Mohammad Abbas Invokes an Admission

“—civilization is confronted with militant Mohammedanism. The forces of progress clash with those of reaction. The religion of blood and war is face to face with that of peace.” [Winston Churchill 1898]

Abbas’s latest excursion into wonderland in attempting to sue the UK over the 1917 Balfour Declaration, because in his opinion it lead to mass Jewish immigration “at the expense of our Palestinian people”, while being myopic, is revealing. It is suggestive of a recognition that further negotiations over the ill fated “two state solution” could never advance over the offers of Barak and Olmert i.e. roughly 95% of the West Bank and 100% Gaza.

In his mind, acceptance of Israel as a Jewish state could materialize in his assassination as had been Sadat’s misfortune, also King Abdullah 1, the grandfather of Jordan’s Abdullah. Against this background is a realization that the Arab League has never accepted the idea of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East.

The Palestinian cause is a pan-Arab nationalist cause with elements of Islamism and anti-Semitism in certain instances. From within, originates the idea that Jews have no claim to a single inch of “Palestine”. Further, it generated arguments related to a “twice promised land” by the British. To put this matter at rest, Isaiah Friedman, a master historian published an entire book entitled, “Palestine A Twice-Promised Land” in which he established that there is no truth to charges of fraudulence and deception leveled against the British.

In particular, Friedman draws attention to the letter of 24, October 1915 from Sir Henry Mc Mahon, the British High Commissioner in Egypt to King Hussein, the Sharif of Mecca, pledging independence. Lost in space is Friedman’s demonstration of the applicable condition of a general Arab uprising against the Turks. In fact, all evidence shows that few tribes rebelled against the Turks. Even more so, the Arabs in Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia fought for the Ottoman Empire against the British.

Friedman’s archival discovery of the Arabic version of this non-binding letter read by Hussein, unquestioningly shows that Palestine was not included in the British pledge. He also recalls Hussein’s welcome of Jewish return of the Jews and how his son Emir Feisal believed that Arab-Jewish cooperation would be a means to build Arab independence without the interference of the European powers.

“There are conflicting interests in Palestine, but the Arabs admit the moral claims of the Zionists. They regard the Jews as kinsmen who whose just claims they will be glad to see satisfied. They feel that the interests of the Arab inhabitants may safely be left in the hands of the British Government.”

What Abbas needs to be reminded of is that at the time of the Balfour Declaration, the British arguments confined themselves into a Jewish home in Palestine while rewarding the Arabs with national status in Iraq, Syria and provisional independence in Transjordan. The Arabs living in what the Romans had formerly designated as “Palestine” were not indigenous to the territory, but owed their origin to the neighboring areas within the Ottoman Empire.

Even the King-Crane Commission, not particularly partial to the Balfour Declaration, accepted the idea of a separate state in Palestine and embraced the policy of the League of Nations. Concluding their investigation with such words as “It is right that Palestine should become a Jewish state, if the Jews, being given the full opportunity, make it such.” They engaged in a recognition of the land being the cradle and home of the Jews, a “vital race”, who had made large spiritual contributions to mankind, and for whom Palestine represented a hope of being the only one where the Jews would be respected as unique among a significant peoples.

[1] The British Promise to King Hussein , dated 24 October, 1915, which undertook, conditional on an Arab revolt, to recognize the “independence of the Arabs” south of latitude 37 degrees, except in the provinces of Bagdad and Basra, and except where Great Britain was not “free to act without detriment to the interests of France.”
[2] The Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916.
[3] The British statement to the seven Syrians in Cairo, dated 11 June 1917.
[4] The Anglo-French Declaration of November 1918.
Abbas is either ignorant or unaware of the old adage, “To the victors go the spoils”. England and France were victorious in WW1, winning the war against Germany and the Ottoman Empire. They could have annexed the defeated countries, but elected not to do so. They certainly earned the right to make the decisions they did.
In the words of PA Foreign Minister Riad Mailki, The Balfour Declaration is an ill-omened promise which resulted in hundreds of thousands of Jews to move from Europe and elsewhere to Palestine at the expense of his Palestinian people whose parents and grandparents who had lived for thousands of years on the “soil of their homeland.”

Forgotten, the efforts of the anti-Semitic Palestinian Grand Mufti’s effort’s at frustrating what was termed “illegal immigration” of the subject Jews to which Mailki refers. The same Mufti who had befriended Hitler, requesting his assistance in destroying the Jews. Interestingly, he used the Balfour Declaration for the purpose of inciting murderous riot attacks in Palestine in 1920 and 1929.
As for his grandparents, are we to believe that they, and not the Romans, served as enemies of the Jews during Temple times?

