The Palestine question cannot be viewed through an old lens

Despite the fact that the Palestine question has waned in importance in the hotspot-ridden Middle East, it still manages to attract some attention. Not only do Palestinians, Israelis, and other closely involved parties have differing perspectives on the issue, but Chinese public opinion is also becoming increasingly divided.

The Palestine question must be divided into stages, taking into account the differences in the characteristics of the issue at various timeframes, in the sense that the present cannot be viewed through the lens of the past.

The question of Palestine, which has hampered peace in the Middle East for more than a century, has its roots in the rise of Zionism in the late 19th century. It can be divided into three stages of development, from its inception to the present: territorial competition between Jews and Palestinians; successive wars between Israel and the Arab states; and Palestine’s current claim to Israeli-held territories for the establishment of an independent state.

The United Nations Resolution 181 on the partition of the Palestine Mandate, which was issued on November 29, 1947, marked the end of the first stage of the question of Palestine. With the rise of the Zionist movement and increased Jewish immigration to Palestine, competition for land between Jews and Palestinians became more intense.

At the urging of the major powers, the UN voted on the partition and the establishment of a Jewish state and a Palestinian Arab state.

All Arab countries voted against the partition, and when Israel declared statehood on May 14, 1948, many of them waged war on the new state in the name of defending Palestinian interests. The Arab states were adamant about standing up for Palestinians because they saw Palestine as part of the Arab world and Palestinians as part of the Arab people.

As a result, the history of the Palestinians, as seen through their eyes, can be traced back to the Arab conquest of Palestine following the rise of Islam in the 7th century AD.

Until the adoption of the UN resolution on the partition of Palestine in 1947, Palestinians were a people ruled by others, never having established their own independent state and severely lacking the capacity and ability to do so. The Arab states’ collective boycott and rejection of Resolution 181 pushed the Palestinians even further away from establishing an independent and sovereign state on that basis.