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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Palestine for peace

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With respect to Danny Wakil letter his position – Palestinians don’t want peace but Israel does – is based solely on the unsupported assumption that what Israel offered in peace negotiations was always the right thing to offer, but what Palestinians offered was always the wrong thing to offer.

Let’s take a look at the last peace offer from the Palestinian side, word for word, through the ‘Arab Papers’ leak, a transcript of the actual negotiations published in The Guardian and Der Spiegel. Palestinians offered never to have an army, for Israel to keep all but four of its illegal settlements, and strong indicators to give up the right of return – but Israel still refused!

There is nothing more we can offer and still have a free and viable Palestinian state. Read the transcripts and you will see nothing but grovelling from the Palestinian side.

Israel on the other hand, against the wishes of the UN and all the countries of the world, continues to do its best to make our freedom impossible by building illegal settlements deep within Palestine and by forced demolitions of Palestinian homes (like the 500 Palestinians made homeless just last week).

Despite this, Israel refuses to define its borders. This is a sure indicator of an aggressive and expansive stance, we have recognised it for decades – but Israel refuses to even say the name of my country or even my people!

How can we believe it wants peace when it won’t even say our name? Israel’s clear and explicit policy is there never will be a free state of Palestine – read it on the Israeli government Likud website for yourself.

If Israel wants peace can you tell me why it repeatedly rejects Palestinian and UN calls for UN peacekeepers and cessation of settlement building?

What Israel means by peace is that Palestinians will continue to live as racial inferiors, under military law and with no human rights (apartheid) in ever more restricted and shrinking ghettos and in abject poverty forever: at least Israel is clear, open and honest in that regard.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. There never was an independent sovereign “palestinian” state. The “Palestinians” as a nationality were invented in the 1960s when the PLO was created. Before 1948, jews living in the region known as Palestine were also known as “palestinians”. Israel does not occupy anything. Occupation implies that that state has lost sovereignty and it has been taken over by military forces. But there never was an independent “palestine”. The land has always belonged to the Jews and Jews have been living there for 3000+ years.

  2. Interesting theory. Do you know how states are born? let’s take an example… i don’t know… let’s pick Israel.

    It declares independence, gets accepted by the UN and the majority of the world and, hey presto: it is a state – amazing right.

    Well, Palestine declared independence, got accepted by the UN and the majority of the world, and very unsurprisingly it is a state.

    Where have you been, on the moon – the declaration was 1988, and today 140 countries around the world recognize Palestine and so it is a state – you do not get a say.

    The diplomats of the world have heard these lame arguments before from Israel, and they voted against them. That is because there is another story of generations of people living in the holy land – what did you think the holy land was unoccupied? The world has voted, if you don’t like it go cry to them.

    Israel is a state, and Palestine is a state – therefore Israel is a belligerent occupier of another state.

    “The land has always been owned by the Jews” You do understand that that is totally false: it was owned by Jordanians, Turks, Arabs, crusaders, Arabs, Romans etc etc etc. In fact only a small Part of Palestina as it was called at the time of the Romans was inhibited by Jews doesn’t seem to matter to you – suddenly part ownership 2000 years ago somehow entitles Jews to all of it -eh?

    how on Earth can you say something so totally devoid of facts?

    Anyway why do you think ancient history is at all relevant now? You think what happened 2000 year ago somehow is relevant now? and even supersedes the UN and the human rights of people that have lived there for many generations?

    was it only Jews living in Palestine that were called Palestinians or were all people living there called Palestinians?

    Your arguments are so bad that they clearly show your bias. But the main weakness of your argument is that to carry out Israel ultra-ethnic state, anyone non-Jewish born in the holy land doesn’t deserve the same rights as anyone else born in the holy land – that my friend is bigotry and racism and as a system is called apartheid.

    You are arguing for Apartheid! Did you even stop to think about what the millions of non-Jews should do? Stop breathing, or just live as racial inferiors forever?

