by Hugh Fitzgerald
Pakistan has called for pursuing, on an urgent basis, diplomatic solutions to the violence-ravaged parts of the Middle East, saying, “It is time to bring an end to the tragedy of Palestine,” says a press release received here from United Nations.
As international efforts to bring an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people have faltered, the burning cauldron of anger and pervasive sense of injustice have inescapably sowed the seeds of animosity and violence in the entire region, fueling instability and intensifying insecurity across the Middle East,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the UN Security Council on Friday.
That “burning cauldron of anger” is being stirred up, all right, because of the nonstop campaign of hate directed at the Jews and their tiny state of Israel by Muslim Arabs. The “Palestinians” in Gaza who were whipped up by the terrorists of Hamas to join the March of Return were the result. When they attempted to breach Israel’s security fence and were forced back by Israeli soldiers, the narrative becomes one of Israel behaving badly toward unarmed protesters, shooting them down in cold blood. This was an extraordinary misrepresentation of what went on. These were not mere “protesters,” but people who used violence to attempt to breach Israel’s security fence, in order to kill Israeli soldiers and civilians. At the borders, under cover of the smoke provided by tires set on fire, they threw Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers and hurled explosive devices, or tried to bury such devices just inside the border. They heaved rocks, too, and set loose incendiary kites and balloons over the fence and into Israel, where thousands of acres of forest and farmland were burned up.
Furthermore, the Israeli soldiers did not shoot them down in cold blood. They tried to stop those marching on the fence first by broadcasting warnings to head off marchers, then by firing volleys of tear gas, and then rubber bullets. Those who continued to march, if they got right up to the fence, trying to make their way through with wire cutters, and who appeared to be succeeding, able to throw Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers on the other side, were then fired on, but only below the knees. If some marchers managed to breach the fence and get inside Israel, live fire was used in some cases, not with intent to kill, but to stop them from moving by aiming higher up on their legs. Finally, if someone managed to get inside, and was throwing Molotov cocktails or other explosives at Israeli soldiers, then — only in the most extreme cases, and most reluctantly — the soldiers used deadly fire. In 33 weeks, 17,269 “protesters” were wounded and 167 killed. That is, fewer than 1% of those wounded were killed, which suggests that the Israelis were not trigger-happy but gun-shy, showing great restraint as they attempted to protect both themselves and Israeli civilians.
Speaking in a debate on the situation in the Middle East, the Pakistani envoy said the fundamental tenets of the two-state solution are being systematically dismantled in plain sight of the international community.”
Ah yes, that “two-state solution.” What are the “fundamental tenets [sic]” that are being “systematically dismantled”? Was the former Pakistani ambassador referring to Israeli villages and cities (much of the world likes to call them “settlements” in order to convey the idea that these are colonial outposts) that have been built on land that was originally assigned to the Mandate for Palestine, and thus intended to form part of the Jewish National Home? Has she read the Mandate for Palestine, especially the Preamble and Articles 2,4,6, 7, and 11? Is she aware that the Mandatory — Great Britain — was required to encourage “close Jewish settlement on the land” and that “the land” included all of what is now the West Bank? Is she familiar with the text of U.N. Resolution 242, and the insistence of its main drafter, Lord Caradon, that it most definitely did not require Israel to squeeze back into the Armistice Lines of 1949?
Mahmoud Abbas, having for so long rejected the “two-state solution,” now says he accepts it, but this tentative acceptance means little. For he has also said that he will only accept a Jewish state within the pre-1967 armistice lines, or very close to them, borders which no Israeli government could possibly accept, and which, furthermore, are not required by Security Council Resolution 242. Abbas does, however, seem to have made one begrudging concession: he says he would be willing to share Jerusalem, by making East Jerusalem the capital of a future “Palestine.” Of course, East Jerusalem for him includes the Old City, which means the Western Wall and the Temple Mount, and the 3,000 year-old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, among other sites important to the Jews, would now be permanently in Arab hands. The last time Arabs held the Old City, 34 of the 35 synagogues in it were dynamited by the Jordanians. Israelis were denied access to the Western Wall. The Jordanian army pulled up centuries-old headstones from the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, and used them to line the floors of Jordanian army latrines. Given that horrifying history, why should Israel entrust the Old City to the Muslim Arabs? And could it really be that the Pakistani ambassador knows nothing of this history?
Long-Standing Security Council resolutions on the status of Jerusalem and Israel’s illegal settlement expansion into occupied territories continued to be flouted. She [the Pakistani ambassador] also said that the Israeli decision to dismantle the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar revealed its policy of forcibly displacing Palestinians from their land.”
