Wednesday, 28 November 2012
William Hague should not be cowed by the baying of Bibi’s Beasts on the benches behind him, not to say around the Cabinet table with him.
Now is the moment for a Palestinian Declaration of Independence. It must explicitly lay claim to the whole of the viable Palestinian State created on both sides of the Jordan in 1948. Furthermore, it must mirror the Constitution of Lebanon in guaranteeing the Presidency to a Christian even if it guarantees the Premiership to a Muslim (as would have happened electorally anyway), and it must mirror the Constitutions of Lebanon, of Iran, and of Palestine east of the Jordan, the present Hashemite Kingdom, as well as the Palestinian Authority, in guaranteeing parliamentary representation to Christians. It should mirror Syria is establishing Christian festivals as public holidays.
And it should place the new state – not only the Christians, but the State and everyone in it – under the protection of each and all of the remaining sacral monarchies, there being by definition no other kind, in Christendom. This would also be a wider appeal, an appeal to any and every country that regarded Christianity as fundamental to its identity. Does the American Republic so regard herself? Does the Russian Federation? Do the republics of Europe? Do the republics of Central America, South America and the Caribbean? Do the republics, and two kingdoms, of Africa? Does any other country? In each country’s case, how it responded to this Declaration would be its definitive answer to that question.
At the very least, this needs to appear over the names expressing the full authority of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Latin Patriarchate, the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate, the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, the Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate, the Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate, the Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate, the Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, the Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate, and the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate. That would have an immediate and a very dramatic impact.
If there cannot be a Palestinian State, contrary to the position of the last Republican President of the United States, then with whom and with what have the Israelis ever been negotiating? Those interlocutors do not seek recognition of a Muslim state; on the contrary, the Palestinian Authority already operates a Christian quota without parallel in Israel, though corresponding to similar arrangements in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
They do not even seek recognition of an Arab state. Ever since 1993, they have recognised Israel within her borders before 1967, and, although they ought also to claim the territory to the east that a Palestinian State would rapidly come to include, they seek nothing more than recognition of Palestine within the territory captured in that year, the home of everyone who lives there, and if anything an emerging or emerged Orthodox Jewish refuge from godless Zionism. The only problem is with recognising Israel as “a Jewish State”, condemning a fifth of the population, including the world's most ancient Christian communities, to the second class citizenship from which the Israeli Constitution theoretically protects them, however different the practice may be.
We are told that “Jordan is Palestine”. Indeed she is. Jordan as created at the end of the British Mandate. That is to say, including the West Bank. There has never been a state with its border at the Jordan, and the populations of the two Banks are one people. The answer to the question of why anyone ever designed a country so short of water as Jordan is, is that no one ever did. The Declaration of a Palestinian State on the West Bank would be the end of the Hashemite Kingdom, which is just as much a foreign imposition as the Zionist project, and which was imposed by the same colonial power, which therefore bears the same historic responsibility.
The pressure for incorporation into a Palestinian State would be irresistible. That, rather than the destruction of Israel, would be the great national aspiration. And then, following its rapid and its largely, if not entirely, bloodless achievement, that would be the great national triumph. The proposed revocation of citizenship from 1.8 million Jordanians with especially strong family ties across the River, in a country of only 6.5 million, indicates that the Hashemites and their entourage are fully aware of this. Let their fear be proved well-founded.
Meanwhile, Israel needs to move to very extensive devolution to the very local level, Jewish or Arab, religious or secular, Muslim or Christian, and so forth. She needs three parliamentary chambers, each about one third of the size of the present one, with one for the ultra-Orthodox, one for the Arabs, and one for everyone else, the ultra-Orthodox and the Arab being already identified in law because of their arrangements in relation to military service. All legislation would require the approval of all three chambers. Each chamber would elect a Co-President, all three of whom would have to approve all legislation and senior appointments, as well as performing ceremonial duties.
Each chamber would be guaranteed a Minister in each department and at least a quarter of Cabinet posts. Yiddish would be recognised as an official language, the quid pro quo for recognising all the many currently unrecognised villages in the Galilee and the Negev. The major festivals of Judaism, Islam and Christianity would all be public holidays, perhaps, in this post-Zionist dispensation, the only public holidays. The Arab chamber would include the head of each of the above-named Christian communities or his nominee, being an Israeli citizen.
The alliance necessary to pull this off would take an awful lot of effort. But two peoples facing nothing less than denaturalisation could very well be prepared to make that amount of effort. The other lot should have had more children, or bothered to move there from places like London and New York. But they did not.