If the “West Bank” was part of the “Hashemite Kingdom” up to 1967, how did it suddenly become the Palestinians’ long-yearned-for homeland which, up until then, they were submissively willing to cede to an alien potentate?
A simple mental experiment will suffice to strip away the veil of mendacity shrouding the Palestinian grievances against Israel.
Imagine for a moment…
To demonstrate this, imagine for a moment that the 1967 Six Day War, in which several Arab armies marshalled their forces with the undisguised intention to annihilate Israel, never took place. Imagine that Israel had not been compelled to launch a preemptive strike in self-defense to thwart the Arabs’ openly proclaimed aim of total genocide that resulted in it taking over Judea-Samaria (a.k.a. the “West Bank”) — which the Palestinians now contend is their long-yearned for homeland.
Then ask yourself: If that war had not occurred, where would “Palestine” be?
After all, but for this war, the “West Bank” would not have fallen under Israeli administration. Surely then, the Palestinians would have no grievances against the Jewish state and there would be no charges of Israel “occupying Palestinian lands” and dispossessing the “Palestinians” from their “homeland.”
Sadly, this is not the case. Charges of “occupation” of Palestinian land and dispossession of the Palestinians were widespread long before Israel had control of a square inch of the “West Bank.”
“We shall enter Palestine with its soil …saturated in blood”
Indeed, as early as March 8, 1965, over two years before the Six-Day War, Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt, proclaimed his bloodcurdling intent: “We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand, we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.”
But what “Palestine” was he referring to? It certainly was not the “West Bank” and Gaza, which were under Jordanian and Egyptian rule respectively. It could only be the territory within the pre-1967 borders of Israel — the very borders to which Israel is being pressured to return in order to ensure… peace.
Similarly savage sentiments were expressed by Ahmad Shukeiri, Yasser Arafat’s predecessor as chairman of the PLO. Indeed, only days prior to the outbreak of the Six-Day War, in a somewhat premature flush of triumph, he crowed: “D Day is approaching. The Arabs have waited 19 years for this and will not flinch from the war of liberation...”
Ominously, he threatened: “This is a fight for the homeland – it is either us or the Israelis. There is no middle road … We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants and as for the survivors — if there are any — the boats are ready to deport them.”
An ephemeral “homeland”
Here again, Shukeiri’s use of the words “liberation” and “homeland” is revealing… and damning for current Palestinian claims.
After all, they clearly did not apply to the “West Bank” or the Gaza Strip, since both were under Arab rule and certainly not considered the “homeland” towards which Palestinian “liberation” efforts were directed.
The true significance of these terms emerges with stark clarity from the text of the original version of the Palestinian National Charter — formulated in 1964, a full three years before the “West Bank” fell under Israeli administration.
In it, Article 16 states: “The liberation of Palestine... [is] necessitated by the demands of self-defense” and “the Palestinian people look forward to [international] support... in restoring the legitimate situation to Palestine... and enabling its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom.”
But Article 24 stipulates precisely what was not included in the “homeland” of “Palestine” and where sovereignty was not sought to be exercised. Indeed, it unequivocally forswears Palestinian claims to “any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Gaza.”
It is difficult to imagine a more authoritative source for exposing as bogus the Palestinian claim that the “West Bank” and Gaza comprise their “ancient homeland.”
“Liberation of the homeland” means “annihilation of Israel”
Clearly then, the aspirations of the Palestinians have nothing to do with their attachment to the land, but everything to do with the detachment of Jews from the land — i.e. driving the Jews from any portion of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.
Indeed, even within the pre-1967 lines, long before today’s alleged “root causes of the conflict” (i.e. “occupation” and “settlements”) were part of the discourse, much less facts on the ground, Israel was condemned as a colonial, fascist, expansionist power.
According to Article 19: “Zionism is a colonialist movement in its inception, aggressive and expansionist in its goal, racist in its configurations, and fascist in its means and aims. Israel, in its capacity as the spearhead of this destructive movement and as the pillar of colonialism, is a permanent source of tension and turmoil in the Middle East.”
The pre-1967 implication is clear. To remove enduring “tension and turmoil” in the region, their “source” — Israel — must be removed.
Clearly then, the only conceivable “plain-English” translation for the “liberation of the homeland” must be the “annihilation of Israel.”
“Palestine” is where the Jews are
So, going back to our mental experiment and the original question it posed: If the 1967 Six-Day War had never taken place and the “West Bank” had remained under the rule of the Hashemite Kingdom, where would “Palestine” be?
The inevitable answer would be: Wherever the Jews are.
Is it too much to hope that simple truths will determine attitudes in the next election?
Dr. Martin Sherman is the founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies, dedicated to the preservation and propagation of joint values shared by the USA and Israel as embodied in the U.S. Constitution and Israel’s Declaration of Independence. He served for seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli Defense establishment and acted as a ministerial adviser to Yitzhak Shamir's government. Sherman lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations, and Strategic Studies. He holds several university degrees — B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance), and PhD in political science/international relations. He was the first academic director of the internationally renowned Herzliya Conference and has authored two books as well as numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He was born in South Africa and has lived in Israel since 1971. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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