TIME FOR JEWS TO FACE UP TO REALITY
By Irving Kett
Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired
The establishment of the Jewish State in 1948, its successful defense through many wars and constant terrorist attacks, constituted a fantastic opportunity for the Jewish People. Unfortunately history has again proven the truism that momentous opportunities are seldom realized. Despite the countless centuries of Jewish suffering and fervent prayers, culminating in the Holocaust, the failure of the Jews, en masse, to respond positively to the imperatives of history is shocking but not surprising. It is rather a poignant reflection upon the limitations of most human beings to act in a direction other than that of the path of least resistance.
Consider for example the huge number of Holocaust survivors who opted out of going to Israel; the almost total lack of constructive response on the part of Western Jewry, despite being faced with rampant loss of Jewish identity mainly through assimilation and deculturation, except for some financial and political support; the over a million Yordim who refused to shoulder the responsibilities of citizenship and deserted Israel for what seemed like greener pastures at a time when Israel desperately needs more Jews just for existence.
In 1921, Ahad Ha-Am the principal antagonist to Herzlian Zionism, just prior to his departure for Palestine, wrote a letter of great historic importance to his friend and ardent Jewish nationalist, Joseph Klausner, who was already living in Jerusalem. Ahad Ha-Am expressed his fears that the Jewish People would fail to lay claim to Eretz Yisroel and that the land would slip through the fingers of Jewry because of Western mendacity, Arab hostility, and above all the widespread indifference of much of the Jewish World. He remained unconvinced to the end of his life (1927) that Jews were sufficiently committed to their national revival and to Jewish continuity. Without this commitment, he reasoned, not even an unambiguous declaration in favor of Zionism by a Western Power (Great Britain) could secure Jewish claims. He never ceased to believe that the securing of all of Palestine was crucial for the survival of the Jewish People. His belief in the need to reconstruct the cultural underpinnings of Jewish life was an accurate and astute reflection of Ahad Ha-Am's judgment of his people's shortcomings. The idea of a so-called "Palestine" state is by now an accepted fact in the minds of most of the world, including Jews. What people fail to realize is that there is simply no room for two countries between the Jordan Rift and the Mediterranean Sea under the best of conditions. That postage-stamp sized area is hardly large enough to support one viable nation. The Arabs at present control 22 national entities and 5,000,000 square miles of territory, an area roughly one and a half times the size of the United States, extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. The Jews lay claim to only one tiny piece of land with about 10,500 square miles. The balance of interest is, therefore, obviously and overwhelmingly in favor of the Jews. It is about time that Jews spoke out unequivocally in demanding the exclusive right to all of the Land of Israel. The alternative is the continuation of the macabre farce which has already claimed thousands of lives. David ben-Gurion, the George Washington of modern Israel and the most important leader in the history of Israel's Labor Party, gave the following message to the 1937 Zionist Congress that was held in Basle, Switzerland: "No Jew has the right to yield the rights of the Jewish People in Israel. No Jew has the authority to do so. No Jewish body has the authority to do so. Not even the entire Jewish People alive today has the authority to yield any part of Israel. It is the right of the Jewish People over the generations, a right which under no condition can be cancelled. Even if Jews in a specific period proclaim they are relinquishing this right, they have neither the power nor the authority to deny this right to future generations. No concession of this type is binding or obligates the Jewish People. Our right to the country- to the entire country-exists as an eternal right, and until the full and complete redemption is realized, we shall not yield our historic right".
