Confessions of a Once-Hopeful Leftist - Part I

Many who support the notion that Israel should pull out of Gaza do so from the perspective of what might be called the 'Hopeful Left'.

Jared Israel,

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Many who support the notion that Israel should pull out of Gaza do so from the perspective of what might be called the 'Hopeful Left'.

The Hopeful Left, of which I was once a fervent member, believes that Palestinian Arabs are waging a classic struggle for national liberation; all the Palestinian Arabs want is a state of their own in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. Since Palestinian Arab violence is viewed as stemming from supposed Israeli suppression of national aspirations, the hope is that if Israel showers the Arabs with concessions, extremists will be isolated; moderates (once meaning Yasser Arafat and now meaning Mahmoud Abbas, otherwise known as Abu Mazen, and his Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority) will be empowered; peace will reign.

Such is the Hope of the Hopeful Left.

Beginning three years ago, I was forced by the tremendous escalation of media attacks on Israel to study the facts about the Arab-Israeli dispute. I now believe the Hopeful Left is dangerously wrong. There is much evidence that the Palestinian movement is not an outgrowth of the history of some Palestinian people, but an artificial creation of the Arab states, with much help, at various times, from Great Powers, such as the former Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and others.

A lot of evidence caused me to change my mind; a humbling process, since it meant I had been remarkably wrong since the early 1970s. Some of that evidence involved the origins of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which dominates the current Palestinian movement. Surely if the Palestinian Arabs were waging a legitimate national liberation struggle, the PLO has been its leading voice.

Among the things I learned was that, according to the Egyptian State Information Service, the PLO was formed in 1964 by 13 leaders of Arab states at an Arab League summit meeting:

"They approved many decisions, including holding the summit annually, establishing the unified supreme Arab command and forming an organization representing the Palestinian people." -- from the Egyptian State Information Service's history of Arab Summit meetings.(1)

Odd, isn't it, that Hopeful Leftists are able to ignore the fact that the PLO was created by some of the most regressive regimes on earth? Regimes (e.g., Saudi Arabia) that allow the stoning to death of women for having extra-marital affairs?(2) It's a tribute to the human capacity to avoid facts that rudely contradict one's beliefs.

In any case, since the Arab states were in 1964 (and are now) waging a war of words and guns against Israel's existence, the fact that the PLO was formed by the Arab leadership does not speak well for the PLO.

And consider the following text, included in the founding charter of the PLO, which I stumbled upon by chance during an internet search a couple of years ago:

"Article 24: This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area." (The 1964 charter is backed up at

Odd, isn't it, that a national liberation movement now claiming to be focused on the demand for a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip included in its founding document an acknowledgement in principle that Palestinian sovereignty does not include the West Bank and Gaza Strip? The only part of historic Palestine, as the PLO calls it, that the PLO then demanded was the part occupied by Israel.

If you look at the current charter of the PLO, you will search in vain for the above text. Why? Because the charter was rewritten in 1968, and the text excluding the West Bank and Gaza from Palestinian sovereignty was removed.(3)

What happened in between to transform historic Palestine?

What happened was that the Arab states lost their 1967 war against Israel.

Consequently, Egypt and Jordan lost control of Gaza and the West Bank, respectively. So, once these areas went from being controlled by non-Palestinian Arabs (by PLO definition) to being controlled by Jews, they entered the realm of Palestinian sovereignty. Doesn't this support the conclusion that the Palestinian national liberation movement is, in fact, an artificial creation, an attack force in disguise? That it was not created to strive for national liberation, but against Jews?

Let us test this thesis in terms of a current proposal, seemingly made by the Israeli government, but originating, I believe, in the Bush administration. Under this proposal, the Israeli government would evict all Jews from the Gaza Strip and turn it over to the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, which, by the way, is led mainly by the same people who lead the PLO.

[Part 1 of 2]



(2) Arab states are attacked for the practice of stoning women to death for adultery on a Muslim web site This web site appears to argue that, according to Muslim texts, rather than stoning the women, punishment should be limited to 100 lashes.

(3) The revised PLO charter can be read at