“One can make a mistake for the third time, but no one is obliged to do so.” [Abba Eban]
In Obadiah Shoher’s unusual and interesting, “Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict”, one finds an observation by famed Bernard Lewis to the effect that there is no way to peace except to gain the enemy’s respect.
Often misunderstood, Machiavelli, one of the greatest humanists of the Renaissance, left a message to future generations. it is better to live and let live, but if you decide on territorial expansion and war, at least do it knowledgeably. Strategists, as far removed in time as Sun Tzu and Clausewitz shared that attitude. “Politics is a cold-blooded game with no place for moralizing and/or hesitation for the victors.” Israel has yet to accept and adopt the truth of warfare.
Shoher’s observations, “Paper agreements are broken as often as they are signed – unless they are enforced — Arabs are notoriously flexible about promises; and generally have little respect for agreements — Peace is established on the battlefield and sustained by threat” — clearly demonstrates “Palestinian behavior today. His arguments on Israel’s rights to Palestine verses those of the “latter day” Palestinians should represent the foundation of Israel’s response to those who reject Trump’s proclamation on Jerusalem today.
“What right do Arabs have to it? Jews bought land from individual Palestinians. No one was evicted, nor was private ownership violated. Much of the territory was unused desert and marsh before the Jews made the land productive and valuable, acquiring the right of homestead. As for the state control of unused land, the Palestinians never had a state — the Turks, then the British, controlled the land – nor were the Palestinians recognized as a nation, a recognition which would have let them claim tribal sovereignty over the land.”
Shoher correctly observed that many mistakenly believe Palestinians today lay claim to land they once owned. Rather, the Palestinians claim they lost jurisdiction over a country they never had. Before the rise of Palestinian nationalism in the 1970’s, the rioters and guerrillas were anti-Jewish, not pro-Palestine. He notes that Old Jerusalem is central to Jews alone. Golgotha is more important to Christians than the Temple site, and Muslims have no scriptural connection with the place at all since Mohammed reoriented Muslim worship to Mecca.
To Shoher, Israel should not practice the utter stupidity of shielding enemy civilians at the expense of her soldiers’ lives. Military professionals recognized that grim reality when carpet-bombing Dresden, A-bombing Nagasaki, or slaughtering the fleeing Iraqi army and many civilians in 1991. Who can forget Black September when the Jordanian army under King Hussein and the Palestinian militias led by Arafat’s PLO fought several bloody battles in the summer of 1970, most violently during the week of June 9-16, when the massacre resulted in 1,000 deaths or wounded? What Shoher does not question is the Israeli stupidity in imprisoning rather than killing known terrorists.
The creation of a Palestinian will not bring peace. Victor Sharpe’s piece, “Who Deserves a State, the Kurds or Palestinian Arabs”, published by Arutz 7 on September 26, 2017 speaks volumes to this subject. Recognizing that there has never existed in all recorded history an independent sovereign Arab nation called Palestine while there are over 20 Arab states throughout the ME and North Africa, he questions the “world demands, in a chorus of barely disguised animosity towards Israel, that yet another Arab state be created–“.
However, Sharpe wisely draws attention to a people who, like the Jews, can truly trace their ancestry back thousands of years and deserve a sovereign , independent state within their ancient homeland” They are the Kurds, whose remarkable history in conjunction with that of the Jews offers instructive review. There is also a need to review,”–the historical injustice imposed upon them over the centuries by hostile neighbors and empires.”
The Kurds and the Jews were joined by early history. Sharpe points to the captivity of the Ten Tribes of Israel who were driven out of their land by the Assyrians in 721-715 BCE. Thus was biblical Israel de-populated, and its inhabitants deported to an area in the region of ancient Media and Assyria, a territory which roughly included modern-day Kurdistan. The latter was subsequently conquered by Babylonia, leading to the eventual “destruction of the southern Jewish kingdom of Judah in 586 BCE. The remaining two Jewish tribes were also dispatched to the same area general area as their brethren from the northern kingdom.
Sharpe reminds us of the Jewish experience under the Persian conqueror of Babylon, Cyrus the Great who allowed the Jews to return to their ancestral lands. However many remained, and continue to live with their neighbors in Babylon – an area which included modern day Kurdistan. He notes further that when the Jews in Judea roe-up against Roman occupation in the 1st century AD, the Kurdish queen reportedly sent troops and provisions to support the embattled Jews.
We learn further from Sharpe that by the beginning of the 2nd century CE, Judaism was firmly established in Kurdistan, and Kurdish Jews in Israel today speak an ancient form of Aramaic in their homes and synagogues. So intertwined has Jewish life been with the Kurds, that several tombs of biblical prophets are to be found in or near Kurdistan.
