Deja Vu – An American Odyssey

“I am not sure that the world is not still too selfish to appreciate the worth of the merits of Zionism aims. The world is certainly too anti-Semite and too suspicious of Jewish brains and money. In any case I find myself alone out here, among gentiles, in upholding Zionism——“. [Richard Meinertzhagen, head of Military Intelligence in Cairo]. He was moved to change his mind by Aaron Aaronsohn, whose spy network in Jewish Palestine he regarded as invaluable

“Great as are the changes wrought by this war of justice and freedom, I doubt whether any of these changes surpass in interest the liberation of Palestine and its recognition as the home of Israel.” [Jan Christian Smuts, a South African statesman who planed and designed the League of Nations which includes the Mandate Plan incorporating Palestine. He lobbied against the While Paper of 1939]

With the return to power of the Democrats and Joe Biden, as President, the consequence will undoubtedly be an embrace of Obama’s modus operandi. For Israel, without question they will focus on the forever failed “two-state” solution and the “Palestinians”. While Donald Trump in his attempts to bring closure to the subject issues used an original approach, Biden will re-introduce the methodology of past failures, even including a few of the same “useful idiots”.

UN Security Resolution 242 was adopted unanimously in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War. The resolution calls for a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based in principle on states having the right to a “just and lasting peace” within “secure and recognized boundaries.”

Resolutions 242 and 338 never branded Israel as an “unlawful occupier” or an “aggressor” and never called on Israel to withdraw from all the “territories”. The wording of the resolutions clearly reflect the contention that none of the territories were occupied land taken by force in an unjust war.

Professor Eugene V. Rostow, a drafter of Resolution 242, an international law expert, is on record with a clarification in 1991:

“Resolution 242, which as Undersecretary of State of Political Affairs between 1966 and 1969, I helped to produce, calls on all the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer the territories it occupied in 1967 until “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East” is achieved—–Speaker after speaker made it explicit that Israel was not to be forced back to the “fragile” and “vulnerable” Armistice Demarcation Lines, but should retire once peace was made to what Resolution 242 called “secure and recognized” boundaries, agreed upon by the parties”.

Stephen M. Schwebel, the former president of the International Court of Justice, wrote:
“—-a state [e.g., Israel] acting in lawful exercise of its right of self-defense may seize and occupy foreign territory as long as such and occupation are necessary to its self-defense; [c] where the prior holder of territory had seized that territory unlawfully, the state which subsequently takes that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense has, against the prior holder, better title.

Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, concurred — by their [Arab countries] armed attacks against the State of Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, and by various acts of belligerency throughout this period——- these acts were in flagrant violation of the above——-

In consideration of the foregoing it is obviously ludicrous to harp on “occupation and settlements”.

A fellow TOI blogger, Karen Hurvitz addresses the subject in the Jerusalem Post of February 20, 2019, titled “Ending the ‘Occupation Myth”. She readily debunks the myth that Israel is an illegitimate colonial “occupier” and contrary to common belief, “Palestine” is a geographical area and not a nationality.

Commencing, she points to the San Remo Conference, Treaty of Sevres, Treaty of Lausanne and League of Nations and notes that they granted no nation or people land in any part of Palestine other than the Jewish people. Moreover, Article 5 of the Mandate provided that “The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestine territory shall be ceded or leased to, or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign Power.” The intent of keeping Palestine inviolate for the Jewish homeland is clear.

Further, Article 6 of the Mandate specifically provides that “The Administration of Palestine—-shall facilitate Jewish immigration—-and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land.”

Karen Hurvitz correctly states that “occupation refers to a State – but Palestine never was and is not a state.”In addition , she astutely notes that there must be acknowledgement “that whereas most countries have been created by invasion and conquest, Israel was created by international law and thus, has more claims to legitimacy than most countries in the world.”

During December, 2009 David M.Philips authored, “The Illegal-Settlements Myth” in Commentary. His introductory comments read,” Jewish neighborhoods, towns, and cities in the West Bank may be controversial, but they do not transgress international law.”

He correctly asserts that the analysis underlying the assertion that violation of international law depends entirely on an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative that the West Bank is “Arab” land. What he failed to mention was that Egypt captured Gaza, while Jordan captured the West Bank during the War of Independence, which made them the occupiers.

Philips recalls the subsequent Khartoum meeting, where the Arab League proclaimed the infamous “3 no’s”, no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel. Of course a lengthy chronology followed including Barak’s 2000 offer to Arafat at Camp David with Bill Clinton in attendance. It included 94% of the West Bank, Gaza, the Jordan Valley and even a sharing of Jerusalem. And yet, Arafat rejected it. Then, on September 16, 2008, Olmert offered Abbas 100 % of the West Bank, a safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza, a strong police force, return of 150,000 refugees and certain land swaps. This too was rejected. rejected. We should not forget Sharon’s infamous disengagement for Gaza in2005, which included everything.

Let us not forget Oslo2 in 1995, of which the primary item was the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and an acceptance of the Palestinians. The latter reneged on all the agreed upon items and engaged in the Intifada.

