Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Shared Experience

I want to share with you an experience I had the other day:

I was invited to a lecture in the Jerusalem area on a settlement called Tekoa which is near the Ezion Block south of Jerusalem.

The lecture was by a very interesting man called Eli Herz who's credentials include being a member of the executive council of AIPAC; Chairman of the Board of Directors of CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America; a Trustee of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the recipient of ZOA's Justice Louis D.Brandeis Award for 2005.

Apart from this he is somewhat of an expert on International Law as regards to the Mandate for Palestine and it was on this subject that he lectured the other evening. It was a lecture that kept me glued to my seat (no mean feat for a student like myself) and certainly gained me knowledge that I was missing.

It also caused me to ask the question 'how come this isn't plain knowledge to all Jews, Zionists and lovers of Israel? Why has this not been used by our 'propaganda' people and milked for all its worth?'.

Eli, Ted Belman (editor of ) and I spent 2 hours over dinner after the lecture and I found both these men down to earth, charming, humorous and totally committed to the preservation of 'Palestine as a homeland for the Jews'.

It was not by chance that the settlement of Tekoa was chosen as this is one of those settlements that everyone deems 'illegal', it is in the hills of Judea surrounded by arab villages and is an 'in your face' settlement. Its a beautiful place and when I arrived the ring of happy childrens laughter wafted through the air and as I got out of my car and elderly couple walking by smiled and welcomed me profusely....I felt right at home.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, adding below a joint declaration from both houses of Congress from 1922 as a preamble to a link that I am also attaching to a website where you can download a booklet by Eli Herz called 'This land is my land' and is the topic of the lecture he gave us. I implore you all to read it and to pass it on to all your friends (influential or otherwise) so that it will receive the widest possible audience.

If everyone knew this I am sure that things would have been different.

the link to download the pamphlet or to read it online is: look through the site until you find 'This Land Is My Land - the Mandate for Palestine' you can then download by clicking on one of the 'commentary' can choose from a number of formats pdf, html or powerpoint.

JUNE 30, 1922
(Rept. NO. 1172)

Here is how members of congress expressed their support for the creation of a National Home for the Jewish people in Palestine - Eretz-Israel (Selective text read from the floor of the U.S. Congress by the Congressman from New York on June 30, 1922). From Myths and Facts:
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the 'Mandate for Palestine,' confirming the irrevocable right of Jews to settle in the area of Palestine—anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea:

'Favoring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

'Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which should prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.' [italics in the original]
On September 21, 1922, the then President Warren G. Harding signed the joint resolution of approval to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine.

Representative Walter M. Chandler from New York - I want to make at this time, Mr. Speaker and gentlemen of the House, my attitude and views upon the Arab question in Palestine very clear and emphatic. I am in favor of carrying out one of the three following policies, to be preferred in the order in which they are named:

(1) That the Arabs shall be permitted to remain in Palestine under Jewish government and domination, and with their civil and religious rights guaranteed to them through the British mandate and under terms of the Balfour declaration.

(2) That if they will not consent to Jewish government and domination, they shall be required to sell their lands at a just valuation and retire into the Arab territory which has been assigned to them by the League of Nations in the general reconstruction of the countries of the east.

(3) That if they will not consent to Jewish government and domination, under conditions of right and justice, or to sell their lands at a just valuation and to retire into their own countries, they shall be driven from Palestine by force.

'Mr. Speaker, I wish to discuss briefly each of these alternatives in order. And first let me read the now celebrated Balfour declaration of date of November 2, 1917, during the progress of the Great War, and afterwards incorporated in the preamble of the British mandate authorized by the League of Nations. The Balfour declaration was in the following language:
His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by the Jews in any other country.
'If this is not a condensed and at the same time a complete bill of rights both for the Arabs of Palestine and for the Jews who intend to remain in their present homelands outside of Palestine, I have never read or seen one. It is conceded by the Arabs themselves that the present government of the country under the British mandate and through the Zionist organization as an administrative agency is infinitely better than the government of the Turks who were chased out of the country by Allenby, the British general. It is probably better than any that the Arabs could create and maintain for themselves.
'I respectfully submit that the Arabs in Palestine should be and would be happy and content under the present government of that country if it were not for Turkish and Arab agitators, who travel around over the land stirring up trouble by making false representations concerning the true character of the Zionist movement, and by preaching a kind of holy war against the immigrant Jews who arrive from day to day. The Arabs are well represented in the personnel of the present Palestine administration, which has recognized their language as one of the official languages of the country, and has given official standing to the Moslem religion.
'In the second place, if the Arabs do not wish to remain in Palestine under Jewish government and domination there is plenty of room outside in purely Arab surroundings. The British Government and her allies made overtures and gave pledges to the Arab people to furnish them lands and protect their freedom in consideration of Arab alliance with the Allies during the World War. That pledge has been kept. The Hedjaz kingdom was established in ancient Arabia, and Hussein, Grand Sheriff of Mecca, was made king and freed from all Turkish influence. The son of King Hussein, Prince Feisal, is now the head of the kingdom of Mesopotamia [Iraq], and Arab predominance in that country has been assured by the Allies to the Arab people.
'Mesopotamia is alone capable of absorbing 30,000,000 people, according to a report submitted to the British Government by the Great English engineer, Sir William Wilcocks. Arab rights are also fully recognized and protected by the French mandate over Syria. There are also several flourishing Arabic cultural and political colonies in Egypt. In short, the Arab-speaking populations of Asia and Africa number about 38,000,000 souls and occupy approximately 2,375,000 square miles, many times larger than the territory of Great Britain. In other words under the reconstruction of the map of the east, the Arabs have been given practical control of Greater Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and parts of Egypt, which gives them an average of 38 acres per person. If the Arabs are compelled to leave Palestine and turn it over entirely to the Jews, it is admitted that the Arab race would still be one of the wealthiest landowning races on the earth. Therefore, I contend that if they will not consent to live peaceably with the Jews, they should be made to sell their lands and retire to places reserved for them somewhere in Arabia [Saudi], Syria, Mesopotamia, or Egypt, that suit them best, and where they can worship Allah, Mahomet [Muhammad], and the Koran to their heart's content. After all is said, the fact remains that the Arabs have more lands than they need, and the Jews have none. I am in favor of a readjustment under the Balfour declaration, without too great regard to nice distinctions in the matter of the question of self-determination. This thought brings me to my third proposal heretofore mentioned, that the Arabs should be driven out of Palestine by the British and Jews, or by somebody else, if they will not listen to the voice of reason and of justice.
'I shall probably be told that, regardless of the question of land and property rights, the Arabs have an interest in the holy places around Jerusalem. Admitting that their claims in this regard are just, there should be no trouble along this line. There is no reason to believe that Jews and Christians would deny them access to the holy places in the pilgrimages that they might desire to make from their Arab countries. But if the rights of the Jews to their ancient homeland are to be made dependent, as a final question, upon Moslem interests in the holy places around Jerusalem, I am willing and prepared to repudiate these rights entirely and to shut the Arabs out altogether.'
Read more!

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.

Read more!