It’s a huge relief to realize that US Secretary of State John Kerry doesn’t share the postmodern contempt for history. Or at least so it seems, because when it suits him, Kerry resorts to instructive historical perspectives. Wowed by his superior wisdom, in all its wondrous and infinite manifestations, we’re humbly thankful for the cogent connections he makes.
Just last week he intimated that Israelis have become insufferable nudniks by harping on what evidently cramps his style – that tedious demand that the Arabs recognize the fundamental legitimacy of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
“It’s a mistake for some people,” he told the House Foreign Relations Committee without naming names, “to be raising it again and again as the critical decider of their attitude toward the possibility of a state, and peace, and we’ve obviously made that clear.”
Besides, what nameless Israelis obstructively dwell upon is anyway old hat, which is where Kerry’s esteemed history-steeped acumen comes in: “‘Jewish state’ was resolved in 1947 in Resolution 181 where there are more than 40-30 mentions of ‘Jewish state.’” That settles it then. All done and dusted.
Once again Kerry’s incisive intellect homed in on history’s essential core, the crux of the matter that eludes lesser minds. Indeed UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947 is the vital touchstone.
Nonetheless, there’s just one niggling little question that must be put to Kerry: did the Arabs accept Resolution 181?
Getting them to bloody belatedly agree to Resolution 181 is what the demand for recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is all about. Accepting the resolution and accepting the Jewish state are one and the same – synonyms, for all intents and purposes.
It may be inconsiderate of Israel’s incurable nudniks to hinder Kerry’s grand design for self-aggrandizement, but the 40 or so mentions of the Jewish state in that nearly 67-year-old resolution don’t absolve Ramallah figurehead Mahmoud Abbas of the need to accept the legitimacy of Jewish self-determination right here – in our homeland (to which he fantastically but significantly denies that we even have a smidge of a historic connection). It doesn’t absolve him because for him and his people resolution 181 is a dead letter. They had never accepted its legitimacy.
The Palestinians’ refusal to recognize the Jewish state’s legitimacy means that they reserve for themselves the right to Arabize the de facto body politic known provisionally as Israel by overrunning it with millions of so-called refugees.
In other words, rather than be accepted as rightfully a Jewish state, Israel is regarded as at best a multinational temporary entity and a candidate for impending Arabization. It wouldn’t be left in peace unless it submits meekly to said Arabization and the eradication of its Jewishness.
This is a surefire recipe for perpetuating the conflict (albeit by mutating means) rather than ending it, as presumed pursuers of peace would ostensibly wish to do. The refusal to accept the Jewish state’s legitimacy is tantamount to affirming a lasting Arab aspiration to obliterate the Jewish state, hot on the heels of an arrangement that would falsely parade as peace.
Unmitigated Arab opposition to Jewish statehood was what to begin with made Resolution 181 such a categorical non-starter.
For those who forget, Resolution 181 divided the tiny tract left over from the Jewish National Home (as mandated under still legally-binding League of Nations decrees) after Britain had earlier torn off most of it (nearly 80%) to form an Arab state for that hitherto never heard of nation – Transjordan. Adding insult to injury, synthetic Transjordan (today’s Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan) was awarded outright, as a personal gift, to a Hashemite clan princeling from Hejaz (today’s Saudi Arabia). This imperialistic scam constituted the first partition of Palestine.
Afterwards, in 1947, Resolution 181 earmarked 46% of the remaining 20% to another (the second) Arab state in original Palestine. Only 54% of the residual 20% of the Jewish National Home was then assigned to that oft-mentioned Jewish state. It was a terrifying crazy-quilt of petite patches connected by indefensible slender roadways, all scarily exposed and vulnerable.
According to resolution 181, the miniscule Jewish state was to comprise three non-contiguous slivers, the largest of which included the Arava, eastern Negev and the Negev’s far south (down to then-nonexistent Eilat). Most of the moonscape terrain wasn’t arable and was certainly unsuitable for large-scale urban habitation.
