Partitions and (lack of) peace

November 21, 2007 at 4:28 pm 1 comment

Next Thursday morning, Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., will sponsor an event on three partitions that continue to shape world affairs: those of Israel, Ireland and India. The event will occur on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations decision to divide the British mandate of Palestine into two states.

We see the perils of partition today. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which will tentatively take place next Tuesday in Annapolis, Md., must confront once again the thorny issues of Palestinian refugees, Israeli settlers, borders for Israeli and Palestinian states, the status of Jerusalem, and Palestinian calls for a right of return. Meanwhile, the government of Pakistan — a state possessing nuclear weapons — is facing threats to its existence by Islamic fundamentalists and by the return of former two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal last March, former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan criticized the vanity of the trio behind the partition of India — the British Lord Mountbatten, future Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and future Pakistani leader Muhammed Ali Jinnah — and argued for deliberation, not the speed which she attributed to the violence of 1947, in nation-building.

“Mountbatten could have resisted partition, or slowed it, or lessened its impact,” Noonan wrote. “He was a decisive and dynamic man, a great one I think, but if he’d been capable of introspection, of self-analysis, of self-skepticism, he might have recognized and resisted his too-driven sense of Mission, and the personal vanity that was always, with him, a spur.”

Instead, hasty partitions left a legacy of violence that continues to trouble the world. With the current troubles in Pakistan, it seems that leaders both in Islamabad and Washington, DC are following historical error and unwisely rushing to change an existing situation.


Entry filed under: international politics, Israel, Middle East, news, Palestine, Politics. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Shaheryar Ali  |  November 21, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Partition is never a solution, its always mother of new problem, history of last 50 years is a proof–

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