April 16, 2016
History of West Bank Reveals Palestinians Have No Legitimate Claim, Only Propaganda
March saw a return of economic warfare against Israel, masked in discontent with Israel’s “occupation” of “Palestine.”
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What these economic and political warriors don’t seem to realize is that Israel is not occupying anything. There was never an Arab state known as Palestine. In fact, the Arabs have rejected multiple offers to establish such a state.
Before Jewish sovereignty was reestablished with the modern state of Israel in 1948, the (Turkish) Ottoman Empire ruled the Holy Land for approximately 400 years up until 1917. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Turks in World War I, the British and French administered it in a period of joint military administration (1917-1920). The San Remo Conference (1920) formally established the British Mandate of Palestine’s borders to encompass modern day Israel, Jordan, the Gaza Strip, and what is today often referred to as the West Bank.
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Britain Created “Palestine” for the Jews…
The legal document that created the Mandate recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home” and called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish People.” The document also obligated the British to “facilitate Jewish immigration” and “encourage…settlement by Jews on the land…” The British, with the approval of the League of Nations (the predecessor to the United Nations) took on the obligation to help Jewish immigration and settlement of the Mandate, which included the West Bank. Indeed, Jews lived in this area in historic (Hebron, today’s “East” Jerusalem, Nablus/Shechem) and new (Gush Etzion) communities during the Mandate period.
…And Then Gave 75% of it to the Arabs.
In 1922, Britain partitioned the British Mandate of Palestine into two separate mandates, Palestine (west of the Jordan River) and the Transjordan (east of the Jordan River). Transjordan eventually became sovereign Arab territory. Despite the partition, the land that is now known as the West Bank still remained within Palestine and was still slated to be included in a new home for the Jewish people.
The Arabs Rejected the West Bank Twice.
Arab leaders did not accept any further partitions. The Arabs rejected two offers (in 1937 from Britain and in 1947 from the United Nations) that would have established Arab independence from Jewish sovereignty west of the Jordan River, including the West Bank. The Jewish community in Palestine, on the other hand, accepted both of these offers. So, before Israel’s War of Independence (1947-1949), there was no Arab ownership of the West Bank, and no sovereign from which to occupy it.
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Israel Had the Best Claim to the West Bank Before 1967.
An Arab state west of the Jordan River could not claim the West Bank; the Arabs made sure, in their rejections of 1937 and 1947, that no such state came into existence. The Arab state east of the Jordan River (Jordan) did not have a legitimate claim to the West Bank, and regardless relinquished all claims to it in 1988. So Israel, based on the original Mandate, confirmed by the League of Nations, had the most legitimate claim.
Israel Took the West Bank (Back) in Self-Defense.
While many see Israel’s taking of the West Bank in the Six-Day War (1967) as one of “occupation,” Israel was in fact re-claiming, in an act of self-defense, what was previously granted to the Jewish State under international law. So how could Israel “occupy” territory that was rightfully hers?
The Arabs Refused the West Bank Another Five Times.
Despite the Arabs losing military control over the West Bank in a war that they had initiated, Israel and the world continued to offer the Arabs sovereignty in at least some of it. True to form, the Arabs continued to reject these offers. Opportunities for Arab sovereignty in the West Bank were rebuffed in 1967 (the Khartoum Resolution), 1967-1968 (the Allon Plan), 2000 (Camp David), 2001 (Taba) and 2008 (Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas). The latter two offers would have granted Arab sovereignty to roughly 95% of the West Bank.
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So what does this mean? Israel is not occupying “Palestine” but is the legitimate heir to the British Mandate of Palestine. The West Bank is, at best, a disputed territory.
April 10, 2016
Israel and the Occupation that Isn't
By Steve Postal