    • Where do I begin…
      If you are trying to invalidate my arguments, you need to substantiate your points so they negate my claims. Oh, wait, you can’t, because they are facts. So what do you do instead? You twist my words.

      Never did I claim there isn’t a state of “Palestine”. My point was, rather, that there was never an independent state known as “Palestine” before 1988, as you correctly say. In the years between 1948 and 1967, the goals of the Arabs were not to create a “Palestinian” state, but rather reclaim the land back which Israel justifiably regained. The people fighting for the cause were not known as “Palestinians”.

      The goal of the PLO, with by Yasser Arafat elected as chairman, and the PLO, stood to simply reject Zionism and the biblical, archeological and other well-substantiated facts. What Arabs and the PA are trying to do is to rewrite the past to deny the 3,000-year-old connection of Jews to the Land of Israel.

      I do not know of any “Palestinian” kings, dictators, currencies, literature and language, and their culture was and remains not significantly different to that of general arab culture.

      Now, let’s move on to the next point where you’ve simply twisted my words and have made false allegations. Where on earth did I claim “Palestinians” don’t deserve the same rights as anyone else born in Israel? If you had any idea about Israel, you would know that Israel is the most democratic country in the Middle East, where Arabs who accept Israeli citizenship are given full rights. They are allowed to speak in the Knesset, are allowed to vote etc. I have heard of many Arabs living in Israel who are extremely happy with their quality of life, more so than they would be living in any other Arab state. The “Palestinians” in the West Bank have their access limited due to security concerns, because wouldn’t you know, they have been known to carry out suicide attacks and knife attacks.
      So your “apartheid” analogy is itself a debunked myth.

      On your claim that ancient history bears no relevance now… if that’s true, then “Palestinians” also have no right to create an independent state devoid of Jews. That’s what they intended to do in 1967. Yet Jews have always welcomed “Palestinians” in their land so long as they behave. The Arabs were even offered their own land, in 1947, but they rejected, simply because of their hatred of Jews and wish to create a “Palestinian” state devoid of Jews.

      • Absolutely correct. But dealing with Jew haters is always difficult. But here is some advice from the Holy Bible.

        Genesis 12:3 ESV
        I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

        Psalm 122:6 ESV
        Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you!

        Zechariah 2:8 ESV / 894 helpful votes
        For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye:

        Isaiah 60:12 ESV / 856 helpful votes
        For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste.

        Deuteronomy 28:1-68
        “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. …

        Zechariah 12:1-14 ESV / 784 helpful votes
        The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. On that day, declares the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the Lord of hosts, their God.’ …

        Isaiah 41:11-12 ESV / 668 helpful votes Helpful Not Helpful
        Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.

        Psalm 83:1-18 ESV / 644 helpful votes
        A Song. A Psalm of Asaph. O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant— …

        Joel 3:1 ESV
        “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem.

        You only have too look at the failed states surrounding Israel to see that Gods word in the bible is ringing true.

  3. I would have much preferred to write a comment that tries to increase safety, co-operation and healing for all the people in the holy land, tries to find common ground and build bridges. Sadly, in your case, it just doesn’t seem possible to do that – I hope one day to be proved wrong and be able to find common ground to build from. I want you to know that it is sickening to me the horrors that the Jewish people have suffered – it hurts my soul just thinking about it. I want Israelis to be safe in the holy land – which many view as their spiritual home. I think that people are basically good and I hope that it is just our competing narrative that makes us see the world so differently.

    If I had said “Jews reject Palestinian human rights simply because of their hatred of Palestinians”, you might (rightly) call that racism.
    You saying “simply because of their hatred of Jews and wish to create a “Palestinian” state devoid of Jews” is just calling a nation of people racists and ethnic cleansers – seemingly, an indication of an unashamed racist attitude in yourself which so obviously clouds your thinking. How can you possibly think in such a racist way and think it is an argument that is in any way persuasive?

