Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Israel's next President?

[Published October 2006]

Elie Wiesel's decision to turn down the offer to become Israel's next President is to be deeply regretted.

Mr Wiesel, 77, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a
"messenger to mankind,"
noting that through his struggle to come to terms with
"his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps,"
as well as his
"practical work in the cause of peace,"
he had delivered a powerful message
"of peace, atonement and human dignity"
to humanity.

Mr. Wiesel lives in America where he teaches at Boston University. He became an American citizen in 1963. He has recently received an honorary knighthood from the Queen of England.

Hopefully it is not too late to have Mr Wiesel rethink his decision.

The position of President is ceremonial only and carries no political power. However it offers the holder the opportunity to come into contact with all sectors of Israeli society and Jews worldwide and to represent Israel on State visits to other countries.

The President is the public persona of Israel and the Jewish people.

It was an inspired decision that led Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, to offer the Presidency to a non-Israeli at this time.

It recognised that 9 million of the world's Jewish population of 14 million do not live in Israel yet could still aspire to be appointed to the most prestigious and honourable position in the country.

Such an appointment would acknowledge the close relationship and mutual dependency between Jews in Israel and outside Israel and emphasise that the fate of each is bound up with and affects the fate of the other.

Many Jews living outside Israel have children and grandchildren who have migrated to and settled, in Israel. Others have business interests that lead to them spending extensive periods of time in Israel. A large number make frequent visits particularly at times of high religious significance.

Programs for young people attract tens of thousands annually to spend many weeks, months and even years in Israel reinforcing their Jewish identity resulting, in many cases, in their migrating to Israel permanently. All Jewish educational programs outside Israel involve the teaching of the history and geography of Israel from biblical times to the present day.

The appointment of a non-Israeli Jew as President would give renewed meaning to the Mandate for Palestine created by the League of Nations in 1922.

The Mandate endorsed
"the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people"
thereby giving recognition
"to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country"
without prejudice to
"the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country".

The international community confirmed this commitment in 1946 by inserting Article 80 into the United Nations Charter giving Jews living anywhere in the World at that time or future generations the entitlement in international law to take up residence there at any time of their own choosing.

Israel is going through one of the most difficult periods since its establishment in 1948 as it now faces

(i) internal political scandals involving its current President, Moshe Katsav, Prime Minister Olmert, other politicians and military leaders,

(ii) calls for its total destruction by Iranian President Ahmadinijad and the Hamas led Government in Gaza

(iii) demands from the European Union and the 22 Arab States making up the Arab League that Israel withdraw to insecure and indefensible boundaries notwithstanding the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

A non-Israeli President could well serve as the rallying point for Jews in Israel and elsewhere to overcome the malaise that appears to have settled upon the Jewish people. This is encouraging Arab enemies of the Jewish State to believe that the time is fast coming for another all out attack to eliminate this thriving democratic State from among the nations of the world.

Israel desperately needs to stir the World's conscience and memory of its decisions to allow the Jews to return to the tiny country from whence they were expelled more than 2000 years ago, to ensure they will never be driven out again, and to guarantee that Israel will have sufficient space to absorb future generations of Jews who may wish to migrate and settle there.

Appointing an eminent and distinguished non-Israeli as the next President of the State of Israel could indeed be the catalyst that will help achieve these objectives.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jordan's Justified Jitters

[ Published October 2006]

King Abdullah of Jordan is nervous and for good reason.

He has publicly expressed his growing concern at the continuing power struggles, internal fighting and economic disaster occurring in Gaza and the implications this will have for the "two-state solution" sponsored almost four years ago by America, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations -- the so called Quartet.

The Quartet's proposal called for the creation of a 23rd independent Arab State within Gaza and the West Bank - the remaining 6% of the former League of Nations Mandate for Palestine unallocated between Israel (17%) and Jordan (77%).

The Quartet has suffered acute embarrassment and loss of face as the plan still remains unimplemented in even one small detail, whilst Arab intransigence continues to deny any claim by Israel to even one square kilometre of this territory.

Even worse, the Quartet's diplomatic failure to get the process up and running has exposed it as a toothless tiger in the face of resurgent Arab nationalism and mounting Islamic terrorism worldwide.

Seeking to create yet another Arab State within all or part of the West Bank and Gaza - an area of just 6200 square kilometres -- rather than dividing this territory between the 90,000 square kilometres of Jordan and the 22,000 square kilometres of Israel has proved to be an error of disastrous proportions.

The Quartet endorsed the claim that the Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza were entitled to a separate State of their own even though they were no different in religion, language or culture to their brethren and families living less than one hour's drive away.

Additional Arab League demands for the transfer of 400,000 Jews back to Israel, as well as the return of millions of Arabs or their descendants to Israel displaced as a result of the War in 1948 effectively ended any possibility of the Quartet's plan ever succeeding.

Now King Abdullah has had enough and has firmly spoken out against these failed Arab policies.

In an interview published in the Khaleej Times on 11 October 2006, King Abdullah declared:

"I really think that by the first half of 2007 we might wake up to reality and realise that the two-state solution is no longer attainable, and then what?"

He gave further vent to his frustration by saying:

"I think we are really running out of time. Physically, on the ground and geographically, I think there is less and less of a West Bank and Jerusalem to talk about"

He warned:

"We want to go back to the 1967 borders. We are talking about that today. Are we going to talk about that tomorrow though? This is the danger."

King Abdullah recognises that compromise with Israel to achieve the Quartet's two-state solution will involve the return of something less than the entire West Bank and Gaza.

His view will not resonate well with the Arab League, which is in no mood to moderate its extreme and totally unrealistic demands.

If the two-state solution falls by the wayside as a result, King Abdullah is clearly fearful that another war might break out that could involve Jordan and even possibly lead to an attempt to overthrow his rule in Jordan as radical terrorist groups seek another springboard for their assault on Israel.

The rapidly deteriorating conditions in Gaza and the threat of civil war there spilling over into the West Bank could well see Jordan and possibly Egypt intervening with Israel's support to oust the Hamas Government in Gaza, restore law and order and regain international financial support to assist and rehabilitate the Arab populations of the West Bank and Gaza to live in peace among themselves and with their neighbours.

This could ultimately involve what should have been the Quartet's objective in the first place --the division of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza between Israel, Jordan and possibly Egypt.

This is and has always been the only possible solution for the West Bank and Gaza.

It is a pity that international and Arab diplomacy for the last 13 years has totally focused its efforts on imposing another Arab State between Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

King Abdullah now fears this diplomacy will come to naught by the first half of 2007.

If this indeed happens, then the opportunity must be taken by Israel, Jordan and Egypt, with the assistance of the Quartet, to restore some sanity and reality by creatively resolving a conflict that has defied everyone's best efforts for the last 125 years.