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Map of Original British Mandate of Palestine which was to have been the home of the Jewish People following WWI
By BRET STEPHENS
Wall Street Journal
Nov. 10, 2015
In the history of political clichés, has there ever been one quite so misjudged as the line—some version of which is attributed either to Israel’s martyred Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin or fabled Defense Minister Moshe Dayan—that “you make peace with your enemies, not with your friends”?
OK, “give peace a chance” and “nation building at home” are worse. But the Rabin-Dayan line is an expression of the higher mindlessness that passes for wisdom among people who think they are smart. After Monday’s make-nice session between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it’s time for a reconsideration.
To wit: You do not make peace with enemies. You make peace with former enemies—either because you have defeated them, as we defeated the Axis Powers in World War II; or because they collapse, as the Soviet Union did after the fall of the Berlin Wall; or because they have defeated you and you’re able to come to terms with the outcome from a safe distance. Witness Vietnam.
On rare precious occasions, both sides realize their interests are best served through a negotiated settlement they’re prepared to honor. That was the miracle of 1977, when Egypt’s Anwar Sadat flew to Israel to show he sincerely accepted the Jewish state’s right to exist. He paid for the gesture with his life.
Enemies, however, do not make peace. They may desist from open combat, as Pakistan and India have, even as Islamabad continues to support anti-Indian terrorist proxies. They may arrange a long-term armistice of the kind South Korea has with the North. But that’s a peace preserved by 700,000 active-duty South Korean and U.S. troops, plus a million land mines in the DMZ.
For the past 22 years—ever since Rabin signed the Oslo Accord with the PLO’s Yasser Arafat—Israel has been trying to achieve something historically unprecedented: To make peace with an enemy that shows no interest in becoming an ex-enemy.
Daniel Polisar, an Israeli political scientist, recently published a fascinating study in Mosaic magazine of Palestinian public opinion based on 330 polls conducted over many years. It makes for some bracing reading.
“When asked hypothetically if Israel’s use of chemical or biological weapons against Palestinians would constitute terror, 93 percent said yes,” notes Mr. Polisar. “But when the identical question was posed regarding the use of such weapons of mass destruction by Palestinians against Israelis, only 25 percent responded affirmatively.”
Other details: A 2011 poll found that 61% of Palestinians thought it was morally right to name Palestinian streets after suicide bombers. In December 2014, 78% of Palestinians expressed support for “attempts to stab or run over Israelis” in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Only 20% were opposed. Palestinians have also consistently supported terrorist attacks against Israelis within Israel’s original borders, “often by as much as six to one.”
Palestinians routinely blame Israel for problems over which it has no control, such as the bloody 2007 coup through which Hamas wrested power from Fatah in the Gaza Strip. Ninety-four percent of Palestinians report a “very unfavorable” opinion of Jews. A majority of Palestinians believe Israel will “destroy the al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques and build a synagogue in their place.”
As for the idea of sharing the land, only 12% of Palestinians agreed that “both Jews and Palestinians have rights to the land.” More than 80% felt “this is Palestinian land and Jews have no rights to it.” Most Palestinians also think Israel won’t be around in 30 or 40 years, either “because Arab or Muslim resistance will destroy it” or on account of its “internal contradictions.”
Where is the sense in agreeing to relinquish through negotiations what is yours by right today and will be yours in deed tomorrow?
None of this is helped by Palestinian leaders who, when not inciting violence or alleging Israeli conspiracies, are peddling the lie that Israel is creating an apartheid state. The only person standing in the way of Palestinian democracy is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who hasn’t held an election in a decade. The only force standing in the way of a Palestinian state are the Palestinian people, who think they can gain their rights by stabbing their neighbors.
Which brings us back to Monday’s Oval Office meeting. Along with the forced bonhomie, the administration has been sounding the usual two-minutes-to-midnight warnings about the supposed end of the two-state solution. “For Israel, the more there is settlement construction, the more it undermines the ability to achieve peace,” says Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser, in an interview with Haaretz.
How sweet it would be if all Israel had to do to make peace was dismantle its settlements. How much sweeter if the American president would find less to fault with an Israeli government’s housing policies than a Palestinian political culture still so intent on killing Jews. If Mr. Obama wants to know why he’s so disliked by Israelis, there’s the reason.
II Who Owns the “West Bank”?