Just two days after Arafat's historic handshake with the late Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, on the White House lawn in 1993 that ushered in the infamous Oslo Accords, Yasser Arafat made the following declaration on Jordanian Television in Arabic: "Since we cannot defeat Israel in War, we do so in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes , we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel". Even if the territory between the Jordan Rift and the Mediterranean were large enough to accommodate both peoples, Jews and Arabs, the latter have long forfeited their claim to share the area by instigating a century of bloodshed and hatred. Decades ago the Jewish People should have vociferously proclaimed that especially in the light of history the only realistic and recognizable partition that is acceptable is the one that took place in 1922 when Great Britain abrogated its commitment to assist in the establishment of the Jewish People on the territory defined in the 1917 Balfour Declaration. By the act of 1922, Great Britain wrested 77% of the land, promised just five years previously to Jewish settlement, and established the Kingdom of Transjordan. Furthermore the Golan Heights and Southern Lebanon to the Awali River were also included in the original area defined in the Balfour Declaration. These two critical areas were already ceded to the French protectorates of Syria and Lebanon in a secret British French pact to carve up the Turkish Arab empire in 1916, known as the Picot-Sykes Pact. That treaty was concluded during World War I, while those areas were still under Turkish rule and even prior to the promulgation of the Balfour Declaration. Jews were prohibited from living in Transjordan, while Arabs from the neighboring Arab states were encouraged by the British Mandatory administration to also settle on the west side of the Jordan Rift, the area that is now Israel. According to the authoritative and highly researched book by Joan Peters in 1984, FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL, 90% of the Arabs who were in the area between the Jordan Rift and the Mediterranean Sea at the time of the establishment of Israel in 1948 had come mainly from Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon. They settled there at the time that the Jews returned to Israel in the Twentieth Century under the impetus of the Zionist Movement. It is both painful and frustrating to realize how much misinformation is being bandied about by supposedly respected journalists, academics, and politicians. The distortion of facts concerning the Arabs and the Jews can be divided into three principle categories as follows:
1. Only the Jews accepted international compromises for a peaceful solution. In 1937 the British set up the Peel Commission which recommended the partitioning of Western Palestine, giving the Arabs 80% of the land and the Jews 20%. The Jews accepted while the Arabs rejected the proposal and continued their murderous campaign of terrorism which began in the 1920's and continued until the outbreak of World War II when the British Army finally succeeded in quelling it.
The U.N. partition plan of 1947 divided that same area west of the Jordan Rift, allotting 60% to the Jews and 40% to the Arabs. Most of the Jewish area, however, was in the undeveloped desert, called the Negev. The Jewish State was furthermore so torturously configured that it is doubtful that such a country could have long survived. The Jews again accepted the U.N. partition. The Arabs responded by mobilizing the armies of seven Arab nations to attack the nascent Jewish State. Miraculously the almost defenseless Jewish militia prevailed and about 80% of the area between the Jordan and the Mediterranean was incorporated into Israel. By United Nations estimate 400,000 Arabs fled at the urging of the Arab states, expecting to return when all the Jews were slaughtered by the invading Arab armies. It may be interesting to note that almost a million Jewish refugees from Arab lands were rescued and given homes in Israel.
In the Camp David II conference of July 2000, at the urging of then U.S. President, Bill Clinton, the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, offered the PLO chieftain, Yasser Arafat, the most far-reaching and reckless concessionary proposals imaginable in order to reach a peace agreement. The Arab response was the vicious Arab terrorist war initiated by Arafat in September of 2000 that has already cost the lives of almost 600 Jews to date, that is June 2002, (mostly defenseless civilians) and close to 4,500 wounded. Comparable United States casualties would amount to 36,000 killed and 275,000 wounded in 21 months. It finally became undeniably apparent to the Jews of Israel, except for some fanatic far left fringe groups, that the conflict with the Arabs had nothing to do with land. It was simply a matter of the existence of the Jews and of Israel in the Moslem Middle East. In 1965 Levi Eshkol, the then Prime Minister of Israel proposed direct negotiations with the Arabs to transform the 1949 armistice lines between Israel and her Arab neighbors into permanent borders. The Arabs snubbed that offer and two years later attacked Israel in what became known as the Six-Day War in which the Arabs lost heavily. Some of the so-called "moderate Arabs" now claim that they are prepared to accept Eshkol's offer.