    I would very much like to thank you for your comment, it is a great example of the bigotry and racism (and outright hypocrisy) that is needed in order to justify illegal and brutal military occupation and the imposition of apartheid on a nation. You can’t even write our name, Palestinians, without using speech marks to try to de-legitimise us.

    My grandfather took in 3 Jewish families into his small house in Palestine, he helped them many times with work and with money. He talked of living in harmony with all the religions and how we were all people of God. Palestinians (including Jews who often referred to themselves as Palestinians) would share each other’s holy times and feasts. You clearly called him and many others like him racists.

    Funny, if we are racists can you tell me why the troubles only started AFTER European Jews came to take our homes and not before? The only variable here is taken homes, Jews are a constant and so cannot be the driving force of the change.

    In 1919 the Palestinian Congress (which shouldn’t exist because, according to you, we were “invented” in the 60s) said of Jews living in Palestine “they are as we are, and their loyalties are our own”.

    We do not hate Jews for being Jews, we rightly hate not having our homes and our freedoms. We have nothing against Jews in Australia, or indeed in Israel, if they do not materially support the occupation and apartheid. My best friend since school is Jewish and he would reject your racist views vehemently. If non-Jews had taken our homes we would obviously have animosity towards them instead; therefore Jews are not our problem because they are Jews – it is just animosity towards those that occupy our homes. We rightly fought against the Turks and we rightly fight against Israel because all human beings have a legitimate need to be free. Are we somehow Turk-haters too?

    The animosity in the holy land is not 1-sided, and your attempt to depict it this way is very disingenuous. In a recent poll by the Israeli Channel 10, 52% of Israeli Jews agreed that “Most Jews are better than most non-Jews because they were born Jews.” Only 20% said that they rejected that completely. According to the poll, the majority of Israelis are unashamed racists and only 20% are not racist! https://www.timesofisrael.com/new-poll-shows-strong-anti-arab-sentiment-among-israeli-jews/

    The racism coming from Israel and its leaders are legion and explicit – if you are not a Jew then you’re inferior and you do not get (or deserve) the same rights as Jews. This ultra-nationalism and racism are by design to harden Israelis hearts in order to manufacture support for the brutality. It saddens me that there is so much hatred in the holy land.

    Indeed, right now in Israel, black Jews are protesting against the horrific racism they experience. This once included covert sterilization of black Jews causing their birth rate to decline 50%. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-ethiopians-fooled-into-birth-control-1.5226424

    Many black Jews feel so disenfranchised by the racism they experience that some now find themselves allied with the disenfranchised Palestinians and are seen chanting “free Palestine” at their protests. https://www.facebook.com/RamallahNewsOfficialPage/videos/2347960438780915/?t=134

    Disgracefully, within Israel, there are 65 Israeli laws that discriminate or disadvantage non-Jews. Government expenditure on non-Jewish schools, non-Jewish towns, non-Jewish culture is horrendously inequitable considering these people are living in Israel and are supposed to be full Israeli citizens.

    Ultra right-wing Israelis have attacked our holy sites more than 100 times in 1 year and 28,800 Jewish Israelis have stormed Al Aqsa mosque alone burning, vandalizing and using violence against those praying. This is with full army/police co-ordination and violent support. How can that not be a predetermined effort to incite hatred? There’s your proof of institutional racism and racial supremacy and hateful incitement within Israel.

    In Palestine, Israel’s imposition of brutally enforced apartheid is getting worse all the time. Military law for Palestinians but civil law for Israelis, settler-only roads that Palestinians aren’t allowed to use or even cross, Jewish only settlements and Jewish only swimming pools, forced and uncompensated house demolitions, no freedom of movement, no freedom of association, water theft and economic warfare etc.

