Saturday, August 9, 2008

What Has Changed?

July 24 is an auspicious date for us Jews.

On July 24, 1922 the League of Nations published the "Mandate for Palestine" which declared:

"Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country."

The League of Nations published a number of Mandates after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. France was awarded the mandates for Syria and Lebanon and Britain for Palestine, Iraq and Trans-Jordan.

Now, picture in your minds eye, a group of French and British dim-witted bureaucrats poring over maps of the Middle East with their sleeve garters, high winged collars and handfuls of red pencils arbitrarily drawing demarcation lines with total disregard for demography, geography or foresight.

Their idiotic flourishes of pencil strokes caused catastrophic consequences.

I won't go into the Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi, Kurdish or Armenian problems in this essay, they all speak for themselves.

The termination of the League of Nations occurred in April, 1946 after the League "failed to secure the peace" and the United Nations came into force on October 24, 1945 and article 80 of the UN Charter implicitly recognizes the "Mandate for Palestine" of the League of Nations.

In 1947 the UN tabled a general Council resolution #181 recommending the Partition of Palestine into two states, one Jewish the other Arab. The Jews in their desire for a state of any kind accepted the recommendation but the Arabs rejected it, resolution 181, therefore, lost its validity and the partition plan lost its relevance. In saying this it is to be understood that the State of Israel extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea as legitimized by the League of Nations and adopted by the United Nations and thus accorded legitimacy in the International Court of Justice.

Prior to the declaration of the State of Israel the British government as trustee of the Mandate made some calculated errors over the jurisdiction of certain areas in Palestine to the detriment of the Jewish Yishuv in complete disregard of their mandate. This left the fledgling state in poor strategic position on the eve of independence. When Independence was declared the neighboring Arab states declared war and invaded Israel. Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in violation of article 2 of the UN charter of which they were signatories. Jordan captured the west bank of the Jordan River, Egypt captured Gaza.

We survived.

Jordan went on to illegally annex the "West Bank" with total impunity and which never received international recognition.

In 1967 Israel, in a defensive war, recaptured the west bank and Gaza but never followed-on with annexation preferring, I believe, the misconception of holding on to these territories as an "ace in the hole" for future negotiations.

Since that day the UN and the international community have been pressuring Israel to relinquish its hold on these territories and to help create a "Palestinian" state that was totally rejected by the Arabs back in '47. This pressure is unjust and the UN and the international community should be resisted with all the power under our control.

Since the 1967 war up until the formation of the Palestinian Authority the plight of the Arabs in the territories recaptured by Israel improved. As Prof. Efraim Karsh of King's College, University of London, wrote in a devastating 2002 essay for Commentary Magazine:
"At the inception of the [Israeli] occupation [of Gaza and West Bank], conditions in the territories were quite dire. Life expectancy was low; malnutrition, infectious diseases, and child mortality were rife; and the level of education was very poor. Prior to the 1967 war, fewer than 60 percent of all male adults had been employed, with unemployment among refugees running as high as 83 percent. Within a brief period after the war, Israeli occupation had led to dramatic improvements in general well-being, placing the population of the territories ahead of most of their Arab neighbours ... During the 1970's, the West Bank and Gaza constituted the fourth fastest-growing economy in the world -- ahead of such "wonders" as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea, and substantially ahead of Israel itself. Although GNP per capita grew some what more slowly, the rate was still high by inter national standards, with per-capita GNP expanding tenfold between 1968 and 1991 from $ 165 to $1,715 (compared with Jordan's $1,050, Egypt's $600, Turkey's $1,630, and Tunisia's $1,440). By 1999, Palestinian per-capita income was nearly double Syria's, more than four times Yemen's, and 10 percent higher than Jordan's (one of the better off Arab states). Only the oil-rich Gulf states and Lebanon were more affluent. Under Israeli rule, the Palestinians also made vast progress in social welfare. Perhaps most significantly, mortality rates in the West Bank and Gaza fell by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 1990, while life expectancy rose from 48 years in 1967 to 72 in 2000 (compared with an average of 68 years for all the countries of the Middle East and North Africa). Israeli medical programs reduced the infant-mortality rate of 60 per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 15 per 1,000 in 2000 (in Iraq the rate is 64, in Egypt 40, in Jordan 23, in Syria 22) … Even more dramatic was the progress in higher education. At the time of the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, not a single university existed in these territories. By the early 1990's, there were seven such institutions, boasting some 16,500 students. Illiteracy rates dropped to 14 percent of adults over age 15, compared with 69 per cent in Morocco, 61 percent in Egypt, 45 percent in Tunisia, and 44 percent in Syria."

This is a positive testimonial to Israel’s treatment of the Arab population of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza strip in contrary to the claims of many Human Rights associations that claim Israel has oppressed the indigenous population.

With the advent of the Palestinian Authority the situation has backslid into abject poverty and suffering of the population due directly to inept government and the insistence of the PA to pursue a policy of violence and to strive for the destruction of Israel. The International community has taken Israel to task for the situation and has placed the blame totally on Israel’s shoulders. This is completely immoral and totally unjust and must be rejected out of hand.

We, as Jews must pursue a line of education primarily amongst ourselves as I find that there are too many of our people who are not familiar with all that I have written here so far and are siding with those of our adversaries who seek to put the onus on us.

The International Court of Justice, the primary judicial organ of the United Nations, has recognized Israel’s claim to the west bank as pertaining to the “Mandate of Palestine” and considers settlements in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza strip as being legal.

We must, therefore, ask the question posed by Eli Hertz in a recent newsletter:

In 1922 Jewish settlements were perfectly legal - What has changed?

What has changed, indeed? The only change is that the “Palestinians” have waged a propaganda war against us over the last 2 decades and are winning! We must fight back! There is a group of people who are trying to get together a TV network to do just that. I wish them the best of luck and offer my help in anyway I can and appeal to all of us to do the same.

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