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Thursday, March 21, 2013

FIRST; MIRACLE OF ISRAEL; And Why There Hasn't Been a Peace Between Arabs and Jews

Nadene Goldfoot
Back in November 29, 1947, when another uncle of mine was able to finally buy a new Ford in Oregon, Jews in Palestine were  being attacked by Arabs.  May 14, 1948 finally came along at which the regular Arab armies invaded and attacked the Jews within the hour. They came from Syria, Lebanon, Transjordon, Iraq, a Saudi-Arabian contingent. and Egypt to reinforce local Arabs.  This was going to be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre of Jews that was to be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades according to Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League who proclaimed this in Cairo.

 Civilian villagers faced each other armed with just rifles, grenades and homemade Stens.  Teen-aged Jewish girls along with other children aged 10 and 11 fought side by side with the men.  The Jews had later received arms shipments from abroad but only in the midst of the battle that went on till March 1949.  They owed many of their victories to their unyielding spirit than to any military equipment or proficiency.  Their religious thanked G-d for being on their side.

 The Arab peasants got in on the act, too with hardly a day's military training and blindly stormed Jewish settlements.  Jordan had the advantage of the British-commanded Arab Legion who knew how to fight.   These invaders came with artillery, tanks and  planes but didn't know how to use them well.  There is an old movie showing Frank Sinatra as an American pilot in a little plane helping out the Jews. It's "Cast a Giant Shadow", also with Kirk Douglas which is part fact and part fiction about Israel's 1947-48 struggle for Independence.

The Jews, who became Israelis on May 14, 1948 in the midst of the battle,  wound up with from 7,000 to 10,000 dead.  Of the 600,000 Jewish population, this meant one out of every 100 Jews living in Israel then died in battle.  The Arab toll was higher.

Jews had to fight again over the Suez in 1956.  By the time 1967's war came around,  Israel lost 800 out of a population of 2.5 million in the Six Day War.  These wars were manifestations of the original belligerence of non-acceptance of Israel.  To Arabs, Jews were despicable.  Their Nazi peers had said so.  In their country they had always been dhimmis, 2nd class citizens.  They couldn't have a state of their own so near Muslims!

Arafat -leader of PLO, now Fatah, had adopted a worldwide program of terror activities aimed at Israelis, Zionists and Jewish targets.  Palestinians were ousted from Jordan in 1970 by King Hussein, and ousted from Lebanon in 1982 by the Israel army.  Arafat supported Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War.  Finally Arafat became president of the Palestine that wasn't created as yet in 1998.  .

The Palestinian question is not the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict.  It is the result of the conflict.  It comes from the Arab unwillingness to accept a Jewish State in the Middle East.  After 65 years, are we any closer to the Arab's change of heart?  This is the question that Obama should be asking Fatah's Abbas and his unruly other half, Hamas.

Had the Arabs not fought the Jews in 47-49 and block the UN partition plan, a Palestinian state in Judea-Samaria, Galilee and the Negev would be celebrating their anniversary of its independence.  Had the Arab states not supported terrorism directed at Israeli civilians like Hamas is today, this would have happened.  Had they not provoked 6 subsequent Arab-Israeli wars, the conflict could have been settled long ago.  There would be no Palestinian problem.

Long ago the Palestinian refugees could have been resettled among their people in Arab lands, which happens to extend over 5 million square miles, so don't say there wasn't any room for them.  They came from these lands in the first place.  Arabs had entered Palestine to find jobs.  Their numbers increased due to economic prosperity brought about by Jewish immigration which brought about rapid development.  Within 30 years the Arab population nearly doubled.

Israel, with 8,000 sq miles and a fraction of Arab wealth, absorbed 820,000 Jews driven from Arab countries in the 1950's.  Their refusal shows they are more interested in using their refugees as political weapons against Israel than they are in truly solving this problem.

The feisty Arab countries who are in on destroying Israel have their own personal fights.  Iraq's rape of Kuwait and Syria's brutal subjugation of Lebanon and now its own people have nothing to do with Palestine and Israel.  This is what has been characterizing the Middle East.  How about when Iraq and Iran warred against each other in the 80's?   Since 1991, what has been going on?
1.  The 1991 Gulf War
2. Iran-Iraq War-Sunni and Shi'as
3. Lebanese Civil War-Christians and Muslims
4. Libya's interference in Chad
5. Sudanese Civil War
6. Syria-Iraq conflict
7. Polisario Front and Morocco War
8. Syria and Rebels and 70,000 dead and now possible chemical warfare
9. Iran making uranium to be be used in weapons on USA and Israel

Borders in the Middle East, from Libya to Pakistan, from Turkey to Yemen, are either ill-defined or in dispute.  If suddenly we did have Palestine created and everybody was happy, which will not be the realistic case since they insist all Jews are to move out of their state, so we cannot start singing Kum Bi-ya, if this happened, it would have no impact on the many inter-Arab rivalries that start wars in the Middle East.  It would not stop Arab opposition to Israel, who still will not accept Israel.  Luckily President Hafez Assad of Syria has more than he can handle with his own rebellious people, as he has long advocated a "Greater Syria" as he eyes Israel.  Israel has already had several stray missiles land in the Golan Heights from Assad

Right now Obama is in Israel on his first visit and has talked with Abbas.  Is he and the Palestinian Arabs going to be happy and contented with parts of Judea, Samaria and Gaza?  Abu Iyad, who was the #2 man of the PLO, Fatah's original name, died in 1991 but had said of their plans:

"There should be no illusion as to the solutions, whether through the US or through an international conference.  According to the phased plan, we will establish a Palestinian state on any part of Palestine the enemy (Israel) will retreat from.  The Palestinian state will be a stage in our prolonged struggle for the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of a democratic state on all of its territory.  

We cannot achieve the strategic goal of a Palestine state in all of Palestine without first establishing a Palestinian state on part of its territory.  "

Obama thinks that Abbas is going to be a great partner.  Arafat spoke in Geneva and supposedly recognized Israel's right to exist, but the prominent PLO officials continued to reiterate their support for the strategy of stages.  So one must recognize what their goal is to be.  Hamas's goal is to eliminate Israel.  It's in their charter.  Yet Obama took delight in speaking to the Israeli college students on this trip and urged them to think of the Palestinians and to forget about the older leaders of Israel.  I don't think that President Shimon Peres of Kadima appreciated that remark.  I just pray the college students have more sense.  Most all of them have already served in the IDF before starting college.  They should understand why they have been protecting Israel .  For that matter, all Jews, not just college students, already think about the Palestinians and want to be fair  However, it can't always be one-sided, can it.

Resource:  Genesis 1948 by Dan Kurzman  The first Arab-Israeli War
Myths and Facts, a concise record of the Arab-Israeli conflict by Mitchell G. Bard, Joel Himelfarb
Facts About Israel 1973, Division of Information, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

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