|Israel and the U.N.N.|
by Gerald A. HonigmanConsider the following scenario…
You're out for a leisurely ride on a bus minding your own business and then, from out of nowhere, your bus is attacked and people are maimed and murdered. Enemies sworn to destroy you and your state have crossed the border; all together, eight of your countrymen are now dead.
After the dust settles, what do you (or any citizen of any country) expect your government to do about this?
A no brainer--correct ?
Okay, now here's the reality…
Israel has recently been hit by hundreds of rockets, missiles, and mortars deliberately aimed at its civilian population.
Arabs from Gaza launched them (they have continuously launched others as well prior to this) in response to Israel's pinpoint assassination of the mastermind of those actual attacks mentioned above, Zuhair al-Qaissi, of the Popular Resistance Committee--along with some of his chief lieutenants. Israeli intelligence claimed that al-Qaissi was plotting to carry out a similar attack in the near future.
Of about 25 Arabs who have died so far in this current flare-up, about 22 are confirmed "militants." Considering that the latter deliberately operate from amidst their civilian human shields, this is, beyond doubt, quite an example of that maximum restraint the United Nations' Mr. Ban Ki-moon and others pontificate to Israel about. For him to even mention this while thousands of civilian Arabs have been deliberately massacred by Syria is a sick joke. With all of its imperfections, Israel deserves lectures from no one on such matters. Indeed, via any objective measuring stick, it shines above most others--and above all in its own neighborhood, for sure.
As some of us have pondered for quite some time, how many nations would simply put up with hundreds--or thousands--of such murderous, destructive, and terrorizing attacks before soon acting decisively to stop them? And how many--especially some of Israel's harshest critics--would try, as carefully as Israel has, to limit "collateral damage" to the point of endangering their own soldiers' lives--despite the difficulty of the urban arena in which the Jews are frequently forced to operate in, the duplicity of the UN and its assorted Goldstone Reports, and so forth.
Coming as no surprise, when Israel was finally forced to act by itself (since the UN and other powers that be did nothing) after over 10,000 such missiles hit it from Arab Gaza several years ago, the world was quick to blame the victim instead. And this despite Israel displaying "maximum restraint" for years prior to its 2008 showdown with Hamas.
As hard as you try--including giving up the important element of surprise by dropping leaflets and even making cell phone calls to the civilian enemy population to limit casualties--some will die when their "militant" brethren use them as human shields.
And recently, as Israel was again repeatedly attacked, with over a half million of its citizens in bomb shelters, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, could only lecture it to exercise "maximum restraint." I wonder what his native South Korea would do if North Korea was firing hundreds of missiles at its own country. We'd all probably be at war by now…
Note, please, that this is the same United Nations (and cohorts) which has been watching the daily massacre of people in Syria for a year now and has basically been able to nothing more than blow hot air.
With the exception of the ouster of Qaddafi in Libya--which came with some unique circumstances (namely, most other Arab leaders hated him and wanted him out for their own reasons, so gave the green light), for now just consider one of many more examples of the UN's virtual uselessness on real issues involving human rights…
Despite the South's gaining independence from the Arab/Arabized north of the country last year, millions of other black Africans in Darfur and other parts of the Sudan, like the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, are still being murdered, starved, subjugated, and terrorized by the north as well.
When is the last time you heard Ban Ki-moon, the American State Department, the Quartet, The New York Times, or anyone else mention anything about this?
Up until a few months ago, the Obama Administration and the State Department were still singing praises to Syria's Assad's name.
All over the region, the list of Arab and Arabized atrocities goes on--but Israel gets the lectures. Indeed, the vast majority of condemnations issued by the U.N. have been aimed at the Jews.
Since this, unfortunately, is the case, it's worth exploring the relationship between the U.N. and Israel in greater depth and detail. So, hold onto your seats…
No sooner was Israel reborn in the wake of the Holocaust in May 1948 as a result (on the human part of the deal, at least) of a United Nations’ vote, it was attacked by a half dozen Arab nations--most of which had gained their own independence only recently as well. From that moment on, with a few (but important) rare exceptions, the U.N. would work to try to undo its "mistake" of permitting the resurrection of the Jew of the Nations.
Since Arabs constantly bring up their tale of how Jews allegedly stole all of the land, I'm repeatedly forced to remind readers of the truth regarding this claim.
One of those above 1948 Arab attackers, Transjordan, became independent two years earlier. Its army was led by British officers and, like Egypt’s, was well equipped with Allied armaments left in the region after World War II.