The observations of Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, a Military Intelligence Officer on General Allenby’s staff, as they appear in Chapters 7 and 10 of Friedman’s book, are most instructive:

He single outs the unenthusiastic response of the mental make-up of the Palestinians and of their attitude towards liberating the British army. The Arab is “dominated” by his religion——benefits from British rule——but remembers “that we are unbelievers” and thus not entitled to be tolerated. His joy is temporary, but soon longs for the return of his “old masters”—-His hatred is partly “suspicion” and partly” religious.”——is sensitized to British justice and honesty——but this does not minimize their inclination towards ” fanaticism and massacres.”

Interestingly, Friedman has included several chapters in his book on Professor Arnold Toynbee, which represent a direct challenge to Abass’s positions. Consider the following:

“The people west of the Jordan are not Arabs, but only Arab-speaking——-In the Gaza district, they are mostly of Egyptian origin; elsewhere they are of the most mixed races” [1918] On 9 December, 1930 in an address at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, he spoke of the serious attempts at solving the Arab-Zionist conflict, only to face “intransigence of the Arabs” and “an insuperable stumbling block every time,”

Toynbee displayed a remarkable understanding of Jewish identity than many Jews, and drew attention to the Zionist contribution when supporting Jewish claims to Palestine over those of Arabs. He noted that the Jews can never escape their peculiarity as a people by “masquerading” as English men or Frenchmen.———-“Jewry must become a nation in effective possession of a national home and this on the ground from which the historic roots of Judaism have sprung.”

In a defining statement, Toynbee stated; “To be a Jew is to be a human being whose social environment is Jewry—-he cannot cut off his Jewishness and cast it from him without self-mutilation.”

Upon reflection, one finds much in Abbas of his mentor, particularly as neither would accept the reality of Israel, praying and hoping for its failure. One can readily recall Abbas being referred to as Arafat in a western suit. The Holocaust denier, upon replacing Arafat, without hesitation continued to follow the amended PLO Covenant revision which introduced the concept of diplomacy as a replacement for terrorism and then surreptitiously having terrorism supplementing diplomacy.

In each case they were able to gain the acceptance of western leaders whose desperation blinded them to pursue an ill conceived “land for peace” policy, subsequently renamed “2 state solution” where only the designers could envisage a revision. Had he lived, Lenin would have surely been amazed by the growth of useful idiots mesmerized by this replica of the Midas touch. Einstein given to reality describes this folly as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

In September of 1989, Holocaust survivor and US Representative Tom Lantos, was so moved by A Wall Street piece by the distinguished columnist, George Will on the US acceptance of Arafat that he submitted it for publication by the Congressional Record. Most of what Will expressed applied equally in the case of Abbas.

The State Department argued that the PLO could not be regarded as a terrorist organization, for if so, no dialog could obtain! The State Department viewed the PLO as an umbrella operation with Fatah as the one faction bound by Arafat’s supposed renunciation of terrorism. George Will rightfully asks how is the government able to verify compliance? To him, it would seem as if the purpose of the “umbrella” structure was to permit appeasement minded Westerners to justify not being able to assign responsibility for Palestinian terrorism.

The PLO, when addressing its constituencies in Arabic, reassures them that its diplomatic maneuvers are merely part of a phased approach to the liquidation of Israel. This strategy’s purpose is to reduce Israel to indefensible borders by means of a PLO satrapy on the West Bank to facilitate violence.

By way of criticism of the Bush Administration, Will provides a chronicle of terrorist events following commencement of the State Department’s direct contact with the PLO, which provided for three specific conditions, recognition of Israel, acceptance of UN Resolution 242 and renunciation of terrorism.”The PLO did none of the three, but feigned agonies of surrender, so State ruled that it had done all three.”

[1] The PLO assumed acceptance of the given Resolution defining complete Israeli withdrawal.
[2] Hostile implacable rhetoric was slightly reduced.
[3] In fact, terrorism increased, with more attacks across the borders, including squads from across the Fatah faction. PLO radio from Bagdad incites and praises terrorism within pre-1967 Israel, such as the act of plunging an Israeli bus into a ravine. On the West Bank, there has been a sharp increase in murders of moderate Palestinians – 89 to date.
[4] Incitement continues with such language as “the complete liberation of the Palestinian soil and the establishment of a Palestinian state over every part of it——The recovery of but a part of our soil will not cause us to forsake our Palestinian land—-We shall pitch our tent in those places which our bullets can reach——the tent shall then form the base from which we shall pursue the next phase—-The establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza will be the beginning of the downfall of the Zionist enterprise—-[Our goal] is the complete liberation of the national Palestinian soil——-the 1948 partition of Palestine was a crime.”

Israel’s disengagement from Gaza was rationalized in several ways, one of which that is should serve as a test case. With the passage of over a decade, the obvious lesson is simply that Israel cannot afford to entertain any further territorial withdrawals. The other, and one that should have been learnt many decades earlier is that concessions always have an adverse effect.

/August 5, 2016

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.