Another bit was wedged in the eastern Galilee around Lake Kinneret. The most densely populated mini-slice was an unimaginably narrow noodle along the Mediterranean, where most Jews congregated and which was chillingly susceptible to harm. Within it was enclosed the Arab enclave of Jaffa, while Jewish Nahariya was left outside the Jewish state.
Jerusalem and Bethlehem were to form a “corpus separatum,” an international zone, this notwithstanding the fact that Jerusalem irrefutably had an overwhelming Jewish majority going back at least to the beginning of the 19th Century (there were no censuses beforehand). But organized Christianity couldn’t abide the perceived theological affront of Jewish dominion in the Holy City.
Untenable and implausible though this hodgepodge partition was, Jewish multitudes rejoiced in the streets. At that point it didn’t matter how nightmarish and absurd the disjointed territorial splinters allocated to them were.
What mattered was that for the first time in 2000 years Jewish self-determination – if even on a ridiculously diminutive and fragile geographical fragment – appeared increasingly attainable, despite instant Arab denunciation of any compromise whatsoever with any Jewish collective.
In the immediate wake of Resolution 181, nudnik Jews energetically forged ahead with practical preparations for independence (alas, against omniscient American advice, including that of Kerry’s renowned predecessor George Marshall who seethed against the notion of Jewish statehood – naturally for the Jews’ own good).
Concomitantly, the Arabs on their own side forged ahead with military preparations to demolish Resolution 181 and destroy the Jewish state as soon as its establishment is proclaimed.
These conflicting reactions to Resolution 181 encapsulate the ongoing conflict. To be sure, that conflict wasn’t triggered by the resolution. It long predated it and, moreover, it was never about a Palestinian state. There would have been no strife were such a state the ultimate objective of the Arab world. A Palestinian Arab state could have been declared independent directly subsequent to Resolution 181 – together with Israel in 1948 – but no Arab would hear of it.
The popular Arab distortion nowadays is to claim that all regional misery resulted wantonly out of the blue from Israel’s birth. Everything which led up to that turning point is assiduously ignored. Tendentious rewriters of history prefer we forget that the conflict didn’t break out in 1948 but reached its culmination then.
Israel’s independence did formally begin in 1948, but its struggle didn’t. The Arabs already brutally opposed the Jewish community which existed in this country pre-WWII and which was ripe for statehood before the Holocaust. The “Great Arab Revolt” of 1936-39 – fomented by the still-revered Haj Amin al-Husseini and financed by Nazi Germany – delayed Jewish independence.
Forgotten quite expediently are recurrent pre-1948 massacres by Arabs shouting itbach el-Yahud (slaughter the Jews), denial of asylum to Jews fleeing the Holocaust and, not least, active and avid Arab collaboration with Nazi Germany.
The declared aim of the war which the entire Arab world launched against newborn Israel, three years post-Holocaust, was to thwart Resolution 181 and complete Hitler’s unfinished mission. Not only was there no attempt to camouflage this genocidal goal, but it was broadcast boastfully for all to hear and be intimidated.
On Israel’s first day, Arab League Secretary-General Abdul-Rahman Azzam Pasha, articulated Arab priorities. Sending forth seven Arab armies to wipe out the “Zionist entity,” he declared: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.” The Arab agenda and intentions were unambiguous. Renascent Israel’s citizens harbored no misconceptions.
That was the concerted Arab response to Resolution 181. But, alas, the mass-murder spree that Azzam envisioned didn’t go to plan primarily because nudnik Jews, clinging tenaciously to their Jewish state, didn’t cooperatively go to the slaughter. For this we’re unforgiven to this day. The Arabs blame us for their nakba – catastrophe – their loaded term for our survival.
It’s, therefore, inherently dishonest to deny that the feud is and always was about the creation and continued existence of the Jewish state.
That’s why it still massively matters that the Palestinians, whose raison d’être remains to replace us and extinguish Jewish sovereignty by one means or another, recognize the Jewish right to statehood in the Land of Israel. That would translate to desisting from the continuous campaign to extinguish Jewish sovereignty by one means or another.
