Op-Ed: ‘A Failing Grade in Middle East History 101’

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), February 7, 2019 | Go to article overview

Op-Ed: ‘A Failing Grade in Middle East History 101’


The author of the op-ed “Time to stand up for equality” (Yann van Huerck, Feb. 5) deserves a failing grade in Middle East History 101. The op-ed is replete with multiple errors and falsifications. The facts are:

Following the defeat of Turkey in World War I, Great Britain was awarded by the League of Nations the Mandate over the Turkish province of Palestine which then included territory on both sides of the Jordan River. Great Britain then gave King Abdullah, the present king’s great-grandfather, the land to the east of the Jordan River as a consolation prize after his clan’s ouster from the Arabian Peninsular by the House of Saud.

The remaining Palestine soon became embroiled in a three-way struggle between Great Britain and the Jewish and Arab populations, both of whom wanted the withdrawal of Britain from the land and who had competing desires for a Jewish and Palestinian Homeland.

After World War II, Great Britain, exhausted by the war and the Palestinian-Jewish conflict, gave the problem to the United Nations.

A United Nations subcommittee proposed, and in November 1947 the General Assembly approved, a plan to partition the territory into separate Jewish and Arab Homelands. This proposal gave 45 percent of the land to a proposed Arab State and 55 percent to a proposed Jewish State but almost half of that allocation included the arid and undeveloped Negev Desert.

The Jewish Agency accepted the proposal but it was rejected by the Arab League.

Immediately armed attacks by Palestinian militants on the Jewish community worsened. On May 14, 1948 an Independent Jewish State was announced only to be immediately invaded by the armies of five surrounding Arab States along with Palestinian irregulars. In the ensuing fighting Israel succeeded in slightly expanding its borders making its borders more defensible. More than 6,000 Israelis were killed.

During the fighting the Kingdom of Jordan invaded, occupied and subsequently annexed the West Bank while Egypt invaded, occupied but did not annex Gaza. It was then that the chance for an independent Palestinian State died. …

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