# 13 – Election Day by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 13 – Election Day

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409
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January 28, 2003

Election day….much more important is the situation with Iraq, although that fuse will apparently fizzle for a while yet. EVEN much more important is that today is Aviva’s birthday….

Well, we lefties and/or optimists always spend the time prior to elections imagining the possible positive outcome. But, unfortunately there are some basic problems:

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  • The electoral system stinks. Main reform must be to hike the minimum % votes required to gain any seat in the Knesset from 1.5% to 5%. (After the original complaints, the minimum was raised from 1 to 1.5%!). We have to get rid of the 1- and 2-man parties.

  • Electoral apathy – the turnout may be lower than last time, which itself was a record low – the one that gave Sharon such a victory.

 

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  • So many undecided prior to the elections, who end up voting for the devil they know…

  • If there has been any noise prior to the elections (apart from news of the scandals), it’s the knowledge that, within a day of the elections, there’ll be general abandonment of manifestos and the dirty wheeling/dealing will begin.

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There’s more, but that’s enough from this leftist/optimist.

Back to my thoughts…

It is all very well for the World to look at today’s tragic situation – the imminent collapse of Israel’s society on top of that of the Palestinians – and blame Israel. It’s interesting that the only 2 neighbours with whom Israel has officially signed a peace treaty are Egypt and Jordan. Their leaders are considered the most moderate, the most westernized, the most sympathetic…Let’s back up a bit.

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So what happened in 1947/48? Happily for the Jews, the United Nations was filled with western nations. (Africa, Asia and the Middle East had few votes, as they were mostly colonized). That same vote establishing a new state for the Jews would never have happened in today’s UN.

The way Palestine was divided was strategically silly; bits and pieces. The Jews accepted because they were desperate – their dream was Israel and their situation was dire. They were thankful for whatever they could get.

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The Arab neighbours were not happy. (Bernard Lewis wrote that the Arabs could accept Jews coming to the Holy land to die, but not to live. The minute the Jews began ploughing the land – it had been a long time since Jews could be farmers – the situation for the neighbours changed dramatically). The day the British finally left (did you know that there were about 100,000 British soldiers here during the ‘peak’ years of the Mandate – in such a tiny area – see attached map comparing Israel to UK), 5 Arab armies attacked. They did not attack to defend the UN-designated areas, but to ignore the resolution and chuck the Jews out.

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In 1949, when that bitter war ended, what was the geopolitical situation? Not much different than the beginning.

In principal, Jordan had the West Bank, which they then annexed in 1951 (and they had most of Jerusalem, including the Old City). Jordan – today’s dear cousins of the Palestinians (Black September? Never heard of it. A few thousand Palestinian ‘citizens’ of Jordan crushed by the national army? Just a small uprising. We love the Palestinians – they are 60% of our country; how can we NOT love them).

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So what happened between 1949 and 1967? Give or take an inch, the West Bank was occupied by Jordan. Why didn’t they (or why were they not forced by the international community to) hand over the territory to the Palestinians?

And Egypt had Gaza, which they did NOT annex – in fact, one only hears of how little they wanted Gaza. Look at what happened during the 1979 Peace Treaty: they got Sinai back, but left Gaza in Israeli hands. If they were so reluctant to stay in Gaza, why didn’t they (or why were they not forced by the international community to) hand over the territory to the Palestinians?

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And a final reminder about 1967. Israel may have pre-empted the attacks, but it is official knowledge that the Arab armies were about to attack Israel again – despite practically all the UN’s version of Palestine already being in Arab hands. All we hear about are UN resolutions 242 and 339 (correct?), but it was Israel’s neighbours who persistently refused to accept this. They wanted the Jews out.

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In 1948/9, they told those Palestinians who had fled that they would soon be back. And that sad, sad story has lasted so far for over 54 years. They refuse to officially allow the Palestinians to settle (as have most other refugees of the World), to leave the camps, which even exist in ‘Palestine’. So many billions have been ploughed into the wars, the intifadas and the retention of refugee status (and have lined the wrong pockets), and so little has been used to build a physical and psychological future for the Palestinians.

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Today’s conflict is between Israel and the Palestinians. But it is understandable that the Israelis question the insistence that THEY solve the Palestinians’ problem. Israel’s involvement from the start has been in defence of Israel – and rarely has been in preventing the establishment of the Palestinian state.

Am I simplifying the subject? Of course I am – that’s the only way to try and see a solution through all this mud.

Happy Election Day!

Stephen

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