Charles Abelsohn – Note to the EU and UN: The Palestinian leopard does not change its spots
In 1948 the independent state of Israel was declared. The armies of several Arab armies invaded what was mandatory Palestine, intended to be the Jewish homeland under the San Remo Agreement. Much of Samaria and Judea was captured by the British officered, trained and supplied Trans-Jordanian forces. In 1949 cease fires were declared and armistice agreements entered into between Israel and several Arab states.
Trans-Jordan itself changed its name to Jordan and then renamed the captured area of Samaria and Judea as the West Bank. For the first time in its history, Jerusalem was divided. The Jordanians expelled the ancient Jewish community from the Jewish quarter of the Old City. The Holy Places, being the Western Wall, Rachel`s Tomb and the Temple Mount, were all held by Jordan and Jews and Israelis were not permitted access to their Holy Places despite provisions explicitly permitting access in the armistice agreement. In the Old City, now held by Jordan, 58 synagogues were destroyed and the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives desecrated. Egypt controlled and administered Gaza. The lines (not borders) between Jordan, Egypt and Syria and Israel were set out with a green pen in Armistice Agreements – hence the term “green lines” – without prejudice to the rights, claims and positions of either Israel or Jordan.
In 1967, the above areas were retaken by Israeli forces and Jews were again able to live in areas populated by Jews before their expulsion by Jordan in 1948 and Jews again had access to their Holy Places.
It is the return of Jews to the 6.4 km2 of the Old City of Jerusalem, the re-establishment of Jewish populations in Area C of the West Bank and the unification of Jerusalem (some may add Areas A & B as well; this aspect is not the subject of this article) which is generally referred to, as the “Israeli occupation”.
Since 1967, there has been considerable violence between the Palestinians and Israel. Most critics of Israel take the view “The cycle of violence between Israel and the Palestinians is triggered by the dynamics of the Israeli occupation”.
As shown above, there was no “Israeli occupation” between 1948 and 1967. Thus, according to this theme and outlook, since there was no “Israeli occupation”, these were the years of tranquility and Paradise Regained. The EU and the UN demand of Israel to return to the 1949 armistice lines so that peace and calm in the Middle East would be restored and the Israel – Arab conflict be deemed resolved. After all, the atmosphere in the Middle East before 5 June 1967 was idyllic. For the EU and UN, there was actually no good reason in 1967 for the UN to withdraw troops, for the Egyptians to impose a blockade on Eilat and for Egypt and Syria, subsequently joined by Jordan, to threaten Israel. Let`s just restore 4 June 1967 lines and all the “problems” will be resolved. It is really so simple.
Except that it is not. There was no “Israeli occupation” between 1949 and 1967, not of the West Bank and not of “Eastern Jerusalem”. Al Aqsa was not under any Israeli “threat”. Yet despite the absence of “Israeli occupation”, there were regular and frequent attacks on Israel from the West Bank and Gaza by fedayeen (until 1964) during those years. The fedayeen made strenuous efforts to infiltrate territory in Israel in order to strike Israeli targets in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. John Bagot Glubb, the high-ranking British army general who commanded Jordan`s Arab Legion, explained in his autobiographical history of the period A Soldier with the Arabs how he convinced the Legion to arm and train the fedayeen for free. In short, the “fedayeen” was an armed force, trained and armed by the UK, today still a member of the EU, acting through the Jordanian Arab Legion.
In 1964 the Palestinian Liberation Organization was established and issued its charter for the “liberation” of territory. EU and UN – any guess where? After all, there was no “Israeli occupation”. The area to be liberated was not the area known as the West Bank, occupied by Jordan and available to the Palestinians, nor Gaza, occupied by Egypt and available to the Palestinians but rather the area known as the State of Israel.
January 1st, every year is party time in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It’s not the new year which is being celebrated annually with massive demonstrations replete with trampled American, British and Israeli flags and kids toting guns – it’s the anniversary of Fatah’s first attack against Israel. 2015 was a particular milestone in this regard: 50 years since Fatah`s first attack in Israel, against Israel’s water carrier, on January 1st, 1965 – when there was no “Israeli occupation” as defined by the EU and the UN.
