The original promises made to the Jewish people at the beginning of the twentieth century through the end of World War I and the ensuing conferences, conventions and treaties that soon followed was intended to award the Jewish people with a State of their own. The British were to hold the lands referred to as the British Mandate which was intended to be held as an actual trust in its entirety until the Jewish people had sufficient numbers to take the lands and govern them with complete autonomy with a proviso to grant the Muslims, Christians and other peoples living inside these lands rights equivalent to those they held when under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. These terms and ideals were set forth in the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference, the Versailles Treaty, the original Charter of the League of Nations among other conferences and treaties and finally reconfirmed by the founding Charter of the United Nations where all previous agreements originated or enacted by the League of Nations were declared to continue to be valid. I am not going to go through all of these items step by step as I have done numerous times before and have also been documented by various academics and organizations which can be found easily with a little effort, time and a decent search engine.
When one realizes that the Jewish State, namely Israel, was supposed to be incorporated to include all of the British Mandate Lands this raises a question regarding how we ever came to the state of affairs as it is now defined. These lands ranged from the western border of Iraq all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. This would have included all of today’s areas of Israel (within the Green Line), the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and all of Jordan. When it is claimed that Israel should be required to surrender the lands which constitute the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the formation of an Arab State for the Palestinian Arabs as it is just under one quarter of the land which Israel could conceivably try to claim, they are ignoring a fairly large piece of real estate, namely all of Jordan. Jordan was part of the lands which were promised to be kept as a trust by the British along with the areas west of the Jordan River for the state of Israel. The British reneged on this promise and took the lands east of the Jordan River which constituted approximately 78% of the Mandate Lands reserved for the Jewish State and formed what was then referred to as Trans-Jordan and was intended to be a state for the Palestinian Arabs placed under the rule of the Hashemite Kings. Truth be told, Israel has already had over three fourths of the lands set aside by treaties and conferences by many of the world powers in what was a bold faced illegal theft by the British done to repay the Hashemites and the Arabs who had assisted in the fight against the Ottoman Empire in World War I. Surely that was sufficient land taken from Israel to allow the Palestinian Arabs to have a country of their own, but apparently the world has a faulty and short memory.
Another point often claimed to be investigated by the properly concerned are the conditions under which the Arabs within Israel are presumed to be denied rights, ignoring the equality and rights guaranteed by Israel to every one of its Arab citizens. Contrary to the propaganda we hear, there are more than 1.6 Million Arab citizens within Israel. All of the 1.6 Million plus Arabs residing within Israel have exactly the same rights as do every other citizen of Israel including the Jewish citizens. They have the right to vote, hold political office, work in any field they desire, be judges, serve in the military, be in the police, own land, practice their religion, and every other right a citizen of Israel is granted. Unlike the Jews and Druze who are required to serve either in the IDF or approved community service related work, the Arabs are not required to serve in the IDF or do the required community service related work though they may do so and many do avail themselves of these opportunities. If one should desire to be technical, Israel is only required to allow the non-Jewish citizens of the state the same rights they held while under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Such rights would not include the right to vote and would have numerous other limitations and restrictions as the Ottoman Empire was not an open, free, democratic society as is Israel. Thus, the non-Jewish citizens of Israel being granted the exact same rights as the Jewish Israelis actually goes well beyond the requirements of the various treaties, conferences, conventions, and other agreements. But there is one other item that makes Israel have somewhat a different meaning and importance for the Jewish People.
The Palestinian Arab claim their interest in the lands due to the fact that these are their ancestral homelands which are claimed to have belonged to their people, according to some claims, for as much as 9,000 years, using the historic age of Jericho as the reference for being the beginning of the Palestinian history. Of course then there are the claims that the current day Palestinian Arab people are the descendants of the Phoenicians, a seafaring people who migrated to the area from the area of the Greek Islands. The claim made by modern Jews is that they are the decedents of the Israelites who trace their lineage beck to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and who first lived in the areas in and around Hevron before spending four hundred years in Egypt before returning to these lands at the end of the Exodus out of Egypt led by Moses as far as the Jordan River. From that point it was Joshua who then proceeded to bring them into the land where they took possession from the Canaanite Tribes who resided there. But all of this is ancient history which leads to claims and counter-claims and endless arguments, strife, and what we know affectionately call the Arab Israeli Conundrum, aka the Arab Israeli Conflict. But what is the modern importance of Israel to each side?
The Arabs wish to establish a Palestinian Arab state which would bring the total number of Arab states in the Middle East from the 22 which currently make up the Arab League to 23. For the Arabs the replacing of Israel with a twenty-third Arab state called Palestine is not so much the founding of another Arab state as it is denying the existence of a Jewish state in what they define as an all Arab area under their complete and total control. Many in the PLO leadership have even stated that once they have erased the Zionist Entity they would immediately petition to be included as part of Jordan and not even bother with establishing Palestine as they do not want to rule over a state with all the responsibilities and problems, they simply want to deny the Jews a state where the Jews rule. The Palestinian Arabs simply want for the order of the world to be in alignment with their idea of what makes sense, namely the Jews are to be tolerated as long as they know their place as second class denizens under the rule of their Arab masters.
