Originally Published in March 2017.
One hundred years ago the British government published the Balfour Declaration which stipulated: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
In 1920, the WWI victorious allies met in Sam Remo for the purpose of drawing up boundaries for the captured territories. It was decided, among other things, to put Palestine under British Mandatory rule. Thus the Allies confirmed the pledge contained in the Balfour Declaration concerning the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine and made it a legal obligation on Britain and a legal entitlement for the Jews.
When the Palestine Mandate was drafted by the League of Nations pursuant to the San Remo Resolution, it added this important addition:
“Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.”
This addition was of great importance as it affirmed the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine, which the PA and the UN today are doing their best to deny. In addition, the Jewish right to “reconstitute” their national home was recognized. Thus the Jews were in Palestine as a matter of right and not sufferance.
The Mandate provided:
“The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co¬operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.“
The first betrayal of that promise and right came in 1921 before the Mandate was signed. The Arabs had rioted and Britain decided to reduce Jewish immigration to “absorptive capacity” and told Chaim Weizmann that the mandate wouldn’t be signed if the Jews didn’t agree to delete temporarily, the east bank of the Jordan. The Jews had no choice but to agree and the Palestine Mandate was signed in 1922. This territory amounted to 78% of what was promised to the Jews and it ultimately became Jordan. The deletion of the east bank became permanent contrary to Article 5 which prohibited any removal of land from the Mandate.
While the British Cabinet was generally sympathetic to the Zionist project, the Civil Administration appointed by it to manage the mandatory was anti-Semitic. It restrained the Jews and emboldened the Arabs thereby violating its pledge to use its best efforts to facilitate the creation of a homeland. Whenever the Arabs rioted, the Jews were made to pay the price. Sound familiar?
After the Arab riots of 1929. a “white paper” was issued by Britain that stated that because of the shortage of arable land, Jewish settlement would be permitted only under stringent government supervision. Thus, another betrayal.
From 1936 to 39, The Arab Revolt against the British took place which led to the Peel Commission being appointed to study the matter and make recommendations. The Commission recommended that the Mandate be partitioned between Arabs and Jews thereby further diminishing what was promised to the Jews and what they had the legal right to. This recommendation was passed by the British Parliament but ultimately abandoned.
In and by virtue of the 1939 White Paper, Jewish immigration to Palestine was limited to 75,000 for the first five years, subject to the country’s “economic absorptive capacity” and would later be contingent on Arab consent. Stringent restrictions were imposed on land acquisition by Jews.
This betrayal was all the more egregious as Hitler, who had been in power for six years had systematically denied Jews their rights and their property and removed them from their jobs and their professions. The Jews were in dire straits and needed to emigrate.
The Jewish Agency for Palestine issued a scathing response to the White Paper, saying the British were denying the Jewish people their rights in “darkest hour of Jewish history. It was to no avail.
During WWII, Hitler attempted to exterminate the Jews, by first transporting them to extermination camps, like Auschwitz, and then killing them with the use of poison gas. Britain still refused to allow more Jews into Palestine.
In effect, Germany was herding the Jews into barns before setting fire to them and Britain was guarding the burning barns to make sure no Jews escaped, metaphorically speaking.
After the war, Britain still wouldn’t let the survivors in. Instead they were housed in “displaced persons” camps in Europe until Israel’s declaration of Independence on May 19. 1948.
Just imagine the millions of Jews who would have emigrated to Israel during the holocaust had Britain adhered to her obligation in the Mandate.
But before leaving Palestine, Britain once more betrayed the Jews by turning over all their military equipment and police stations to the Arabs. This was after they had confiscated all weapons in the hands of the Jews that they could find.
To make matters worse, the US imposed an embargo on all US weapons to either the Arabs or the Jews, making it very difficult for the Jews to get the arms needed to defend themselves.
Upon Israel declaring independence, six Arab countries invaded Israel intent on destroying the state and killing the Jews. Pres Truman believed that the Jews would be defeated within four months but still maintained the arms embargo. The Jews succeeded in turning the war around and began conquering additional territory. Only then was it possible to arrange a permanent ceasefire. In the Ceasefire Agreement with Jordan, Jordan insisted that the ceasefire lines were never to be construed as a border between Jordan and Israel. Israel agreed. This didn’t stop Pres Obama from demanding that the border between Israel and Palestine be the said ceasefire lines.
In 1956, Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran, an international waterway, and Israel, in response to this casus belli, conquered the Sinai in concert with the Britain and France who were interested in reclaiming the Suez Canal. President Eisenhower forced them all to retreat. Part of the deal was that the US, Britain, France and Russia would guarantee that the Straits would remain open to Israel.
In 1967, Nasser again closed the Straits of Tiran and the Guarantors were nowhere to be found. Another betrayal.
In response to this casus belli and the massing of Arab armies on all Israel’s borders, Israel preemptively attacked and defeated Eqypt, Syria and Jordan in 6 days.
Considering that this was the third time in 20 years that Israel was forced to defend itself, you would think that Israel would be entitled to keep all land conquered in such a defensive war pursuant to international law. But no, the best it could get from United Nations Security Council was Res 242 which began by “Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war “ in total disregard to this war being a defensive war which permits it. It required Israel to withdraw from territories acquired (but not all territories) in exchange for recognized and secure borders. Thus it was recognized that secure borders would necessitate Israel retaining some of the territories.
Subsequently, the international community embraced the Arab Peace Initiative, which has no legal standing whatsoever, and which requires 100% withdrawal. Another betrayal.