    Unsurprisingly, the term used by Israel for its racial policy is called “Hafrada” which means “separation” or “segregation”. The Israeli PM, Netanyahu, famously called the Palestinian ghettos “Bantustans” the name used in SA apartheid for black only areas. Why would he do that if he wasn’t modelling Israeli apartheid on the supremacist SA apartheid system – he wouldn’t.

    Desmond Tutu, a co-author of the UN crime against humanity of apartheid, called the racial system imposed on Palestinians by Israel worse than South African apartheid. Even the former Israeli attorney general Michael Ben-Yair called the system brutal apartheid and two former Israeli PMs said it was apartheid (Olmert and Barak).

    Another very basic problem with your argument is that you think that you can completely de-legitimise my people, who have lived in the holy land, and genetically speaking, are as close to the ancient Semites of 2000 years ago as Arab Jews and much closer than European Jews. Genetically speaking, you are de-legitimising people who have lived in the holy land and absorbed countless invasions since the time of the Semites – remember it was called Palestina 2000 years ago. If ancient history is relevant now don’t the descendants of the Romans (Italians) have the same rights as Jews to most of the Middle East – preposterous argument.

    To me this is all meaningless, the right to freedom and self-determination is not based on ancient history; it is based on human rights right now. Ancient history never supersedes the human rights of human beings. To think that it does shows how little Palestinian human rights means to your average apologist for Israeli crimes.

    The legitimacy of Israel, which is of course perfectly legitimate within Israel 67′, isn’t because of ancient history, it is because of human rights. Palestine is legitimate (despite your apparent hateful attitude) for the same reasons.

    Ok, now I will knock down your useless straw man: what relevance does Palestine not being a state before 1988 have now? None at all, it is now a state and demands the same rights as any other state, including Israel.

    Again and again, ad nauseam, we read the racist argument – Palestinians are all murderous and hateful which is why we can deny them freedom and human rights, and steal their lands, water and resources. This argument is so deplorably racist that only those incapable of self-reflection can use it as justification for 52 years of brutal and illegal occupation and apartheid.

    If we are all hateful and murderous and the occupation has nothing to do with it, can you explain why Palestinians with Israeli passports (who have some modicum of freedom) seldom resist, whereas Palestinians living under apartheid and brutal military occupation resist daily? The disgraceful lack of human rights is directly proportional to the amount of resistance given. Lack of human rights leading to resistance is something we see all over the world. Palestinians are not a constant in this at all, and your attempt to make Palestinians the reason for their own brutalization is sickening.

    The world is waking up to the brutality indiscriminately inflicted on the Palestinian nation; Israel is well on the way to becoming the next pariah state of the world. The boycotts are growing exponentially as people see through Israel’s racist justifications for its brutality.

    I’m not convinced I need to refute these racist arguments any more – they clearly make no sense to the non-racists in this world.

    It is hypocrisy to cry about anti-Israeli racism and at the same time spread racism.

    Unlike you, I want freedom, peace and safety for ALL the people of the holy land.

    Salam

  4. Wow. There’s a lot of information here. Ok. Let me take it one step at a time.

    To start with, my comment “simply because of their hatred of Jews and their wish to create a ‘Palestinian’ state devoid of Jews, is certainly and irrefutably justifiable, because that is indeed what the PLO set out to do, and what Hamas still implicitly seeks to do. Officially, they altered their charter in 2017 to acknowledge the State of Israel’s right to exist, but their ideology and views have not changed in regards to this. They altered it to be seen in a better light. That is fact.

    I am rightly using speech-marks because the “Palestinian” identity (where Arabs living in the land became known as Palestinians as opposed to ‘Palestinian Arabs’) started in 1964 with the creation of the PLO. Before 1964, there was no desire to create a sovereign “Palestinian” state. The mere desire of the “Palestinian” leadership was to reclaim the land from the Israelis.
    I am by no mean calling all “Palestinians” racist. That would be foolish and incorrect. It is the Hamas ideology for the most part which propagates racist anti-semitism.