Since the Emirate of Tranjordan’s own story is crucial for understanding attempts made to try to balance conflicting Arab and Jewish claims over that small part of the Turks’ previous empire which emerged as the Mandate of Palestine after World War I, I frequently reference this in my work. It is a much ignored and frequently misunderstood set of facts that can't be repeated too often. Most folks simply are startled when they find out what comes next…
Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill convened the Cairo Conference in 1921. As a result of this and other machinations of the latest empire (the Brits’) to acquire the land of the Jews--Judaea--since the fall of the latter to Hadrian’s Roman armies in 135 C.E., Britain’s Hashemite Arab allies were awarded all of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine east of the Jordan River--almost 80% of the total area–in 1922.
Read that above last line again…
Thus, despite all of the clamoring, there has been a state for Arabs in most of "Palestine" for almost a hundred years now.
Transjordan's King Abdullah attributed this gift to an act of Allah in his memoirs. Along with other observers, Sir Alec Kirkbride, the Brits’ East Bank (of the Jordan River) representative, had much to say about this as well in A Crackle Of Thorns.
Not long afterwards, Abdullah’s brother, Emir Faisal, was gifted with all of the Mandate of Mesopotamia--renamed Iraq. Millions of Kurds thus saw their own one best chance at modern independence shattered by a collusion of Arab nationalism and British Petroleum politics.
The Ottoman Turkish Empire had ruled most of the region for the previous four centuries.
Most of those "Arab" states which attacked Israel in 1948 had, in turn, become Arab by the conquest, subjugation, and forced Arabization of millions of native non-Arab peoples who survived earlier jihads in the wars of the Dar ul-Islam against the Dar al-Harb, another point that needs to be constantly reinforced. The region was not--despite their claims--simply "purely Arab patrimony."
Similar stories could be told all over the Middle East and its adjacent areas...millions of native, non-Arab peoples, within the power vacuum created by the collapse of empire, seeing their own hopes for freedom and independence in the new nationalist age swept away solely on behalf of the Arab Nation. While some later fought alongside Arabs against the post-World War I Mandatory Powers, this did them little good after the French and the British left the scene (one way or the other). In Arab eyes, there was to be no justice other than Arab justice in the region--the Arab-Israeli conflict in a nutshell.
From Egypt, through North Africa into the Sudan, to Lebanon, Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan, and elsewhere, scores of millions have all been forced to consent to this forced Arabization process.
As Egypt’s most famous native "Uncle Tom" non-Arab Copt, the late President Sadat’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali, basically summed it up for Israel (as well as all others) in an interview with Israeli author Amos Elon: if you want to be accepted in the neighborhood, you have to consent to Arabization…there is no room for anyone else but Arabs in this region.
Since 1922, therefore, the debate has really been about creating a second state for Arabs in what was left of "Palestine" after the creation of Transjordan--not a first...the Arabs’ 22nd in total spread out across over six million square miles of territory. And that second Arab state in Palestine state is expected, by "moderates" willing to tell the West what it wants to hear as well as the more honest Hamas types, to replace the sole state of the Jews–not live peacefully along side of it.
Back to the United Nations...
In 1947, another partition plan was presented which would have divided the roughly 20% of the Mandate of Palestine left after the creation of Transjordan in half between Jews and Arabs.
Had Arabs accepted this, they would have thus wound up with some 90% of the total original area. They rejected the offer on the grounds that all of the region was simply their own, part of the Dar ul-Islam and their "purely Arab patrimony." The rest is history.
Some things change, others never do. Israel’s fight today is the same as it was back then.
Back to May, 1948...
The U.N. watched its newest child brutally attacked upon birth. It did nothing to stop the onslaught and only finally stepped in after, at great human cost, the Jews turned the tide of the battle. As a footnote, I was born within just a few days of these events.
Afraid that they would push the Arabs back even further and take more of the non-apportioned territory of the Mandate, the U.N. finally acted. Keep in mind that, unlike Arab claims, these were not "purely Arab" territories.
The armistice lines drawn up by the U.N. in 1949 simply marked the point where hostilities were stopped.
Amongst other things, they left Israel a mere 9-miles wide in some places, and not much more in the rest of its strategic waist--where most of its population and industry are located. Many people travel farther than that just to go to work. It should not be a surprise, therefore, that these became known as the Auschwitz Lines--a constant invitation to Arabs to attack. The lines were never expected to be Israel’s real borders, as America’s own U.N. rep, Dr. Ralph Bunche, wrote about himself.
Recall that as a result of the 1948 Arab assault, Transjordan grabbed the non-apportioned west bank of the Jordan River (where both Jews and Arabs had roots, owned land, and were allowed to live). Now holding both banks, it changed its name to Jordan (since it subsequently held territory from other parts of the Mandate besides those across--trans--the river)--and made all the land it now held Judenrein (Jew free)--including east Jerusalem. Numerous age-old synagogues were destroyed, ancient Jewish tombstones were used to pave roads, build latrines, and so forth. Only two other nations recognized that illegal seizure, Pakistan and Great Britain.
