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Analysis of a Conflict - Israel 54th Anniversary
It is hard to read or listen to news, without being deluged by comments about the conflict in the Middle East. In most comments, specific episodes are singled out, fitting to underscore the writer's opinions and sympathies. But to understand this complex situation, a broad picture has to be seen to make a fair judgement.
I feel qualified to draw this picture, being a first hand witness, since and even prior to the history of newborn Israel.
Today the situation boils down to two arguments: The Palestinians claim:
"It is all about occupation!" The Israelis claim: "It is all about security!"
"Being secure - is easy to establish; you arrive at your destination alive, you are safe. But what is occupation? First it has to be established who owns the land? If we disregard for a moment the only authoritative land-procurement (by God) and just look, how land was appropriated throughout history of mankind, a research professed, that with the exception of Iceland not a single people lives today on the same spot they used to, in the past. People's movements were motivated by the need of land. Man-made borderlines are not sacrosanct and indeed have moved constantly. Land - as water, air and sunshine are basic elements which are needed for any of nature's creatures to survive.
A few words about the population of the contested land:
At the end of the 19th century the population consisted of about 650,000 Arabs and 80,000 Jews. Part of the Jews, lived in the Galilee since ancient Israel. Another part lived in Jerusalem and part were escapees from Russian pogroms who established the Kibbutz's.
The land consisted mainly of barren hills, desert and malaria infested swamps. Together with the influx of more Jews and capital, the land was developed, which brought about also an increase of Arabs from neighboring countries. At the establishment of Israel in 1948 the Arab population was 1,200,000, and the Jewish 650,000. Before the invasion of 5 Arab countries, the Arab League called on Palestinians to leave the country temporarily, as precaution against the planned bombardments by the Arab armies. Part heeded this calling, part left under duress of war, part stayed in Israel as today's only Arabs, with real Democratic representation and highest standard of living. Their number, living in Israel is 1,200,000. The Israeli population today consist of 5 millions. 18 % originated from survivors of the Holocaust, 35% from Jews escaping persecution from Russia, Ethiopia and many other countries and 40% refugees from Arab countries. Israel's population is mainly refugees and! the numbers of Jewish refugees from Arab countries equal the Arab refugees. In this respect, a real exchange of the population has taken place. But we don't hear this too much .
In 1917, the League of Nations acknowledged the Jewish connection to the Holy Land and decided to grant the persecuted and only landless people in the world a place, a homeland. In 1922 England, which had conquered the land from the Ottomans, was mandated by the League of Nations to create this Jewish Homeland in Palestine. The moral and practical necessity for this, was proven once more by the tragedy of the Holocaust. In 1947 the UN reconfirmed the right of the Jews and decided on two independent countries. One for the Jews and one for the Arabs.
The Jews accepted their land gratefully but Arab countries invaded Israel, created the tragedy of the refugees and rejected Palestinian independence, as they only wanted the whole of Palestine. As Israel ingathered its refugees and built a productive Democracy, Arabs infiltrated constantly and created havoc amongst the Israeli population.
Israel lived in the borders of truce, which were agreed upon, after the 1948 war. There were no Jewish settlements, as the Arab outcry is heard now. Yet, an all- out Arab war was announced and in the making. Israel's access to the Red Sea was blocked, the UN peace troops were ordered out and complied without protest, the Egyptian military marched into the , by agreement forbidden Sinai and Abdul Nasser announced pathetically the end of Israel. Israel was attacked from all sides and the rest, the Six Day War, became history.
I happened to be stationed at that time in Ramallah. For a short time I was in charge of medical service in the territory. At a visit of General Moshe Dayan I asked to be released from my reserve duty. The answer was: "Nasser has resigned. In a few days, we will all leave and return home. We will have peace.
The all-Arab answer came from their meeting at Khartoum with three "no's." Never to negotiate, never to recognize and never to make peace with the Jews!" After this, the Jews began to build new settlements.
Lately we heard the new "peace-proposition" by Prince Abdullah, for Israel to return to the borders of 1967. If this is a true offer, we can ask, why the Jews, the Arabs, the world, had to undergo this trauma at all? Back to the same place we started from? Why then the hate, the killing of 120,000 people on both sides?
This brings us to more questions? The Arabs could have established their state in 1948 and did not. From 1948 - 1967, the land was in Arab hands, part Jordan and part Egypt. Why did they not establish their land throughout all these years? Prime Minister Barack offered them also a solution similar to the 1967 border, they could easily had their state since. Why did they not?
But the Arabs claim that it is all because of "occupation." This buzzword has a negative connotation. "Occupation- violation, colonization, etc." In reality it stands for occupation of all of Palestinian land, which has to be returned to the original owners - the Palestinians.
For all those whose heart goes out to the poor homeless Palestinians, who seek justice, I suggest being aware of the consequences; "If Israel is destroyed, the possible survivors, if there be may have to return to exile. Back to homelessness and persecution. Land, occupied today by Arabs is bigger than the whole of the USA. If the Arabs urgently need land from Israel, from this Israel, which fits easily into Florida's Panhandle, it is obscene. The Arabs can establish their 23rd State- Palestine, without more land from Israel.
Israel is the only homeland for Jews. But the Arabs have the urge to get out the infidels of this, what they call their country. It is God's world and everybody has a right to have a minimal piece for his needs. The Arabs have more land than they can use. To sacrifice Israel, the only Jewish country, would be no less, than one of the greatest crimes in the history of mankind.