It was Friday the 13th, an inauspicious day, yet the news from Israel seemed good. Prime Minister Sharon vowed to fight Hamas, and the response by President Bush was not knee-jerk criticism of Israel, but rather a demand that Arab nations do more to halt terrorism. The mini-euphoria quickly dissipated when I reasoned that this is only a minor detour on the "road map."
Ariel Sharon is doing Abu Mazen's work for him, attacking Hamas directly, while repeating that he remains committed to the peace process. Abu Mazen, Colin Powell's pet duckling, has no wings and can only waddle as his real master Arafat tells him what to do. It makes sense then, to let Sharon do the dirty deed and get the howls of protest from the Kofi Klatch, the Eurabians, and the international media, the gang that's too busy with Israel to notice the mass murders and politician-created famine taking place in Africa. How many people even are aware that over three million people have died in the last five years in tribal warfare in the Congo?
Through his determined use of force, Sharon could well bring about a lull in attacks against Israelis -- but herein lies the trap. Flush with an Israeli "victory," the American State Department will declare that terrorism has been subdued, thank the "Arab" nations for their cooperation, and renew a demand for promptly installing another Palestinian state.
The time could be ripe for Sharon preemptively to issue Israel's demands: a dismantling of all the "refugee" camps which breed suicide bombers; systematic deportation of terrorists and their families; a categorical reiteration of Israel's historic and legal right to live and build on all the lands west of the Jordan River; a refusal to concede any rights whatsoever in Jerusalem, coupled with a Parliamentary decision to receive foreign dignitaries only in Israel's capital, to offer local Arabs only that amount of autonomy and respect for ethnic rights which is consonant with Israeli security needs.
Sounds right, doesn't it? Don't hold your breath. The more likely scenario is that Israel will back up, leave the detour, and get right back on the road map to extinction.
The best advice to Ariel Sharon came from James Taranto on the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web."
"Don't listen to what President Bush says. Do what President Bush did."
Journalists, friend and foe alike, endlessly invoke the "ages-old Arab-Israel conflict," but in fact, almost all of them assume that it really began in 1967, when Israel captured Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and the Golan Heights. Fifty prior essential years are ignored.
Let's begin with the Balfour Declaration. On November 2, 1917, Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour sent the following message to Lord Rothschild, then head of the Anglo-Jewish community:
"I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of his Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet: 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 Jews in any other country."
Note that Palestine was the entire land area including present-day Israel and Jordan. On June 3,1922, the White Paper (also called the Churchill White Paper), an official manifesto interpreting the Balfour Declaration, stated that it could not be amended and that Jews were in Palestine by right. However, in the face of Arab rioting, in an act of cynical duplicity, England removed the provisions of the Jewish National Home from the land east of the Jordan River. While remaining part of the Mandate, that land, almost 80% of Palestine, was renamed Trans-Jordan. The Hashemite Emir Abdullah was installed there as compensation for his loss of Iraq.
According to Sir Alec Kirkbride, the British representative in Mandatory Palestine:
"Trans-Jordan was intended to serve as a reserve of land for use in the resettlement of Arabs once the National Home for the Jews in Palestine, which Britain was pledged to support, became an accomplished fact. There was no intention of forming the territory east of the Jordan River into an independent Arab state."
In 1946, Abdullah declared independence from Great Britain, changing the name to the "Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan."
In 1947, in another act of duplicity, the United Nations attempted to partition the remaining 20% of Palestine. Jews, desperate for a haven for the survivors of the Holocaust, accepted. Arabs declared war. In that war, Jordan illegally annexed what became known as the "West Bank" and, again illegally, administered East Jerusalem, systematically looting and desecrating all Jewish shrines.
Here, too, journalists and commentators could use a history primer. When the Jordanians administered the Old City, Moslems were disinterested in Jerusalem. As Daniel Pipes has written (Los Angeles Times, July 21, 2000):
"It reverted to a provincial backwater, deliberately degraded by the Jordanians in favor of Amman, their capital. Taking out a bank loan, subscribing to telephone service, or registering a postal package required a trip to
[(Continued on p.12)]
July-August 2003 - 11 - Outpost