2. The Arabs, who now call themselves "Palestinians", never referred to themselves as anything other than "Arabs" until 1964 when Gamal Abdul Nasser, the dictator of Egypt, established the Palestine Liberation Organization and appointed Yasser Arafat, an Arab living in Egypt, as its head. The latter must have gone to the Jordan River, taken some holy water and baptized his Arabs to make them Palestinians. Until that time the term Palestinians referred only to Jews living in that area prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. During World War II there was a Palestine Brigade in the British Army that fought in Europe composed exclusively of Jewish volunteers. At the time of the British Mandate, Arabs had the word "Arab" stamped on their passports while Jews had "Palestinian" stamped on their passports.
By the same token the term, "West Bank" was only originated by the Arabs in 1949 after the creation of Israel. For over three thousand years it was known by its biblical names of Judea and Samaria. As a matter of fact there never was a "Palestine" as a sovereign entity in all of history. The Romans gave the area that name after crushing the last Judean revolt in 135 C.E. For over 400 years, while under Turkish rule, it was considered to be Southern Syria which is why Syria today still lays claim to all of Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. The only reason that those Arabs call themselves "Palestinian" at this time is to create the impression to an uninformed world that they are a distinct nationality and that the territory occupied by Israel is their ancestral homeland.
3. The historical connection of the Arabs and Islam to the Land of Israel and to Jerusalem was contrived as a challenge to Zionism. Israel and Jerusalem are mentioned over 700 times in the Bible. In the Koran, Jerusalem and Israel is not mentioned even once. Mohammad, the founder Of Islam never set foot in Jerusalem or on any part of Israel. When Jews pray they always face Jerusalem. Moslems face toward Mecca. The sanctity of Jerusalem to the Arabs and the Moslem world was suddenly discovered in 1921 by the newly appointed Grand Mufti, Haj Amin el Husseini, to use as another political weapon against the Jews. Husseini spent World War II in Berlin from where he mobilized Moslem support for Hitler. By the same token, during the 19 years from 1948 until 1967, that Jordan ruled over Judea and Samaria and Egypt over the Gaza Strip, there was never a word spoken about creating another independent Arab State named, "Palestine". Both the Jordanians and the Egyptians ruled those areas with a brutal iron hand. The Arabs particularly in the Gaza Strip, were kept in a condition approximating that of a penal colony.
Israel is the only non-Islamic sovereign entity in the Arab/Moslem world from Saudi Arabia to the Atlantic Ocean. This unforgivable violation of Dar al-Islam demands "the dislodging of the Zionist dagger from the heart of the Arab nation" (Anwar Sadat of Egypt). From the viewpoint of Islam (not just fundamentalist Islam), the destruction of Israel " the Little Satan" constitutes the first stage in the impending war against "the Great Satan", that is the United States.
The time is long overdue for Jews to begin making some realistic demands upon the Arabs and the rest of the presumably enlightened world. Transfer must be offered as Israel's counterproposal to a new Arab state that would surely jeopardize Israel's existence. If that concept of transfer should prove too extreme a measure to some people, they should be reminded of the Western allies who after World War II transferred approximately 12 million ethnic Germans for the sake of peace; of the two million Greeks and Turks who were forcibly transferred in 1922. These are just a few of a number of instances of mass population transfers that took place in the Twentieth Century.
Transfer, loud and clear must be Israel's response to the inane policy that the only solution to the bloody century old Arab Jewish conflict is the establishment of another irredentist Arab state on Jewish land. This is just another version of the disastrous "land for peace" approach that has already cost thousands of Jewish killed and wounded since 1993. Of course the Arab world will be up in arms at the suggestion of transferring all the Arabs from Israel, Gaza, Samaria, Judea, and the Golan Heights out of Eretz Yisrael. They can be expected to fight against such a solution even in the interests of peace and of saving Arab lives. They will insist upon continuing their present policy of killing Jews and destroying Israel. The people of Israel are beginning to understand that Arab transfer out of their country is the only moral and realistic solution to their plight. The latest public opinion polls in Israel confirms this assessment which is indicative of the quantum change to a realistic evaluation of their situation that has taken place since Arafat opened undeclared war against the Israel in September 2000. Transfer is one of those seemingly terrible methods of solving an intractable dilemma. Nevertheless, when necessary, it is better and more humane than all other alternatives. The Jews of Israel and their supporters throughout the world must recognize Israel's plight. Every nation possesses the moral imperative to safeguard its existence and the lives of its people. Such a policy must be brought to fruition, unilaterally if necessary, while Israel still has the requisite military power to impose such a solution. It must be accomplished as soon as possible before the Arab states possess nuclear weapons.
