Timely update of last essay: Out Of The Ghetto - @MidEastTruth
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Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.

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PostFri May 20, 2011 9:05 am     Timely update of last essay: Out Of The Ghetto    

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Out of The Ghetto...

by Gerald A. Honigman

It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positions were undesirable and artificial. After all, they were just the places where the soldiers of each side happened to be on the day the fighting stopped in 1948. They were just armistice lines. That's why we didn't demand that the Israelis return to them...Lord Caradon, Chief Architect, UNSC Resolution 242

What is it with you guys…at least, most of you?

I mean, if a Jew wants to live a semi-normal life outside of the ghetto, you have a bloomin' fit...

Recent news...

President Obama has restated his long-held position that Israel must return to its 1949 armistice line existence. They were the lines--not final political borders--drawn up to mark the places where the fighting was halted after the invasion of a reborn Israel by a half dozen Arab nations in 1948. The UN did nothing to halt that aggression, but jumped in only after the Jews turned the tide to limit Arab losses. And that's how Israel became the virtually invisible on a world globe sub-rump state, practically begging to be bisected by Arab enemies, until 1967.

Long before his move to the White House, Mr. Obama stated that Israel would be crazy--his exact words--not to accept the alleged Saudi Peace Plan. One of the latter's key provisions calls for Israel to return to the pre-'67 armistice lines. He has repeated this since the November 2008 election, so this newest statement from the White House should come as a shock to no one.

Please note what Lord Caradon had to say about such matters above, and recall that United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 was to be the major guide for peace making between Arab and Jew in the post-'67 world. Among other things, it promised that Israel would finally get more secure, defensible, and real political borders to replace the armistice lines which did nothing but invite aggression, time after time, by those who reject the rights of Jews to Israel regardless of size...the same folks who subjugate and deny the rights of scores of millions of other non-Arab peoples in the region as well.

President Obama is entitled to his opinion--but lest he think otherwise, that's all that his words are--his opinion.

And he's wrong.

Armistice lines are not borders, and those imposed upon Israel were absurdly unfair. It's for good reason that they have also become known as Auschwitz Lines. Not to mention the fact that, a while back, President George W. Bush gave Israel two important official letters at the time of its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza (and we all know how well that turned out), one assuring it that it would not have to return to those indefensible lines. Please note this example of how Mr. Obama treats America's promises to its allies and friends.

Adopted in the wake of the June 1967 War--started when Arabs in Egypt blockaded Israel at the Straits of Tiran (a casus belli), amassed a hundred thousand troops right up to the armistice line, expelled the UN peacekeeping force stationed in Sinai since the '56 fighting, and other well-documented hostile acts--the final draft of 242 is as famous for what it did not say as for what it did. For one thing, there was no mention of a withdrawal by Israel to the '49 lines...which Mr. Obama has repeatedly called for.

Keep in mind that in Judea and Samaria (aka, the West Bank), Israel took these lands in a defensive war from an illegal occupier--Transjordan-- which subsequently renamed itself Jordan as a result of its 1949 land grab of non-apportioned ( i.e., not "purely Arab") areas of the original 1920 Mandate west of the Jordan River.

As scholars of international law have pointed out, Jews, as well as Arabs, were legally entitled to live on those lands. Indeed, Jews have thousands of years of history connecting them to those lands and owned property and lived there up until their massacres by Arabs in the 1920s and 1930s. Additionally, many, if not most, of the Arabs themselves were relative newcomers, pouring in--as the Minutes of the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations and other solid documentation show--from Syria, Egypt and elsewhere in the region. Recall that Transjordan was itself formed in 1922 from almost 80% of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine--a gift from the Brits to Arab nationalism.There has been a state created for Arabs in Palestine for nearly a century now...

We know how Mr. Obama feels about this subject, but here's how another American President, Lyndon Johnson, viewed this on June 19, 1967...

A return to the situation on June 4 (the day before outbreak of war) was not a prescription for peace but for renewed hostilities.

Mr. Johnson then called for...

new recognized boundaries that would provide security against terror, destruction, and war.

Moving ahead (and once again utilizing Ambassador Dore Gold's useful summary), here's what President Ronald Reagan proclaimed on September 1, 1982...

In the pre-1967 borders {sic}, Israel was barely 10-miles wide... the bulk of Israel's population within artillery range of hostile armies. I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again.

And, in 1988, Secretary of State George Schultz declared...Israel will never negotiate from or return to the 1967 borders {sic}.

What Obama calls for is the virtual re-ghettoization of the Jew...this time in the form of the Jew of the Nations.

A little background...

The early Church Fathers had a major argument about what to do with the alleged "G_d-killers" (you know who) in their midst.

Some, like John Chrysostom, wanted them dead. Here's an example of his teaching in his Homily 1, some sixteen centuries ago.

The Jewish people were driven by their drunkenness and plumpness to the ultimate evil; they kicked about, they failed to accept the yoke of Christ, nor did they pull the plow of his teaching. Another prophet hinted at this when he said: "Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn heifer." … Although such beasts are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: "But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them."

Luckily, Saint John had other leaders who opposed his final solution strategy…St. Augustine, in particular.

Augustine wanted the G_d-killers kept alive so that when looked upon, others would see their lowly status and be reminded of their crime.

While the advice of both leaders was heeded throughout ages (i.e., scholarly estimates place the number of Jews slaughtered--a la Chrysostom--prior to the Holocaust at at least that same six million figure), such things as the mandatory ghetto, "Jew badge," and so forth were born in accordance with Augustine's "more tolerant" approach.

