Ask the average American irreligious or slightly religious Jew, many call them secular Jews or twice a year Jews who only visit the synagogue for the High Holidays and celebrate Hanukkah almost as if it were the Jewish Christmas even to having what they call a Hanukkah Bush (it really is a Christmas Tree with a six pointed star on top instead of a five pointed star). Ask the Jewish leadership of the Anti-Defamation League. Ask Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism. Ask Gideon Levy who writes for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Ask J-Street, B’Tselem, Peace Now or any of the plethora of misnamed human rights groups which act as Palestinian Arab critical support and fifth column against Israeli interests. The list of people and groups one can ask extends throughout Europe and the entire world with an ever growing number vocally screaming foul over the latest law passed by the Knesset which makes the Jewish communities anywhere west of the Jordan River legal, even those in the, dare we say it, West Bank, formerly known as Judea and Samaria for close to three thousand years. All these protesters keep repeating that this law will destroy the Israeli democracy and disenfranchise Arabs in Israel. This is total bunk. The Israeli Arabs will not be affected by this law in any way or by any means, period. Arabs will still be permitted to work in any position they are qualified to and desire, they will continue to be doctors, nurses, lawyers, Ministers in the Knesset, judges including on the Supreme Court, drivers, construction, engineering or anything they can dream. They will still own their homes, live where they choose, attend schools of their choice, attend church, Mosque, Synagogue or other religious institution of their choice, drive, ride all forms of transportation, vote in all elections and everything else as citizens of Israel. Guess that democracy thing will survive.
I hear the yelling already, “What about the Palestinians voting?” Well, tell you what, whenever Mahmoud Abbas decides that elections are due, then they can have elections. Abbas is serving his twelfth year of a four year term which started in January 2005. The reason the Palestinian Arabs have not voted is because the Palestinian Authority, which means Mahmoud Abbas who has become its dictatorial ruler, has suspended their democratic processes as Abbas knows he would never win in a fair election and the deceit necessary to have him win is beyond his personal ability to manage as there are those standing ready for any opportunity to replace him. Israel has absolutely no control over elections for the Palestinian authority any more than it has over elections in Gaza ruled by Hamas. Where Israel is often faulted for the lack of opportunity to vote for their government by the Arab Palestinians, it has no validity and nothing to do with Arab Israelis who have full rights and do vote in Israeli elections. What happens to the Palestinian Arabs has more to do with their true intentions and the actual and real meaning and purpose of the State of Israel. We will try and clarify both in the remainder of this article and hope we can at least set a few misconceptions straight.
First, let us cover the easiest misperception, that Israel was founded to be a democracy. Not even slightly true. Israel was founded to be the homeland for the Jewish People. It is that simple. Read the Balfour Declarations (see image below) and you will see nary a word about democracy throughout. Read the San Remo Conference and again nary a word about elections, democracy or anything covering governance. Everything in every treaty, conference, document and even the Mandate Rules written by the League of Nations have no reference to democracy or anything about how the State of Israel was to be governed. The main points were that it was to be the homeland for the Jewish People and it could not deprive the residents residing in the land of their freedoms to own property, practice their religion and all civil and religious rights but says nothing about political rights. According to all of the laws etcetera regarding the making and founding of the State of Israel, the form of governance is completely unmentioned leaving it up to the Jews, the Zionists, to decide as they formed their nation. Technically, Israel could legally limit the right to vote to Jews or even to practicing Jews. Israel did not take that path. Israel gave full rights to their population whether Jewish or not. That is why Arabs are full voting citizens of the State of Israel as are many other peoples who were present or have been allowed citizenship as refugees from persecution. The Arabs who remained in Israel did not join the Arab forces who attacked Israel in the 1948 Arab War of Genocidal Intent launched by the Arab World on Israel’s founding morning of May 15, 1948.
