The Moment of Confrontation|
By Dan Lieberman
Somewhere in the history of Israel, there occurred a moment of confrontation that could not be resolved. Hezbollah is not a result of this moment, but the unresolved situation has fueled Hezbollah’s anger and paved the road to the war between Israel and Lebanon. The anger is derived from perceptions of:
· A Zionist expansionist philosophy that started with a colony in 1878 and within 100 years occupied almost all of earlier Palestine.
· Brutal methods to create a Jewish state although population concentrations in 1947 allowed Israel to be only a bi-national state with a majority of Jews.
· Continued attempts to create a Jewish state, an unclear definition, which fails to recognize that the large percentage of Palestinians indicates the state is bi-national today.
· Israel's attempt to incorporate all Jerusalem into its territory, although Christians and Moslems have well-identified and centuries-old institutions in the Holy City, while major Hebrew institutions from Biblical times are not evident.
The Zionists' expansionist philosophy is recorded in a report to Woodrow Wilson and in revelations from “hidden” history.
The Zionists told the world exactly what they intended to do and proceeded to carry out their plans. The King-Crane Commission, appointed by President Wilson in 1919, concluded:
“...a national home for the Jewish people is not equivalent to making Palestine into a Jewish State; nor can the erection of such a Jewish State be accomplished without the gravest trespass upon the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in
Palestine. The fact came out repeatedly in the Commission's conference with Jewish representatives that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, by various forms of purchase.
In view of all these considerations, and with a deep sense of sympathy for the Jewish cause, the Commissioners feel bound to recommend that only a greatly reduced Zionist program be attempted by the Peace Conference, and even that, only very gradually initiated. This would have to mean that Jewish immigration should be definitely limited, and that the project for making Palestine distinctly a Jewish commonwealth should be given up.”
Creating The Jewish State
The United Nations (UN) wanted to separate Jewish and Palestinian communities and create two states, each with its specific identity. Considering that 85% of the Jewish population was confined to Tel-Aviv/Jaffa, Haifa, Jerusalem and their surrounding areas, a partition plan had no legal method to engineer a sizeable Jewish state other than enclaves, and one in which Jews would be totally dominant. In the partition resolution, the UN created a bi-national Israel of 498,000 Jews and 325,000 Arabs and awarded Israel a large portion of Arab lands. The war created 700,000 Palestinian refugees, and the Zionists took advantage of the situation so Jews could become a sufficiently large majority to constitute a Jewish state.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman, in a March 25, 1945 statement, doubted that UN Resolution 181 would resolve the troublesome situation.
“The United Kingdom has announced its firm intention to abandon its mandate in Palestine on May 15. Unless emergency action is taken, there will be no public authority in Palestine on that date capable of preserving law and order. Violence and bloodshed will descend upon the Holy Land. Large scale fighting among the people of that country will be inevitable. Such fighting would infect the entire Middle East and could lead to consequences of the gravest sort involving the peace of this nation and of the world.”
The American president proposed a temporary plan that has not been well publicized: “The United States has proposed to the Security Council a temporary United Nations trusteeship for Palestine to provide a government to keep the peace…Trusteeship is not proposed as a substitute for the partition plan but as an effort to fill the vacuum…”
After Israel declared its government, Truman recognized the new state. The U.S. president changed words in the original document so that the new government was recognized as provisional and de facto, and not as a government of a Jewish state.
The Zionist's expansionist philosophy claimed the Negev, where there were no Jews. In the 1948-49 war, Israel annexed Jaffa and Beersheba, connected Jerusalem to its UN delegated border, almost doubled its size and refused the return of 700,000 Palestinian refugees. After the 1967 war, Israel occupied the West Bank, created another 150,000 Palestinian refugees and incorporated most of the West Bank into its control.
If the Zionists had been satisfied with only the land that contained its followers, almost all of whom had been born in other nations, the Middle East region would be more peaceful today. This was the decisive moment, the moment of confrontation from which the later problems emerged and could not be resolved. On that day, the road to all Middle East wars, and eventually the 2006 war in Lebanon, was paved.
A strong Israeli military consolidated its gains and continued to create a Jewish state, but only on paper and not in fact.
Promoting the Jewish State
A Jewish person has been variously defined as a person who practices Judaism or is a member of an ethnic identity. Israel makes another distinction; Israel has Israeli citizens but no Israeli nationality. The Ministry of the Interior, responsible for assigning nationality to Israeli citizens, specifies either Jewish, Arab or Druze, or country of origin for nationality. Although nationality is no longer shown on newly issued identification cards, nationality continues to be recorded in the Population Registry.
Of the several nationalities in Israel, the Arabs have the most homogeneous construct- they are the largest nationality that most fits the definition, which is: a people having common origins and traditions. The Ashkenazi Jews from western nations, Mizrahim Jews from North Africa and the Middle East, secular Jews, Orthodox Jews, Falasha Jews from Ethiopia and Yemenite Jews don't have common origins or commonly exact traditions. Together, they are not a Jewish nationality.
