Palestine: The Iron Cage
How was Israel able to forge a state while the Palestinians have been unable to? A key element in establishing Israel was British colonial control of Palestine and the 1917 Balfour Declaration. In 1936-39 the Palestinians rose up in revolt against their British masters. Key cadres were killed and exiled. Thus crucially in the decisive 1947-1948 period the community lacked leadership. Compounding their inability to achieve statehood, the Palestinians were divided by factions and less than sagacious political leaders. Overwhelming U.S. economic, military, and diplomatic support for Israel further seriously disadvantages the Palestinians. Now they are faced with an unviable statelet consisting of Bantustans. An outcome that is hardly the basis of a lasting peace.
Rashid Khalidi is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies. His articles appear in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times and many other journals. He is the author of Palestinian Identity, Brokers of Deceit, The Iron Cage and The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine.
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