Once again a United States President has tasked his Secretary of State with forging that ever elusive Arab-Israeli Peace. Let’s be honest, there is no difference between the so-called Palestinian Arabs and the Arabs living in Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Tunisia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or any other Arab community. If we were dealing honestly we would not allow the recent use of the term Naqba to refer solely to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 because it has an earlier reference from the promise to make a Jewish State through the founding after World War I of the French and British Mandate. This too was called the Great Naqba but not because of the intent to make a Jewish State in the future, that would come later. There was a far more immediate catastrophe deserving of the title Great Naqba. With the formation of the French Mandate over the lands which would become Syria and Lebanon minus the Golan Heights and mountains surrounding Mount Herman and the British Mandate over the lands which would become Jordan, Israel, Gaza, Judea, Samaria (West Bank), Golan Heights, and the mountains surrounding Mount Herman, it split the areas which under Ottoman rule were called Greater Syria. The French Mandate took the areas referred to as Syria and the British Mandate took the areas referred to as Southern Syria. The French referred to their Mandate Arabs, both Christian and Muslim, as Syrian Arabs which met with their approval. The British referred to their Mandate Arabs, both Christian and Muslim, as Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish residents simply as Palestinians. It was the splitting off the British Mandate from central Syria placing a boundary between their Arab populations and Damascus which was a pilgrimage destination for the Arabs in these areas. They also rejected being called Palestinians and demanded to retain the label as being Syrians. Later during World War II the British formed a corps fighting in North Africa and the Middle East named the Palestinian Brigade which was made up almost entirely of Jews from the lands surrounding Jerusalem, Hevron, Nazareth, Bethlehem, Akko, Jericho, Tiberius and the other towns and cities from the Jordan River valley to the Mediterranean Sea. The largest Arab Units formed during World War II served the Nazis in the Balkans and were commanded by the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin el Husseini. There were also Arab revolts during World War II by Iraqis who had intended to join allying themselves with Germany but were eventually retaken by the British. Iran also allied with the German Nazis and were so enamored with the idea of the Aryan Master Race they changed the name of their country from Persia to Iran, which means Aryan.
Between World War I and through the period of World War II there were repeated uprisings by the Arabs of the British Mandate against the Jews. One of the particularly serious episodes spread through Hevron and Jerusalem with much of the Jewish areas in Hevron being burned down or otherwise damaged. To avoid any more difficulties for the British troops stationed in the Mandate areas the British in their infinite wisdom forced all the Jews out from Hevron and resettled them largely in Jerusalem. Many of these Jews who were driven from Hevron have had their descendants attempt to return to Hevron and reclaim their lands and homes after the Six Day War and the return of Hevron to Jewish control. In a totally futile attempt to placate the Arabs and prevent further uprisings the British made an offer to the Zionists. They promised if the Zionists would allow the lands east of the Jordan River to be used to make a state for the Palestinian Arabs population then the British promised that all of the lands west of the Jordan River would remain undivided and be used for the Jewish State. The Zionists deciding that it was best to take the guarantee of the lands west of the Jordan River as a guaranteed border for their state would be better than attempting to form a state in the entire of the Mandate lands. They also realized that there were virtually no Jews residing east of the Jordan River anyways and the few who lived on the east bank could be resettled readily on the west bank and thus Transjordan was formed and is today known as Jordan. That was the first sacrifice which relinquished all claims to 78% of the British Mandate for a guarantee that they would receive the remaining 22% of the lands and they would be indivisible in perpetuity.
During the debates in the United Nations over the founding of the Jewish State the Zionists agreed to sharing what had been guaranteed indivisible by the major powers and organizations of the world even if the vast majority of the lands they would receive was the Negev Desert and the majority of arable lands were to be made into a second Arab state out of the British Mandate. The Arabs refused to accept the division because they could not agree to allow any Jewish state whatsoever. Despite the sacrifice at the point of declaring the state of Israel so as to live in peace with their Arab neighbors, Israel was forced to defend herself against the combined armies from six Arab countries and numerous assorted militias at the dawn of the Jewish nations first day of existence. When the fighting ended the Israelis once again accepted the boundaries which were still less than the full amount promised twenty years earlier at the founding of the Hashemite Kingdom. The Arab League refused to accept the boundaries and insisted that the lines dividing the warring armies at the hour the truce was established be merely a set of Armistice Lines and never ever be utilized to determine a border in the future.
