Whitewashing Israel's History

By Munley, Frank | The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA), November 20, 2014 | Go to article overview

Whitewashing Israel's History


Munley, Frank, The Roanoke Times (Roanoke, VA)


Roanoke College theologian Gerald McDermott has attempted to correct "Myths about Israel and Zionism" (Oct. 22 commentary), but only perpetuated several of his own. Relevant to his argument is Britain's decision during World War I to facilitate a Jewish "national home" in Palestine. Britain and its ally France, not to be trusted, broke WWI agreements with Arab powers to the consternation of T.E. Lawrence ("Of Arabia"). In exercising raw power, the two imperialists slapped borders around regions, giving to some and taking from others what was never theirs.

The national home originated from the 68-word Balfour Declaration of 1917. It supposedly puts a legal sheen on the establishment of a Jewish state. But a national home is not a state, and preceding the 1948 war founding Israel, Britain repeatedly said that it did not support a Jewish state. It wanted a bi-national state or something equivalent.

McDermott says Zionists ended up with only 17.5 percent of their "originally designated" land because they were denied Transjordan (today's Jordan). A brief review is needed to analyze this claim, contrived to undercut the real Palestinian claim today that the West Bank and Gaza acceptable for a Palestinian state is about 25 percent of Palestine.

The League of Nations mandate for Palestine did not include or exclude Transjordan, because its 1920 San Remo Conference left Palestine's borders undetermined. For a short time Britain, an imperialist schemer, included Transjordan in its Palestine mandate for geostrategic interest and dropped it when it wasn't needed. What the imperialist giveth, it taketh away. In September 1923, when Arabs comprised 93 percent of the population, the League's mandate plan was finally implemented, and Palestine's boundaries were fixed where they are today. As one Middle East expert pointed out, why would Zionists even want Transjordan, the land of "Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh"? Zionists were never denied something the ruling powers had no intention of giving them, something Zionists didn't even want.

Another attempt to put a legal sheen on the Jewish state focuses on Israel's acceptance and Arab rejection of the ill-conceived U.N. General Assembly's 1947 partition plan. This crazy-quilt scheme, which violated the high principle of self-determination and was opposed by many U.S. security experts, provided three barely contiguous areas for each side, an isolated Arab enclave (Jaffa), and an internationally supervised Jerusalem. …

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