The Prinicipality of Palestine.

Yesterday I updated my google Reader by adding a subscription to the blog Atlas Obscura, “a collaborative project with the goal of cataloging all of the singular, eccentric, bizarre, fantastical, and strange out-of-the-way places that get left out of traditional travel guidebooks and are ignored by the average tourist. If you’re looking for miniature cities, glass flowers, books bound in human skin, gigantic flaming holes in the ground, phallological museums, bone churches, balancing pagodas, or homes built entirely out of paper, the Atlas Obscura is where you’ll find them.”

Already the few keyclicks it took to subscribe to the blog has paid off with information about the Principality of Sealand, a tower called a Maunsell sea fort built by England during WWII in international waters:

In 1967 Major Paddy Roy Bates occupied the island and declared it a sovereign principality, appropriately named “Sealand.” For the past four decades Bates and his family, with rotating visitors, have occupied the island, named themselves Royalty, and gone about their business much like heads of state.

In 1978 a German citizen claiming to be the “Prime Minister of Sealand” attempted to take over the island while Bates was away. Bates retook the island by helicopter attack and held the German captive. First Germany attempted to negotiate with Britain, who said Sealand wasn’t their country. The Germans then negotiated directly with Bates, and after a few weeks their countryman was returned. This encounter bolsters Bates’ claim that Sealand is a nation, as Germany recognized them in negotiation.

Since this time Sealand has fired at the British Navy, issued passports, minted coins, and participated in international sporting events….

Excellent.

Now, if Mr. Bates can declare himself a nation, and get away with it, “WHY CAN’T PALESTINE DECLARE ITSELF A NATION? This is just so obvious to me; whatever is taking them so long?

But wait, there is another revelation in store.  The Principality of Sealand is not alone; in fact, there is a name for this phenomenon–“micro-nations”–and Atlas Obscura has a whole separate tag for micro-nations.  So far, they have written about no fewer than eleven micro-nations. Count ’em, eleven. And get this,  one of them is INSIDE THE CITY OF JERUSALEM!!!1!

Are you listening, Palestinians? Are you listening, Dr. Fayad  (author of “The Salam Fayad Document: A Palestinian Initiative to Bear Responsibility”)?

Forget  “settlements”.  So what, settlements. They’re the only places it ‘s safe enough to put a bank ATM machine.  They’re the only places it’s safe enough for Arab women to walk without being harassed by Arab men. Leave them alone.  There must be plenty of “empty” land still left that can be reclaimed; there’s even a precedent for that move.  I hear the West Bank is absolutely sitting on an underground lake.

Build your own Palestinian nano-nations, but forget all that dreary intifada stuff.  Make a sweet little Arab country without  shebabs–you know the guys I’m talking about, the ones who don’t want to keep their hands to themselves. You know who they are.  Send those jerks to Gaza to live out their lives with kefeeyas wrapped around everything but their eyes.

Then build a principality with the best felafel, the best mahmoul, and that bear-claw-shaped, date-filled Palestinian bread that’s to die for.  Plant a few palm trees to sit and eat them under.  Don’t forget a mosque where the women can worship on the same floor side-by-side with men, and don’t have to hide in the mosque basement for fear the men will stare at their butts while they’re praying.  And then issue passports–and visas–for it.

The Micro-Nation of Palestine.

Build it and they will come.

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2 Responses to “The Prinicipality of Palestine.”

  1. canehan Says:

    The reason they don’t proclaim a Palestinian state is that a state must have defined borders, and you know what a problem that would be. If they unilaterally defined them, Israel wouldn’t recognise them, and the internatiuonal community would shy away from recognition because of that, so no point at the moment.

    It would be better for them to get their current semi-autonomous entity working half way properly first, police, economy, anti-corruption, Fatah-Hamas, etc. That would show they could run a state and defuse a lot of the Israeli arguments.

  2. Nijma Says:

    Yes, the PA needs to get their act together, that’s why Hamas did so well in the election. The Arab nations have poured billions in to the area, but where is their economy, where is their infrastructure?

    But borders? If Israel is recognized without defined borders, then why not Palestine (unless you want to count the Green Line of the West Bank area held by Jordan before the war). All kinds of countries have been recognized without established borders and all kinds of borders have been disputed and changed–America’s wild west, Alsace-Lorraine…. Jordan’s (uninhabited) western desert border has been poorly defined, and in the north, the town of Ramtha has an area called the “old border” so the border with Syria has been changed as well. For that matter the Greek decapolis city-states had walls around the towns, but when I lived in Jerash (“Gerasa”) there were signs of old buildings outside the walls too. The desert/hinterland was simply unorganized.

    I keep thinking something could be done with special economic zones near the Jordanian border to give Palestine and Jordan a mutual border. Jordan had some QIZ‘s financed in part with Israeli money, but they have been in disfavor lately.

    I suspect the real reason there is no movement in the peace process is that both sides plan to win the population war and take the whole area. Conservative pundits will tell you something like a half million Palestinians left and 5 million want to return. In the meantime the most conservative Israelis, the Settlers, are busy trying to have a population boom and building more and more and more settlements, which are the only places it’s safe enough to put shopping centers, and where the Arabs love to shop.

    The Palestinians need to build their own suburbs, their own secure shopping centers, their own airport, their own border with Jordan, in short, self-determination, which Israel is unlikely to permit. But if they wait, perhaps they think it will be like South Africa and they will have it all without having to build it.


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