“From their land”? Several decades ago, the Jahalin Bedouins decided to set up their tents and build a few shacks on land to which they had no title then, and have no title now. It was and remains state land, owned by the government of Israel. The state of Israel did not suddenly “displace” the Bedouin (or as the former Pakistani ambassador calls them, “Palestinians”). In point of fact, it is extremely difficult for the government of Israel to “displace” Palestinians anywhere from land, even land that, the former Pakistani ambassador might take the time to discover, is owned by the state. In the case of Khan al-Ahmar, litigation went on for more than ten years, until the Israeli Supreme Court finally ruled in September 2018 that Israel could move the 172 Bedouin from the state land on which they had been squatting to a new site four miles away, where permanent homes, with electricity, running water, and other modern conveniences they did not have in Khan al-Ahmar, had been built for them by the Israelis. Ten years of legal wrangling is not exactly the behavior of a high-handed state running roughshod over the law. It testifies, rather, to the scrupulosity of those making sure that theirs is a government of laws. The former Pakistani envoy apparently does not realize that the land on which the Arabs put down their encampment of Khan al-Ahmar (this happened after the 1973 war , with some suggesting it may have occurred as late as the 1990s) was never owned by the Bedouins living there; indeed, they never claimed that they did own it. It was the Palestinian Authority that began to claim, without the least proof, that the Bedouins “owned” the state land they had squatted on.
“This measure takes fresh aim at the roots of Palestinian identity and their existence as a people,” she told the 15-member Council. In addition, Ambassador Lodhi said, “The killing fields of Gaza continue to be drenched with the blood of innocent Palestinians — over 200 civilians have been killed since peaceful protests began in March 2018, including another seven on 12 October.”
The “roots of Palestinian identity” are purely political. After the Six-Day War, the Arabs understood they would have to bide their time before attempting another military assault. They had to create a more appealing narrative, one that might win allies who could help force Israel to give up some of its territorial gains. And that is how the “Palestinian people” were born. As Zuheir Mohsen, the leader of the “Palestinian” terror group As-Saiqa, told interviewer James Dorsey in 1977:
The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.
The notion, in any case, that moving 172 Bedouin out of their tents and tumbledown shacks into a new village only four miles down the road, one with just-completed solidly-built houses with running water, electricity, and other conveniences, “takes fresh aim at the roots of Palestinian identity and their existence as a people,” is absurd. The move “takes aim” at nothing; it only shows how generous Israel can be, supplying the Bedouin who had been illegally living on Israeli state land, without ever asking for a permit, with these new homes, along with, it should be noted, tens of thousands of dollars — the homes and money being compensation for land those Bedouin never owned in the first place.
“If we want to put out these fires of conflict, we must act decisively against injustice and oppression across the world,” she added. Reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to the Palestinian cause, Ambassador Lodhi urged the international community to continue to lend its voice in support of a two-state solution based on agreed parameters, including pre-1967 borders and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the capital of the Palestinian state.
The former Pakistani ambassador to the U.N. describes “agreed parameters” that would squeeze Israel back into the “pre-1967 borders.” But the “pre-1967” lines were never permanent borders, because it was the Arabs who refused to recognize them as such. They were, of course, intending at some future time to renew their aggression against the Jewish state, and preferred not to have to cross recognized “borders.” The “pre-1967” lines were only the armistice lines marking where, at the end of the 1947-1949 war, Israeli and Arab troops held land.
The relevant U.N. resolution about territorial adjustments between Israel and its Arab neighbors was Security Council Resolution 242, passed on November 22, 1967. The chief drafter of Resolution 242 was Lord Caradon (Hugh M. Foot), the permanent representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations from 1964-1970. In the non-binding preamble to Resolution 242, there is a statement about the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force, which Lord Caradon said was merely a general remark, and applied only to situations where there was no other justification for holding onto such territory. But in Israel’s case, there was an independent claim to the West Bank, superior to that of Jordan, its previous possessor. For the West Bank (or Judea and Samaria) was part of the territory which had originally been intended to be the Mandate for Palestine, which was established by the League of Nations for the express and sole purpose of establishing the Jewish National Home. Jordan’s claim to the West Bank, on the other hand, was based only on the fact that at the end of the Arab-Israeli war in 1949, Jordanian troops held the West Bank.
