A Solution for
the Middle East?
A friend of mine
has reminded me of a letter I had sent to the American Ambassador
in London in March 1991. On the eve of the Arab summit in
Beirut, conditions are still so much the same that I offer
my formula as a practical solution to the endemic Middle East
problems, solving the Palestinian and the Iraqi problem together
in one go.
This was my
letter of 1991:
12 March 1991
H E Henry E Catto
United States Ambassador
Jews from Arab
lands hold the key to any successful resolution of the Palestinians
problem, which must be viewed in the context of the wider
Arab-Jewish settlement of the Middle-East.
Since 1948, and
even before, Jews in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other "Arab"
countries had to leave their ancient homelands because of
discrimination and persecution. They now number over 2 million,
having settled mainly in Israel but also in the UK, Europe,
the USA and Canada. While Israel has integrated its refugees,
the Arabs have deliberately kept theirs in squalor for political
The Middle East
conflict is not between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs
but, as is being slowly appreciated, the conflict is with
the neighbouring Arab countries that relentlessly waged war
on Israel, incited the Palestinians not to come to terms with
the Jews, financed terrorism, and rejected all United Nations
There can be no
peace in the Middle East unless these same Arab countries
are made parties to an eventual settlement, bearing their
share of the refugee problem and the cost of their settlement
in their own areas.
The Jews from
Arab countries are the guid pro quo of the Palestinian Arabs
the other side of the coin. And, in any future negotiations,
if Israel is going to represent the Jews from Arab lands,
then the neighbouring Arab countries should also represent
the Palestinians. If, however, the Palestinians are going
to have a separate voice in a regional peace conference or
dialogue then Jews from Arab lands must also have a separate
The trouble in
the Middle East goes back to the end of the First World War
and the break-up of the Ottoman Empire. Mainly through the
influence of Colonel Lawrence and other Arabists in the British
Foreign and Colonial Offices, the Arabs were given more than
they deserved or were entitled to, in complete disregard of
the rights and interests of the other nationalities of the
region. To consolidate their ill-gotten gains the Arabs have
acted wildly and irresponsibly culminating in Saddams
eight year war with Iran and his aggression on Kuwait. To
the credit of American and British leadership Saddam was stopped
in his tracks before he and his confederates could hold the
world to ransom and plunge it in a new dark age. There must
be an overall solution to the problems of the Middle East.
The solution must
be global, for there can be no peace in one corner of the
Middle East while Lebanon slides to a slow death; while millions
of Kurds cannot attain autonomy; while non-Arab minorities
in Iraq remember their massacres and their stolen lands; while
the Shia majority of Iraq are oppressed; while Arabs control
five million square miles of territory and non-Arabs are denied
any territory; while some Arab rulers pocket most of the oil
wealth and Israelis keep tightening their belts. These petrobillions
have made of Iraq a dangerous aggressor and of Kuwait a target
The solution must
be global, for there can be no peace for the Palestinian Arab
refugees while the material and political rights of Jewish
refugees from Arab lands are ignored. The Jews have an historic
right to a share of the Fertile Crescent its territory
and its wealth indeed superior to that of the Arabs.
As to Resolution 242, this was firmly rejected by the Arabs
who must not now be allowed to play a game of Heads, we win
Tails, you lose.
To the PLO, who
say they want to establish a free, multi-racial, democratic,
secular and progressive Palestine, we say we want to establish
a free, multi-racial, democratic, secular and progressive
Middle East. To those who say Zionism is responsible for all
the trouble in Palestine, we say that Arab imperialism is
responsible for all the trouble in the Middle East.
An outline for
a Middle East peace plan can be the following:
1. Israel to be
confirmed within her present borders.
2. The refugeees
in Gaza and the West Bank, nearly half of their Arab population,
to be settled in Jordan which becomes the Palestinian state.
Any Arabs who do not wish to live under Israeli rule can also
go to Jordan-is-Palestine. Under pressure from President Truman
a million Jews were allowed forty years ago to leave Arab
countries and go mainly to Israel. This was to be the first
leg of a reciprocal exchange of populations that would establish
peace between Jews and Arabs. But only a trickle of Palestinian
Arabs were allowed to replace them. The exchange of populations
must now be completed. King Hussein to be "punished"
by offering him the throne of Iraq. His grandfather, King
Abdulla, was meant to become King of Iraq.
3. Kurdish rights
to be implemented by returning Mosul and Kirkuk to Turkey
and by giving autonomy to the 10 million Kurds within the
Turkish Republic. Turkeys good behaviour for the last
70 years and her membership of Nato warrants this confidence.
4. A reduced,
mainly Christian, Lebanon to be created from Junieh, north
of Beirut, to the border with Israel, with the rest of old
Lebanon going to Syria.
5. The security
structure in the Middle East to include Israel.
6. The United
States and Great Britain (with some lesser participants) to
replace OPEC by forming the Petroleum Central Selling Organisation
(PECSO) to acquire the right of marketing oil worldwide at
say $30 a barrel of which $20 goes to the countries of origin.
Germany and Japan must not continue to make hay in the Allied
sun. All the countries of the region including Israel, Jordan,
Syria, Egypt and Turkey to share in the $20.
I am, Your Excellency,
Very truly yours.
Naim E Dangoor
on behalf of Iraqi Jews in the United Kingdom
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