    Now, your comment that the troubles only started after EUROPEAN (ironic, much) Jews immigrated to the land is quite plain and simply false, as Jews have been persecuted under Arab Muslims for centuries. Take Muhammad himself, for example.

    The term “occupation” which is applied to this context is a Western myth, which still bears the support of liberals around the world, because Israel cannot possibly occupy a state which never had sovereignty. For occupation to occur, there must have been sovereignty over a state and land which was lost which would then allow the land to have been seized.

    I understand your argument, you have and have had homes in the region over time. But it is nothing compared to the 4000+ year old connection the Jews have had to the Land of Israel. Palestinians, as it were, are the modern descendants of the people’s who have lived in the region of Palestine over the years. Yet the majority of them are invaders and migrants who came to the land over the centuries. I’m sure you’re aware the region only became Arabized in the 7th century.

    I am in no way, shape or form trying to depict the animosity in the land as one-sided. Both sides are at fault. But none of this would occur were the Arabs to have accepted the partition plan. However, they couldn’t bear having a Jewish sovereignty over the land (which was never actually theirs).

    You state: “The racism coming from Israel and its leaders are legion and explicit – if you are not a Jew then you’re inferior and you do not get (or deserve) the same rights as Jews”. This is simply a falsification of the facts, and ignorance of the reality in Israel, because Arabs who identify as Israeli Jews have close to full rights; they are allowed to vote, there are Arab members of the Knesset etc. Israel is the most democratic of all the countries in the Middle East, and that is a indisputable fact. I refer you to my comments above regarding the happiness in their quality of life of Arabs living in Israel.

    Your paragraph beginning “Ultra right-wing Israelis” only states one side. You tactically don’t bring into your discourse all the suicide bombings, near-recent riots along the Gaza border with incendiary balloons and IED’s, kidnappings, stabbings etc which have taken place in this decade alone. THAT is why their is military law for the Arabs. The stabbings which occurred in the Old City and Jerusalem were seemingly carried out by “innocent” Palestinian civilian women… Hmm… Tell me this is not incitement of hatred undertaken by “Palestinian” leadership.

    I am genetically dismissing the argument that “Palestinians” are native to the Jewish homeland, yes. As it has been proven with DNA tests that they have no connection to the ancient Philistines. What I am not doing is “genetically de-legitimizing” them, as you say, or saying they are racially inferior. They have lived their over the centuries. Fabulous. Jews (and yes, European Jews are still Jews) have lived their for longer.

    Unsurprisingly, the term used by Israel for its racial policy is called “Hafrada” which means “separation” or “segregation”. The Israeli PM, Netanyahu, famously called the Palestinian ghettos “Bantustans” the name used in SA apartheid for black only areas. Why would he do that if he wasn’t modelling Israeli apartheid on the supremacist SA apartheid system – he wouldn’t”.
    MAYBE THIS IS BECAUSE JEWS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THERE OR IN ANY OF THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES. THEY ARE “PALESTINIAN” ONLY AREAS. Ever think of that?

    The legitimacy of Israel is because of ancient history as well as human rights. The reason for the creation of the state was to provide a safe haven for Jews IN THEIR HOMELAND.

    Your comment “Lack of human rights leading to resistance is something we see all over the world. Palestinians are not a constant in this at all, and your attempt to make Palestinians the reason for their own brutalization is sickening.”
    Have you seen how the Hamas leadership are treating the Gazan population? I do not have to provide articles here. If you cared enough to realise this, you would find that that Hamas leaders are living in mansions and living a completely different life to those of the Gazan population. Research this; the facts speak for themselves.
    And don’t tell me that Gaza is not under the authority of Israel. It doesn’t make a difference. First sort out your own problems if you want to accuse Israel of committing human rights atrocities.

    I am not claiming racism isn’t a problem in Israel. I am claiming that both sides are to blame in all this.