From: FLAME July, 2015
The ancient lands of Judea and Samaria, east of Jerusalem, have been part of the Jewish homeland for 3,000 years.
Today Arabs demand all of it.
Judea and Samaria, the land where Jewish ancestors Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rachel, David and Solomon created Biblical history, was renamed the “West Bank” during Jordan’s brief, illegal 19-year occupation. Today, some 380,000 Jews own land and live in the territory, yet their rights are denied by Palestinian Arabs.
What are the facts?
“Israel has an irrefutable legal claim to these territories backed by the 93-year-old Mandate for Palestine.”
Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the Allied Powers, which were the only parties with the right or power to resolve ownership of vast tracts of the Middle East, allotted to the Jewish people the land west of the Jordan River, including Judea and Samaria.
This resolution, made at the San Remo Conference, was effected through the Mandate for Palestine, which was adopted by the League of Nations in 1922 and assumed by the United Nations in 1948. This document, based on “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine,” secured “the establishment of the Jewish national home.” Nothing since 1922 has changed the legal status of those internationally binding documents.
Much of the land allocated to the Jews, including most of Judea and Samaria, was taken from them by Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Syria following Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, when the Jewish state was attacked by those Arab nations—the latter three of which were also established by the Mandate for Palestine. Jordan illegally seized the “West Bank” and east Jerusalem, and expelled all Jews from these Biblical homelands.
In fact, the territories of Judea and Samaria have never been part of any nation except the Jewish state. In 1967, when it was again attacked by Arab armies, Israel defeated the invaders and recovered the occupied “West Bank” from Jordan. It should be noted that during Jordan’s occupation of the “West Bank,” no Arab Palestinian movement emerged in favor of independence. Indeed, it wasn’t until Israel reclaimed the land and Jews returned to their ancestral home that claims of Jewish “occupation” were raised.
Today, most land in present-day Judea and Samaria is not privately owned, but rather is unsurveyed—without proven ownership. Israel claims about 30% of the public land in the territory. However, the Supreme Court of Israel has ruled that unsurveyed land in Judea and Samaria can be acquired by Arabs who cultivate it consistently.
Arabs, through deed and cultivation rights, own about 95% of private land in the territory. Jews, however, are not granted similar rights, so Jewish farming on unsurveyed land does not entitle Jews to private ownership. Nonetheless, Jews own about 5% of all private land in Judea and Samaria.
Israel offers land for peace. Israel has a clear, millennia-old historical claim to Judea and Samaria, and it reacquired the territories defending itself against an aggressive war. In addition, Israel has an irrefutable legal claim to these territories backed by the 95-year-old San Remo Resolution. Nonetheless, recognizing that its claims are disputed by Arab neighbors, the Jewish state has shown uncommon willingness to share the land.
Starting in 1967, following the Six-Day War, Israel (In its own stupidity and desperation for peace) has offered to give up almost all the land it controls in the “West Bank”—plus a Palestinian capital in the eastern part of Jerusalem—in exchange for peace. Unfortunately, despite numerous such land-for-peace overtures by Israel, including two most recently in 2000 and 2008, the Arabs have consistently rejected them.
Not only do the Arabs reject any Jewish claims to land in Judea and Samaria, they have also insisted during peace negotiations that the territory be made judenrein—free of Jews. Worse, many Palestinian Arabs, such as the terror group Hamas, maintain that the entire land of Palestine—from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, including all of Israel and the “West Bank”—belongs only to Arabs. Today, official Palestinian maps do not depict the state of Israel.
How will the dispute over Judea and Samaria be resolved? Over Israel’s 67 years, it has become a world-class cultural, economic and military power. Its standard of living is among the highest in the Middle East. Clearly the Jewish state is here to stay. Yet despite its strength, Israel has shown willingness to negotiate and exchange land for peace. Sadly, this willingness has not been matched by Palestinian leadership. Until such negotiations are consummated, the “West Bank” will remain in dispute—a no-man’s land in which claims of ownership remain cloudy and contested.
While Israel has clear rights to ownership of Judea and Samaria—also known as the “West Bank”—it has taken a practical position, offering to trade those rights and that land for peace with its Arab neighbors. As of yet, however, tragically, no Palestinian leader has been willing to compromise his people’s unrealistic expectation that all of Palestine—from the river to the sea—belongs only to Arabs.
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