Sixty-five years ago yesterday, on November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted in favor of Resolution 181, dividing the British Mandate of Palestine into an independent Jewish State and an independent Arab State.
Yesterday, on November 29, 2012, the United Nations voted to grant the Palestinian delegation the upgraded status of non-member observer state. In doing so, the UN passed a resolution (http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/67/L.28&referer=/english/&Lang=E) that rewrites history, ignores the events of the past 65 years, distorts Israel’s story and undermines the peace process.
Yesterday’s UN resolution ignores the fact that 65 years ago, the Arabs were offered a state which they could have named Palestine. Instead, the Arabs chose not to create a state but to attack Israel.
In 1947, when the UN attempted to divide Palestine into new Jewish and Arab states – the Jews accepted the plan. The Arabs not only rejected it – they began a violent campaign against the Jews to stop the establishment of a Jewish State. On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was established. On May 15, 1948 the Arab world, led by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon attacked the new State of Israel. Israel’s War of Independence had begun. Miraculously, Israel was able to stand up for herself. The 1949 Armistice Line (also known as the “Green Line” or the pre-1967 borders), marking where Israeli and Arab forces stopped fighting, cut Jerusalem in half and put the Western Wall under Jordanian control. Jordan also controlled the West Bank region and Egypt controlled Gaza. This line was never intended to serve as an official international border. As was specified as early as the 1949 General Armistice Agreement between Jordan and Israel: “the line that was designated did not compromise any future territorial claims of the two parties, since it had been dictated by exclusively by military considerations.”
Yesterday’s UN resolution distorts the facts by implying that Israel aggressively took land from the Palestinian people. The West Bank was occupied by Jordan (not Palestine – there was no Palestine) after the Arab nation attempted to annihilate the fledgling Jewish State. After Jordan attempted once again to destroy Israel in 1967, the Jewish State had no choice but to go on the defensive and force Jordan out of the West Bank.
In 1967, during the Six Day War, Israel was attacked again by her Arab neighbors. In self-defense, Israel pushed the Jordanians out of Jerusalem and all regions that lay to the west of the bank of the Jordan River – gaining possession of the West Bank region. Israel also gained control of Gaza – a region she withdrew from in 2005 as part of the “peace-process”. As we saw just recently, Gaza has been turned into a launching pad for Hamas rockets.
Yesterday’s UN Resolution undermines the peace process and suggests that the “State of Palestine” is defined by the pre-1967 borders – rewriting prior UN documents and interim-agreements which make it clear that borders need to be negotiated and the UN and her nations must promote these negotiation.
In response to the Six Day War, the United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 242 which expressed concern with “the grave situation in the Middle East”. In addition, the resolution called for the “withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” The Resolution states that the U.N. must “promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement” between the involved parties. The Resolution does not call for Israel to withdraw from the entire West Bank and, thus, return to the “pre-1967 borders”. Some have tried to twist the wording of Resolution 242 by asserting that it calls for the withdrawal of Israel armed forced from THE territories. But this is not the case. It has been widely documented by those involved in crafting the Resolution that the language used was intentional. There was never the expectation that Israel would return to the “1967 borders”. They were an artificial armistice line that provided no security to Israel. Withdrawing to the “1967 borders” has never been Israel’s idea of peace and security. Other important documents and agreements, such as the Oslo Accords, make it clear that Israel and the Palestinian Authority must rely upon bi-lateral negotiations to determine borders and other important issues. Yesterday’s resolution undermined these documents and agreements.
Yesterday’s UN Resolution recognizes the right of the Palestinian people to form a state and live in peace but fails to acknowledge that Palestinian leaders, which include Hamas terrorists, refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. The Resolution, while calling upon Israel to do much to bring about peace, fails to even mention the violence perpetrated against Israelis by those in the Palestinian world.
Israel is willing to live in peace with a Palestinian State. But, as Prime Minister Netanyahu said yesterday, peace must include recognition of the right of Israel to exist and to live in peace. One needs to simply look at the hundreds of missiles that hit Israel this month to see how far we are from this recognition.
Only eight nations stood with Israel to oppose yesterday’s resolution – the U.S., Canada, the Czech Republic, Palau, Nauru, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Panama. These nations stood up for the truth. 138 nations voted in favor of the resolution. 41 abstained. Israel sees who her friends are – and so do we. Now, more than ever – it is crucial for us to stand up for Israel and for the American-Israel relationship.