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||Palestine is a State of Mind
by J. F. Kelly, Jr. [writer]
“So before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life. It was me against my brother; me and my brother against my father; my family against my cousins and the clan; the clan against the tribe and the tribe against the world. And all of us against the infidel.”
-from “The Haj”, by Leon Uris
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has reportedly begun meetings with Palestinian officials who have joined a coalition government led by the terrorist group Hamas. This is a very bad idea and the Israelis have said so. So long as Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and remains dedicated to its destruction, negotiations are worse than a waste of time; they are counterproductive.
J.F. Kelly, Jr.
Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive
who writes on current events and military subjects.
He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]
Pragmatism in the conduct of foreign policy is sometimes justified but not when it requires the abandonment of core principles. The peace-at-any-price crowd on the university campuses of America and Europe will continue to crow about fairness and evenhandedness in dealing with the perpetual Arab-Israeli conflict, but at some point, the U.S. government must take a stand for what is right and that stand must be on the side of our democratic ally who has repeatedly offered a generous amount of a scarce and valuable commodity--land--for nothing more than recognition of its right to exist, free from invasion or terrorist attacks. Not only have these offers been rejected, they have been answered with repeated expressions of hatred and acts of terrorism.
Let’s briefly review some history. After WW I, Britain was awarded a Mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations, According to the Balfour Declaration, the land was to be a homeland for the Jewish people. In 1922, the Jews reluctantly agreed to a partition which gave the land east of the Jordan River to the Arabs who, under Hashemite rulers, established the Kingdom of Jordan.
In 1941, the Mufti of Jerusalem met with Adolph Hitler and declared his sympathy for Nazi Germany citing a common enemy: the Jews. Britain, in 1947, relinquished control of the Mandate to the United Nations and the following year saw the creation of the independent Jewish state of Israel, a tiny sliver of mostly desert land smaller in area than New Jersey and surrounded by hostile Arab states who opposed the very presence of the Jews in the Middle East. Shortly thereafter, six of them invaded Israel. The greatly outnumbered Israelis inflicted a stunning defeat on the combined Arab armies and occupied the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), along with Gaza, the Golan Heights and the city of Jerusalem.
Attacked again in 1967, Israel again decisively defeated the Arab armies in the Six-day War. Magnanimously, the Israeli victors offered to relinquish the occupied territories in return for peace. The Arab League’s answer came in three parts: no peace, no negotiations and no recognition.
Again, in 1971, Egypt and Syria attacked and were again routed, the Egyptian army being driven back across the Suez in disarray, leaving the entire Sinai Peninsula under Israeli occupation until they gave it back in return for Nasser’s promise of peace. Victorious in three wars launched against it, Israel nevertheless persisted in offering land for peace and recognition. They got neither and instead were answered by more threats of destruction and by terrorist attacks.
Incredibly, Israel, under pressure, agreed to recognize the PLO, a terrorist organization, as the bargaining agent for the Palestinians, including the hundreds of thousands displaced by the fighting, living in squalid refugee camps with little or no aid from their Arab brethren who started the war that caused their displacement. The many Arabs who remained in Israel proper, constituting about a third of Istael’s population, meanwhile continued to enjoy full rights, religious freedoms and benefits as Israeli citizens. Can you imagine the Arab states in the region offering the same freedoms to Jewish residents or other infidels? While you’re thinking about that, can you imagine even our own country giving back the land it took from Spain and Mexico in the wars we fought with those countries? And they didn’t even invade us.
The United States as a friend of Israel is asked repeatedly to broker a solution to the conflict. All efforts have foundered as the Palestinians repeatedly rejected land for peace offers, hoping to get a better deal and insisting on a right of return for all refugees which would, of course, overwhelm and destroy the tiny Jewish state as they well recognize. In 2000, through the intercession of Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barack offered all but a tiny percentage of the land demanded by the PLO for a Palestinian state, a state they could have had decades ago without the intervening bloodshed. To Clinton’s embarrassment, Yasser Arafat’s response was to launch an intifada which killed thousands. After the 9/11 attack on America by Arab Muslim extremists, Palestinians celebrated by dancing in the streets and firing weapons in the air.
Frustrated with rebuffed efforts at bargaining for peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2006. The Palestinians proclaimed a great victory and attempted to provoke a major conflict by attacking the departing Israelis. Rockets rained on Israeli cities from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbolah in Lebanon. Meanwhile, under Palestinian “rule” Gaza descended into chaos with fighting erupting between Hamas and Fatah.
The U.S. has repeatedly put its prestige and reputation on the line in attempting to broker a solution to this conflict. The name President George W. Bush has given to his administration’s attempt is the Roadmap to Peace. It is a fool’s journey because only one side really wants peace. The other side wants only destruction. If they aren’t fighting Jews at the moment, they will fight each other. The last thing that this dangerous world needs is another sovereign terrorist state and Israel needs it least of all. CRO
2007 J. F. Kelly, Jr.