As a result of that war, what in Israel is euphemistically called the Israeli War of Independence and is celebrated as a victory as Israel survived, yet the reality comes to territory where Israel lost major parts of Judea and Samaria to Jordan who renamed that area the West Bank while Egypt took over the Gaza Strip. There were some Arab villages which harbored fighters which attacked the Israeli forces from behind the lines which lead to the Israeli forces dispossessing the entire village as that was the expedient way of addressing the situation most efficiently and immediately deciding that the villagers were at the least partially responsible for the use of their areas for staging a rear attack and that they were acting as a fifth column. Much has been misrepresented about these actions claiming that these villagers were dispossessed of their lands simply because they were Arabs and nothing else, ignoring their harboring of Arab forces which were planted in order to attack Israeli forces from behind and cutting off their routes of supply and assaulting the civilians claiming that every Jew was a legitimate target. These differences will never be resolved and can only be mitigated by what means will allow.
We have settled that the only real meanings behind the founding of Israel was to take some desert, swamp lands and rock strewn hills into the Jewish homeland. The few people residing in these lands at the end of World War I, a sparse set of peoples strewn here and there, were guaranteed their civil and religious rights such as continued ownership of lands, herds, business, residence and other properties as well as rights to worship in their traditional methods and follow their religions freely. The existing residents were not guaranteed political rights which were reserved technically for the Jewish People if this were the decision of the Zionist Congress upon the founding of the state. When Israel was founded on May 15, 1948 one might say that everything hit the fan as forces from more than a half dozen Arab armies and militias attacked Israel from every possible direction. Peace was not achieved for over a year and when the decision of governance was finally addressed the leadership from the Zionist Congress and the other groups such as the Haganah reached the decision to extend full political rights to all the residents in the nation, Arabs, Jews, Christians, Bedouins, Druze, Baha’I and other smaller minority groups all as one democratic nation. This was the first actual decision on using a democracy and it is notable that the democracy was all inclusive of those who were not opposed to the Jews having their own state. This is how and why Israel is a democracy.
When the State of Israel was founded, the Palestinian Arabs were not citizens of Israel but were Arabs residing in Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia as well as some Iraqis, Turks, Yemenis and others who were part of the invading forces and who remained on the lands or were actually driven onto the lands by their governments in order to make what have become known as facts on the ground. The claims that all of the Palestinian Arabs came from inside Israel is a common factual lie which has been repeated so often with such force and echo-chamber reinforced, the world now accepts it as factual. This is the main drive behind the two state concept as the claim is Israel owes the remnant of her invaders their own nation. This misconception has poisoned the waters so permanently that a solution would be difficult if this was the sole difficulty. There is a further problem in that the Arabs do not believe that the Jews have any right to a homeland within what they see as the Muslim Ummah. Their claim is that throughout all history, which for the Muslims begins in 625, there have been no Jewish lands within the lands they conquered and colonized. The reality is that the Arabs have the longest running and most extensive colonial enterprise in world history. They also are under the belief that the problem with the world is that it has not yet, emphasis on yet, come under the rule of Allah and the dictatorial rule of Islam. Until they are disabused of this notion, Israel, as well as the world in total, can never feel safe from the next Islamic offensive, something the Europeans should remember from their own history as Islam has attacked through Spain only to be turned at Tours by Charles “the Hammer” Martel and twice from Turkey Ottoman Empire being turned back at the Battle of Vienna, the first attack being stopped in 1529 and the second assault turned back by Polish King John III Sobieski in 1683.