Israel has grouped its Jews to give them a common nationality that molds them into a new type of Jew, an Israeli Jew, and as it does, it makes the people more Israeli than Jewish, have less relation to world Jewry and have less attachment to their own form of Judaism. Israel is forming a nation of Israeli Jews and Israeli non-Jews, an eventual "us' against "them," which has an ominous appearance. This calculated separation is troublesome because the Israeli Palestinians have a large stake in their country, more than statistics indicate.
“In 2003, there were 5,446,800 people counted in the "Jews and Others" group, of whom 5,165,400 were Jewish. [Arabs were 1,200,000 of the population]. Within the "Jews and Others" group, 65 percent (3.54 million) were born in Israel and 35 percent (1.9 million) were born in a foreign country. Of those born in Israel, about one-third (31 percent) are the children of an Israeli-born father.”
Israel: Balancing Demographics in the Jewish State , Martha Kruger, July 2005
According to the Israel Statistical Abstract 2005, 2nd generation Israelis (those who have an Israeli father), are (.31 x 3.54million) = 1.1 million, which is less than the 1.2 million Arabs, most of whom trace their Israel ancestry back several generations. The Arab nationality is almost equal to the Jewish nationality, if nationality considers at least two generations of native born Israelis.
The accepted genealogic/linguist definition of Arab is:
a member of a Semitic people originally from the Arabian peninsula and surrounding territories who speaks Arabic and inhabits much of the Middle East and northern Africa.
Note that religion does not define an Arab; there are Moslem Arabs, Christian Arabs, and Jewish Arabs. By the definition, the Mizrahim, if they want, can consider themselves to be Arabs. Critics of this association have mentioned that Jews live in Slavic nations and aren’t considered Slavs. One big difference – the Jews don’t have Slavic heritage, but, Jews, similar to Arabs, are Semitic people. This leads to the conclusion that Israel could actually have a plurality of Arab people and be an Arab nation with many Jews. One Arab Jew has spoken out.
"I am an Arab Jew. Or, more specifically, an Iraqi Israeli woman living, writing and teaching in the U.S. Most members of my family were born and raised in Baghdad, and now live in Iraq, Israel, the U.S., England, and Holland. When my grandmother first encountered Israeli society in the '50s, she was convinced that the people who looked, spoke and ate so differently--the European Jews--were actually European Christians. Jewishness for her generation was inextricably associated with Middle Easterness.”
Reflections By An ARAB JEW,
Ella Habiba Shohat, Professor of Cultural Studies and Women's Studies at CUNY
To ensure the nation has trappings of a Jewish nation, Israel needs something closely identified with Judaism. Israel needs Jerusalem for many reasons.
Incorporating all of Jerusalem
Israel wants to be viewed as a power. To gain that appearance, Israel needs a capital which contains ancient traditions and is recognized as one of the world's more important cities. Israel wants Jerusalem. It must be only one Jerusalem and it must contain the Holy City. That's not all.
Jerusalem has significant tourism. It can provide new commercial opportunities as an entry to all of the Middle-East. An indivisible Jerusalem is worth a lot of shekels.
Israel competes with the United States as the focus of the Jewish people. It needs a unique Jerusalem to gain recognition as the land of Judaism.
By controlling all of the holy sites, Israel will command attention from Moslems and Christians. Their leaders will be forced to talk with Israel and Israel will have an advantage in many disputes.
Whatever Israel gains, the Palestinians are denied. East Jerusalem and its holy sites can greatly benefit a Palestinian economy and affect its legitimacy. Even if Israel agrees to a Palestinian state, it will direct its policies to limit the effectiveness of that state and do everything to undermine it. An "indivisible" Jerusalem is part of that effort.
A notable fact is that no major monuments, buildings, or religious institutions that are identified with ancient Israel are evident in today’s Jerusalem. The Western Wall is the retaining wall of the platform built in 1st century B.C. by Herod, the Roman King of Israel. According to Karen Armstrong, Jews did not pray at the Western Wall until the Mamelukes in the 15th century allowed them to move their congregations from a dangerous Mount of Olives, and permitted them to pray at the Wall.
Turmoil in the Middle East since Israel’s creation makes Hezbollah’s blood boil.
The entry of western peoples into the Levant, the oppression of Palestinians, and the intent by Israel to seize all of Jerusalem have motivated Hezbollah to battle Israel.
The battle is at another milestone. Immigration to Israel is slowing and Israel is becoming a country of totally native-born citizens. These native-born have no memory of the aggressive manner by which the Israel nation was formed. Their psyche is being developed from the propaganda that all nations use to make patriotic citizens. They will follow their leaders. The Palestinians, as long as they are in the area, will never forget their losses. They will be seconded by Arab nationalists and those who will forever demand justice. The battles will continue and become more intense. The coming years will present choices: An ever growing Israel and a destroyed Middle East or a bi-national Israel and a more stable Middle East. The world wants the latter, but the powers in control seem determined to select the former.
Dan Lieberman, Editor: Alternative Insight
August 9, 2006