The Ghettoization of Israel
Now let’s see if we have this right. Jewish people have been in the Holy Land since the days of Abraham, around 1800 B.C. Under Moses and Joshua, they entered their promised homeland, Eretz Israel, in 1312 B.C. Under King David and his son Solomon, a sizable, expansive kingdom was established beginning around 877 B.C.
David purchased the site of the Temple Mount (Moriah) from Araunah the Jebusite, and King Solomon erected the first Temple there, which was completed in 825 B.C. At that time Jerusalem was the indisputable capital city of the Jewish people and remained so until the Romans displaced the nation in A.D. 70. No other country—be it Arab, Palestinian, Ottoman, or anything else—ever made Jerusalem its capital. And over the past 2,000 years of the Diaspora (Jewish dispersion), there has always been a Jewish presence in Jerusalem and the land.
Fast forward to the 1900s. After World War I the British government recognized the primacy of the Jewish people’s rights to a national home in their ancient land and issued the famous Balfour Declaration in 1917. The grant covered the region from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (43,000 square miles), including some of what is now Iraq. However, in 1922 the British altered their mandate to establish a Jewish homeland and excised approximately 76 percent of the territory (32,500 square miles), gifting it as a reward for past favors to the Bedouin Sheikh Abdullah to create the Kingdom of Transjordan.
Are you with me so far? In the aftermath of the bloodiest of wars (World War II), the British decided to forfeit their control over what they had termed Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations. In November 1947, the UN General Assembly voted to partition the remaining slice of land (10,500 square miles) granted to the Jews into two entities: one Jewish (5,500 square miles), one Arab—a two-state solution. The Arabs had not yet retrofitted the term Palestinian to bolster their claim of exclusivity to the area. In fact, prior to the 1960s, the word was associated only with the Jews. The Arabs considered themselves part of the great pan-Arab nation.
So the Jewish allotment grew smaller and smaller. And today it threatens to grow smaller still, turning Israel into nothing less than a modern ghetto.
The 1947 division of the land was to be based on “demographic realities.” Areas with a majority of Jewish people would go to the Jewish entity; areas with a higher Arab population would be given to the Arabs. The division was to be made thusly:
To the Jews:
- A narrow cut of land along the Mediterranean coast, including Tel Aviv and Haifa.
- A strip of land surrounding the Sea of Galilee, including the Golan Heights.
- A large section of territory in the south, which was the uninhabitable Negev Desert.
To the Arabs:
- The Gaza Strip.
- Land to the north, including the city of Safed and the western Galilee.
- The entire central mountain region of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). Jerusalem was to be under international control.
The Jewish leadership took the deal. The Arabs refused and chose instead to make their own policy: the annihilation of the Jewish state. Consequently, before David Ben-Gurion ever declared Israel’s statehood on May 14, 1948, Arab armies launched what would become a succession of military adventures that has spanned 61 years, five wars, and two intifadas. The conclusion? The tiny State of Israel cannot be gunned off the map.
So, still in a state of war, the Arabs decided on another tactic: enter the “Palestinians” and the claim that the Jewish state was an illegitimate, colonialist-inspired confiscation of their country.
About Those ‘Occupied’ Territories
In any reasonable frame of reference, the forces Israel overcame would have gotten the brush-off for their histrionics in demanding to be rewarded for waging wars they lost. How many times should any country be required to return land it won in its struggle for survival? If right and reason had any status in this incomprehensible jumble that is the Middle East, the defeated nations would be the suppliants petitioning Israel for whatever the Jewish state chose to return as a grace gift. Tyrants who initiate wars costing thousands of lives should not be calling the shots about who gets what in a future settlement. Losing a war is not an entitlement to go back and try it again another way.
And about the “rights” of Arab “refugees.” There is no justification for a massive Arab influx into Israel that will demographically alter the face of the nation and install a Muslim plurality. After Israel was established, there was an exchange of populations. Arabs left Israel, and an approximately equal number of Jewish people fled Arab countries where they had lived for centuries and, in some cases, millennia. The difference was that the fledgling Israeli state welcomed the Jewish refugees. The Arabs, on the other hand, refused to welcome the Arab ones and forced them into squalid refugee camps, hoping to use them as bargaining chips in their fight to destroy the Jewish state.