Ridding Israel of the Arabs, including those who constitute a dangerous fifth column within the country, will greatly strengthen Israel's deterrence to further Arab aggression. In the long run no conceivable step could bring greater tranquility, not just to Israel, but to the entire turbulent Middle East. There is no need in this article to sketch the details of such a transfer since there are vast underpopulated areas in the Arab world. This is not meant to belittle the logistical problems involved in uprooting and relocating four million people. Many, however, have been forced to live in temporary refugee camps for over fifty years because of Arab intransigence, preferring to use the Arab refugees as a perpetual club over Israel. Furthermore transfer is not a new concept to bring peace with justice to the Middle East. Back in 1943, the former President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, advocated transferring the entire Arab population to Iraq in a book entitled, "The Problems of a Lasting Peace". In 1938 the British Peel Commission likewise proposed population transfer because of the bitter enmity on the part of the Arabs toward the Jews. Even Iraq's first king, Feisal, in 1927 welcomed the idea of bringing Arabs from west of the Jordan Rift to his underpopulated country.
In 1942, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the following statement to his Jewish Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr.: "I actually would put barbed wire around Palestine, and I would move the Arabs out of Palestine. I would provide land for the Arabs in some other part of the Middle East." He reinforced that statement with a directive to his Under-Secretary of State, Edward R. Stetinius, to the effect that "Palestine should be for the Jews and that no Arabs should be in it." The British Labor Party in 1944 adopted a similar plank. The next year, after World War II, when the Labor Party came to power and the rabid anti-Semitic Ernest Bevin became Foreign Secretary, British policy toward the Jews turned around 180 degrees.
Only when the majority of Jews and our Christian friends come to the realization that all of the Land of Israel belongs to the entire Jewish People, will Israel be able to proceed to a more peaceful and normal national existence. Congressman Richard Armey, the House of Representatives Majority Leader, is a supporter of the transfer-based peace plan. The transfer of the Arabs out of Israel would be the most effective way to respond to Arab savagery. In a moral world it would receive the support of all righteous people. The world must be made to understand the determination of the vast majority of the Jews to protect their existence and that the transfer of the Arabs out of Israel is the only feasible solution. The alternative is the destruction of Israel and a second Jewish Holocaust.
In the intervening years since the 1967 Six-Day War, the Jews of Israel lost much of their moral Judaic/Zionist compass to what has come to be called "Post-Zionism". Nothing illustrated this more than the tragic Oslo Accords of 1993 and also the Camp David Accord of 1978. The result has been bludgeoning world anti-Semitism, Israel's loss of security, countless thousands of her citizens killed and wounded, and the real threat of the nation's demise. We see all around us the shattering of hopes for a more moderate, tranquil, new world order. The concept of the "New Middle East", once so fashionably bandied about by dreamy-eyed thinkers (mainly academics) or traitors in Israel as justification for the disastrous Oslo Accords, has been shown to be nothing but a dangerous wistful grand illusion. Some ideas are so removed from reality that only academics can believe them and venal politicians implement them.
Is Ahad ha-Am's analysis of the Jewish People still valid even after all the intervening years of suffering and disillusionment? In my opinion only a powerful Jewish demand for the transfer of the Arabs will determine whether Israel is finally prepared for meeting this ultimate opportunity for survival. The present situation confronting the leaders and people of Israel reminds me of a quotation from Winston Churchill's book, THE GATHERING STORM. In it Churchill described British Prime Minister Neville Chaimberlain's decision at the fateful Munich Conference in October 1938, "Herr Hitler gave Mr. Chamberlain the choice between dishonorable surrender and war, he chose surrender and got war."