Tuesday 9 February 2010

What if Palestinians had been Chinese?

In the early post-48 establishment of Israel, and after the failed attack on the new state by the Arab League, some of Israel’s neighbours indicated willingness to deal with the new state.   These included Jordan, Lebanon and even previously belligerent Egypt.   What happened?  The Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Huseini organized assassination of these moderate elements.  Al-Huseini went on to mentor Yasser Arafat and his murderous reign, so disastrous for the Palestinians. (See “Icon of Evil: Hitler’s Mufti and the rise of Radical Islam”)....

Think about what could have been if al-Huseini had not terrorized these acceptors of Israel into radicalism.   Think of Hong Kong, where I live.

Here in Hong Kong, I contemplate the fact that the Communists in China killed millions on their way to the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, sixty years ago last October.  Many more millions fled to Taiwan and Hong Kong.  That was pretty unfair too, just as the establishment of Israel was unfair on hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.  That also involved massive expropriation of property, just as it did for Palestinians.  But what did these Chinese refugees do?  Did they hunker down in a victimhood mentality, and fire rockets over the border to China?  They did not.  They got on with creating one of the most vibrant, tolerant, successful and wealthy economies in the world.  Part of a region that is now discussing the potential for a regional currency: will it be the Chinese Yuan, or should there be an Asian “Euro”?

Gaza is about the same size as Hong Kong. Think what they could have done with that land alone, or what they could have done with Gaza and the West Bank together, if they hadn’t attacked Israel in ’67 and if they hadn’t been mired in the victimhood mentality all these years; or even if they had used the hand-back of Gaza for some confidence building, rather than rocket launching, which could have led to the consideration of handing back the West Bank.  Think of the possibilities if there had been one whit of recognition of Israel and its right to exist.

Had the “exiled” Palestinians done as the exiled Chinese did, would we debating the rights and wrongs of a nuclear weapons policy for Iran?  We would not.  We – or rather they, Israel and Iran, and Lebanon and Syria and Egypt – would be arguing about the details of the Middle East Economic Union and what to name the regional currency….