Monday, May 30, 2011

Israel, Palestine, and the U.S. - Q & A

"Mike" posted some questions in a comment to the above post. They were argumentative but not abusive, and thus deserve a response. To wit:

A few questions:

In what year did "Palestine" first become a sovereign country?

The UN attempted to make it one in 1948, at the same time as Israel, but Israel and Jordan assumed sovereignty over all the territory marked out for it after the war that broke out.

Can you name five "Palestinian" leaders prior to 1964?

Of the top of my head, no, but for a full discussion of Palestinian politics in the interwar period see Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, pp. 121-51.

Why did the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, side with the Nazis during WWII? Could this have been because of the "occupied territories" of the Six-Day War?

No, it was because the British had declared his organization illegal in 1937, and he had fled Palestine. He and Hitler agreed on the objectives of defeating the British, freeing the Arabs, and stopping Jewish immigration into Palestine when they met in 1943.

Why did the Arabs of Hebron massacre 67 Jews in 1929? Could this have been because of the "occupied territories" of the Six-Day War?

I would guess for the same reason that Arabs and Jews have been killing each other since Zionism began--that they differ over who should control Israel/Palestine.

Why was there no attempt to establish an independent "Palestinian" state when the Ottoman Empire controlled the land that is now Israel?

Because the Ottoman empire governed efficiently and ruthlessly and there were no serious revolts against it in that part of the world for at least decades before the First World War.

Why was there no attempt to establish a "Palestinian" state during the British Mandate after WWI?

There was in fact a major Palestinian independence movement in those days. See Morris, supra.

Why was there no attempt to establish a "Palestinian" state after Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), and Egypt annexed Gaza?

Because the Jordanians and Egyptians didn't want one.

Why was the Palestine Liberation Organization established in 1964? What exactly was Arafat trying to "liberate" three years before the 6-Day War?

All of Israel/Palestine. Arafat did not accept the right of Jews who arrived after 1918 to live there. Most Palestinians don't.

Isn't it true that Abu Mazen/ Mahmoud Abbas wrote his dissertation about Holocaust denial?

According to Wikipedia, no, it isn't. The article there says his dissertation was entitled, "The Other Side: The secret relations between Nazism and the leadership of the Zionist movement". I can't make any judgment of its value but I do know that at least through 1938, the Nazis wanted as many Jews to immigrate from Germany and Austria to Palestine as possible.


Thanks - I look forward to reading your answers and explanations.


There they are. There is an interesting underlying problem here. It's quite true that the Israelis don't have any greater or lesser right to the land within the 1967 boundaries than to the occupied land beyond them. (I said greater or lesser.) So the issue is really one of expediency. Israel has to choose between being a relatively homogeneous democracy within the 1967 borders; or ruling a permanent apartheid state including most or all of the West Bank; or expelling most or all of the Arab population of however much territory they want to keep; or giving up the idea of Israel altogether. I'm not an Israeli, but I think the first solution, of those four, is the best one.

7 comments:

Mike said...

Yes, the UN offered to partition the British Mandate of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Arabs turned down this offer and launched a war against the nascent State of Israel with the intent of driving the Jews into the sea.

What your response implies is that the Arabs are not interested in establishing a "Palestinian" state (in fact, there never was one). They are interested in obliterating the Jewish State "from the river to the sea" - from the Jordan to the Mediterranean.

The Arabs have twenty-two countries of their own, but this is not enough for them - hence, their genocidal agenda against Israel.

They cannot accept the presence of infidels on land that was formerly Muslim. This is why they turned the UN Partition Plan in 1947 and launched a war intent on exterminating the Jewish presence in Eretz Yisroel. This is why Arafat turned down Ehud Barak's generous offer to establish a Palestinian state on 98% of the land he supposedly wanted.


As for your use of the word "apartheid," why is it that Arabs are allowed to live freely in the Jewish State but Jews are prohibited from even entering many Arab countries? Is that not "apartheid"?

Gerald Meaders said...

Professor

Excellent, helpful, answers.

Many thanks for these additional details.

All the best,
GM

Anonymous said...

I wish you wouldn't use generation boxes as defining characteristics. It helps sort out data but it also creates deformities and limits explanations. I also wish I could stumble across more blogs like yours. Thank you - I have been reading memoirs and biographies of movers-and-shakers who lived during my life-time (1925-)to understand what I have lived through. It's fascinating. anonymous

LarryKoen said...

Mike's comments are the same tired rationalizations for Israeli behavior in conquered lands. Regardless of what "The Arabs" are up to, the fact is that it is a violation of the Geneva accords, to which Israel is a signatory, to

(1) move colonists (the settlers) into militarily occupied territory

(2) treat the civilian inhabitants of occupied territory with anything other than concern for their welfare.

