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Israel News and Views, Dr. Julian M. White
ProIsrael - February 27, 2003

The Arabs seek to establish a 22nd state on the "West Bank", the area west of the Jordan River, and Gaza. They claim that all of the land west of the Jordan is rightfully theirs. The Bible, they say, is a forgery and Jews have no right to any land.

The Facts: Archaeologists have confirmed Israel's settlement in Biblical times. The Bible teaches us that G-d promised the land to the Jewish people as an " everlasting possession" (Genesis 15:18). He also promised that he would never again remove them from the land (Amos 9:15).

The Children of Israel took possession of the land about 2000 years before the birth of Islam. Every part of the land yields distinctly Judaic archaeological findings. The very name "Judea" reflects the authenticity of its Jewish history. Arab villages still bear the Hebrew names of Biblical sites. No other state has ever been sovereign over this territory. Jordan, which illegally took over the so-called West Bank during Israel's War of Independence, claimed sovereignty over this land. This was rejected by virtually all nations, including even the Arab states, except for Great Britain and Pakistan. The last recognized legal document attributing sovereignty over the "West Bank" was the League of Nations Mandate -- which mandated the land to the Jewish people.

The Arabs say that when the Jews came to settle the land in the late part of the 19th century, it was a flourishing civilization with a large Arab population, primarily engaged in agriculture. They claim the Jews drove them out.

The Facts: Many accounts of 19th century travelers to the Holy Land, like Mark Twain, attest to the sorry state of the former "land of milk and honey" converted to a land of "death, weeds and desolation." Mark Twain recounted how he and his entourage on a 50-mile walk to Mt. Tabor did not meet up with even a single human being.

Would the world have tolerated in 1897, at the end of the 19th century, the slogan which the first World Zionist Congress adopted for itself, i.e., "A Land Without A People for A People Without A Land"? Not if in reality the land had to be acquired by displacing another people! Would the Balfour Declaration or the League of Nations Mandate or the Resolution of the United States Congress, each projecting the restoration of the Jewish National Home in the Land of Israel, have made these proclamations had the Arab people been ensconced on the land? Absolutely not! Moreover, much of Jewish inhabited territory was legally purchased and the deeds officially recorded.

The Arabs say that the UN decided that Israel must return to them all of the "West Bank" (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza, which it liberated in the Six Day War.

The Facts: Is UN Resolution 242, as often cited, a true basis for requiring Israel to relinquish its "occupation" of the land it acquired in the Six Day War (1967) and to return to its pre-1967 border? Lord Caradon, the British sponsor of 242 at the UN in November 1967, speaking over Israel National Radio in February 1973, told the Israeli public that the UN absolutely did not intend that Israel retreat to the pre-1967 border, for that was not considered either "secure" or "recognized" as per the terms of the resolution. Furthermore, he said, the UN would not determine the final borders, but rather the principal parties would make that determination at a future peace conference. Professor Eugene Rostow, American co-author of the resolution, agreed totally with Lord Caradon in this regard. Moreover, Israel has already given up 91% of the land it acquired in the war, i.e. the entire Sinai, and is entitled like every nation to secure borders - which Judea, Samaria and Gaza represent.

The Settlement Issue: The Arabs say Judea, Samaria, and Gaza are "occupied" lands and the Jewish "settlers" must depart.

The Facts: If this land is not "occupied" land, as we emphatically maintain, then those who settle on the land are not "settlers" in the pejorative sense of the word, but bona fide residents, and the "Road Map " demand to "freeze settlements" is simply not just. Having no basis in law, this demand is in fact racist.

The only legal document relating to the land prior to the UN's establishment of the State in 1948 is the League of Nations Mandate, whose terms for the Jews to receive their homeland required the full settlement of the land. Note that they are not only permitted to settle the land-but required to do so. It is a far cry from being prohibited from doing so.

In 1967 Israel regained possession of the "West Bank" from Jordan, after it attacked Israel and was defeated. Jordan had illegally taken this territory in 1948, when the fledgling Jewish State was not equipped to beat it back. International law provides that the victorious country, which wins land in a defensive action, is entitled to retain that land as its own.

Conclusion - - The Security Factor:

Even if Israel could not draw upon the Biblical, historical, legal and moral arguments -- which it has-- to back up its claim, there still would remain a very strong support, namely, the security factor. No nation need be required to compromise its security and virtually invite attack by its aggressor neighbors because of its vulnerability. A Palestinian State within Israel's present borders would render it at midpoint to a miniscule 9-mile width, subject its only international airport (Ben Gurion) to the possibility of shoulder-launched missiles (as recently occurred in Mombasa) and place its major cities within range of unfriendly fire. This vulnerability would contribute to regional instability --leading directly to expanded terrorism and war. A two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict would be no solution at all. The Arabs have shown that they do not want peace with Israel. They want Israel banished from their midst -- exactly what they did to the map of the Middle ! East, i.e. they expunged Israel - - nowhere to be seen. No sooner had the UN voted a tiny Israel into statehood alongside the Palestinian Arabs, both between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, than the Arabs declared war against the Jews and attacked a defenseless people. They could not tolerate living with a sovereign Israel in their midst. Peace with Israel was just not an option for them.

When the Arabs in 1964 launched the PLO, its national charter called for the destruction of Israel in clause after clause. Since at the time the Arabs were in full possession of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, it is obvious that they were not satisfied with just those territories. Their appetite was voracious. They wanted it all - and they wanted Israel out.

When Prime Minister Ehud Barak (at Camp David in 2000) offered the Arabs 96% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, he was spurned by Arafat with his abject rejection of peace with Israel in favor of war. Arafat simply wants all of Israel - - and her demise. That conclusion should have been evident when PM Levi Eshkol, 33 years earlier, after defeating Israel's Arab attackers in 1967, offered to give up the lands liberated from the Arabs, including the Golan Heights, in exchange for peace. He was rebuffed with the famous three No's: "No Negotiation! No Recognition! No Peace!"

It is time that PM Ariel Sharon (and President George W. Bush) realize that the real fact is that any consideration today of giving up land for a 22nd Arab state is not only moot but suicidal!

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