    A suitable solution has to be administered, but not one which envisages to drive Jews out of their biblical homeland. And that seeking of a solution is only hindered by the refusal of the Palestinian leadership to attend the Bahrain Conference.

    Shalom

  5. Charlie,

    thank you, this time for your more reasonable tone. I am on the way to the protest camp up at Adani and will be away for a week or 10 days and so am not able to respond properly to your comment until then.

    I just want to say something quickly. When you write “To start with, my comment “simply because of their hatred of Jews and their wish to create a ‘Palestinian’ state devoid of Jews, is certainly and irrefutably justifiable, because that is indeed what the PLO set out to do, and what Hamas still implicitly seeks to do”

    “again simply because of their hatred of Jews”. You need to quit this and use some reflection. We wanted a fair deal, where the land is divided pro-rata. Jews were a minority in 48′ but were given the majority and the best land. How many leaders around the world would agree, or even have the mandate, to give the majority of their country to people who had just arrived? We are not racist monsters – just stop it!

    “They altered it to be seen in a better light. That is fact.” That is not a fact and could never be a fact unless you are a mind reader – it is an opinion. You have said fact more than a few times to stuff that just isn’t facts – it doesn’t help your argument to do that.

    I don’t have time and I must go.

    let’s continue on my return.

    shalom

    • You need to do your research better. From the beginning of World War 1 Arabs began claiming that Jews had stolen Arab land and displaced its inhabitants. In reality, 80% of the land in the region was considered “state land”, owned by the Ottoman Empire (subsequently the British), the next largest landholders were absentee landlords like the Lebanese Sursuck family who owned most of the Jezreel Valley. In contrast, 80 percent of Palestinian Arabs were impoverished peasants, semi-nomads and Bedouins… not wealthy landowners.1

      The region was severely underpopulated which meant the Jews were able to avoid buying land in areas where Arabs might be displaced, which they did. They sought land that was largely uncultivated, swampy, sandy, and most importantly, without tenants, like much of the Jezreel Valley. In 1920, David Ben-Gurion expressed his concern about the Arab fellaheen (peasants), whom he viewed as “the most important asset of the native population” he said “under no circumstances must we touch land belonging to fellahs or worked by them”. He advocated helping liberate them from their oppressors. “Only if a fellah leaves his place of settlement,” Ben-Gurion added, “should we offer to buy his land, at an appropriate price.”2

      When British MP John Hope Simpson arrived in Palestine in May 1930 to report on Arab-Jewish violence and discovered the Jews were purchasing land at exorbitant rates: “They [Jews] paid high prices for the land, and in addition they paid to certain of the occupants of those lands a considerable amount of money which they were not legally bound to pay.”

      In 1937 the British Government published the Peel Commission which found that Arab complaints about Jewish land acquisition were baseless. It pointed out that “much of the land now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamp and uncultivated when it was purchased. . . . there was at the time of the earlier sales little evidence that the owners possessed either the resources or training needed to develop the land.” Moreover, the Commission found the shortage was “due less to the amount of land acquired by Jews than to the increase in the Arab population”. The report concluded that the presence of Jews in Palestine, along with the work of the British Administration, had resulted in higher wages, an improved standard of living and ample employment opportunities. As the violence escalated Arabs continued to sell land to Jews at outrageous prices, usually for tiny tracts of arid land. “In 1944, Jews paid between $1,000 and $1,100 per acre in Palestine, mostly for arid or semiarid land; in the same year, rich black soil in Iowa was selling for about $110 per acre.”

      By 1947, Jewish holdings in Palestine amounted to about 463,000 acres. Approximately 45,000 of these acres were acquired from the Mandatory Government; 30,000 were bought from various churches and 387,500 were purchased from Arabs. Analysis of land purchases from 1880 to 1948 show that 73 percent of Jewish plots were purchased from large landowners, not poor fellahin. Those who sold land included the mayors of Gaza, Jerusalem and Jaffa. As’ad el–Shuqeiri, a Muslim religious scholar and father of PLO chairman Ahmed Shuqeiri, took Jewish money for his land. Even King Abdullah leased land to the Jews. In fact, many leaders of the Arab nationalist movement, including members of the Muslim Supreme Council, sold land to Jews.

