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%.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Six Day War, Gaza, the West Bank - and Fairy Tales

[First published June 2007]

The failure by editors of supposedly impartial and respected newspapers to correct inaccuracies in media articles regarding the West Bank and Gaza prior to their publication, gives continuing credence to total Arab denial of any Jewish rights in those areas - and also seriously misleads and misinforms their trusting readers as to the nature of the conflict that is taking place.

Letters written to the editors requesting corrections are usually consigned to the waste paper basket and even if printed, are too late to undo the damage - allowing gross distortion of facts to be perpetuated and in many cases repeated by the same and other journalists.

A classic case in point is the article - “War over, but the fight goes on” - written by Ed O’Loughlin, which appeared in two of Australia’s most respected newspapers - the Sydney Morning Herald and the Brisbane Times - on 2 June 2007 to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Six Day War in 1967.

Consider these five gems (and there are many more) in Mr O’Loughlin’s article:

1. “ A native of New Jersey, he is one of several hundred Jews who live under heavy military protection in the first and most extreme of all Jewish settlements on the West Bank, carved out of the historic heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron.”

The author fails to mention that “the historic heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron” happens to include the ancient Jewish Quarter of Hebron built on land purchased by Jews in 1540.

Jews lived there until 24 August 1929 when 67 Jewish men women and children were slaughtered by a crowd of rampaging Arabs . The remaining Jewish population of 750 were forced to flee. Some returned in 1931 but were forced to leave when the Arabs rioted again in 1936. Jews returned to the Jewish Quarter after the Six Day War to a very hostile welcome from the Arab residents.

Hebron contains the traditional burial place of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Leah and Rebecca - one of Jewry’s holiest sites - which the Bible records was purchased by Abraham in 1753BC.

Hebron is therefore more than just a Palestinian city. It has a far longer Jewish history - one of great religious significance for Jews.

Any editor worth his salt should have taken steps to have the author correct this statement.

2. “Of all the territories captured by Israel in the Six-Day war, only the Sinai Peninsula has been returned to its former owner, Egypt, thanks to the 1978 Camp David Accords of the then US president Jimmy Carter.”

The inference is that the Sinai Peninsula is only a small part of all the territories captured by Israel.

In fact the Sinai Peninsula comprised 90% of all the territories captured by Israel. It was returned to Egypt as part of the historic Peace Treaty between Israel and Egypt along with the Alma oil field discovered and developed there by Israel and reportedly worth $100 billion as well as strategic military airfields and early warning installations built by Israel. 7000 Jews were also expelled from Sinai as part of the agreement.

Why this misleading statement was allowed to go to print beggars belief.

3. “In the West Bank and East Jerusalem tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers and paramilitary police are needed to control 2.5 million indigenous Palestinians and to protect the 450000 Jewish settlers planted in their midst since the war”

Describing the Palestinians as “indigenous” is very disingenuous.

Weren’t the Jews given the right by the League of Nations under the Mandate for Palestine to “reconstitute” their former national home in these very areas after 2000years of dispersal throughout the world. Has this right not been preserved to this very day by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter?

Who are the indigenous people then - the descendants of Jews who were driven from their country 2000 years ago or the descendants of Arabs who occupied it by conquest seven centuries later?

Mr O’Loughlin’s use of the word “indigenous” is inflammatory, judgemental, totally irrelevant in relation to the context and should have been simply edited out.

4. “Gaza’s air space, sea access and border crossings are all under tight Israeli military control …”

The Rafah border crossing is under Egypt’s control - not Israel’s.

Why was this incorrect statement let through?

5. ”The Six-Day War might have appeared to be a decisive victory for Israel but its outcome was never transformed into a workable political peace settlement”

Aren’t Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) workable political peace settlements ?

If Mr O’Loughlin intended this statement to only refer to the West Bank and Gaza, then he should have made that clear in his article. However that would have created a little problem for him.

Both Gaza and the West Bank had been continuously occupied by Egypt and Jordan respectively from 1948 until 1967. Not one Jew lived there during all that time - although many had been driven out by six invading Arab armies in the 1948 War.

The Arab League could have created another Arab State in those areas at the drop of a hat at any time during those 19 years. What they demand now in the Arab League Peace Initiative was theirs for the creating until 1967.

Israel is now being pressured to make this happen 40 years later and remove 450000 Jews who have, since 1967, gone to live in the West Bank - an area that is part of their ancestral homeland and has been internationally designated and sanctioned for the Jewish National Home.

Perhaps Mr O’Loughlin should use his privileged access to these prestigious newspapers to canvas why another Arab State in the West Bank and Gaza is now thought necessary, why all the Jews must move out and how this will end the conflict between Jews and Arabs.

It might just give the editors the chance to rectify the damage caused to the reputation of their papers by allowing the publication of this article in its present form.

Fairy tales are no substitute for truth and accuracy - especially when it relates to the Arab-Jewish conflict.

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