SIR – I take issue with Teresa Trainor’s letter ‘History is not a blank slate’ and her contortion of the past in which she suggests that just because some Jews were indigenous to Palestine, they should have a right to ownership and unbridled control of the land of Palestine. Teresa suggests that this is a struggle between equals when in fact it is the Palestinians who are enduring 99% of the suffering, brutality, imprisonment, torture, house demolitions and violence.
I agree with Teresa that Jews were indigenous to Palestine, however they only represented 11.5% of the population compared to 78.5% Muslim and 10% Christian in 1922. The idea that Jews had equal claim to the land is of course preposterous. It is thanks to British colonialism in 1948 of granting land it did not own, taken from those Palestinians who did own it and given to those Jews who largely had no right to it that the conflict exist today.
Fifty-three years of illegal occupation and settlements have produced a new reality. The last international attempt in the form of Oslo peace process designed to produce a Palestinian state alongside Israel is no longer an option as envisaged. Settlements have been strategically placed on hilltops with secured water sources have fragmented the land on which a Palestinian state could be established.
The life of imprisoned Gazans is intolerable and Israel and their vain desperate balloon or fireworks attempts at resistance brings more disproportionate and indiscriminate Israeli bombings and death. Palestinians are often reduced to a struggle now for a meagre existence and human rights and many have come to terms with the fact that settlements with over 650,000 fundamentalist settlers continue to expand and have effectively annexed their territory making a Palestinian state impossible.
Never mind past history: In 2020, the new realities of Israel-Palestine are: 25% of Israelis are not Jewish (they are Palestinian-Israelis or migrant workers) and one of every six people residing in the West Bank is not a Palestinian (they are Jewish settlers). Israel as the dominant power must break free of its sectarian mindset and give up on the failed South African apartheid bantustan system of Palestinian control intended to limit and contain the Palestinian population in order to create and maintain a Jewish majority country that privileges Jewish citizens over non-Jewish ones.
A new way forward must be found: Israel could offer a federalised democratic Israel-Palestine country. Four federal units each with decision-making authority on certain matters as decided and divided into: Gaza, the West Bank, the Galilee and Coast, and the Naqab or Negev would be natural divisions. The country (Israel-Palestine) could be organised into two federal states with two majority-Palestinian and two states with majority-Jewish.
Without such a bold initiative, the agony for Palestinians of having your country stolen, the pain of living in captivity under occupation, the demolition of homes, and murder of your loved ones will continue. For Zionists locked-in conflict corrupting morality, insecurity and generated hatred will continue. Such a realistic option however difficult and backed internationally post-Trump could be the most realistic opportunity for peace, security and prosperity for the future of all.