Resolution 242 called for a “withdrawal from territories” occupied in the recent conflict. At the time of the Resolution’s discussion and subsequent unanimous passage, and on many occasions since, Lord Caradon always insisted that the phrase “from territories” occupied in the recent conflict quite deliberately did not mean “all the territories,” but merely some of the territories.
Here is how Lord Caradon put it:
Much play has been made of the fact that we didn’t say “the” territories or “all the” territories. But that was deliberate. I myself knew very well the 1967 boundaries and if we had put in the “the” or “all the” that could only have meant that we wished to see the 1967 boundaries perpetuated in the form of a permanent frontier. This I was certainly not prepared to recommend.
On another occasion, to an interviewer from the Journal of Palestine Studies (Spring-Summer 1976), he again insisted on the deliberateness of the wording. He was asked:
The basis for any settlement will be United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, of which you were the architect. Would you say there is a contradiction between the part of the resolution that stresses the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and that which calls for Israeli withdrawal from “territories occupied’,” but not from “the occupied territories”?
Nota bene: “from territories occupied” (in the recent conflict) is not the same thing as “from the occupied territories” – the first is neutral, the second a loaded description that favored the Arabs. Lord Caradon answered:
I defend the resolution as it stands. What it states, as you know, is first the general principle of inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. That means that you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it. We could have said: well, you go back to the 1967 line. But I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line. You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation.
Had we said that you must go back to the 1967 line, which would have resulted if we had specified a retreat from all the occupied territories, we would have been wrong.
Note how Lord Caradon says that “you can’t justify holding onto territory merely because you conquered it,” with that “merely” applicable to Jordan, but not to Israel, because of the Mandate’s explicit provisions allocating the territory known now as the “West Bank” to the future Jewish state. That was Israel’s legal claim, which it could not enforce until its victory in the Six-Day War.
Lord Caradon, the chief architect of Resolution 242, was unambiguous. There were “territories occupied” by Israel in the 1967 conflict — e.g. the Sinai — to which Israel had no claim based on the Mandate, and which, constituting 95% of the total territory won by force of arms in the Six-Day War, Israel eventually handed back to Egypt in exchange for a peace treaty. But the Israeli claim to the West Bank was different, based as it was on the Mandate for Palestine, while Jordan’s claim was based only on where its troops, in Lord Caradon’s words, “happened to be on a certain night in 1948.”
The former Pakistani ambassador possibly does not know, or possibly knows and hopes that others not know, the clear meaning of Resolution 242 supplied by Lord Caradon. The Arabs and Muslims have for more than half a century tried to convince the world, not without success, that “peace” can only be achieved if Israel gives up “all the territories” it had won in the Six-Day War — which Lord Caradon insisted his Resolution did not call for. A retreat to the 1949 Armistice Lines, which the Israeli diplomat Abba Eban once called the “Lines of Auschwitz,” would mean that Israel, deprived of military control of the West Bank, would have a diabolically difficult time defending itself, especially since, if it were to be squeezed back within the 1949 Armistice Lines, Israel’s narrow waist, from Qalqilya to the sea, would again be only eight miles wide. Indeed, such a result would be far too tempting for the Arab states, and they would certainly try again to destroy the Zionist enemy. Pushing Israel back to the “pre-1967’’ Armistice Lines would whet, not sate, Arab appetites. It would not bring peace, but almost certainly war. How could Arab leaders explain to their own people their failure to act against Israel, should it become much smaller and more vulnerable?
The Jihad against Israel is permanent. It has no end. There is no one-state, two-state, n-state “solution” to this Jihad. “Solution” is not a word that should be used. The best anyone can hope for is that “peace” will be maintained through deterrence — the same way peace was maintained during the Cold War — which means that Israel must remain overwhelmingly more powerful than those who wish to destroy it. That is the only way to keep the peace. It’s not the blue-helmetted soldiers of the U.N., but the IDF, that in the Middle East is the only true peacekeeper.
Meanwhile, [the former Pakistani ambassador] said, the decision by the United States, a major donor, to end all financial support to UNRWA, — the UN agency tasked with caring for Palestinian refugees — cast a deep shadow of uncertainty over the sustainability of many of the Agency’s critical activities, which have long served as a vehicle for stability and social cohesion.