In early June of 1967 Egypt blockaded the Straits of Tiran for all shipping to or from the Israeli southern port of Eilat which was a casus belli under International Treaty and Laws and with their ally Syria massed troops on Israel’s northern and southern borders. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser threatened a war of genocide to drive the Jews into the sea repeating the threat for days. Israel responded to the existential threat and attacked Egyptian airfields. An immediate thrust by both Syrian and Egyptian armies was met and repulsed and though the Israeli Defense Force was advancing on both fronts the Arab news reports were claiming a great victory was in progress. Jordanian King Hussein declared war on Israel opening a third front despite Israeli pleading that the Jordanian leader reconsider informing Hussein that the reports of Egyptian and Syrian forces closing on Tel Aviv were false. King Hussein believed the Egyptian and Syrian reports figuring that the Israelis were attempting to deceive him and deny him a share of the glory and spoils of war. By the end of the Six Day War Israel was in control of the entire Sinai Peninsula, the Golan Heights, Gaza, Judea and Samaria (West Bank). Israel made peace with Egypt in March of 1979 sacrificing the entire Sinai Peninsula and offering the return of Gaza which Egypt refused thus leaving Gaza under Israeli control. The return of the Sinai Peninsula was a significant sacrifice for peace made by Israel. Israel and Jordan also made peace in October 1994 and Israel offered to return the areas gained from Jordan during the Six Day War which Jordan refused thus leaving Judea and Samaria under Israeli control. Syria and Israel have yet to make peace and an armistice enforced by the United Nations still exists.
Even when discussing the Israeli Palestinian peace negotiation the Israelis have done the vast majority of sacrificing. Israel removed every single Israeli from all of Gaza along with all Israeli Defense Force troops and bases surrendering complete control to the Palestinian Authority. Those who claim Israel never released control over Gaza because of the naval blockade claiming that Gaza has never been totally free of Israeli influence are misrepresenting the facts. Israel withdrew in August 2005 and there was no blockade or any other Israeli influence imposed after the disengagement. Israel had no naval blockade and had even surrendered their monitoring to the European Union of the Philadelphia Corridor which is the boundary between the Sinai and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Currently the Egyptians are responsible for monitoring the Philadelphia Corridor which is circumvented quite adequately through the existence of an extensive tunnel smuggling system. The Israeli Naval blockade was not implemented until after Hamas took control of Gaza after winning the Palestinian elections in 2006. The Israeli blockade has been ruled legal and justified by the United Nations and is recognized as lawful under the auspices of International Laws. A further sacrifice by Israel was the implementation of the Oslo Accords which allowed the establishment of self-rule for the majority of the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority has total economic, security, and civil autonomy over Area A within the areas of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and economic and civil autonomy with shared security control over Area B. Only Area C is under Israeli civil, economic and security control which still allows those Palestinians who reside there to remain in their homes and farming their land and tending their flocks. Area A which is under complete Palestinian Control there are no Jews permitted to tread within its boundaries without Palestinian Authority permission. Somehow this situation has been distorted to represent total Israeli oppression of the Palestinians residing anywhere in Judea and Samaria. There is also a claim that the Israelis do not permit Palestinians to have any basic rights in the Area under Israeli control. This deceit is finally being corrected as politicians who have accepted invitations to inspect the reality in Area C have revealed the truth that Palestinians are working side by side with Israelis in the industrial parks and attending Ariel University right along with Israeli Jews and the two peoples are living side by side in peace and prospering.
The last example of Israeli sacrifice is one that goes beyond any of the sacrifices depicted in this article. The Israelis allowed for the Muslim Waqf to continue to manage and take charge of affairs for the Temple Mount. In return for this privilege the Waqf has overseen the destruction of millenniums of artifacts with heavy construction equipment and severe restriction placed on Jews when they are allowed to visit the Temple Mount, the holiest place on Earth for Jews. The most unkind restriction is not being allowed to pray while visiting the Temple Mount. Even appearing to pray is sufficient provocation for the Waqf officials to ban a Jew from being permitted entrance on the Temple Mount. The Waqf passed an edict defining all of the Temple Mount to be part of an all-inclusive Mosque complex defined to be an integral part of the al-Aksa Mosque. One may wonder if this definition includes the Christian Churches and other structures as well as the ancient Synagogue’s remains at the periphery of the Temple Mount which was destroyed by the Crusaders in 1099 as Jerusalem was being cleansed of Muslims and Jews. Still, not simply exercising control over the Temple Mount and allowing for continued Islamic jurisdiction over the entirety of these holy grounds is very probably the most significant sacrifice made by Israel, especially as this sacrifice was made in the name of Jews everywhere.
Beyond the Cusp