aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Harsh realities

In 1688, the Glorious Revolution kicked off in England. James II left the country, and certain Gentlemen from Parliament invited William of Orange, husband of Mary Stuart (daughter of James) to take over. William set about trouncing James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1689, and that was that -- except for the interpretation of the event.

Parliament wanted to install Mary on the throne as Queen with William as a kind of Prince Consort (anticipating Victoria's husband's position years later). William refused to be "his wife's gentleman usher." So they made them joint monarchs. William then had to put up with MPs saying, "We have made you king." That was, of course, the meaning of the Glorious Revolution as it was understood by Parliament and as it has been handed down ever since in History and Political Science texts.

William understood the matter rather differently. He asserted that he had made himself king, by right of conquest. After all, he had invaded, he had beat the old king in battle, and nobody else had an army to tell him he wasn't king. In the end, Parliament's official interpretation won out, but there's little doubt that William's military position made them more amenable to giving him co-title to the throne.

Nowadays, we try to make things legal and consult the people when we do revolutions. The right of conquest is not much invoked any more; nevertheless, it remains solid international law. For no other reason than conquest do the Turks control what used to be known as Constantinople, and Hagia Sophia is therefore a mosque rather than a church. California, Arizona, New Mexico, and a whole bunch of other territory is part of the USA by conquest. You can call the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo a sovereign agreement between two nations, but let's be honest: we took it, then made it legal.

And at some point, it seems to me, debating the Right of Return of the Palestinians ought to be simply dumped on the scrapheap. They've had nearly sixty years in which to make peace. Israel has withdrawn time and again from land they have conquered in an attempt to tamp down the violence. At this point, I'd say, let Israel take what they think they need and assert the right of conquest to it, and unilaterally declare a settlement. Let them build a wall and abjure further legal quibbles. Stick a fork in it, and declare it done.

And if that is too harsh for anybody, well then, let them give a deadline. Publish the new boundaries, give the Palestinians twelve months to settle on that basis (or some other), and then announce that if the other side can't get their act together, it's a done deal.

All this is not to excuse any of Israel's faults, of which they have about as many as any other country. But merely existing as a country is not a fault. Ahmadinejad of Iran wants to undo the 1948 UN action which created the State of Israel, and have Europe give the Jews a homeland there. The answer to that, ultimately, is, the Jews have conquered what they have, and are able to keep it, and so Ahmadinejad's words are vain.

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