The settlers have abrogated the vast majority of the occupied territories' water resources. With virtually no check from the Israeli military occupation, numerous Palestine orchards have been destroyed. The Israelis maintain a permanent blockade of Gaza, as part of a collective punishment of the Palestinians for voting out the corrupt Fatah leadership.

Just say that God deeded the land from the Nile to Mesopotamia to the Jews and have done with it, I guess. This claim is what my Likud cousin told me. "You can't go against God."

Professor Kaiser offered four choices to Israel: "Israel has to choose between being a relatively homogeneous democracy within the 1967 borders; or ruling a permanent apartheid state including most or all of the West Bank; or expelling most or all of the Arab population of however much territory they want to keep; or giving up the idea of Israel altogether." I think they're plumping for #2. That's how they're playing it right now, however #3 is gaining in popularity in Israel.

This will likely redound to their popularity much as similar strategies did to South Africa's; however Israel's popularity among American evangelicals (who hope for the construction of the Third Temple and the consequent Second Coming of Jesus) is so great that they may be able to pull it off for much longer than did the similarly isolated, similarly more-powerful-than-its-neighbors South Africa.

Mike said...

Larry:

You refer to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank of the Jordan River) as "occupied territory," but whom is it being occupied from?

Before the Six-Day War, this region was controlled by Jordan - which annexed it ILLEGALLY in 1950.

So, again - whom is the land being occupied from? Jordan waived all rights to it. The Ottoman Empire, which included Palestine, no longer exists - because it sided with Germany in WWI and lost.

To whom exactly should Judea and Samaria be returned?

As for Gaza, that region is run by HAMAS - a genocidal terrorist organization whose founding charter calls for the murder of every single Jew on earth. HAMAS terrorists have pummelled Israeli cities with rockets and mortar shells. Yes, there is a blockade, but if you look at the IDF Twitter account, you see that the Arabs of Gaza get everything they need in terms of food, water, and medical supplies.

Under international law, Israel would have been justified in expelling Arabs from Eretz Yisroel after the wars, but it did not do this - preferring to live side by side with him and give them voting rights, so that they could join hands with HAMAS. Every single Arab living in Eretz Yisroel has voted for a terrorist organization, either the PLO or HAMAS, both of which call for the destruction of the Jewish State in their founding documents.

Your comparison to South Africa is false and disgusting.

There are Arabs serving as officers in the Israeli military. Were there any blacks in the South African military?

There is an Arab serving on the Israeli Supreme Court? Were there any blacks working in South African courts?

There are Arabs serving in the Knesset (Ahmad Tibi is one example of someone who uses that position to lambaste the very country that gave it to him). Were there blacks working in the South African governmemnt?

G-d did indeed promise Eretz Yisroel entirely and exclusively to the Jewish people, but the UN recognized it in the 1940s. That is law, not religion.

Larrykoen said...

Mike's response to my comments once again offer a litany of misleading statements and outright falsehoods.

Yes, there is a blockade, but if you look at the IDF Twitter account, you see that the Arabs of Gaza get everything they need in terms of food, water, and medical supplies.

The Israeli Defense Force is not a neutral reporter. Of course they will trumpet a beautiful situation in Gaza.

Under international law, Israel would have been justified in expelling Arabs from Eretz Yisroel after the wars, but it did not do this - preferring to live side by side with him and give them voting rights

This is entirely false. No expulsion from conquered territory could possibly be legal under international law.

The Occupied Territories were not incorporated into the State of Israel ("Eretz Yisroel" being a mythical construct allegedly promised to the Jews in prehistoric times by a supernatural being) and the residents there are stateless. Their right to vote for an authority with very restricted powers has not protected them from the wrath of the Israeli colonists ("settlers"), or ongoing destruction of property and theft of land parcels that these colonists continue to employ.

Every single Arab living in Eretz Yisroel has voted for a terrorist organization

Sorry, the demographics are such that a great many of them are too young to vote for anyone. But this distortion fits into Mike's diatribe.

Your comparison to South Africa is false and disgusting.

I agree that apartheid is not appropriate for a description of conditions in Israel. But it is entirely appropriate for the situation in the Occupied Territories, where Palestinians are kept off the roads, deprived of natural resources, and subject to persecution by the IDF and the Israeli colonists.

G-d did indeed promise Eretz Yisroel entirely and exclusively to the Jewish people, but the UN recognized it in the 1940s. That is law, not religion.

The UN recognized only a western portion of Eretz Yisroel as the state of Israel. Israel has abrogated the rest to itself and continues to export its population there.

But I fear that there is no reasoning with someone who gets his deeds from a supernatural being that has withdrawn from visible participation in real estate decisions for some millennia.

David Kaiser said...

I must apologize--I think I accidentally deleted a comment on this thread--pleae repost. (I'm traveling.)

DK