In this respect, the enduring celebration of Fatah Day each year provides us all with an important glimpse into the mindset of Palestinian society and its leaders. It should open the eyes of all, particularly critics of Israel`s “occupation” and even the blind EU and UN. It should sweep away any illusions that might still exist about the ultimate aims of the Palestinian “national liberation movement.” Violence has nothing to do with the “Israeli occupation” but with the fact of Israel`s existence. Not only that, but Fatah Day serves as a timely reminder that fedayeen started attacking Israel in 1949 and Palestinian terrorists began attacking Israel in 1965, more than two years before the June 1967 Six Day War, when Israel regained the West Bank as well as the eastern part of Jerusalem.
In other words, the Palestinian struggle against Israel, which is supposedly all about the “occupied territories,” is in fact much earlier, broader and even more sinister. The absence of “occupied territories” did not provide Israel with secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force. The violence and terrorism are aimed at the very existence of the Jewish state. The aim of the violence is Existential, not Territorial. And this is why there is no peace. Not because Israelis choose to live in Gush Etziyon or in Hebron or the Old City of Jerusalem, but because Israelis and Jews are not wanted, not in “Palestine”, not in Iraq, not in Libya, not in Algeria and in fact, not anywhere in the Arab world. In and immediately following 1948, 870,000 Jews were ethnically cleansed from most Arab countries. None have been permitted to return.
At least, Hamas is open and honest on its intentions. Its charter calls for Jews to be killed (article 7) and for Israel to be destroyed (in the preamble to the charter). The Palestinian Authority is more discrete but almost daily in its official media in Arabic, in its maps and in its educational system, violence is promoted, murderers are celebrated and there are calls for Israel to disappear.
In short, in every single year between 1949, first fedayeen and from 1965 the PLO, attacked Israel murdering and injuring Israelis and destroying property. Between 1949 and 1967, there were about 3,000 incidents of cross-border violence/terrorism, extending from the malicious destruction of property to the brutal murder of civilians. This anti-Israeli violence encompassed both frontier villages and population centers, and was perpetrated, for the most part, against innocent civilians. Below is the list of 449 Israelis murdered in these years by fedayeen and the PLO during the years when there was no “Israeli occupation” and, according to the EU, the UN and others, as a result of which there simply could not have been in the Middle East`s Garden of Eden any “Palestinian Arab violence”.
Since 1967, the attacks have continued. In Judea and Samaria alone, in 2019, 2018 and 2017 there were 34, 55 and 82 respectively significant terrorist attacks with 5, 12 and 18 respectively Israelis being killed. In addition, Israel thwarted 560 significant violent attacks in 2019 alone. Gaza borders Israel along the famous 1967 lines demanded by the UN and EU. The 1967 lines did not prevent 1,403, 1,119 and 29 rockets and mortars being fired from Gaza in 2019, 2018 and 2017 respectively. Since 2001, from within the 1967 lines, Hamas has fired about 20,000 rockets at southern Israel despite the absence of any territorial dispute regarding Gaza. The UN and the EU, with their representatives and High Commissioners always attacking Israel, have said nothing and done nothing to prevent, or even criticize, these attacks. Again, silence means consent.
A note to the EU and UN: The Palestinians have no dispute with Israel relating to territory. A “two state solution” was available every day of the year for 18 years between 1949 and 1967. The attacks on Israel between 1949 and 1967 took place at a time when there was no “Israeli occupation”, no settlements, not one Jew in Eastern Jerusalem or the West Bank and Gaza and with Jewish visits to Jewish Holy Sites prohibited. Since 2005 attacks take place from Palestinian Gaza although located within the 1967 lines and without any Israeli occupation or Jews in Gaza. These attacks evidence that the dispute relates not to territory or “Israeli occupation” but to the very existence of a Jewish State.
It is clear that the violence of the Palestinians has nothing to do with territory or the dynamics of occupation or a two state solution but with the desire of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for Israel to “disappear”.
The UN calls to find a mutually agreeable framework for the parties to re-engage. The EU calls for a solution based on international parameters (whatever that may mean). The time has come for the UN and the EU to recognize that the only parameter and framework relevant to Israel are that the Palestinian leopard has not, and apparently cannot and will not, change its spots. Both pre-1967 and post 1967, the Palestinian policy is for violence and terrorism against Israel`s very existence. The policies of the EU and UN strongly promote the Palestinians needing to be rewarded for their anti-Israel terrorism and violence since 1949. Israel is accordingly entitled to take such action as it deems necessary for its security and the safety of its citizens without reference to the UN or the EU. Under the circumstances, it is for Israel, and Israel alone, to determine, implement and control its secure and safe borders.