The case of Palestine, as I see it, is a unique twentieth-century political dilemma. No parallel problem has been recorded in human history, for the “culprit” in this case is the Jewish people, as embodied in the Zionist movement—a people that has been a traditional victim in history—whereas the victim is the Palestinian people, which was not a nation in its homeland, but became one when it sought shelter outside it as refugees. The Palestinian Arabs, who were merely Arabs in their country, became Palestinians once they were exiled from their homeland among their Arab brethren in other Arab lands.
If such contradictions were not sufficient to make the Palestine case one of the strangest in history, let us note, in addition, that it was, and still is, the only political issue that at one time unified the two world blocs. When Great Britain approached the United Nations at the height of the cold war in 1947 to propose the termination of the Mandate, both blocs united under the leadership of the United States and the USSR to pass the historic partition resolution. This was the first resolution in the history of the world organization to unite these countries in so fateful a case of war and peace. Such agreement recurred only in November, 1967, when both powers accepted, with all other members of the Security Council, Resolution No. 242, which called for ending the Arab-Israeli conflict and justly settling the refugee problem.
The United Nations, the Security Council, the United States, and on occasion the Soviet Union are much blamed by the Arab Palestinian population for the agreement of 1947, but what both the UN and the great powers tried to achieve at that time must be seen in a wider perspective.
The occupation of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus was the first act in a long history of what later came to be called anti-Semitism. The Western world, Christian and Muslim alike, has been grateful to the Jews or has hated them (consciously or unconsciously) because they introduced monotheism. Ironically, both those who hated the Jews and those who were grateful to them helped to create a situation that enabled Jews in all countries of the world to preserve their special entity and their subjective feeling of being aliens. Those who hated the Jews because they “killed God” refused to obey their Christ’s words on the cross when he said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24), and preferred the reputed words of the Jews themselves: “His blood be on us and on our children” (Matthew 27:25).
The history of the relations between Christianity and Judaism thus became a chain of persecution and discrimination. In the name of love and tolerance Christians oppressed Jewry all over the world. In the name of Christ and his prophecy for self-sacrifice, tolerance, love for one’s enemies, and “whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also,” Jews were…
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