Israel, conceived, initiated and founded to be the homeland of the Jewish People has faced the difficulty of a Palestinian Arab irascible obstinacy demanding they are the rightful owners of the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and that the Jews have no rights in these lands and deserve to be exterminated. This has been their first, second, and final demand and they refuse to compromise and accept anything less. Their demands are often couched in coded verbiage such as their demanding they receive their 22% of the Mandate Lands. The western leadership will almost always take that to mean that they are demanding 22% of the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea this meaning Judea and Samaria or Judea, Samaria and Gaza. What Abbas actually means and has explained as his meaning is 22% of the entire of the Mandate Lands, the 22% which consists of all the lands not taken to make Jordan which was 78% of the original Mandate Lands, the entire of the lands between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Yasser Arafat and after him Mahmoud Abbas both demanded that Israel be destroyed and replaced by Palestine. Abbas has actually offered one compromise; his idea of a two state solution. His two state idea is for an Arab Palestine which will be completely free of Jews and an Arab ruled State of Israel where the Jews have no rights and are allowed to live at the indulgence of their betters, the Arabs which will include over five million Arabs brought from refugee camps from around the Arab world and even within Judea and Samaria and Gaza and who knows how many additional Arabs who simply claim to be refugees seeking economic betterment. Anyway one cuts it, finding a solution which will satisfy the Palestinian Arab leadership and their Arab League backers, it would require sacrificing the Jewish State making the Jews once again stateless.
The problem with the Arab reasoning is that history did not begin in 625 AD, especially in the lands of Judea, Samaria and the rest of the lands of the Twelve Tribes of Israel (see map on right below). The Twelve Tribes of Israel were founded when Joshua crossed the Jordan River and defeated the first Canaanite King of Jericho. This was followed with another victory at Ai and continued until the Holy Lands were conquered following numerous tactical routes first heading through the central Judean hills, then southward and finally the northern areas (shown in the left map below). This conquest began approximately 1275 BCE. Since that time virtually every conquering empire outside those in the Americas, China, Japan, and Russia but even to including the Vikings if one believes that the Greeks were originally Vikings who found the Greek climate preferable to Scandinavia, surprise, surprise, and their Triremes were modified Long Ships; they all have invaded and occupied without ever naming Jerusalem as a capital city even for a province unless the province was expressly for the Jews as was the case under the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great. The Jewish People have an extensively long history uninterrupted with Jews residing in the lands and especially in Jerusalem constantly starting soon after the entrance of Joshua through the expansive times under Kings David and Solomon through the First Temple Period, their Babylonian exile of most of the population and their subsequent return and building of the Second Temple and expanding the Temple Mount and the remainder of their history through to the modern period. That is the real history and Israel was founded recognizing the entirety of the history, not just that which is fancifully convenient for the Islamic sensibilities.
Then there is the biggest fallacy of them all, that Israel conquered Palestinian Lands in the Six Day War in 1967. First thing is there has never been anything called Palestine for their land to be stolen. Palestine is the name of the region and the original use of the term Palestinian was for the Jews during the British Mandate period where the Arabs were referred to as Arabs or Syrians, Jordanians, Iraqis, Druze, Bedouins, Egyptians or other designation of origin or tribe. When Israel regained the lands of Judea and Samaria in the 1967 Six Day War they were not conquering new lands, they were liberating their own lands which had been occupied by the Jordanians since the 1948 War. The only occupation of Judea and Samaria was by Jordan and the claim that Jordan gifted these lands to the Palestinian Arabs is a great misconception, a great invention of propaganda. The lands were originally and always Israeli and were occupied by Jordan. One cannot give away stolen lands and thus Jordan could not gift the lands to the Palestinian Arabs as it was stolen land occupied illegally by Jordan. The entire world with the exception of Britain and Pakistan refused to recognize these lands as Jordanian. Even Egypt and the Arab League refused to recognize the Jordanian occupation. Lastly, Jordan signed a peace with Israel surrendering the occupied lands of Judea and Samaria back to Israel and it was not until two years after that treaty that Jordan officially claimed to have gifted the lands to Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Arabs. That makes these lands doubly not Jordanian to give as they were not even occupying the lands when they claimed to have given them away. What is next, the Iranians claiming they gave away Hollywood to the Arab Palestinians community of Southern California? That would be just as legal as the Jordanian claims to have given land they did not even possess at the time to the Palestinian Arabs and they even made the claim retroactive to attempt to grant it some degree of validity. That simply does not wash and the land remains Israeli until such time as Israel gives it away in a treaty, something seeming more and more remote by the day.
Beyond the Cusp