Perhaps little appreciated is the fact that the great historical figure Saladin, born in 1138 was of Kurdish stock. He is known for his sense of justice and humane measures in both war and peace; methods which contrasted with those engaged in by the Arabs. He allowed the “Jews to flourish in Jerusalem and is credited with finding the Western Wall of the Jewish Temple — which had been buried under garbage during the Christian Byzantine occupation.” At one time, the notable sage Maimonides was Saladin’s personal physician.
Given the historical record, one has to wonder why the world clamors for yet another Palestinian Arab State while turning its back upon Kurdish national independence and statehood. Does the universally accepted principle of self-determination not apply to the Kurds? In this, Israel shares a similar fate. Both are subjected to continuous aggression from their Arab neighbors and opposition from Turkey and Iran. It behooves Israel to support the Kurds “who remain stateless and shunned by the world. All they seek is an independent sovereign state of their own.
Clearly, the Kurds case for statehood far exceeds that of the Palestinians. They have no sovereignty whereas the Palestinian Arabs do – Jordan. They do have their own unique language and culture which the Palestinian Arabs do not.
Following the overthrow of Saddam Hussien, the Kurds displayed great political and economic wisdom and have been an extremely effective force against ISIS. This must be contrasted with the Gazan Palestinians [Hamas] who upon the gift bestowed on them by Israel, chose not to build hospitals and schools, but instead bunkers and missile launchers.
The Kurds have demonstrated an appreciation of Western values, including democracy. As such, sovereignty for them will be beneficial to the West and Israel. As Victor Sharpe concludes his fine article; “It is the Kurds who unreservedly deserve a state. The invented Palestinian Arabs, who have no cultural or indigenous right to a state, have also forfeited that right by their relentless aggression, crimes and genocidal intentions towards Israel–.” Sharpe expects this empirical logic to evade the conscience of the international delegates “in that Temple of Hypocrisy and Mendacity — misnamed United Nations.”
In a well scripted BESA article by Jose V.Ciprut entitled, “The Kurds: Neither the Twin of Palestine Nor the Clone of Israel [October 23, 2017], he makes a valid proposal for addressing this long outstanding injustice. He states that the time would seem to have come for the international community to recognize the grave mistakes committed by the West in the past, and to redress those oversights in ways which at long last restore dignity to a stateless nation. It can do this by granting sovereignty to the one Kurdish territorial branch now clearly ready for it.
Recalling the stupidity of one John Kerry who repeatedly bleated about the so-called “two state solution” brings to mind yet another excellent treatise on the emptiness of such thoughts by Moshe Arens. It appeared in Haaretz of Jan 7, 2014 under the title, “Two states for two people? When pigs fly”. Essentially, it centers on an exposure of what is meant by this ill conceived concept. Arens explains – what his means is creating three plus Palestinian states, without Jews.
In fact, it represents four sates for two people – three without Jews and one whose population is 20% Arab. The make-up is as follows; East Palestine [Jordan], West Palestine [Judea and Samaria], and South Palestine [the Gaza strip] plus Israel having a 20% Arab population.
After the Gaza withdrawal test case, which Israeli leader could entertain this fallacy? Writing in Think-Israel [May-June 2006], A People That Never Existed in History Needs A Useful Past, Elliot A. Green discusses the promotion of a relatively new myth of a “Palestinian people”- who never existed in history. He does this effectively through a critique of a flawed book, “The Palestinians: Making of a People” by Barukh Kimmerling and Shmuel Migdal.
In the May-June 2006 of Think-Israel, Tsafir Ronen’s, “Hadrian’s Curse – The Invention of Palestine” appears as a psychological weapon for conquering Eretz Yiroel. By ploughing through history, Ronen summaries:
Almost 2,000 years ago, the Roman Emperor Hadrian cursed the Jewish people and decreed that Judea should be henceforth called “Palestine” after the Philistines, an ancient enemy of Israel who had disappeared from the world’s stage more than 600 years earlier. It was his final twist of the knife and legacy after wars, massacres, persecutions and exiles that had largely extinguished the Jewish presence from Judea. His paper is divided into 3 sections :
Part 1- The Secret All the Arabs Know.
Zahir Muhsein, PLO member, leader of the al-Saiqa Organization in a 1977 interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw:
” The Palestinian people does not exist. In reality today, there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel—-”
Part 2 – The Arabs’ Ultimate Goal.
The “Palestinian People” was fabricated following the 6 Day War – as a psychological weapon of Arab countries defeated in battle, a “Trojan Horse” for conquering Eretz Yisrael, admitted by Feisel Husseini after the Oslo Accords. Thus, the Israeli “David” against the Arab “Goliath” was transformed into the Israeli “Goliath” oppressing the Palestinian “David” as a worldwide sophisticated propaganda tool. Joshua Muravchik has written an entire book on this subject, “Making David into Goliath”.
Part 3 – Will Israel Finish Hadrian’s Work ?
At times, some 1880 years after Hadrian, there have been Israeli leaders given to fulfilling what Hadrian failed to do – the erasure of Eretz Yisrael and the establishment of “Palestine”.