While Jordan thus emerged above, Pharaoh--who had used Gaza to invade the land of the Jews for thousands of years--once again grabbed that same coastal strip…the one where the original Sea Peoples settled after arriving from the islands near Crete. The latter were the non-Semitic Philistines for whom Judea, after its second revolt for freedom against Rome, would later be renamed Syria Palaestina (Palestine) by the emperor, Hadrian..
Note that during the time that Jordan and Egypt held Gaza and the West Bank (aka, Judea and Samaria, its real names)--almost two decades--no one demanded the birth of the Arabs’ second state in Palestine in those areas. Not a peep from the United Nations either...
Furthermore, as another result of the Arab attempt to nip a microscopic, resurrected Israel in the bud, two refugee situations were created...another point that needs to constantly be reiterated.
The Arabs have continued to this day to thrust the plight of their own refugees--created primarily as a result of their own actions--into everyone else’s faces--people who were pawns (willingly or unwillingly) of the Arabs’ own murderous schemes that backfired. Scores of millions of non-Arab peoples also became refugees as a result of wars over the last century. Yet the folks who have received the most aid have been the biggest whiners (the Arabs)--and the U.N. shares much of the blame here as well.
Arab refugees, right from the start, were made virtual wards of the world--unlike all the others above. The United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA)--whose spokesmen vilify Israel over Gaza--was created just to cater to these folks. And despite the fairy tales, most Arabs were newcomers themselves into the land because of its economic development by the Jews.
The U.N.’s predecessor, the League Of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission, recorded numerous Arabs crossing into the Mandate from the surrounding Arab states. Many more slipped in through very porous borders under cover of darkness and were never recorded. And still many others arrived with Muhammad Ali and son Ibrahim Pasha’s armies from Egypt about fifty years or so earlier and never left...all alleged "native Palestinians." Hamas's virtual patron saint (for whom those rockets Gaza has been blasting Israel with are named as well as Hamas's "military wing), Sheikh Izzedin al-Qassam, was from Latakia, Syria. Arafat was born in Cairo…etc., etc., etc.
Indeed, so many Arabs were recent arrivals themselves into the Palestinian Mandate that UNRWA had to adjust the very definition of "refugee" from its prior meaning of persons normally and traditionally resident to those who lived in the Mandate for a minimum of only two years prior to 1948. Please understand what that is saying…
Now, keep in mind that for every Arab who was forced to flee the fighting that Arabs started (after all, how dare Jews want in one tiny, resurrected state what Arabs demand for themselves in some two dozen others), a Jewish refugee was forced to flee "Arab"/ Muslim lands into Israel and elsewhere--but with no UNRWA set up to assist them. This begs the question: Why not?
UNRWA has been openly hostile to Israel from the get-go. It has long allowed the promotion of anti-Western and anti-Semitic attitudes among the Arabs it serves, and has done little to help solve the problem of their refugee status--unless giving shelter and employment to those who would terrorize and destroy their Jewish neighbor counts in his regard.
Back in 2004, UNRWA Commissioner, General Peter Hansen, told the Canadian Broadcasting Company "I am sure that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll and I don't see that as a crime." Hamas is dedicated to Israel's destruction and is nonetheless supported by the United Nations.
Solid evidence and documentation obtained from Arabs on the spot have revealed that UNRWA has frequently turned a blind eye to Arabs setting up mortar and rocket firing positions adjacent to U.N. schools, hospitals, private homes, and so forth. Additionally, back in the major 2008 fighting, Israel had solid intelligence that Hamas leaders were hiding in the basement of such a hospital.
Similarly, when Israel was forced to go after Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006, it turned out that the U.N force there, UNIFIL, not only did not prevent attacks on Israel but allowed Hizbullah to set up its positions right next to UNIFIL units. After a U.N. position got hit as a result, pictures made the rounds showing just such a Hizbullah position right next to a U.N. building. Furthermore, solid evidence surfaced that UNIFIL members collaborated with Hizbullah to enable the kidnapping of Israeli troops from inside Israel proper-the move which started the war in the first place.
Ahhh, the United Nations...
Nice to know where many millions of American tax dollars are going to, isn’t it?!?!
Turning the clock back again, from 1948 to1956, Israel was attacked repeatedly by Arabs using Egyptian and Jordanian territories as their bases. In 1956, when Egypt blockaded it at the Strait of Tiran, Israel struck back hard. France and Great Britain were peeved at Egypt’s Nasser as well for nationalizing the Suez Canal, so the time was ripe.
In a lightning assault, Israel soon found itself on the banks of the Suez Canal.
