In a recent article discussing how Prime Minister Netanyahu should respond to any pressures from President Obama if he should demand or simply pressure Israeli leadership to provide a schedule for the withdrawal of Israelis from Judea and Samaria, aka the West Bank, my advice was that Prime Minister Netanyahu should “refuse to give the withdrawal even the dignity of discussion.” A comment posted in reaction to the article Rumor Obama Will Demand Timetable for Israeli Withdrawal West Bank Looking Credible insisted that I withdraw the word ‘dignity’ from my article. But they were not finished with my dressing down as they went on stating, and I quote the whole of the comments exactly as written, “I think you should remove the word dignity. Regardless of your views, which seem to be(this is not an absolute statement) pro-Israeli at any costs, there is still the case of an occupation that never ends. Occupation is not a picnic, it’s a horror trip, no matter how much we try to doll it up. And refusing discussion of any kind is the worst advice anyone can receive. Israel is a super-power, not some half-starved wannabee state with Katuscha fireworks, stop pretending that it isn’t. Unfortunately, anyone who doesn’t support the occupation regime(policy) is immediately set upon, whether friend or foe: the world does not support it – it’s wrong and unbecoming of the Jewish/Israeli people. Talking/Dialogue is always the right way forward, and anyone who says otherwise, is a warmonger.” Well, let us look at the reality according to treaties, agreements and other pertinent items and see if I truly must be considered a warmonger.
The crux of the commenter’s argument is bound to the opinion that Israel is in occupation of lands which belong to some other nation and that Israel is the militarily superior power in the region possessing immense military and in comparison we see, and I quote, ‘some half-starved wannabee state with Katuscha fireworks.’ Apart from the misrepresentation of the presumed limited firepower possessed by the Palestinian terror forces who, in addition to the presumably harmless Katyusha fireworks, which are actually dangerous and potentially deadly rockets and not merely harmless fireworks, also have rockets capable of carrying payloads of up to a one ton warhead with a range capable of reaching the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from their launching grounds in Gaza. Should one actually be fully honest they would also need to include the rocket stores held by Hezballah in Lebanon which will someday very likely be loosed on Israel which include scud rockets provided by Syria and Iran which are capable of being armed with chemical or biological warheads supplied by Syria’s President Bashir Assad. The representation of the forces allied against Israel as being represented solely by the Palestinians, or even including Hezballah, is a misrepresentation as the reality is that Israel’s enemies include numerous other Arab and Muslim countries some of which are still in a state of war with Israel. What is commonly ignored is that of the countries who declared war on the nascent state of Israel in 1948 only Jordan and Egypt have made a technical peace with Israel. That means that Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, and the entirety of the Arab League nations remain in a state of war with Israel. In addition to these countries which continue to hold themselves as in a state of war with Israel since her founding in 1948, we must add the name of Iran as they have declared themselves in a state of war with both Israel and the United States but have simply chosen to not turn from their declared cold war into an active hot war. Stating that the entire conflict between the Arab and Muslim world and Israel consists of just the Palestinians is ignoring the larger threats which are very real and will be acted upon should the situation ever appear to favor these forces being able to defeat Israel. Should these other nations decide to renew active warfare with Israel we can assume with a fair amount of confidence that Egypt and very likely Jordan will renege on their peace treaties with Israel and join the assault. So, the truth is that Israel’s adversaries when viewed in their true entirety are armed with far greater sized military forces than Israel could ever dream of fielding.
But what can be said about this so-called occupation? I believe my commenter is referring to the misconception that Israel is in occupation of the Palestinian people and refusing to permit their constituting their country of Palestine. For Israel to be in occupation of a nation called Palestine it would have been necessary for Israel to have been at war or in a state of hostilities with a country called Palestine and have defeated them and taken over their recognized lands. But Israel has never been at war with a country named Palestine; not now and not even in antiquity. Israel did have a period where there was a state of war between the Israelis (also known then as the Hebrews) with the Philistines from the nation of Philistine. This conflict has been settled history for over three-thousand-years and the Philistine people melted into the pages of history and no longer are a recognized people. The Palestinians, despite modern mythology, are Arab peoples originating from Syria, Egypt, Iraq and small numbers from other Arab nations. The mislabeled West Bank was given this false name by Jordan after they conquered Judea, Samaria and the eastern half of the city of Jerusalem during the 1948 war of annihilation declared by several Arab nations who intended to completely erase the newly formed Jewish State from existence. Israel, through a miracle from Hashem, managed to survive this onslaught but lost some lands which included Judea, Samaria and the eastern half of the city of Jerusalem lost to Jordan, the Golan Heights lost to Syria, and the Gaza Strip lost to Egypt. Egypt never claimed Gaza so there was no international decision as to whom Gaza actually belonged. Syria claimed the Golan Heights and was recognized as rightfully possessing the land. Jordan claimed what they called the West Bank to obscure the Jewish roots of the actual names of the lands they held. The rest of the Arab world did not recognize the Jordanian claim and neither did the majority of nations. The only countries which recognized the Jordanian claim were Great Britain and Pakistan. So, Jordan was seen as an occupying force when they held what they called the West Bank.
