Officially, the war for Palestine, which ended with the establishment of the state of Israel and the deportation of three-quarters of one million Palestinians, began on May 15, 1978, with the end of the British mandate and the declaration of independence by the Zionists. The leaders, and the retired Jewish state and the country’s Palestinian population and the Arab League’s formal initiation of hostilities.
Others see the UN Partition Resolution, passed on November 29, 1944, and the ensuing war as the real beginning of the conflict. But an equally admirable argument can be made that the war for Palestine began in May 1912 – more than fifty centuries ago – not in Jerusalem, but in the mixed sea with the sea between Jaffa and Tel Aviv.
On May 2, a group of Jewish Marxists clashed with more moderate labor Zionists and advanced into the Palestinian territories of Manshiyeh. Their march, accompanied by flag hoisting and loud slogans for workers’ solidarity, was met with warning shots by British gendarmes in hopes of dispersing them. Unfortunately, the Arab inhabitants did not understand their slogan; Fearing a gun battle, there were indications of an attack by Jews in the vicinity, they first launched an attack and then started a riot that quickly descended on Jaffa and killed 47 Jews and 48 Palestinians. Hundreds more were made homeless.
The violence shocked the British-occupied government that was still in power four years after the conquest of Palestine, but it should not have happened. By 1921, Jafar’s rapid economic and demographic development had made it the undisputed cultural and economic capital of Arab Palestine, where, according to British police officials, “you will find more information about political sentiment than in any other part of Palestine.” At the same time, Tel Aviv, since the establishment of Palestine as the “first modern Jewish neighborhood” in 1909, has become the cultural and economic capital of Jewish Palestine from the “daughter” of Jafar.
Indeed, his last Ottoman governor, Hassan Bay, was anxious to build a mosque north of the old town of Jafar in 19161 in an attempt to spread Tel Aviv’s occupation of agricultural land in and around Java to the south of Tel Aviv.
Jafar described the Palestinian Arab population’s “storm” of violence in early 1912 as a “rebellion” or “revolution” (Thaora, the same term used by protesters in the Arab Spring). As part of them, Zionist officials acknowledged in their report that this was the result of the “unnatural” expansion of the Jewish community, which was considered a major cause of “occupation and spread” in the rest of Jafar and the surrounding gardens.
Instead of trying to quell the growing anger of indigenous peoples, Zionist leaders pushed for unlimited immigration to Palestine, and even thousands of Jewish residents of Jafar crossed the current official border into Tel Aviv, which was officially recognized as a separate city. 10 days after the violence erupted.
Over the next three decades, Jaffa and Tel Aviv would continue to clash and occasionally cooperate, as the two cities and their respective national communities developed into full-fledged national rivals. The “Great Palestinian Uprising” of 1933 also began in Jaffa, when the bombing of the city by Jews at the beginning of the 1948 war led to one of the largest deportations of Palestinians.
A century after May 1921, the border areas between Jafar and now the relatively poor but continuously mildly mixed region of Tel Aviv and the “modern” Jewish center of the adjoining municipality are the source of constant tension and violence. Just as in Jerusalem and throughout the West Bank, secular and religious Jews similarly occupied Palestinian property, evicted the local people, and continued a self-described process of Judaization (Judaism in Hebrew, the official term of Israel) that happened now rests for 100 years.
Indeed, Jaffa was a haven and microscope for the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict along the dynamics of Jewish-Palestinian relations, with Israel and its supporters falsely claiming to make the slightest difference in the way the Palestinians are treated. Side of the green line. In fact, most of the tactics deployed in the occupied territories after 196767 were first developed and perfected within the sovereign 1948 borders of Israel.
There were enough Palestinians left in the mixed areas of cities like Jaffa, Haifa and Jerusalem so that their presence could not be erased by the Jews alone and their numbers were sufficiently “manageable” so that the balance of the masses could be shifted with some effort.
Those who have focused on the uninterrupted struggle for territoriality, identity, and political and economic power in Israel since 1948, and especially over the past five decades, have realized that the “two-state solution” defined regionally by Israel’s “peace” has taken place. At the heart of the incomplete “land for peace” formula, the camp was destroyed from the outset. Israel had sufficient strength and foreign support to maintain permanent control and continue to settle in the occupied territories.
With the collapse of the Oslo process in 2000 and the eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, the prospects for peace were dashed, and various groups of Palestinian, Israeli, and international scholars and policymakers came together to think deeply about this alternative method of intercourse. They develop or redistribute the concepts of various federations, confederations and dichotomies, ranging from secular democracies.
One of these suggestions was the idea of parallel states, first introduced in 2010, and detailed in our 2014 One Land to States: Israel and Palestine parallel states. The ideas described are the result of many years of informal discussions between Israeli and Palestinian academics and experts with the help of international colleagues.
The original idea was to divide the sovereignty instead of dividing the land and to build a new kind of political architecture and two separate state structures both covering the whole region, so that people would have the freedom to move and live in the whole region, preserving the idea of two separate states. At the same time while consolidating the land into a geographical entity, with a common external boundary and a common economic space.
Such a structure would enable Israel to meet its security imperatives through its continued presence in the West Bank, enabling the Palestinians to return to all of historic Palestine and divide both nations as their capital. Seriously, wherever they live, Israelis and Palestinians will remain citizens of their respective states, ending the “democratic threat” that has broken the promise of democracy on both sides of the Green Line for decades.
In 2012, a group of Israelis and Palestinians came up with a similar idea, promoting another traditional theocratic confederacy under “two states, one homeland” (now known as “one country for all”). At the just-concluded 2021 conference of AIPAC’s liberal Jewish counterpart J-Street, Confederacy was seen as a substantial summary of such initiatives as a central theme.
With centuries of history of Palestinian-Jewish intercourse – albeit compelling and unbalanced – Jaffa could serve as a starting point for a lucky and more just future. Instead, Jaffa is seen as more of a Jewish settlement than part of Tel Aviv as a whole, with land seizures and militarization giving its 20,000 Palestinian residents a regular reality.
Looking back over a century, Sami Abu Shehadeh, a lifelong Jafan activist, Knesset member and chairman of the Balad Party, explained to us: “Of course it happened in Jafan in 1921; It was the center of Zionist as well as Palestinian life, so we could see what was on the horizon by then. However, a century later, the Jafar Palestinians make up only 1 percent of Tel Aviv’s population, and we rarely try to be considered equal citizens. As a result, young people today continue to see themselves as part of the Palestinian nation, even though their ID cards are Israeli. “
The 100th anniversary of the 1921 uprising reminds us of how deeply entrenched this conflict was. But just a few years before the violence, Jewish and Palestinian leaders together helped install street lights in Jaffa, formed an export association for the famous Jaffa Orange, and built a new boulevard in the heart of Jaffa, built with trees. Tel Aviv-Raldschild Boulevard. Cooperation and collaboration was possible then, and could happen again – across Jaffa, Tel Aviv and this sacred but deeply tainted land.
But only if it is built on the basis of empire, mutual respect and recognition that are at the center of various North-Eastern solutions that are ultimately being given the attention they deserve. Given the seemingly insurmountable imbalance of power, Israel has no objection to acknowledging or endorsing such an effort. Could rise, presenting Pirik as even the greatest victory.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the authors’ own and Al Jazeera’s editorial position.