UNRWA has in fact created an ever-increasing number of “Palestinian refugees” who are unlike any other group of refugees in the world. The word “refugee” ordinarily applies to those who have had to leave a certain place where they faced persecution or even death. But in no other case, save that of the “Palestinians,” are the children and grandchildren of the original “refugees” considered to be “refugees” themselves. Henry Kissinger was a Jewish refugee from Germany. Henry Kissinger’s son, born in the U.S., is not a refugee. Nor is Kissinger’s grandson. But for the “Palestinians,” every descendant, no matter how many generations down the line, is designated as a “refugee” entitled to UNRWA support. And as for the “Palestinian refugees” who die, apparently they are rarely taken off the UNRWA rolls. That is why UNRWA has been undertaking the care and feeding of a ballooning number — 5.4 million — of “Palestinian refugees.” Were the ordinary definition of “refugee” to apply — limiting it to those who actually had to leave their homes, and not including their descendants — only 30,000-40,000 people would be eligible for the UNRWA rolls.
The Administration was fed up with supporting this huge welfare program for 5.4 million “Palestinian refugees,” more than 99.5% of whom were never real refugees themselves, but only their descendants. And the United State, as the largest contributor to UNRWA for decades, supplying $360 million a year, decided to cut that aid until “Palestinian” refugees were treated like all others.
The Administration also knows that many of the Arab countries with large numbers of these “Palestinian refugees” do not allow them to integrate into the host populations. UNRWA’s support keeps many of the “refugees” in a state of permanent dependency; if that support were to be removed, the pressure to allow these pseudo-refugees to integrate into their host countries would increase dramatically. The refusal of their Arab host countries to grant these “refugees” citizenship, and denying them access to some professions, is maddening: the Arabs want to keep these people un-integrated, in order to use them as political pawns, reminding the world of the indifference of the “Zionists” who supposedly created that refugee problem. Ralph Galloway, former director of UN aid to the Palestinians in Jordan, summarized this situation succinctly. He wrote that
The Arab states do not want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don’t give a damn whether the refugees live or die.
And another forgotten voice, from a time when it was still possible to state home truths, is that of Elfan Rees, the World Council of Churches’ Adviser on Refugees, who declared in 1957:
I hold the view that, political issues aside, the Arab refugee problem is by far the easiest post-war refugee problem to solve by integration. By faith, language, race and by social organisation they are indistinguishable from their fellows of their host countries. There is room for them in Syria and Iraq [and even more room, and need, now, in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf oil states]. There is a developing demand for the kind of manpower they represent. More unusually still, there is the money to make this integration possible. The United Nations General Assembly, five years ago, donated a sum of $200,000,000 to provide, and here I quote the phrase “homes and jobs” for the Arab refugees. That money remains unspent, not because these tragic people are strangers in a strange land — because they are not, not because there is no room for them to be established — because there is, but simply for political reasons.
It is instructive to compare the difficulties the “Palestinian” refugees encounter that prevent their integration into their Arab host societies with what happened with the Jewish refugees from Arab lands who fled to Israel. The number of Jews fleeing Arab countries for Israel in the years following Israel’s independence was nearly double the number of Arabs leaving Palestine. Most of the Jewish refugees traveled hundreds or thousands of miles to a tiny country whose inhabitants spoke a different language and lived with a vastly different culture. Most “Palestinian” refugees traveled but a few miles to the other side of the 1949 armistice lines, while remaining inside a linguistically, culturally, and ethnically similar society. “Palestinians” were kept in camps by their brother Arabs, while the Jewish refugees were integrated into Israeli society as quickly as possible.
The former Pakistani ambassador announced at the U.N. that
“As an expression of our solidarity with them, Pakistan is making an additional contribution to UNRWA this year,” she told delegates. “The humanitarian needs of the Palestine refugees should not be mortgaged to political expediency and narrow interests,” the Pakistani envoy stressed, urging the international community to work together to support those 5.4 million refugees.
What the “Palestinian refugees” need most is to stop being treated as “refugees,” and used as political pawns. Instead they should be given citizenship in their Arab host countries — only Jordan now permits them to become citizens. They should be allowed to live outside of the camps in which so many are still required — by other Arabs — to remain. They should be allowed to enter any professions which until now have been closed to them. UNRWA is not helping these people to become independent, but instead accustoming them to continue as wards of the U.N. When the Pakistani envoy says that “the humanitarian needs of the Palestine refugees should not be mortgaged to political expediency and narrow interests,” she is sending her comment to the wrong address. It is not Washington, nor Jerusalem, but the Arab states, with their “political expediency and narrow interests,” who have held the “Palestinian refugees” and their descendants in economic, social, and political thrall, and turned them into permanent dependents of UNRWA, all in order to exploit them as putative victims of Israeli conquest and cruelty.
First published in Jihad Watch.
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