Get up, stand up, stand up for your right
Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight
Get up, stand up. Life is your right
So we can’t give up the fight
Stand up for your right, Lord, Lord
Get up, stand up. Keep on struggling on
Don’t give up the fight — Bob Marley, “Get up, stand up”
I am sure the planners in Israel’s Defense Ministry have given priority 1 to the nuclear threat from Iran. As the ridiculous ‘negotiations’ with Iran pass yet another meaningless ‘deadline’ and Western negotiators, led by the foolish John Kerry, make concession after concession, it must be 100% clear to the folks in the kiriya that if Iran is to be stopped, Israel will have to stop her.
The Iranian question is no longer a political and diplomatic one; it is now a military one. The generals will decide how to do what must be done, and the politicians will decide when is the best time to do it. We can only hope they do their jobs competently. Ordinary Israelis will start cleaning the junk out of our bomb shelters again.
So now I want to turn to the other, somewhat lesser, threat that Israel faces today — also brought to us by courtesy of our ‘friend’ in the White House — which is the diplomatic offensive for the UN Security Council to impose a ‘solution’ in the form of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. Obama, feckless in his second term and armed with the convenient lie that it is Israel’s fault (the multiple Arab rejections of partition proposals notwithstanding) that there isn’t ‘peace’, will likely withhold the US veto of such a resolution.
What happens if a resolution calling for Israeli withdrawal from the territories passes? Most resolutions are only advisory, unless one is passed under Chap. VII of the UN charter, which can be invoked if the UNSC determines that there is a “threat to peace” or “act of aggression.” In that case economic or even military sanctions can be applied if the target doesn’t comply. A precedent could be the sanctions adopted against the Ian Smith regime in Rhodesia in 1966. Of course even an advisory resolution can be used as a reason for a nation or group of nations to independently sanction another nation.
Israel finds itself in this position for several reasons, but it can’t help that over the years we haven’t made our own case for the legitimacy of our control of the territories. Much of the time we have accepted the narrative of our enemies that we are ‘occupiers’ of ‘Arab land’. If this were true, then it only would make sense that we ought to return the land to its ‘owners’ in return for adequate security guarantees.
But in fact it is not true. The Palestine Mandate as finally ratified by the League of Nations in 1922, granted the Jewish people the right of ‘close settlement’ on the land from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. In 1948, Jews were ethnically cleansed from the eastern part of the former Mandate, in a war crime committed by the Jordanian army.
For the 19 years until 1967, a racist occupation was maintained by Jordan. Jews were forbidden to set foot in the so-called ‘West Bank’, including Jewish holy places in eastern Jerusalem, synagogues were made into stables and cemeteries into latrines. It is absurd to say that this illegal act somehow transformed Judea and Samaria into ‘Arab land’ that we now ‘occupy’. As Naftali Bennett has said, you can’t be an occupier in your own land.
But didn’t Israel ethnically cleanse the western part of the former Mandate? Actually, no. With a few exceptions, generally in response to hostile actions by Arab populations, the Arabs who left fled because they feared the coming war or because they expected that the Jews would massacre them in revenge for what they had been doing to Jews since 1920. The Arabs that stayed put and did not engage in hostilities are still here.
Arabs in Palestine began the hostilities of our War of Independence, the Arab nations intervened in support of them, and the Jews prevailed. There certainly were injustices, but there is no comparison to what would have happened to Jews if the Arabs had won. Starting wars and losing them has consequences.
A whole industry of Israeli ‘revisionist’ historians and journalists has arisen to tell the story from the Arab point of view. Some are simply anti-state propagandists like Ilan Pappé, while others, like Ari Shavit, are Zionists obsessed by pathological feelings of guilt for being on the winning side. Their faults range from deliberate and wholesale invention of Jewish crimes to an exaggerated propensity to believe hostile sources uncritically.
The facts are known and documented by historians like Ephraim Karsh. There is no reason for Israel to adopt the Arab narrative. For example, the concept of ‘pre-67 lines and land swaps’ assumes that all of Judea/Samaria belongs to the Arabs. Therefore, the argument goes, if Israel is allowed to keep settlements over the Green Line then it must transfer an equal amount of land from this side of it to the Arabs. But the only claim that the Arabs have on this land is the illegal Jordanian occupation! And the Green Line, the boundary that is given so much significance, is just the 1949 armistice line — which the agreements made at the time specifically state is not a border and does not have any political significance.
Israel does not owe the ‘Palestinians’, led by the violent Jew-haters of Hamas and the PLO, anything. They have no a priori right to the land over the Green Line, nor do the descendents of Arab refugees have a ‘right of return’ to the Israel that their grandparents left.
It could be that nevertheless it is desirable for Israel to facilitate some kind of demilitarized Palestinian state in some part of the territories. But the starting point for negotiations must be the legitimate right of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, and not the nonexistent ‘occupation’.
The deck may be stacked against us in the international arena. But we certainly won’t get our rights if we don’t stand up for them.