      As soon as Israel declared independence eight Arab nations invaded. With the battle cry of the Grand Mufti ringing in their ears, “I declare a holy war, my Moslem brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all”, the Arab armies, with the help of Palestinian militias, attempted their genocide against the Jews.

      By some miracle, the Jews repelled the invaders and in defeating the Arab armies captured more land than that allotted in the UN partition. Much of this land had sizable Jewish populations and more defensible borders. Israel took the decision to retain this land to assure the safety of its citizens. It is this new border that most people refer to when they speak of the Pre-67 Lines (or the 49 Armistice Lines).

      The Arabs also captured land. The Egyptians conquered Gaza, while the Jordanians usurped the West Bank. Unlike Israel, this was not for the safety of their citizens, but to increase their own territory. By the end of the war, according to Benny Morris, the “Arab war Plan changed . . . into a multinational land grab focusing on the Arab areas of the country. The evolving Arab ‘plans’ failed to assign any of these whatsoever to the Palestinians or to consider their political aspirations.”

      While Arab leaders boasted “strike the enemy’s settlements, turn them into dust, pave the Arab roads with the skulls of Jews”,11 their genocidal intentions were repeatedly crushed, often leaving Israel with even greater territory. Despite these gains, Israel had no intention of keeping the land – it always intended to return the land in exchange for peace.

      In 1974 Israel returned territories to Syria that it had captured 1967 and 1973. Again in 1979 they returned the entire Sinai Peninsula, a mass of land rich in oil, with Jewish settlements and three times the size of pre-67 Israel.

      In September 1983, Israel withdrew from large areas of Lebanon to positions south of the Awali River. In 1985, it completed its withdrawal from Lebanon, except for a narrow security zone just north of the Israeli border. That too was abandoned, unilaterally, in 2000.

      After signing peace agreements with the Palestinians, and a treaty with Jordan, Israel agreed to withdraw from most of the territory in the West Bank captured from Jordan in 1967. A small area was returned to Jordan, and more than 40 percent was ceded to the Palestinian Authority.

      Finally in 2005, all Israeli troops and civilians were evacuated from the Gaza Strip and the territory was turned over to the control of the Palestinian Authority. In addition, four communities in the West Bank that covered an area larger than the entire Gaza Strip were also evacuated as part of the disengagement plan. As a result, Israel has now withdrawn from approximately 94 percent of the territory it captured in 1967.

      From ancient times Jews have lived in the West Bank, the only time they did not was in recent decades when Jordan ethnically cleansed Jews from the region between 1948 to 1967. When Israel captured the territory from the Jordanians, following Jordan’s attack on Israel in the combined Arab attack of 67, Israel allowed Jews to move back to some select locations.

      Numerous experts in international law believe that these settlements are not illegal. Stephen Schwebel, formerly President of the International Court of Justice, notes that a country acting in self defence may seize and occupy territory when necessary to protect itself. Schwebel also observes that a state may require, as a condition for its withdrawal, security measures designed to ensure its citizens are not menaced again from that territory. In the seventies Israel made thousands of its citizens homeless when it returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, it did so on the condition Egypt would make peace with the Jewish State – just as Schwebel described.

      By the way the Arabs from Palestine were offered the most fertile lands, and more off it. The Jews were given mostly Arid land but the Jews accepted and began to build the best and only democratic country in the Middle East. Meanwhile the Arabs chose the path of war and now rely on billions of UN aid in which to survive. Much of that money is squandered. When Arafat died he had over a billion dollars of Arab money in his name. It still goes on. Gaza relies on power and water supplied by Israel. They have destroyed most of what the Egyptians and Israelis built.

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