We often hear reference to a Greater Israel as the goal of the Israeli people and government. The claim is that Israel plans on extending her boundaries to include the West Bank and in some claims also the Gaza Strip. In order to further understand the controversy of a Greater Israel there exist a couple of maps that make it much easier to visualize.
The above is a representation of the original British Mandate of Palestine. According to the intent of the Balfour Declaration and associated edicts from the League of Nations the shaded area was reserved for the Jewish State, Israel. After WWI the British wished to reward the Hashemite Arabs for their allegiance in fighting in the Middle East front of the war. This lead to the British dividing the British Mandate into Transjordan, today’s country of Jordan, and Palestine which was then supposed to become the Jewish State. Below is a map of this division.
After much pressure from many fronts, Britain by far being one in the forefront, the United Nations further divided Palestine into an Arab State and a Jewish State. The Arab nations rejected this resolution declaring war on the newly established Jewish State of Israel with the intent on its complete and total destruction and the objective of driving the Jews into the sea as their rallying call.
Above is a map of the original partition plan for the remainder of the British Mandate after the formation of Transjordan known as Palestine. The small white area was Jerusalem and Bethlehem that was to become an international zone. This divided the disputed territories 56 percent for the State of Israel and 43 percent for the State of Palestine. After the Arab Israeli War of 1948, also known as Israel’s War of Independence, the division looked like the map below.
After studying these different maps it becomes fairly obvious that the original intent of the Jewish State to include the areas known today as Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Jordan was probably not a feasible idea. But it also points out that originally Jordan was intended to be the Arab State and Israel was intended to fill the area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The United Nations further partition to add the State of Palestine in addition to Jordan as an Arab State was probably no more viable then than it is today.
After the 1948 Arab Israeli War Jordan retained control over the West Bank and Egypt retained the Gaza Strip. During the years from 1948 up to the time of the 1967 Arab Israeli War there was no call for a Palestinian State. Only after Israel had gained these lands after a war that was launched upon them was the call for a Palestinian State revived. When peace accords were reached with Egypt and Jordan respectively, they each declined accepting the Gaza Strip or West Bank leaving them instead as a constant problem for Israel. Further, all of the Arab States have refused to take any responsibility for these territories insisting that they are an Israeli problem.
There is one last map that shows the difference between what the Israelis who support a Greater Israel, these are a minority in Israel, and what the Arabs claim is the Zionist Plot for a Greater Israel.
Three divergent geopolitical and diplomatic conceptions of Greater Israel:
Red area as claimed by Israeli conservatives
Orange area as claimed by some Revisionist Zionist factions
Yellow area as alleged by anti-Zionist and antisemitic groups, basically from the Nile to the Euphrates
The one obvious conclusion I gathered from this map is that those in the Arab World use the idea of a Greater Israel as a bogeyman, a scare tactic to inflame hatred of the Jews and Israel. If Israel were held to the same logic as was used with the partition of Crete or the division between India and Pakistan, then the Arab population west of the Jordan River would have been relocated to Jordan and any Jews living in the Arab States that wished to rid themselves of their Jewish populations be moved to Israel and in time everyone would be incorporated into their new societies. This is what happened to the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries but is exactly the opposite of what has occurred with the Arab refugees. Would the situation be any worse had the Arab Jewish refugee problems been concluded with the same methodology as Crete, India Pakistan, and some of the other refugee situations of the Twentieth Century? Somehow I doubt any resolution could be any worse than the situation we face today.
Beyond the Cusp