The Palestinians and the entire Arab/Muslim realm demand strategic sacrifices of Israel that plainly jeopardize its survival prospects. What Israel demands in return is that the war against it cease. That can only happen when the initial pretext for the war is retracted. Since Israel was attacked because the very notion of a Jewish state was anathema to its Arab neighbors, then discontinuing the state of war must start with recognition of the legitimacy of a Jewish state.
All Israel asks is that the Arabs finally subscribe to Resolution 181, which they violently violated merely because it provided for a Jewish state. That Jewish state became the Arab casus belli. The Jewish state still is the casus belli.
Had it not been the casus belli, then there’d be merit to Kerry’s contention that those numerous mentions of a Jewish State in Resolution 181 amply suffice. Had our purported peace partners reconciled themselves to said resolution and were absolutely fine with it, then surely no problem would arise. No unresolved issues. No cause for kerfuffle.
But that’s not how it is.
Peace cannot be achieved before the malignant characterization of Jewish statehood as a casus belli is recanted convincingly and comprehensively once and for all.
We would respectfully expect Kerry and his boss Barack Obama to concede that this is not too much to ask when presumably making peace.
It is a shame this information will not be published in the main stream media.
What kills me Sarah, is just how much Hitler and von Ribbentrop, er, I mean Obama & Kerry got bent out of shape over the remarks of our dear Defense Minister Bogie Ya’alon this week. Truly they are the “Demonic Duo”.
If it wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable….
Israel MUST STOP to “negotiate” with Arabs, who have NO claim at all to Judea and Samaria !
Oslo was a STRATEGIC MISTAKE and Israel is now strong enough, to claim it’s ancient land and to be ***ONE*** state !
Kerry is a weakling on EVERY aspect, also mentally…he has already lost his TREACHEROUS game, to sell out Israels ancient heartland.
You freed some bloody terrorists and now finally GO HOME Kerry !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Right on Chris!
It’s not just Arabs, or Turkey and Iran, etc., etc., ad infinitum, the list is long. The malignant characterization of Jewish statehood as a cause for war needs as much recanting, once and for all, by many Jews themselves, in Israel and in America, clamoring for “peace.”
What a sickening parody of a human being. There is no negotiation and there are no negotiating partners. It is all smoke and mirrors to obfuscate the end game, the death of Israel.
One thing I would correct is that Resolution 181 did not define anything. What it did was suggest a resolution between the warring parties. The legal equivalent would be if during a civil trial, the judge would suggest a settlement to the two sides. If both sides accept the judge’s proposed settlement, then it becomes binding. However, since the Arabs did not accept, the effect became as if one side rejected the proposal and submitted the case to the jury. When a case is submitted to the jury, the binding rule is the jury’s verdict. Except in this case, the Arabs have no legal to what they gained in the 1948-49 war.
At the end of WWII, the Germans did not impose a (green or red) line defining their territory.
The Poles, the Czechs, the French, the Danes, the occupying forces that defeated the Nazis decided what territories would constitute postwar Germany.
It must not be lost sight of that part of WWII was fought in North Africa, and that the Vichy Government implemented the solution of the Jewish problem in Algeria.
It should be the Israelis, not the Americans, that should dictate the conditions for peace with the Palestinians.
This is really a great article, I’m very impressed. Kol Hakovod. It provides a great response to Obama, Kerry, Beinart, and all the others who believe that “the formula for peace is well known. Israel just has to go back to 1967 borders with a few minor adjustments and land swaps, and share Jerusalem as a capital. A sovereign independent Palestinian state will be established. Then there will be two states for two peoples and peace throughout the land.” There is so much wrong with this “formula for peace” that a large book can be written on it, and probably has already. This article is a great introduction.
I would not give them an inch even if they called it a Jewish State, because they are liars, and have no other purpose in life than to throw out the Jews. Kerry is a trained monkey and Obama is the organ-grinder. None of it is necessary , just a make-work project for the blind, the do-gooding Democrats. It makes them feel not as immoral as they seek to be in the sexual area.
Thanks Sarah, great article!
There needs to be at least one Jewish state, if only as an example to the rest of the world.
Seriously, the rest of the world is going to H3ll, even if you can’t see it from Israel. Israel is the only hope left, maybe India also.
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