From My Archives — June 29, 2003: Only the Arabs Can Make Peace
By way of an introduction the author acknowledges publication of this paper by Israel Hasbara Committee (HIC), which no longer exists.
Regarding the occupation fallacy, the author’s historical record, demonstrates clearly how Israel came to be in what has been termed the West Bank and Gaza in contemporary times Any possibility for peace was lost the day the Arabs orchestrated their true objectives by cunningly redirecting the debate from the Arab-Israel conflict to that of a Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Over the years, Arab propaganda has made use of a slanted terminology with such expressions as refugees, occupation and self-determination. From this emerged the ill-conceived idea of trading land for peace.
In 1967 following the Six Day War, a book appeared with the title “The Case for Israel” authored by Frank Gervasi. It has stood the test of time and for the most part is as valid now as it was at the time of its publication.
Any possibility for peace was lost the day the Arabs orchestrated their true objectives by cunningly redirecting the debate from the Arab-Israel conflict to that of a Palestinian-Israeli conflict. From this emerged the ill-conceived idea of “trading land for peace”. Today, this shop worn illusion continues to be the obsessive pursuit of the US State Department, not withstanding the fact that it has no potential for success.
Over the years, Arab propaganda has made extensive use of a slanted terminology with such expressions as “refugees”, “occupation” and “self determination”. To be sure they learnt the greatest lesson of all from their World War 2 allies, the Nazis, in that if a lie is repeated sufficiently, it will be believed. Perhaps, even more so, the bigger the lie, the greater its potential for belief.
In, “A Peace to End All Peace”, David Fromkin reveals how and why the Allies came to remake the geography and politics of the Middle East, drawing lines on an empty paper that eventually became the new countries of Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, etc. Focusing on the formative years of 1914 to 1922, when everything – even an alliance between Arab nationalism and Zionism – seemed possible, Fromkin raises questions about what may have been done differently and answers questions about why things were done as they were. The current conflict has its roots in these events of almost 100 years ago.
During the 1920’s, Lloyd George recognized the immense gains in land by the Arab nations, remarking, “No race has done better out of the fidelity with which the Allies redeemed their promises to the oppressed races than the Arabs. Owing to the tremendous sacrifices of the Allied Nations, and more particularly of Britain and her Empire, the Arabs have already won independence in Iraq, Arabia, Syria and Trans-Jordania, although most of the Arab races fought throughout the War for the Turkish oppressors..[In particular] the Palestinian Arabs fought for Turkish rule..”
What precisely did Fromkin mean by suggesting an Arab accommodation with Jewish aspirations?
As a prelude to the renowned Feisal- Frankfurter agreement, while the First World War was still in progress, Emir Feisel’s father, Hussien, Sherif of Mecca, writing in Al Qibla on March 23, 1918, called upon the Arab population in Palestine to welcome the Jews as brothers and to cooperate with them for the common good. He pointed to the potential of development on desolate virgin soil by Jewish immigrants. His honesty extended to recognizing that the land had not retained the Arabs who would wonder “over the high seas in every direction”. At the same time, Jews from foreign countries streamed to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain and America. “They knew that the country was for its original sons, for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland”.
The response to Fromkin’s query is further emphasized in the words of Emir Feisel ibn-Hussein himself. This preeminent Arab leader of the time, subsequently King of Iraq, expressed them on March 5, 1919, shortly after the commencement of the Versailles Conference. Space does not permit reporting of the entire Fiesel-Frankfurter correspondence or the Arab-Jewish Agreement at Versailles signed by Emir Feisel. A singular quote, however, captures the essence of this true Arab leader’s views on this important subject:
“We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals [i.e., for a Jewish state on both sides of the Jordan] submitted by the Zionist Organization to the Peace Conference. We will do our best to help them through; we wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home. Dr. Weizmann has been a great helper in our cause, and I hope the Arabs may soon be in a position to make the Jews some return for their kindness….”
From 1517-1917 Turkey’s Ottoman Empire controlled what is today Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. During World War I (1914-1918), Turkey supported Germany. When Germany was defeated, so were the Turks. In 1916 control of the southern portion of their Ottoman Empire was “mandated” to France and Britain under the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the Arab region into zones of influence. Lebanon and Syria were assigned (mandated) to France… and “Palestine” (today’s Jordan, Israel and “West Bank”) was mandated to Great Britain.
Because no other peoples had ever established a national homeland in “Palestine” since the Jews had done it 2,000 years before, the British “looked favorably” upon the creation of a Jewish National Homeland throughout all of Palestine. The Jews had already begun mass immigration into Palestine in the 1880’s in an effort to rid the land of swamps and malaria and prepare for the rebirth of Israel. This Jewish effort to revitalize the land attracted an equally large immigration of Arabs from neighboring areas that were drawn by employment opportunities and healthier living conditions. There was never any attempt to “rid” the area of what few Arabs were there, or those Arab masses that immigrated into this area along with the Jews!
