Obama's parting shot into Israel's back
I don't think most people understand the seriousness of allowing the UN to pass this resolution about Israel and its land. Basically, it says that the only legitimate borders of Israel are the ones from before the 1967 war. In that war the Israelis did a preemptive attack on the Egyptian forces that were preparing to invade, under the leadership of
Nasser. They were so successful in driving the Egyptians back that Nasser played a charade of telling Jordan and Syria that he was winning, but needed them to join in. At which point the forces of those nations attacked Israel, only to get hammered badly, and the Israelis took over
chunks of Jordanian and Syrian territory and has maintained control of them every since. Not exactly like what the USA did in the Mexican-American War, or what Poland did in taking over what had been German territory after WW2. Israel has maintained that these areas remain
in dispute. In the past when Israel gave up territory to Palestinian control, like Gaza, the settlers there were relocated back to Israel proper, even over their fervent objections. Israel was willing to trade land for peace, but that hasn't worked out at all with Gaza and Hamas.
Most of the Arabs living in those areas fled into the other Arab nations, and the term "Palestinian" was born. They were not expelled by the Israelis, some remained in those territories and Arabs make up about 20% of the population of Israel. The other Arab nations did not offer citizenship to the refugees, but kept them apart from their native population, which only exacerbated their status as permanent victims. In one case, an aggressive Palestinian movement in Jordan led to the king there ordering a bloody suppression of them in 1970 that was like a small civil war.
Over time the Palestinians in the territories have steadily become more radicalized, and the Israelis have been hit with assorted organized attacks, suicide bombers, and knife wielding fanatics. This has caused a spiral of tighter controls and some rise of anti-Arab feelings in Jewish Israelis, that continues to make things nastier all the time. Palestinian boys as young as 5 are taught to hate Jews and to look
forward to killing them.
The only remotely workable solution would be to recognize a Palestinian state in what's called the Two-State Solution. This was offered to Yasir Arafat years ago at a meeting in Camp David, with Israel making huge concessions, and he turned it down anyhow. Neither the Palestinians nor any of the Arab states will formally recognize the right of Israel to exist, and under such conditions there can be no progress at all.
Now with the UN formally declaring Israel to be the unlawful occupier of Arab lands, all the Palestinian claims are reinforced, and any chance of moving towards a Two-State Solution is gone. This now just intensifies the conflict, which is a very bad thing for everyone. Israel is not going to abide by the UN proclamation, to do so would be a form of suicide. They have no choice really but to continue on as they have.
By not vetoing this act in the UN, Mr. Obama has betrayed Israel, our main ally in all the Middle East, and contributed to the worsening of an already awful situation. This may be one of the very worst moves of his entire tenure in office. --Del
Small point of historical correction for Del: The so-called West Bank, known as Judea and Samaria, is home to Jews on land that does not "belong" to "Palestine." This is land that Israel redeemed by expelling the attack of the Jordanian army in 1967 which itself had illegally occupied it by conquest in 1948. Internationally, this was indeed an occupation that had been recognized only by England (whose retired general Glubb had created Jordan's Arab Legion) and Pakistan. Judea and Samaria was assigned to a future Jewish state just as much as all the land up to the Mediterranean under the League of Nations Treaty of Lausanne in 1922. Since all Arabs had formally rejected the UN's partition resolution of 1947, that land could not have been sovereign to any other entity but Israel, certainly not Jordan and not to a non-existent state of Palestine. At worst, this territory should be deemed "disputed," not illegally occupied. In contrast, all Arabs inside the 1949 armistice lines are Israeli citizens, none have been expelled.
It should also be noted that the main legal (Fourth Geneva Convention) and moral constraint on an occupying power is that it may not expel, deport, terrorize or ethnically-cleanse the resident populace. It is factual that those half million Israelis now living in Judea and Samaria inhabit land that either had been seized by Jordan in 1948, on public land, or on land purchased from titled owners. There has been no expulsion or deportation of Arab residents of Judea and Samaria. (In fact, Palestinians are illegally building on land it had agreed with Israel not to build on.) I should add that in his insincere peace offer, PA President Abbas has demanded the ethnic cleansing of Judea and Samaria of every single Jew. We know how the unilateral, voluntary withdrawal from Gaza has worked out. And we know what happens to losers in intervening Arab wars.
So while Israelis have every right to live in Judea and Samaria, realpolitik makes it ever more sensible to expand this policy. If the PA wishes to hold out for the U.N. to create a Palestine on the ground, there will be less and less land for it to have, progressively less of a demographic claim, and on a practical basis, no way Israelis would pick up and leave. Yours truly, Larry Greenberg