In addition, the international community interpreted this, ex post facto, to include non-secure borders which can be made secure by arrangements rather than borders (which are inherently secure) as was originally intended. Again, a betrayal.
In 1973, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel and in the first 2 or 3 days came close to destroying Israel. I took Israel this long to fully mobilize. It quickly ran low on ammunition and parts and appealed to the US for resupply. Henry Kissinger, Pres Nixon’s Foreign Secretary, refused immediate delivery as he wanted Israel to suffer a bloody nose so that she would be more pliable in future negotiations. Fortunately, without this much-needed resupply, Gen Ariel Sharon managed to create a beach head on the west side of the Suez Canal from which he started for Cairo – which was undefended. Most of the Egyptian Army had gone to the east side to fight Israel. Russia threatened to intervene and Nixon stood up to them and ordered Kissinger to affect the resupply immediately and to arrange a ceasefire. The resupply was made more difficult as the various European countries denied the resupply planes with landing rights on their way to Israel. I would say that Kissinger’s delay of resupply and Europe’s withholding landing rights were two more grave betrayals.
President GW Bush put a lot of energy into convening the Madrid Conference in 1991 in which peace negotiations could start. He tried to have the PLO included in the talks but PM Shamir insisted that only Palestinians from the ‘West Bank’ could participate as part of the Jordanian delegation. Bush also insisted that Jerusalem be put on the table for final status negotiations. Shamir resisted this as well but in the end agreed. He needed a US guarantee for $10 billion in order for Israel to be able to finance the massive aliya from Russia.
After this, Shimon Peres had an opportunity to negotiate with the PLO in secrecy to see what could be negotiated and PM Rabin gave his approval. This resulted in the Oslo Declaration of Principles for Interim Self Government being signed in 1993. It awkwardly described the Palestinian party to the agreement as “the PLO team (in the JordanianPalestinian delegation to the Middle East Peace Conference) (the “Palestinian Delegation”), representing the Palestinian people.” Quite a mouthful.
“The aim of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations within the current Middle East peace process is, among other things, to establish a Palestinian Interim SelfGovernment Authority, the elected Council (the “Council”), for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years, leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973)”
What is important to note is that the Council was “for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza” thereby excluding the refugees outside of the West Bank. Furthermore, it was intended to lead to “a permanent settlement based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973)”. Nevertheless, the entire world takes the position that the goal of the Oslo Accords is the creation of a Palestinian state. This is a lie and a betrayal.
Of further note, the Accords in no way limited settlement construction, though they did define the settlements as a “final status issue”. Nevertheless, the world demands a freeze on settlement construction because they imperil a two-state solution. But the Accords made no mention of a two-state solution. PM Netanyahu has always said that they are not an impediment because they can always be removed. Besides, the Palestinians have no right to a state.
From day one, the Palestinians have been in default of the Accords because that engaged in incitement and violence which they are committed not to do.
In Sept 2000 they started the Second Intifada in which they murdered well over 1000 Israelis. Pres George Bush sent Sen George Mitchell to the territories on a fact-finding mission and he, in his report, you guessed it, recommended that Israel stop settlement construction. Once again, the West made the Jews pay the price for Arab violence.
Though Saudi Arabia played a major role in the perpetration of the attacks on 9/11 in 2001, Pres Bush felt he had to appease them by calling for a Palestinian state in his vision speech in 2002. This was a betrayal of Israel which had always rejected the creation of such a state.
He also introduced the Roadmap for Peace which was a further betrayal of Israel for a number of reasons: 1) It began by reciting the Arab Peace Initiative which called for 100% withdrawal by Israel contrary to Res 242 and 2) It called for Israel to freeze all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements) and 3) for the emergence of an independent, democratic, and viable Palestinian state none of which Israel had agreed to. These were included in the 14 reservations raised by Israel to the Plan and Colin Powell insisted that the Plan be accepted, after all it was only a process he said, and promised that the State Department would give serious consideration to them which it never did.
Because of the pressure put on Israel by the US to create a Palestinian state, PM Sharon thought he had to initiate solutions before he was forced to do what the west wanted. Thus he proposed the Disengagement Plan. Bush gave him a letter in 2004 which committed the US to certain things including US support for the retention of the settlement blocs and a solution based on Res 242 rather than the API. It also committed the US to not allow any other Plan to be imposed. This letter was carefully drafted as it was considered to be binding on the US. One of the first things Pres Obama did after his inauguration was to disavow this letter so he would be free to impose terms on Israel, if not a full plan. I would say that was a major betrayal.
Pres Obama betrayed Israel in many ways during his presidency including forcing Israel to institute a settlement freeze and to support a two-state solution which it wasn’t legally obligated to do. Rather than leave all final status issues to be negotiated directly as had been agreed upon, he attempted to influence the parameters of an agreement by insisting on a division of Jerusalem and the ’67 lines as the borders. His parting shot was to refrain from casting his veto to UN Res 2334 which thoroughly attacked the settlements and demanded a permanent freeze. If that weren’t bad enough, it went on to apply these demands to communities in Jerusalem east of the ceasefire lines.
The Iran Deal requires special mention as a betrayal of major proportions.
The driving force behind all these betrayals is the desire on the part of the West to appease the Arabs due to their 300 million population, their oil and gas exports and to their one billion co-religionists. It matters not, what the facts, history, agreements, values, guarantees are.
It remains to be seen whether Pres. Trump will put an end to this 100 year betrayal.