By Emad Gad
UN Resolution 191 of 1947 authorised the partitioning of historic Palestine into a Jewish state on 53 per cent of the land and an Arab Palestinian state on 46 per cent of the land, with Jerusalem set aside as a protected international city.
When that resolution was passed, David Ben Gurion and his colleagues sat down to discuss the resolution. Although they agreed that the resolution fell short of Jewish aspirations, they knew that the future state of Israel would not be admitted to the UN unless it agreed to the resolution. Ben Gurion advised his colleagues to not reject the resolution but wait for the Arabs to do so. Once the Arabs had rejected the resolution and once Israel was a UN member state, Ben Gurion and colleagues would start thinking of ways to annex more land.
It worked like a charm. Israel joined the UN and soon annexed half of the land assigned to the Arab state. By the end of 1948, Israel was in control of 87 per cent of the land of Palestine. The Palestinians had only 22 per cent, and even that latter part was occupied in June 1967.
The Israelis made plans and waited for Arab "errors" before implementing them. Israel neutralised the international community and made its aggression look like self-defence. This sequence occurred on many occasions, the most recent of which being the second Camp David negotiations, the second Intifada in September 2000, and the appearance of suicide bombings. All of the above gave Israel pretext to build the separation wall and seek unilateral disengagement.
Palestinian divisions, erratic military tactics, and fiery rhetoric gave Israel one opportunity after another to carry out its schemes. Israel waited for mistakes and the Palestinians obliged. They quarrelled over the Prisoners' Document and then mismanaged a military operation that should have been legal by international law. That is exactly what Olmert has been waiting for to go ahead with his convergence plan.
This week's Soapbox speaker is editor-in-chief of Mukhtarat Israelia a periodical published by the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.