jollyroger's picture

    The 1948 Plebescite on the future of British Mandatory Palestine. Better late than never.

    In its succession to the Ottoman Empire, Britain received sovereignty over a Semitic population in a unified territory called Palestine (yes, it was…).

    When the collapsing British Empire acceded to the wishes of one Semitic tribe to sever the previously unitary sovereignty, it found that it could not be troubled with the nicety of a vote by the previously subject population.

    This, of course, is not how we do things today. (cf. East Timor).

    The failure to honor the principle of popular sovereignty continues to create tsooris to this day.

    Let’s have the vote: We could define the electorate either as:

    All the inhabitants of Mandatory Palestine in May 1948 still alive, plus one vote for each deceased inhabitant, cast by his/her heirs. Or,

    All the present day inhabitants of Mandatory Palestine plus all those who would be eligible to return to Mandatory Palestine under the standards by which persons in the Jewish Diaspora qualify to return to Israel.

    This should solve all the problems.

    If a majority of the total vote for partition, then, and only then, we discuss the boundaries. (remember, the burden is on those wanting to change the status quo to get the majority agreement for partition before enforcing the partition…..Oh, I’m sorry—did I just challenge Israel’s right to exist??


    (imported from TPM)

    Why, yes, yes you did. In a very succinct and reasonable way, too. Well done.
    Posted by brantlamb
    January 5, 2009 1:35 PM | Reply | Permalink

    When would be too late?

    Any reason why this shouldn't be done in India/Pakistan/Bangladesh too?

    How about in the U.S., Canada, Australia, etc. (I recognize there are legal differences, but not their validity). More time has certainly passed.
    Posted by dedelste
    January 5, 2009 2:54 PM | Reply | Permalink

    How about in the U.S

    We had our plebescites-13 of them, in each state, corresponding to the borders of the prior colonial entities.

    Each separately ratified the consititution before losing their separate identity in the whole (in a sense the reverse of the partition process, but still necessarily grounded in *popular sovereignty.)

    *"We, the People," and all that.
    Posted by jollyroger in reply to a comment from dedelste
    January 5, 2009 3:38 PM | Reply | Permalink

    Yes, but "Indians not taxed" couldn't vote. Nor could "all other persons," but I'm not sure where they fit in the analogy.
    Posted by dedelste in reply to a comment from jollyroger
    January 6, 2009 2:18 PM | Reply | Permalink

    Indians not taxed..all other persons.

    Not a trivial question, although for purposes of committing the assent of the tribe/community/locality to an allocation of sovereignty I think that historically it has been considered sufficient to get the agreement of the majority of fully politically empowered "persons", and that assent was supposed to drag along the rest.

    In fact, I think that arrangement flawed, and if not ultimately addressed leaves serious lesions festering, as it were, in the society.

    Hence, I favor reparations for the descendants of kidnapped Africans and casinos for the descendants of genocided Native Americans.
    Posted by jollyroger in reply to a comment from dedelste
    January 6, 2009 2:31 PM | Reply | Permalink

    Hmm . . . ok :-)
    Posted by dedelste in reply to a comment from jollyroger
    January 6, 2009 3:51 PM | Reply | Permalink

    This is also why it is so important to perceive the Zionist venture a paradigm of settler-colonialism, as Ilan Pappe points out. Because Pipes presents this as a mere 'war', and draws the logics from historical warfare philosophy. But this is not a war. It is colonisation. That's different. Ben Gurion recognised this duality when he said in 1938 that "When we say that the Arabs are the aggressors and we defend ourselves ---- that is only half the truth. As regards our security and life we defend ourselves. . . . But the fighting is only one aspect of the conflict, which is in its essence a political one. And politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves." (In Morris, Righteous Victims). He did not say it outright at the point, but the translation of the 'political' aspect of the 'conflict', in which 'we are the aggressors', is unmistakably colonisation. It's coloialist aggression. Interestingly, the 1967 conquerings and occupation have offered us a renewed look at this colonisation. I heard Israeli historian Avi Shlaim regard this openly as colonisation in a lecture, so I asked him whether he did not also regard 1948 as such. He smiled, looked at his wife whom I later learned often asks him this question, and said 'you know what - I agree with you'. And added that 15 years ago he wouldn't have said that. But that also tells you that it's not necessarily about things changing on the ground - but about minds forming and newly appraising what was before. Israel thus continues to apply the colonialist dual logic, referred to by Ben Gurion, in its occupation. It says there's no occupation, it's just 'contested territory' (no other country in the world is in doubt though). At the same time it sticks to the definition 'occupation' so that it doesn't have to apply citizenship. It says it doesn't occupy Gaza, there's no siege. But no one else is in doubt. Even US State Department recognises Gaza is effectively 'occupied'. So the Palestinians obviously resist, and they have a right to do so under international law. But as Israel does not quite define them as 'occupied', it is just a 'war'. Gaza is just 'hostile territory', West Bank is 'contested'. And in this sea of 'ambiguity', the real agressors, the 'political aggressors' as Ben Gurion realised, continue their fight for the complete ethnic cleansing of Palestine, to realise Moshe Dayan's wishful thinking: "No more Palestine, finished!" - under our very noses.


    by jonathan ofir

    [The mother of all dead threads come back to life? - PP/moderator]

    That quote from Ofir (will track down his work) is the most concise deconstruction of the moral vacuum in which all of the satellite oppressions (hasbara, the anti bds vigilantes, etc) function viz: a people under occupation have the right to resist and criminalizing that resistance is itself an international war crime. 

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