Thursday, January 28, 2010

Which "Illegal Occupation"? - Abandon Rejection – Make Peace

Repetitious references to Israel’s “illegal occupation” of “Palestinian” land, including East Jerusalem, is deceptive and only serves to perpetuate the conflict. In fact Jerusalem and the West Bank have never been under “Palestinian” sovereignty. No international law prevents Israel from controlling those territories gained in a defensive war, pending a negotiated settlement.

For several hundred years leading up to World War I, the region was part of the Ottoman Empire. After World War 1, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate that empowered her to facilitate the creation of a “Jewish National Home” there.
In 1922 Britain gave the East Bank of the Jordan to her allies, the Hashemite Arabs.
After World War 2, the UN voted to partition the remaining portion of the land (west of the Jordan River) into Arab and Jewish states. While the Jews accepted partition, the Arabs did not, and five Arab countries invaded in an attempt to obliterate the new Jewish state.

Though Israel survived the onslaught, the Jordanians took control of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, including the Old City. Only Jordan’s allies Britain and Pakistan recognized Jordanian sovereignty there. The Jordanians brutally destroyed Jewish communities that had existed throughout the West Bank and east Jerusalem prior to the Arab invasion, including in the Jewish quarter of the Old City.

So there are no “1967 borders” of Israel. There were only the 1949 armistice lines marking the end of the 1948 war. In fact those armistice lines delineate only 16% of the historic Mandate of Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza is 6%, and Jordan is 78%. The Arabs possess sovereignty in most of Palestine.

In 1979 and 1994 Israel’s borders with Egypt and Jordan respectively were settled in negotiations, specifically stipulating that the status of the territories that came under Israeli control in her defensive war in 1967 is yet to be determined.

Arab failure to destroy Israel by force has led the Arabs to adopt a "people's war" strategy including mobilising misguided agitators around the world. The campaign has sought to delegitimize and demonize Israel by branding her a “racist” and “apartheid” state. However this is just a tactic in an attempt to destroy the state.

The late Faisal Husseini, Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, urged the Arabs "to look at the Oslo Agreement and at other agreements as 'temporary procedures, or phased goals,' … we are ambushing the Israelis and cheating them. Our ultimate goal is [still] the liberation of all historical Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, even if this means that the conflict will last for another thousand years ..." The negotiations were a means toward "an extension of continuing conflict and not an opportunity for two peoples to reach a new rapprochement."

As recently as the Fatah Sixth General Congress in August 2009, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared that "although peace is our choice, we reserve the right to resistance..." Tawfiq Tirawi, security advisor to Abbas, rejects any negotiation: "Words are ineffective…" The only way will be through the efforts of "thousands of martyrs." Rafik Natseh and Muhammad Dahlan, senior Palestine Authority officials, have both said that Fatah has never relinquished the armed struggle and declared unequivocally that Fatah "does not recognize Israel's right to exist."

Misguided "human rights" and "social justice" agitators effectively make excuses for Arab intransigence by parroting those Arabs who reject any rights of Jews, Christians and other minorities anywhere in the region. Blaming Israel and trying to force her to give up land will not resolve the bitter conflict.

Such campaigns will not promote peace. Peace will only be achieved by those who accept co-existence.
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