The Myth of the Israeli Bantustan offer at Taba and other myths
A long time ago, in an alternate universe...
The common anti-Zionist narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is based on a few foundation myths, some of which are very popular and persistent in the Middle East. New myths are added to correspond with each actual historical event. To review some of the main ones:
1- Myth: "Zionist Settlement displaced the Palestinian Arabs" - The fact is that Palestinian Arab population multiplied and prospered by any possible measure between 1917 and 1948, and a result of the Zionist settlement and not despite it. (see Zionism and its Impact and Did the Zionists plan to dispossess the Arabs of Palestine?)
2. Myth: "Massacres and racism of Arab Palestinians was a reaction to Zionist cruelty and massacres" - The first Arab-Palestinian massacres were in 1920, and the first anti-Semitic remarks were made about then, if not before.
For example, in March of 1921, Musa Kazim El Husseini, deposed as Mayor of Jerusalem because of his part in riots earlier that year, told Winston Churchill:
The Jews have been amongst the most active advocates of destruction in many lands... It is well known that the disintegration of Russia was wholly or in great part brought about by the Jews, and a large proportion of the defeat of Germany and Austria must also be put at their door.
(Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, Knopf 1999 Page 99)
A month later there were bloody Arab pogroms in several towns in Palestine, not against Zionist "settlers" who supposedly displaced Arabs, but rather primarily against ancient Jewish communities such as those in Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed. Worse riots and massacres occurred in 1929 and again in 1936-39. (see Arab Riots and Massacres of 1929)
3. Myth: "The occupation is the source of Palestinian violence" The PLO and Fateh were formed in 1964 and before, with the aim of "liberating" "Palestine" - that is, destroying Israel. They used terrorism and advocated a pan-Arab war to "liberate" Palestine. The 1967 6-day war was the result of this activity. See - Isn't the occupation the cause of the conflict and violence? and Did the Zionists plan to dispossess the Arabs of Palestine? and Why doesn't Israel withdraw from the Occupied territories and end the occupation if it wants peace?
4. Myth: "The riots and violence in September 2000 broke out because Ariel Sharon entered the holy Al Aqsa mosque." The fact is that Ariel Sharon never entered the Al Aqsa mosque. He walked on the Temple Mount, Haram As Sharif, which is supposed to be a holy place accessible to everyone. Of course the mosque, reputedly the site of the Jewish Temple should in theory be accessible to anyone as well, but Sharon didn't go there.
5. Myth: "Negotiations broke down at the end of 2000 because Israeli PM Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians only "Bantustans" - disconnected islands of Palestinian sovereignty, and failed to offer Palestinian control over holy places in Jerusalem.
This myth has achieved great popularity, but it has no relation to the facts. Below is a brief account of the negotiations adapted from the MidEastWeb Brief History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict from which it is evident that:
- Israel offered the Palestinians a contiguous state in 97% of the territory of the West Bank plus Gaza.
- Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the Haram as Sharif (temple mount) would be incorporated into Palestine.
- Chief US Negotiator Dennis Ross blames the Palestinians for the breakdown of the talks.
- US President Clinton believes that Arafat made a "colossal historical blunder" in rejecting Israeli terms.
- Saudi Arabian ambassador Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan said, "If Arafat does not accept what is available now, it won't be a tragedy, it will be a crime.
Palestinian spokespersons and supporters deliberately distorted the offer that was made and claimed that "all what was circulated that Israel proffered to the Palestinian side great concessions is incorrect," and fabricated maps to look like the offer was "Bantustans."Much more - with maps at http://www.zionism-israel.com/ezine/bantustans.htm The Myth of the Israeli Bantustan offer at Taba and other myths