The Jews, on the other hand, want only to reclaim what they claim with the Old Testament as their proof is their homeland and to live in peace there after almost two thousand years of being the world’s foremost homeless people. This would be the reestablishment of the only Jewish state that has ever existed and not an additional Jewish state but the reestablishment of the only ever existing Jewish state. The claims that the Jews wish to rule all of the lands from the Tigress River to the Nile River, aka Greater Israel, are a false claim stated to place fear in many Muslim and Arab people who would be presumably conquered by this super-sized Israel. As stated earlier in this article, the Jewish people have already released claim to all of what they had been promised by recognizing Jordan and quitting any claim to the lands east of the Jordan River. After a defensive war with numerous Arab countries the Israelis gave back the Sinai Peninsula even at the price of destroying numerous Israeli neighborhoods which had been built there simply to achieve a cold peace with Egypt. Warm relations would have been an answer to dreams and hopes, but you settle for what is achievable. But Israel is even more than the historic homeland of the Jews; it is also representative of their religious covenant with G-d. That is what makes this little strip of land so unbelievably valuable and irreplaceable to Jews.
But for those who prefer a more earthly reason, there is one more reason, existence without the need to be constantly looking over one’s shoulder and not having to live with a suitcase always packed in order to flee at a moment’s notice should the winds of fate change. Jewish history is a story of places they used to live. The Jews have been blamed for any ill that befell a city, state, country or empire and then enslaved, slaughtered, dispossessed, oppressed, or attempted to be eradicated from existence and history itself from somewhere near two hundred countries, nations, empires and kingdoms. The Jews were dispersed and driven from their historic lands last by the Romans somewhere around 73 AD and forced to the farthest corners of the empire in an attempt to drive them from the pages of history. This was how Rome eliminated troublesome peoples and in virtually every case the people so treated were never again to be heard from, except for the Jews. From that fateful date of the Roman exile, the Jewish people lived until May 14, 1948 as, at best, guests and otherwise as unwanted or despised people always in some other peoples lands. Whenever diseases, plagues, famine, economic failures, or any conceivable hardship came upon the lands in which the Jews resided, they were often singled out as the cause and treated accordingly. This spanned the spectrum from being driven from the area simply carrying what they could and being dispossessed of the rest to imprisoned, enslaved, burned at the stake, slaughtered in pogroms, all the way to systematically hunted down and destroyed like one would a pack of rabid dogs during the Holocaust. After this final and most heinous of all victimizations during World War II the world finally came to allowing the Jews to return to their ancestral homeland. Such a return had been denied the Jews by the British who had been assigned with coordinating and facilitating in order to establish a Jewish state but instead cut Jewish immigration to 75,000 a year with the White Paper in 1939. This act assured trapping the millions of European Jews within Europe which resulted in their being eradicated by the Nazis. The British were fully aware of what was occurring to the Jews in Europe and had even been requested by Hitler to allow them to be exiled to the lands of the British Mandate but the British would not hear of such. They quoted their need to placate and acquiesce to the demands of the Arabs throughout the Middle East where the British already had sufficient troubles with the native populations. Israel is the only place Jews have ever been allowed self-rule. Israel is the only place throughout all history where Jews have been permitted to defend that which is theirs. Israel is the only place Jews have ever desired to own and call home. The Jewish people do not want to take other peoples lands nor do they desire to live forcing themselves upon others, they simply wish to live in their ancestral lands and are willing to have others who wish to live peaceably live amongst them. But, apparently that is too large a request to be allowed.
If anyone wished to acquaint themselves with the state of the lands and the near total lack of a society which existed in the areas that today make up Israel, including Judea and Samaria, need look no further than the writings by some of the English officers and military men and governors who were assigned and posted to the Mandate Lands. Without exception they described a land which had apparently been deserted by nature and whose fate was barren scrub, rock, swamp, and assorted wastelands. They could read Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) writing and account of his visit to the Holy Land in the second half of the Nineteenth Century where he described a land so desolate that even the camel and the cactus had forsaken it. They could read the Ottoman accounts, the few there were, of the lands and the descriptions of the grants given to absentee landowners who never visited their holdings and often gave little bother to even collecting rents due them from those unfortunates who resided on those lands. There is even the anecdotal accounting reputedly given by a Gaza grandfather to his grandson sometime in the early 1970s where he commented that the rains had not fallen in all his memory and that of his father and his father before him until the Jews returned, then the rains fell twice a year as one would expect. Such are the descriptions of the land given the Jews to inhabit as their own. One might be put to ask is Israel that consists of the lands from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea too much for the Jews to request and be awarded. Apparently so. And one last question, how does the world explain that the area named Judea does not belong to the Jewish people, honestly, how?
Beyond the Cusp