In 1923, the British divided Palestine into two administrative districts. Jews would be permitted only west of the Jordan River. In effect, the British had “chopped off” 75% of the originally proposed Jewish Palestinian homeland to form an Arab Palestinian nation called Trans-Jordan (meaning “across the Jordan River”). Trans-Jordan would be renamed “Jordan” in 1946. Thus the Palestinian Arabs were awarded their “Arab Palestinian” homeland. The remaining 25% of Palestine (west of the Jordan River) was to be the Jewish Palestinian homeland. However, sharing was not part of the Arab psychological makeup, neither then nor now.
Encouraged and incited by growing Arab nationalism throughout the Middle East, the Arabs of that small remaining Palestinian territory west of the Jordan River launched never-ending murderous attacks upon the Jewish Palestinians in an effort to drive them out. Most terrifying were the Hebron massacres of 1929 and later during the 1936-39 “Arab Revolt.” The British at first tried to maintain order but soon (due to the large oil deposits being discovered throughout the Arab Middle East) turned a blind eye. It became painfully clear to the Palestinian Jews that they must fight the Arabs and drive out the British.
Interestingly, in 1939, Winston Churchill, had this to say, “So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country [Palestine] and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population”.
What has commonly been referred to as the betrayal of Balfour clearly underlines the tragic circumstance in which Israel finds itself today. It is a history of Arab appeasement, Arab rejection primarily through violence, and reduction of biblical Jewish land by Western power brokers.
The Arab assertion that the Jews are “occupiers” are based on 2 myths, the earlier rooted in the time of the Temple destruction while the latter following the Six Day War. It is their claim that the Romans drove the Jews out thus relieving them of any responsibility for the Jewish dispersion. Further upon the Arab arrival there were no Jews. While the Roman destruction of Jerusalem occurred in 70 C.E., the Jews, incredibly, were still fighting for independence in 614. It was in 636 that the Arabs appeared in the land, following their obliteration of the large and prosperous Jewish population of the Arabian Peninsular.
Despite harsh treatment under other foreign powers, it was under the Arabs that the Jews were finally reduced to an insignificant minority and ceased to be a national force of any consequence in their own land. As correctly observed by a former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in his book, “A Place Among The Nations”, “Thus it was not the Jews who usurped the land from the Arabs, but the Arabs who usurped the land from the Jews.”
As for the second “occupation” fallacy, the historical record, demonstrates clearly how Israel came to be in what has been termed the “West Bank and Gaza” in contemporary times.
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly decided to partition the remaining 27 percent of the mandated territory into three parcels.
- The Jewish state would control the Negev to the south, a strip along the coastline running from near Rehovot to the Haifa area, and a parcel adjacent to Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, which included the Sea of Galilee.
- The Arab State was to be comprised of the Gaza Strip, the area now known as the West Bank, and a wedge of land in the north bordering Lebanon, between the Mediterranean and Israeli territory.
- The third entity was Jerusalem, which was to be designated as an international zone.
Dateline May 14, 1948: British rule over Palestine ends and Ben Gurion announces the realization of the modern state of Israel. The Arab response? An invasion by armies from six Arab countries, Eygpt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Arab sentiment was proclaimed through Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.” Obviously, at that time, there were no refugees and considering the meagerness of land apportioned to Israel, “occupation” was not an issue. Clearly, the motivation was one of outright non-acceptance of sharing land distribution albeit that it represented a total unbalance.
In 1950, Transjordan, which had become the Kingdom of Jordan, annexed the territory taken in the War of Independence and announced that it was reserving its rights regarding the territorial development. In other words, both Egypt and Jordan held the territories they had seized by weight of arms—a situation that would prevail until the Arab states tried again, in 1967, to destroy Israel. Once again they failed and, in the process, lost Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai, and Golan Heights to the Israel Defense Force.
Now, in terms of Arab mythology, Israel initiated and pursued the Six Day War as aggressors. In fact, it can be forcefully demonstrated through their own verbiage and actions, that this was not the case. Consider the period immediately preceding the 1967 war. In the 1960’s, attacks on Israelis from the Syrian controlled Golan Heights became commonplace. By 1966, they were compounded by the recently established PLO escalating terrorist attacks from the Jordan controlled West Bank. Tensions grew daily as Syria attempted to divert the headwaters of the Jordan River, a primary source of Israeli water, Egypt cut off Israel’s southern shipping access through the Gulf of Aqaba and King Hussein of Jordan signed a mutual defense pact with Egypt in Cairo.
Nasser then announced: “The armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are poised on the borders of Israel…to face the challenge, while standing behind us are the armies of Iraq, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan and the whole Arab nation. This act will astound the world. Today they will know that the Arabs are arranged for battle, the critical hour has arrived. We have reached the stage of serious action and not declarations.”
