It is highly recommended that Israeli diplomats study this article carefully.

LEARNING FROM MUHAMMAD

By Boris Shusteff

The current helplessness of the Israeli leaders and their inability to counter incessant Arab propaganda has put the Jewish state in an absolutely desperate situation. While the leaders of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (PA) almost hourly drum their plans to create another Palestinian state into the heads of naive westerners, the Israeli leaders have plunged into arithmetical calculations, desperately trying to count how many times Arafat and the PLO have violated this or that agreement.

Nobody is going to pay any attention to Israel's declaration that the PA's initiative for convening the February 9, 1999 emergency session of the UN General Assembly "is a twofold violation of the Oslo Accords." Many people, on the other hand, will be convinced that legitimate legislation exists which supports the establishment of another Palestinian state. The PLO leaders juggle UN Resolutions such that the hypnotized spectators are positive that these Resolutions really support the claims of the Palestinian Arabs.

The Israeli leaders are making an unforgivable mistake by not insuring that the Resolutions are presented in their context. When the Arabs time and again repeat that, according to Resolution 242, Israel must withdraw from "all occupied territories," uninformed listeners believe them, since Israeli counter-propaganda is nonexistent on this issue.

In his book, In the "Face of the Nations," Yosef Tekoah, Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, presents important facts related to the exact text of Resolution 242. On November 17, 1969, Mr. Michael Stewart, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, was asked in the Parliament, "What is the British interpretation of the wording of the 1967 resolution? Does it mean that the Israelis should withdraw from all territories taken in the last war?" Stewart replied, "No, sir.

That is not the phrase used in the resolution. The resolution speaks of secure and recognized boundaries. Those words must be read concurrently with the statement on withdrawal."

Tekoah also quoted George Brown, British Foreign Secretary in 1967, at the time of the adoption of Resolution 242, who said in January 1970, "I formulated the Security Council resolution. Before we submitted it to the Council we showed it to Arab leaders. The proposal said Israel will withdraw from territories that were occupied and not from 'the" territory, which means that Israel will not withdraw from all the territories."

Professor Eugene V. Rostow, United States Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs at the time of the adoption of Resolution 242, stated that repeated attempts to amend "the text of resolution by inserting the word 'the' failed in the Security Council. It is, therefore, not legally possible to assert that the provision requires Israeli withdrawal from all the territories now occupied under the cease-fire resolutions to the armistice demarcation Lines."

The same kind of metamorphosis is happening with Resolution 181. For almost half a year it has been constantly invoked by different PA leaders. On December 21, 1998, Ahmad Quray, the chairman of the Palestinian Legislative Council, wrote a big article in the official PA newspaper, Al-Hayah Al-Jadidah, entitled "4 May 1999 and the Political and Legal Dimensions of the Proclamation of the Palestinian State." Quray referred to Resolution 181 twice. At the beginning of the article he wrote that the "Palestinian people's legal right [is] founded on the clear and explicit provisions of international jurisprudence These international provisions and stipulations are backed and reinforced by the United Nations resolutions. Foremost among these [is] Resolution181."

He returned to this issue again at the end of the article, saying:

"The United Nations approved the establishment of the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel in the Partition Resolution [UNSC Resolution 181 of 1947, which divided British mandated Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state]. This means that the legitimacy of the existence of the state of Israel is contingent on and congruent with the establishment of the state of Palestine."

The uninformed reader, before taking Quray's words at their face value, should first examine the text of the document itself. Part I, A, article 3 of the Resolution declares that the Independent Arab and Jewish States "shall come into existence in Palestine two months after the evacuation of the armed forces of the mandatory Power has been completed but in any case not later than October 1, 1948."

While the Jews met the deadline the Arabs disregarded this main provision of the Resolution and thus forfeited their right to another independent Arab state. Moreover, they attempted to "alter the settlement envisaged by this resolution by force." By acting this way they clearly violated the Resolution, which defined these kinds of acts as "a breach of peace and an act of aggression."

However, Israel has a much better argument that she can use to discourage the Arabs from even mentioning Resolution 181. The Arabs should be fought on their own turf. This can be done with the help of the unspoken authority of all Muslims Prophet Muhammad. There was an episode in the Prophet's life when he demonstrated what should happen in a situation when one rejects terms of an agreement and then wants to accept them.

Adil Salahi, a devoted Muslim, described this episode in his book "Muhammad: Man and Prophet." Following is a synopsis of the episode. Muhammad wanted to expel the Jews of the An-Nadheer tribe from Medina. The terms of his ultimatum to them "allowed the Jews to carry with them all the belongings and to appoint agents to look after their farms and orchards." While the Jews were preparing for the evacuation they received a message from Abdulah ibn Ubbai, who "promised them support, saying that he had 2,000 men who are ready to fight with them." The chief of the An-Nadheer tribe, excited by the support "sent a message to the Prophet: 'We are not prepared to evacuate our homes. We will resist any attempt to evacuate us. '" The Prophet and his forces encircled the Jewish quarter. The An-Nadheer tribe waited for support in vain. "The besieged Jews grew restless and scared. They sent word to the Prophet that they were willing to evacuate under the original terms." Now comes the apotheosis of the story. Adil Salahi writes:

"The Prophet answered their message, stating that they could not have the same terms he originally offered them. Had they evacuated in peace, they would have spared themselves any trouble. But the fact that they were willing to join forces with others against the Prophet and the Muslims meant that they would do the same whenever a new opportunity presented itself."

And the Prophet established the new terms. The Jews were allowed to "leave the Medina with their women and children. Each of them could have a camel load of his belongings but no arms. Their farms and lands were to be given up. Thus they carried whatever they could on their camels and took their women and children and left for Khaibar, a city of Jewish concentration in Arabia."

Salahi wrote in the dedication to the book, that 'loving the Prophet Muhammad could only be demonstrated by following his teachings." The time has come for the Arabs to demonstrate their love for Muhammad and to accept the situation that they have created for themselves. The Arabs could not have the same terms they were originally offered by UN Resolution 181. Had they established their state in peace, they would have spared themselves any trouble. But the fact that they joined forces against the Jews and Israel meant that they would do the same whenever a new opportunity presented itself.

Thus if the Arabs really want peace and love their Prophet they shall carry whatever they can and take their women and children and leave for Jordan or any other place of Arab concentration in Arabia. This way, Arabia will be for the Arabs and Judea will be for the Jews.[ 02/12/98]

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Boris Shusteff is an engineer in upstate New York. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies. (Quotes from Ahmad Quray's article are from I & G News)

 



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