the myth that there is some fictional "middle ground," which, if found, would leave both sides tolerably satisfied enough to eschew violence.

Clash of Two Narratives

So if the eye of the storm is irreconcilable claims for sovereignty over a given geographical area, driven by mutually exclusive national narratives, which claim should prevail?

Although there is seldom agreement among political scientists on issues relating to nations and nationalism, there is consensus that a discernably unique identity is a precondition for validating claims for the right to national sovereignty and nationhood.

Clearly, it is beyond dispute that Jews have a far stronger claim to a distinct national identity, and hence the right to sovereign nationhood, than most nations – particularly the Palestinian-Arabs.

The Jews have a unique language, unique script, unique religion, unique history and heritage, unique calendar, unique customs, unique . . . 

By contrast, Palestinian-Arabs can point to nothing unique in any of these areas.

Moreover, the Palestinian-Arabs admit that they are part of a wider national grouping. Thus, Article 1 of the Palestinian National Covenant proclaims, "the Palestinian Arab people are . . . part of the Arab nation."

Article 12 admits that a separate Palestinian identity is merely a temporary ruse to further wider Arab interests.

Thus, at an Arab League summit in 1987 in Amman, King Hussein conceded that Palestinian identity was merely a response to Jewish national claims.

Hussein declared, "The appearance of the Palestinian national personality comes as an answer to Israel’s claim that Palestine is Jewish."

From this, we are compelled to conclude that, if there were no Jewish claims to "Palestine," there would be no Arab-Palestinian claims — which are thus, merely a derivative of Jewish claims, without which they would not exist.

Clearly, then, if the Zionist claim has demonstrable validity over the irreconcilable, mutually exclusive counter-claim by the Palestinian-Arabs, surely it is the Zionist claim that must prevail - exclusively and absolutely.

Expression of Jewish Sovereignty

Thus, in the resultant Jewish nation-state, Jewish people should comprise the sole and exclusive source of political sovereignty.

Non-Jewish residents will — as explicitly prescribed in Israel's Declaration of Independence — enjoy full equality regarding individual civil rights, including the right to vote — but no collective national rights.

In a Jewish state, the national flag will bear the Star of David, not a crescent moon or cross; the state symbol will be the menorah, not an Arabian scimitar or a Crusader sword; the official day of rest will fall on Saturday, not Friday nor Sunday; the national anthem will refer to the yearning of a Jewish soul, not a multi-cultural one of all-its-citizens.

In a Jewish state there will be Judeo-centric legislation, enshrining the Law of Return for Jews in the Diaspora, but not the "Right of Return" for diasporic Palestinian- Arabs.

Public life will be conducted, and the yearly calendar constructed, according to Jewish tradition and Zionist heritage. Hebrew will be the hegemonic means of communication in commerce, academia, and legal proceedings.

Any individual who rejects this should not continue to live within the frontiers of the country. There is absolutely nothing undemocratic about this  indeed, it is a necessary precondition for sustainable democratic rule.

For, as John Stuart Mill reminds us in "Considerations on Representative Government," "Free institutions are next to impossible in a country . . . without fellow-feeling . . . [generated by] identity of political antecedents; the possession of a national history, and consequent community of recollections; collective pride and humiliation, pleasure and regret, connected with the same incidents in the past."

Without this, he warns, "The united public opinion, necessary to the working of representative government, cannot exist."

More Than a Random Amalgam

For those who might throw up their hands in a show of politically-correct horror, current events in the region ought to serve as a reminder that a cohesive nation  and hence a stable nation-state  is more than a random amalgam of the inhabitants of a given territory, bound by nothing more than the accident of their geographic location.

Any doubts as to the continuing validity of this historic insight should be dispelled by the spectacle of gore and guts across the splintering Arab world in places such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.

Of course, much has yet to be laid out regarding the "intellectual arsenal" that needs to be marshaled to preserve Israel as the nation-state of the Jews.

But a clear idea of the superior Jewish claims to sovereignty, expression of that sovereignty in the Jewish nation-state, and the need for a muscular public diplomacy offensive to promote/protect it, are some of the initial building blocks required to commence the assembly of such an "arsenal."

Dr. Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies. He previously served for seven years in operational capacities in Israel's intelligence community. Dr. Sherman has lectured at Tel Aviv University on sbjects inclusive of: Political Science, International Relations and Strategic Studies.  He is the author of two books as well as numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of issues. Read Martin Sherman's Reports — More Here.

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On the one hand the fact-based Zionist narrative, on the other, the openly conceded fabricated "Palestinian" narrative, which as one senior PLO official admitted, whose sole purpose is to function as "a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel."
jews, palestinian, zionist
Thursday, 15 December 2022 10:04 AM
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