The ghetta--iron foundry in Italian--was the most unhealthy, filthy, lowly vicinity one could live in…just perfect for the G_d-killers. And so, for centuries, Jews were placed under lock and key behind ghetto walls throughout Christendom. Not until Napoleon were they freed from this existence.

Ghetto thus made it into our everyday language, courtesy of the Jew.

Now, in case you think that this was confined to just the West, Islam and the Arabs had their version of what to do with the killers of Prophets, sons of apes and pigs, and kilab yahud (Jew dogs) living among themselves. While not as extensively utilized as in the West, certain parts of the "Arab" World had mellahs in which Jews were confined.

The President insists on making Israel's need to live beyond the suicidal nine to fifteen-mile wide ghetto of a state grudingly permitted to it via the '49 armistice lines look like it's trying to possess the equivalent of America's 3,000 mile wide (and much farther beyond) Manifest Destiny; the still existing massive Russian empire; Britain in the Falkland Islands; or the over six million square miles of land conquered, stolen, settled, and forcibly Arabized from scores of millions of native, non-Arab peoples such as black Africans in the Sudan, Copts, Kurds, Imazighen ("Berbers"), native Jews, and others as well.

Jews owned land and lived in Judea (Judean=Jew ) and Samaria until they were massacred by Arabs in the 1920s and 1930s.

And for those, like members of President Obama's Administration, who refer to Jews living beyond their allocated ghetto as "illegitimate" and make short shrift of Jews calling the disputed territories by those names, please recall that Judea and Samaria did not also become known as the "West Bank" until British imperialism made its presence there in the 20th century.

In 1922, Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill awarded Arab nationalism almost 80% of the original Mandate of Palestine which Britain received, after World War I, on April 25, 1920, via the creation of Transjordan on the east bank of the Jordan River. Britain's East Bank representative, Sir Alec Kirkbride, had much to say about this in his book, A Crackle Of Thorns--as did others as well, including Transjordan's Emir Abdullah in his memoirs (all carefully documented in my own new book http://q4j-middle-east.com by the way).

Transjordan later annexed the "west bank" of the Jordan River after the 1948 fighting which saw Israel resurrected on about 12% of the original 1920 Mandate. Holding both banks, the Emirate soon changed its name to Jordan instead. To say that Arabs do not already have a state in "Palestine" ( the name Rome bestowed on Judea after the latter's second major revolt for freedom ) is to simply tell a lie.

At the end of the '48 fighting, the armistice lines, which the President insists Israel return to, made it a mere nine to fifteen wide at its waist where the vast majority of its population, industry, capital, main airport, and so forth are located. As President George W. Bush once said, there are driveways in Texas bigger than that…

Jews were then barred from living on lands in Judea and Samaria where they had thousands of years of history and as much right as Arabs to live on.

And this all begs the question...

Just who is and who is not a "settler" in the land in question?

As I like to remind folks, when the United Nations Relief Works Agency--UNRWA--was set up to assist Arab refugees, the very word refugee had to be redefined to assist those people. So many Arabs were recent arrivals--settlers--themselves into the Palestinian Mandate that UNRWA had to adjust the very definition of "refugee" from its prior meaning of persons normally and traditionally resident to those who lived in the Mandate for a minimum of only two years prior to 1948.

Thousands of Arabs had come with Muhammad Ali and Ibrahim Pasha's invading armies from Egypt in the latter 19th century and remained behind and settled the land.

During the mandatory period after World War I, the Minutes of the League of Nations' Permanent Mandates Commission recorded additional scores of thousands of Egyptian, Syrian, and other Arab settlers entering into the sparsely populated Mandate of Palestine.

It is estimated that for each one of these incoming Arabs who were recorded, many others crossed the border under cover of darkness to enter into one of the few areas in the region where any economic development was going on because of the influx of Jewish capital. These folks later became known as "native Palestinians"...the only folks, according to Mr. Obama, entitled to any rights in the disputed territories.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from some of those same "Arab" countries--Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Yemen, and so forth--became labeled, by folks like the President, as illegal settlers.

This influx of Arabs into the land is historically well documented (correspondence of Prime Minister Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and so forth) for those who want to seriously know the facts...which many folks don't.

While this is not to say that there were not native Arabs also living in the Mandate of Palestine, it is to say that many, if not most, of the Arabs were also relative newcomers--settlers--themselves. Many travelers in the 19th century--including Mark Twain--wrote of the sad, depopulated condition of the Holy Land.

So, despite the President's and State Department's lectures and nastiness towards those who disagree with them, truth be told, many of the villages set up in the West Bank and elsewhere were recent, 20th century settlements established by Arab settlers.

And there were Jews whose families never left Israel/Judea/Palestine as well over the centuries, despite the tragedies of two, well-documented major wars for their freedom and independence with Rome, forced conversions of the Byzantines, the Diaspora, Crusades, and other nightmares as well.

Whatever will or won't become of the disputed lands in question, it must be repeated that they are indeed disputed--not purely Arab land--and the territorial compromise built into UNSC Resoultion 242 must be insisted upon.

It's bad enough that most of the rest of the world engages in this duplicity and such, but for an American Administration to pretend that it's not the Arabs' rejection of Israel, regardless of size, which is the stumbiling block to peace, but only the Jews' attempt to obtain what every other nation expects--real, somewhat defensible borders, instead of the virtual ghetto alloted to them via those armistice lines the President insists upon--is a travesty of justice if ever there was one.

The birth of Arab state # 22--second, not first, for Arabs in the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine--should not come about by grossly endangering the sole, resurrected nation Jews have. And that's exactly what following the President's formula will lead to...no doubt.




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