President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq joined in the war of words: “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy that has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear — to wipe Israel off the map.” On June 4, Iraq joined the military alliance with Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
The Arab rhetoric was matched by the mobilization of Arab forces. Approximately 250,000 troops (nearly half in Sinai), more than 2,000 tanks and 700 aircraft ringed Israel.By this time, Israeli forces had been on alert for three weeks. The country could not remain fully mobilized indefinitely, nor could it allow its sea-lane through the Gulf of Aqaba to be interdicted. Israel’s best option was to strike first. On June 5, the order was given to attack Egypt.
The French author Voltaire described Palestine as “a hopeless, dreary place.” In short, under the Turks the land suffered from neglect and low population. That is a historic fact. Both Jews and Arabs populated the nation because the land came to prosper when Jews returned and began to reclaim it. Apart archaeological evidence to support the rights of the Israelis to the territory, it is also important to recognize that other nations in the area have no longstanding claim to the country. Saudi Arabia was not created until 1913, Lebanon until 1920. Iraq did not exist as a nation until 1932, Syria until 1941; the borders of Jordan were established in 1946 and Kuwait in 1961. Any of these nations that would say Israel is only a recent arrival would have to deny their own rights as recent arrivals as well. They did not exist as countries. They were all under the control of the Turks.
Interestingly, Winston S. Churchill writing in The Wall Street Journal reminded us that his grandfather “invented” Iraq and laid the foundation for much of the modern Middle East. Included in the article is the definite statement that Winston Churchill “delineated for the first time the political boundaries of Biblical Palestine”. Looking back through history, one observes a definite pattern in that the Arabs have retained their arbitrary borders since 1921, while Israel has suffered from partition after partition.
The time has come for the Arab World to share the huge chunk of the Ottoman Empire they received in the early 20th century [about 1,250,000 square miles] with their Arab-Palestinian brothers and sisters..The time has also come for the Arab World to invest their resources in democracy and freedom instead of financing an international “kill the infidel” culture. There is absolutely no need for appeasement or compromise in this.The Arab World surely has more than enough land and oil. The time has come for the Arab World to overcome their owning shortfall, that of a will to live in peace with themselves in general, and non-Muslims in particular.
With Arab willingness, many reasonable plans could be pursued. Hebrew University Professor Mordechai Nissan notes that the restructuring of Iraq offers one such opportunity. He records a claim by Lebanese Druze leader, Walid Junblatt, that the US and Israel were secretly planning to transfer Palestinians from Lebanon and Israel for resettlement in southern Iraq. Assuming this not to be the case, the idea is certainly worthy of consideration.
Earlier, another plan by Boris Shusteff of similar thought emerged. In this case, he proposes relocating the Palestinian Arabs to Iraq or Saudi Arabia, the latter known as the Baruch Plan after its author, Bertram Cohen.
Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey when questioned on the transfer of Arabs out of Yesha stated, “Most of the people who now populate Israel were transported from all over the world to that land, and they made it there home. The Palestinians can do the same.” Senator Jim Inhofe recently declared that Israel has complete rights to the lands of Yesha and demanded that America support these rights.
Marc Rauch has put forward an interesting approach in the realm of serious initiatives. Arguing that the same formula used by Winston Churchill be applied. By creating Transjordan [now Jordan] out of the mandated Jewish homeland in the early 1920’s a Muslim-only territory was established. By annexing Yesha to Israel, the two state solution would emerge where Jordan would evolve as a fully fledged Palestinian state. Thus, there would be a Jewish and a Palestinian state, precisely as intended by the Balfour Declaration.
Indeed, if the Arabs are unwilling to entertain the concept of relocation, then clearly they have no interest in peace i.e. acceptance of a Jewish sovereignty with truly defensible borders in the Middle East and free of looming demography problems.. A refusal to entertain the idea would undoubtedly confirm the fallacy of “road maps”, Saudi ‘peace plans” and all other plans based on Israel trading land for peace. A century of painful history has demonstrated just how miserably this approach has failed.
Upon reflection, it is a significant fact that the only two Israeli leaders the Arabs have assassinated are Rabbi Meir Kahane & Rechaman Ze-evi [Ghandi], since they alone offered the formula for a true peace. To think that any other “alternative” is workable is to be totally stupid, ignorant or dishonest.
The “road map” presently being touted as a peace process, is simply an old rug refashioned. As such, it will join its many predecessors. In the words of David Pryce-Jones, “Westerners habitually and ignorantly misconceive the responses they are likely to encounter from the Arabs, unsuitably and even laughably projecting their own political and moral attitudes where these cannot apply.” [The Closed Circle – An interpretation of the Arabs].
One need only consider the names of Arabs living in Judea & Samaria to recognize that their families originated in the neighboring Arab countries. Consequently all that is necessary for a real solution is for Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt etc. to invite their brethren to return home.
If the Arabs are unwilling to entertain the concept of relocation, then clearly they have no interest in peace i.e. acceptance of a Jewish sovereignty with truly defensible borders in the Middle East and free of looming demographic problems. In other words, only the Arabs can make peace.