When 127 does not equal 127

127. The radio broadcast the first estimate of the number of victims killed by terrorists in their recent attacks in Paris. 127, the radio repeated, later increased to 130. 127 killed. The French population is about 70 million. The Parisian population is in shock. The French President declares war on…somebody. The UK offers military assistance. The western world expresses sympathy and solidarity. France is on high alert. 3 days of national mourning is declared. A state of emergency is declared. Changes to the French constitution are proposed. The gunmen appear to have come from Brussels, the capital of Belgium, and, with Nato and the European Union headquartered in Brussels, the de facto capital of Europe. Brussels goes into lockdown. Europe is in a state of shock. 127 are killed and Europe with its population of over 500,000,000 comes to a standstill. Even cities in the United States took security precautions. Many heads of state and heads of government, as well as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, offered messages of condolence to the French government.

My attention was no longer focused on any of the above but on the number. 127. Why is this number so familiar? I know that I have heard this number before but in what context? I rack my brain but without success. I scan the UK and other English language media, who can usually be relied upon to miss the obvious, but if there is any reason to recognize “127”, the media has missed or ignored it. 127. The biggest attack in France since the second world war, the number is so familiar, I know I am on the right track but why? Where do I begin my search?

The radio, which brought me the news of the estimated 127 murdered in Paris, brings me more news. There has been another Palestinian attack, this time in Gush Etziyon. Gush Etziyon? Wait a minute. I think I have arrived at my eureka moment. Let`s check. This is it. Mystery solved. 127? Yes, Kfar Etziyon. On May 13, 1948, 127 Jewish residents of Kfar Etziyon surrendered to the Trans-Jordanian British officered Arab Legion. 127 Jews, soldiers and civilians, in the process of surrendering, were massacred. No wonder the number 127 was so familiar. There was no occupation. There were no “illegal settlements”. In fact, there was no State of Israel. The Jewish population of Palestine was about 600,000. Nor was there time for three days of national mourning or for life to come to a standstill. The land on which Kfar Etziyon was situated had been legally purchased by Jews in about 1925 and possessed since. The Etziyon bloc area, situated in mandatory Palestine, covered about 20,000 dunam, about 20 square miles, lawfully purchased and farmed. The Jews were in Kfar Etziyon totally legally. Totally irrelevant.

But for Kfar Etziyon, in 1948, there were no offers of assistance. Heads of States worldwide were silent. France did not declare war on the attackers, but, instead, like the USA and Great Britain, declared an arms embargo on the Jews. Great Britain continued to provide the Arab Legion with arms and officers. The Arab Legion with its British weaponry and British officers continued with its attack on Israel after the declaration of the state of Israel on 15 May 1948. Perhaps due to faulty communications, it does not appear that any messages of sympathy, of solidarity, of support or even of condolence were received.

The massacre of the surrendered soldiers and civilians by the Arab forces sent a clear message: The war which the Arabs were about to declare would be a war of extermination and ethnic cleansing of the Jews in Palestine. No Jews would be allowed to live on territory conquered by Arabs. None were then and none are now, a policy continued and implemented today in Areas A and B of the Palestinian Authority. I think the correct word to describe this Palestinian policy against Jews is “apartheid”. And so?

127 Jews living legally on Jewish owned property in British administered Mandatory Palestine may have been massacred but no one outside the Jewish world shed a tear. More bluntly, no one gave a damn. About half of Palestine west of the Jordan river was now illegally occupied by Trans-Jordan, ethnically cleansed of Jews and subsequently annexed by Trans-Jordan, captured following Trans-Jordan`s illegal war of aggression. Jordan`s policy: No Jews. So what, dear Jews, please don`t bother the “civilized world” or the UN with facts.  The world remained silent – until 1967.

On 13 April 1948, under the eyes of British forces, the Arabs attacked a convoy to the Hadassah hospital on Mount Scopus, and massacred 78 mainly medical personnel and patients. On May 28th 1948, the British officered Trans-Jordanian Arab Legion captured the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem (“east” Jerusalem had not yet been invented) and ethnic cleansed the Jewish Quarter of its Jewish inhabitants, not forgetting to destroy 58 of the 59 synagogues in the Jewish quarter in the process.  As usual, the UN and its members, including the USA, Great Britain and France, looked the other way.

The United Nations had more important matters to discuss than wasting time on Trans-Jordan`s, now known as Jordan, illegal annexation of about half of the west bank and its ethnic cleansing and massacre of Jews and its prohibition of Jews from access to the Western Wall or to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. After all, what`s a little massacre of Jews here and there, land theft, expulsion of Jews, prohibition on Jews even visiting their Holy Sites and an illegal annexation among friends?

19 years later Israel recovered Kfar Etziyon. The 127 were forgotten by the West and the UN – assuming the West and the UN even noticed or cared in the first place. Jordan`s illegal annexation? What are you talking about? The land is still legally owned by Jews? Bad luck. But you cannot hold a good man down for long. The UN came roaring back to life. After all, the history of mankind clearly commenced from June 1967. At long last, the UN took resolution after resolution regarding Gush Etziyon – against Israel. France is scrambling to introduce yet another resolution in the Security Council on the Israel-Palestine conflict. The mainly European financed NGOs rediscovered Europe`s traditional target and took on a new lease of life. The Presbyterian and Methodist Churches finally had something to pray about. Jews and Israelis living on Jewish owned land in Kfar Etziyon? Forgetaboutit!

If there remained any doubt that 127 is not equal to 127, that the massacre of Jews is “different”, the French Ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, in a totally believable statement in response to the Islamic State (ISIS) attacks on Paris, said and summed it up best (actually, worst). In a letter written to French citizens residing in the US, Araud drew a comparison between the Paris attacks of November 2015 and the January 2015 attacks in Paris, in which Muslim terrorists murdered 17 people, including Jews, in attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical paper and on a Jewish supermarket. “These are the foundations of our model of society that the terrorists seek to destroy: Yesterday journalists and Jews; now ordinary citizens whose only crime was to enjoy life on a Friday night in Paris,” said Araud articulating the traditional distinction between Jews and “ordinary citizens.”  No, even the terrorist attacks in Paris did not change the nature of the beast. Jews are still not “ordinary citizens”.  Araud was simply stating what the rest of the world is thinking and the UN is resolving on an almost daily basis.

In 1948, the 127 massacred were Jews. And so? The 127 Jews of Kfar Etziyon in 1948 and the Jews killed in a Paris supermarket in 2015 were, well, Jews. In 2015, the estimate of 127 killed in Paris (subsequently increased to130) were “ordinary citizens” enjoying life in Paris. Nearly seventy years later, 127 still does not equal 127.

About the Author
Charles Abelsohn, a co-founder of Truth be Told, retired several years ago as the legal manager of one of the most well–known entities in Israel. He is a graduate of three universities (Cape Town, Stellenbosch and U. of South Africa) in South Africa in Law, Transportation Economics and Finance. His interests, even as a young student, were Judaism, Israel, Economics and Finance.