by Timothy Lane 7/26/14
This is, as many have pointed out, the centennial of the beginning of World War I. Among the important dates that led to the cataclysm, one key date was July 25, the date Serbia rejected the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum and (well aware of the likely consequence) ordered mobilization. (The Habsburgs promptly ordered their own partial mobilization against Serbia, and declared war on July 28.) But what’s interesting to me (and I wrote about this many years ago in FOSFAX), is that the ultimatum demands (which are listed in full, along with the Serb responses, in D. J. Goodspeed’s The German Wars 1914-1945) would make a great deal of sense if they were applied today (with a few specifics updated) to the Palestinians. Here are the original demands as listed by Goodspeed:
1. The suppression of any publication inciting hatred of Austria-Hungary.
2. The suppression of Narodna Odbrana and all other propaganda societies, and the taking of necessary measures to prevent the dissolved societies from continuing their activities under another name or form.
3. The elimination from Serbian schools of hate propaganda against Austria-Hungary.
4. The removal from the Serbian army and bureaucracy of officials guilty of propaganda against Austria-Hungary.
5. The acceptance of the collaboration in Serbia of Austrian officials in the suppression of the subversive movement.
6. The arrest of the accessories to the murder plot of June 28, and the participation of Austrian officials in the investigation of the assassination.
7. The arrest of Major Voja Tankosich and Milan Ciganovich.
8. The suppression of the illegal traffic of arms and explosives from Serbia into Austria, and the punishment of the frontier officials who had helped the murderers to cross into Austria.
9. An explanation of the “unjustifiable utterances of high Serbian officials both in Serbia and abroad” who had, in interviews since June 28, expressed hostility to Austria-Hungary.
10. The notification of the Austrian government, without delay, of the measures taken.
I think most people can see how these provisions would apply to the Palestinian Authority. Replace “Serbia” with “Palestine” and “Austria-Hungary” (or “Austria”) with “Israel”, and nearly every demand could apply with no further change. No doubt there are specific Palestinian terrorists who could be listed instead of Tankosich and Ciganovich. If this were done in 2014, there would also have to be a demand to destroy the tunnels (and no doubt to get rid of the rockets).
An important point to make here is that Serbia rejected one provision outright because it was incompatible with maintaining its independence. (Its acceptance of others was hedged around; for example they claimed that they couldn’t locate Ciganovich, and asked the Austrians to provide evidence of the variuous forms of hate propaganda.) But Palestine is not a recognized national government (and judging by their performance so far, shouldn’t be), which would make such demands more appropriate. Ideally, the United States could use its own leverage (after all, it helps funds the Palestinian Authority, and thus Hamas) to force the Palestinians to accept such an ultimatum (though the current regime would never do so, of course).
But it’s still interesting that the ultimatum to a barbarous nation a century ago shines a light on the behavior of a far more barbarous “nation” today.
Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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