Biden had visited Israel during March 2010, when much to his chagrin, Israel’s Interior Minister announced the construction of 1,600 settlement housing units. He, undoubtedly well remembers Netanyahu’s 2015 speech to Congress, much to the displeasure of Obama. On the other hand, he participated in advancing Security Council Resolution 2334, which Obama elected not to veto, to Israel’s disadvantage. It addressed the “illegality” of Israel’s West Bank settlements.

In the matter of foreign policy, Israel’s leaders have erred rather often. Had they adhered to the truth and history, we would not be in the position we now find ourselves. The concept of Palestinian identity and nationalism is a recent invention. Both historically and in contemporary times, the Arabs living in the area now known as Palestine were regarded both by outsiders and by their own spokespeople as members of the greater Arab population, without a separate or distinct identity. But this does not preclude a reminder and a long overdue claims to our historical rights. Truth still points to the “Palestinians” as an invented people.

As Richard Mather reminded us on Jan 7, 2017, “So called Palestinians have no history in Israel – except as terrorists.” He wisely advised further, “Until it is acknowledged by the UN and other bodies that the Jewish people and not the Arabs are the indigenous inhabitants of Eretz Israel, it is going to be difficult to break the impasse of anti-Jewish prejudice that is the real obstacle to peace.”

In 1695-96, Hadriani Relandi, a mapmaker from Utrech undertook a trip to Eretz Israel. On his travels, he surveyed around 2,500 places that were mentioned in the Tanakh and Mishnah, and he carried out a census of the people who resided in such places. He discovered that not a single settlement in Eretz Israel had a name that was of Arabic origin. Instead, the names derived from Hebrew, Roman and Greek languages.

Nazareth was home to less than a thousand Christians, while Jerusalem held 5,000 people, mostly Jews. Gaza was home to around 250 Jews and about the same number of Christians. The only exception was Nablus where around 120 Muslims lived, along with a handful of Samaritans, whose ancestors belonged to the northern tribes of Israel.

If there were very few non-Jewish inhabitants in Palestine in the 16th and 17th centuries, what happened to the Arab invaders who arrived in 629 CE? Well, for a start, very few of the invaders actually stayed in Palestine. Many became absentee landlords who used native tenants to cultivate their estates and to pay the dhimmi tax.

All the evidence points to the conspicuous absence of Arab culture in late 17th century Palestine; and even in the 18th and 19th centuries the Arab inhabitants were not indigenous but were latecomers. This explains why, historically, Arabs never talked about Palestinian identity – because there wasn’t one. They were Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan, Iraqi and Ottoman Arabs, and many of them expressed allegiance to the concept of a Greater Syria.

In 1921 over fierce Arab-Palestinian protests against giving the Yishuv an economic stronghold of the country – the British granted Pinchas Rutenberg, a brilliant engineer, authorization to build the 1st hydro electric plant in the Land of Israel. This contributed greatly towards the country’s industry and attracted Arab immigration in seek of labor.

Churchill’s comments on Pinchas Rosenberg’s plans for hydro power;” —left to themselves, the Arabs of Palestine would not in a thousand have taken effective steps towards the irrigation and electrification of Palestine. They would have been quite content to dwell—–a handful of philosophic people in the wasted sun-scorched plains , letting the waters of the Jordan continue to flow unbridled and unharnessed into the Dead Sea.”

Victor Sharpe’s “The Counterfeit Arabs” brings focus and clarity, to the subject at hand. With uttermost conviction he states, “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people; no such thing as a Palestinian history; and no Palestinian language exists. There has never been any independent, sovereign Palestinian state in all of recorded history. They are the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians.”

“They are indistinguishable from those Arabs who live in the surrounding artificial states such as Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia or the other entities throughout the Middle East created by the colonial powers, France and Britain. Both powers were victorious after the Ottoman Turkish Empire lay defeated at the end of World War I.”

“But there is no such thing as a Palestinian people; no such thing as a Palestinian history; and no Palestinian language exists. There has never been any independent, sovereign Palestinian state in all of recorded history – let alone an Arab independent state of Palestine.”

That was then. After Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into 3 areas of control. The Palestinian Authority [PA] was given limited powers of governance in areas A and B, and all of Gaza. Israel retained C.

Victor Sharpe’s outstanding essay is far too large to incorporate into this blog. However, the few paragraphs provided should serve to illustrate the importance of history. For years, the Arabs would argue on the basis of “rights “as fallacious was their case, while our leaders would counter with demands for peace. “Peace” was secured by our parting with land, whereas the Arabs ignored most of the agreements. How absurd when we have uncontested history on our side. Enough already!

About the Author
Alex Rose was born in South Africa in 1935 and lived there until departing for the US in 1977 where he spent 26 years. He is an engineering consultant. For 18 years he was employed by Westinghouse until age 60 whereupon he became self-employed. He was also formerly on the Executive of Americans for a Safe Israel and a founding member of CAMERA, New York (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America and today one of the largest media monitoring organizations concerned with accuracy and balanced reporting on Israel). In 2003 he and his wife made Aliyah to Israel and presently reside in Ashkelon.
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