Before Western pressure forced it to withdraw--note the inaction of the U.N. to stop Arab attacks on Israel and so forth which provoked the Sinai Campaign (sound familiar?)--Israel’s David Ben-Gurion received assurances that if Egypt ever played the same blockade game again, it would be recognized as a casus belli. This would become very important in the not-too-distant future. A United Nations Emergency Force was also set up in Gaza and at the Strait of Tiran to supposedly prevent such happenings again.
So, tell me please...what good is a fireman who, at the first smell of smoke, disappears from sight?
In Spring 1967, Egypt’s Nasser must have been all sugared up once again.
Pharaoh amassed 100,000 troops, but instead of chariots, he positioned planes, tanks, artillery, and so forth on Israel’s border, reinstated the blockade, and ordered the U.N. force out of Gaza so his tank divisions would have an open door.
Without a wink, the U.N. turned tail and ran--leaving Israel, once again, all on its own. Nasser, meanwhile, got other Arab nations to jump aboard his own latter-day Final Solution bandwagon as well. While Syria was up to its eyeballs in this right from the start, others--like Jordan’s young King Hussein--had to be lured into this a bit later.
Well, as you probably know, things didn’t quite turn out as Arabs planned...
In six days in June 1967, Israel destroyed several Arab air forces, left hundreds of their tanks smoldering, took thousands of prisoners, and so forth...Remember Ben-Gurion’s casus belli deal in 1956 regarding a renewal of blockade?
Oh yes--I almost forgot...
Israel also now found itself holding all of the Sinai Peninsula (in which it developed oil fields, established important air bases, and at last gained a little strategic depth) up to the Suez Canal; in control of the Strait from which it had been repeatedly blockaded; on top of the Golan Heights, from which its farm villages and fishermen on the Sea of Galilee had been repeatedly attacked; in Gaza; and back in Judea and Samaria--the "West Bank," from which all Jews were either previously slaughtered or later excluded from as a result of Transjordan’s land grab in 1948. Places like Hebron--where the Hebrew Patriarchs and some of the matriarchs are buried--and elsewhere once again saw Jews.
And in a rare moment (Divine guidance?), something else next happened which proved to be not par for the U.N.’s usual course regarding Israel...
After much argument, and thanks to America and Great Britain (folks who had opposed Israel in the past and would also do so in the future), the final draft of the U.N. document, UNSC Resolution 242, which dealt with any future Israeli withdrawal, was worded in a precise way which called for the creation of secure, real borders to replace Israel’s absurd ‘49 armistice lines.
242 allowed/allows for necessary revisions in order to undo–somewhat at least–the travesty of the ‘49 U.N.-imposed lines. It expected, therefore, a territorial compromise over the disputed lands still in question…what the settlement and building freeze issues are all about.
Here’s Britain’s Lord Caradon, the chief architect of the Resolution, on 242...
It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers of each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them.
President Ronald Reagan commented on this same subject on September 1, 1982...
In the pre-1967 borders, Israel was barely 10-miles wide... the bulk of Israel's population within artillery range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.
Regardless of the relentless pressure that it is under to cave in on this, Israel must insist upon those territorial adjustments that it was promised, in a rare moment of fairness towards itself, by the United Nations Security Council in order to right an historical wrong. Regardless of whose feathers get ruffled, an effective and fair territorial compromise, a la 242, must be demanded by Israel's own leaders.
The State Department opposed Israel’s creation from the start and has been usually hostile ever since.
Given the current occupant in the White House's similar attitudes (especially regarding the demand for Israel to forsake 242's promise), Israel must be ready for all possibilities--including a cut-off in American aid and support. It must be willing to accept this rather than forsake its basic, existential needs.
Any support Israel may get later on from the Obama White House regarding Iran will very likely be expected to be repaid on the territorial compromise front. Regardless, Israel must hold its ground anyway on this crucial issue.
If aid is indeed cut, there will be such an uproar in America if Israel is penalized for not wanting to expose the necks of its children on this issue, that it will backfire on any American leader who plays that card.
If President Obama is reelected in 2012, which may very well happen, one might say he has nothing to lose by unleashing retribution on Israel since he can't run again…
Well, he may not--but others in his party certainly will feel the impact. And hopefully this will have some influence as well.
Regarding the U.N., Israel must ignore it and act as it must to thrive, not just survive.
Despite its imperfections and all who vilify and condemn it, Israel is truly light years ahead, on the moral playing field, from all that surround it--and many if not most others elsewhere who would also judge it.
Given the next round of abuse (over Iran, "Palestine," etc.), perhaps it will be time for Israel to seriously consider withdrawing from the U.N.N--the United Nauseating Nations--or, at the very least, make sure that it quickly gets itself leaders who will know how to stand their ground regardless of who is tightening the screws.