Walking the Saudi Plank
It seemed improbable that the tidbit that would cause Western diplomats to salivate at the negotiating table would come from Saudi Arabia, a radically Muslim country still technically at war with Israel. But this is the Middle East, where good is made to seem evil; and evil, good. So naïve Westerners nod their heads insipidly and attempt to achieve something that will exude the illusion of progress, enhance their résumés, and assure their names on the legacy of solving the Arab-Israeli dilemma. The price Israel and its people will be asked to pay is incidental to the process.
Basically, the vaunted Saudi scheme is a retreat to the original UN partition plan that seems to look better to the Arabs with every military drubbing. The terms—which the current American administration says will be incorporated into its Middle East Policy—call for:
- An Israeli retreat from territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War; that is, to the 1949 armistice lines.
- A full return of the Golan Heights to Syria.
- Ceding East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital.
- Negotiating the return of Arab refugees to Israel and the envisioned Palestinian state.
In return Israel will receive:
- Arab states’ recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
- Arab states’ normalization of relations with the Jewish state.
The problem for Israel is twofold:
- How can Israel exchange realtime survival for mere promises before facts on the ground have been permanently altered to show genuine Arab compliance? The Israelis have heard all of this before.
- How can Israel return to borders that are impossible to defend?Israel would be nine miles wide at its waist, with Syrian gunners perched on the heights of the Golan. The late, great Israeli statesman, Abba Eban, Israel’s foreign minister from 1966 to 1974, described these lines as “Auschwitz boundaries” in order to illustrate the inherent dangers of their continued use or, we might say, incorporation into a final “agreement.”
The Ghettoization of Israel
In a June 22 Newsweek article titled “A Friend in Need: Barack gets tough on Bibi,” Jacob Weisberg laid out the American approach to slapping Israel into line. Producing the desired degree of Israeli capitulation is the objective of the Obama administration and others who believe getting tough on Israel is the road to peace. It’s referred to as “tough love,” a rather strange term in view of the fact that precious little love is being exhibited.
It goes without saying the left always takes a swipe at Bible believers when the opportunity arises. Weisberg is no exception. “[President Ronald] Reagan,” he said, “looked benignly upon biblically based claims of ownership over the West Bank.” It may be a news flash to the Weisbergs of the media that Islam’s entire claim to the land is based on Qur’anic and Muslim religious authority, which contends that the whole of the Middle East is theirs by Allah’s dictate.
In the rush to pseudo evenhandedness, the author suggested the administration and its allies lean “harder on the Jews and the Arabs to get serious about a deal” and stop “fostering Israeli illusions that there [is] an alternative to trading land for peace.” Weisberg thinks that by depriving Israel of military and other American goodies, Israelis will see the light and become more reasonable about jeopardizing their chance for survival. If you’ll pardon the comparison, it sounds a lot like the rationed health care we’re hearing so much about these days.
Mr. Obama confidently proclaimed, “I haven’t just talked the talk, I’ve walked the walk when it comes to Israel’s security.” And with that rather mystifying statement, we pass into the realm of fantasy.
America and its friends are reconstructing an ominous reality—one reminiscent of times some of us have not lived long enough to forget. What comes to mind are the ghettos of other places in other days. Times we wish to forget, but cannot.
The unilateral demand that Israel stop all construction in the settlements and Jerusalem is a step in that direction. Has the current crop of political neophytes imbibed the concept of Judenrein, “clean of Jews,” or “no Jews allowed”? When Gentile governments say to the Jewish people, “You are forbidden to build or occupy facilities within your own country,” the term takes on an ominous proportion.
Will a two-state peace agreement actually become the world’s way of forcing deprivation and land restrictions on the Jewish nation, turning the free State of Israel into a truncated land ghetto where Jews have limited movement and are not allowed to enter areas they have relinquished to their enemies? It’s not a foolish question. How many Jewish people are welcome in Gaza today? How many will find a welcome mat in Judea and Samaria when it falls to Palestinian rule? How many synagogues will be built in Saudi Arabia? How many Jewish people will be allowed to remain on the Golan Heights after “liberation”? Far-fetched? Not so. The evidence of history confirms the dreaded prospect.
Tough love for Israel? Better to let the world know who our friends are and have the integrity to acknowledge that Israel is the best friend democracy has in the Middle East; and let our enemies and Israel’s take it or leave it.
To contribute to or countenance the placing of one brick in a ghetto wall, figurative or literal, around the Jewish people and their state will be tantamount to high treason of the first order and something that will one day be taken up on the highest of higher plains.
And, incidentally, I’ll tell you about “walking the walk.” It’s not about betraying your friends to placate those who aspire to destroy both them and you when they feel the time is right.