An Interview with Golda Meir 1973

Someone recently uploaded a very interesting interview with Golda Meir from 1973:

At about 2:00: she explains the history of the Palestinian claim to Israel.

At about 6:30: she explains the Palestinian refugee problem.

At about 10:00: she explains how Israel had to absorb  1,000,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries after the Arabs rejected the 1947 UN partition plan. These Jews were not left to rot in refugee camps like the Jordanians did to their brothers in the west bank and the Egyptians did to their brothers in the Gaza strip.

At 13:00 she blows apart the myth that there are no funds to resettle the Palestinian refugees.

At 14:00 she discusses the Palestinian Terrorist flavor of those days: airplane hijackings

There is a long explanation then about the Arab dictatorships and why they are not willing to make peace with Israel. Happily, since then Egypt and Jordan did make peace with Israel, even though you can see how distant that prospect seemed in those days. Maybe there is hope…

She also discusses at length the hopes, which were the only viable option back then, that the Palestinian problem would be resolved by uniting the Palestinians in the West Bank with their brothers on the East Bank. After all, the area promised to the Jews in the Balfour declaration and in the League of Nations’ Mandate to the British included the area that was later given to 300,000 Beduins and named Jordan, and so it made sense, back then, to think that Jordan (with most of the West Bank) would become their homeland. That would have given the arabs 5x more land than Israel out of the area that was originally designated as the homeland for the Jews.

Unfortunately for Israel, the Jordanians were smarter than that. They decided that they don’t want the Palestinians back, and that is how the concept of a Palestinian homeland in the West Bank was first born.

At 25:00 she talks at length about Egypt. This is interesting especially because it was just a few months before Sadat made his trip to Israel that established the Peace. This shows how quickly and easily Israel is willing to embrace an honest and real message of Peace by an Arab leader.

One of the most interesting segments comes at 40:00 where Golda explains the Settlements in the West Bank, and dispels the allegations about tearing down Arab houses and villages. She discusses the humanitarian and infrastructure projects Israel was undertaking in the West Bank to put an end to the misery of the refugees.

There are lots of other great moments and biographical anecdotes worth taking the time to watch.

Filmed almost 40 years ago, it’s amazing to see how much has changed, and how much has remained exactly the same. The Arab countries who chose Peace with Israel found a willing partner on all fronts: generous land concessions, uprooting Israeli settlements, full diplomatic relations, no hatred or incitement, and many areas of economic, military and technology cooperation.

Now that the “Arab winter” is threatening to turn back the clock on the Egyptian and possibly even the Jordanian Peace, Israel may find itself right back where Golda left off…


1 Comment

  • Larinthian says:

    I have seen this interview several times because I wanted to get the full meaning of Prime Minister Meir’s replies. This was a truly brilliant woman and one that I believe if we had today, Israel would be on much firmer ground. The whole interview was remarkable but a couple statements stuck out in my mind that would do the current Prime Minister good to pay attention. In regards to terrorism, Prime Minister Meir said that it would be unthinkable to release terrorists who were responsible for killing Israelis and when the discussion turned to pressure from other countries to squeeze Israel, Prime Minister Meir said that Israel is “unsqueezable.” There is no doubt that Prime Minister Meir wanted peace but unlike some Israeli politicians of today, Peres and Livni come to mind, Meir knew the difference between achieving a true, lasting peace and appeasement that is hidden under the guise of peace. Israel would be well served by going back and taking stock on Prime Minister Meir’s comments to the same problems of back then, Israel is still grappling with now. I believe it is largely up to the Arabs to determine if there will be peace. But, it is up to Israel to change their current approach to achieving peace. .

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