Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What if...

I just got back from my second JRF board meeting and hope to post thoughts about that soon. For now, i came across a fascinating Tom Segev article in the NYTimes considering whether Israel should have taken the West Bank in the 1967 war.
Leading Israeli policy planners had determined six months before the Six-Day War that capturing the West Bank would be bad for the country. Recently declassified Israeli government documents show that according to these policy planners, taking over the West Bank would weaken the relative strength of Israel’s Jewish majority, encourage Palestinian nationalism and ultimately lead to violent resistance.

There was general agreement that it would be to Israel’s advantage for King Hussein of Jordan, whose country controlled the West Bank, to remain in power: he had, in effect, accepted Israel’s existence, so Israel naturally had an interest in strengthening his regime.

Hussein was also endeavoring to unify the West Bank with the East Bank and was encouraging West Bank Palestinians to migrate to the east. Over the preceding 15 years, the number of Palestinians who had left the West Bank for the east had reached 200,000. Moreover, approximately 100,000 Palestinians had left Jordan altogether. Hussein’s effort to integrate Palestinians was “a positive phenomenon from Israel’s point of view,” concluded the final position paper that emerged from that winter’s discussions. Hussein was acting to eradicate the Palestinian question, and this was an excellent reason not to take the West Bank away from him.

But when Jordan attacked the Israeli part of Jerusalem on the first day of the conflict, all reason was forgotten.
What foresight! What failure!


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