That begs a question; whose lands did Jordan occupy when they claimed the lands of Judea and Samaria along with the eastern half of Jerusalem? Jordan was occupying Israeli lands as the lands from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea were the recognized borders for Israel when the Arab League refused the partition plan refusing to establish an Arab state side by side with Israel in 1948. So, as Jordan was occupying Israeli lands after the 1948 war, when Israel reestablished control over Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem they were liberating these lands and reestablishing their rightful ownership. By International Law the Arabs who were residing in the areas of Judea and Samaria along with eastern Jerusalem who moved there after the end of the 1948 War along with any residents who took the Jordanian offer of citizenship would be returned to their country of origin and would be resettled in Jordan. Those who resided on these lands before the 1948 War would be eligible to petition for Israeli citizenship and if accepted be Israeli citizens and if refused could remain on the lands as legal foreign residents where they would own their land and would be permitted limited rights including being allowed to seek employment and if doing so to pay taxes, they would not be granted full citizenship and would not be granted the vote. Israel is not occupying any lands as they liberated what were previously their lands from Jordanian occupation. Even the presumed granting the Jordanian rights to the land to the Palestinians are meaningless as Jordan never rightfully owned these lands.
The final argument over the rightful ownership of the lands of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem we need to look back at the history of treaties and other legal documents and edicts. The original division of the lands was declared in the Balfour Declaration which set aside lands between the Mediterranean Sea and the border with Iraq for the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people. The League of Nations ratified the Balfour Declaration and codified it as an International Agreement including setting up the Mandate system from which many of the countries in the Middle East were formed. These included but not limited to Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Oman. The Jewish homeland was initially including everything from the Mediterranean Sea and the border with Iraq. The British decided to renege on this agreement and approached the Zionist leadership and made them an offer which they were not in any position to refuse as the English were a world power and the Zionists were a committee and some settlers without any military might. The agreement was written out in the Churchill White Papers taking the area of the British Mandate Lands from the Jordan River to the Iraq border and founded Transjordan which is known today simply as Jordan. That removed seventy-eight-percent of the lands originally intended for the Jewish State. The British and the member States of the League of Nations promised that the remaining twenty-two-percent of the Mandate Lands, including all from the Jordan River west to the Mediterranean Sea, were to be held sacrosanct and indivisible for the Jewish homelands. The founding of the United Nations included in its Charter in Article 80 the full recognition of the Mandates and all that was formed from these lands which had been tasked to France and Britain to dispense and establish nations. The only treaty which pertained to the lands of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem subsequent to the United Nations Charter was the Jordanian Israeli Peace Treaty in which Jordan recognized the return of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem to Israeli control. As an afterthought and in recognition of Yasser Arafat and his efforts against Israel, the King of Jordan claimed that he had actually deeded the lands of the West Bank to the Palestinian people to establish their own State in the treaty with Israel. No such denotation is written in that peace treaty where it states that the lands which Jordan referred to as the West Bank, also known as Judea, Samaria and eastern parts of Jerusalem, were ceded back to Israeli control.
One is not a warmonger to claim that the contested lands rightfully belonging to Israel. The Arab League could have established an Arab country on half of the lands in 1948 but instead opted to use an attempted war of genocidal aggression to erase the Jewish State and murder its peoples. The combined Arab armies were, blessed be Hashem, unsuccessful and only managed to steal some of the lands. Among the stolen lands are the contested lands that my commenter believes belong to a mythical people who populated a nation called Palestine which was subsequently conquered through Israeli reactions to aggression, as if it existed and had lost a war of aggression against Israel. Even if this were a reality, Israel would still be entitled to retain the lands under International Law which allows any State which gains lands responding to the aggressions of another State is entitled to retain those lands. So, even if the lands belonged to Jordan or anybody else, since the war in which they fell to Israeli control was brought upon Israel and she fought a defensive war against efforts of aggression, then Israel still retains the lands and there is no occupation. No matter how one approaches the ownership of Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, International Laws and agreements and treaties all grant Israel sovereignty over the lands if she so chooses to exercise her rights under International Laws and Agreements.
Beyond the Cusp