Israel now faces war both to the north and to the south. And if Olmert’s crazed plan were to be instituted, to the east as well. Israel has already given up territory to which it had a superior claim. In the case of the Sinai, which was won (twice, the first time given back in exchange for worthless promises by Nasser in 1956, and the second time for empty promises by Sadat in 1978) in a war of self-defense, and most of which had become “historic Egyptian territory” only in 1922 (this keeps being forgotten, by Israel, and by the rest of the world — why?), the right comes from the laws of war. The claim to Sinai is the same as those which redrew the boundaries of Europe after World War II, or after World War I, and which gave Italy formerly Austrian Sudtirol, now the Alto Adige, thus completing the “elmo” (helmet) of Italy’s anthem. When Italy was handed the Sudtirol, the territory was 98% ethnic German, German-speaking. Yet no one objected then, and no one objects now. Under no conditions should Italy ever hand back that territory. And there so many other such examples.
Is there to be one law for all other countries in the world, and a separate law for Israel, regarding what it wins in a war of self-defense? Is that the new rule, the rule of the O.I.C., and the U.N., and the E.U.? Sorry, that nonsense is over.
Except possibly in the mind of Ehud Olmert and those who still support his disastrous misunderstanding of the nature of Arab and Muslim opposition to Israel.
Not a single dunam of the “West Bank” should be given up. Israel cannot survive unless it controls the invasion route from the west, and that means permanent control of the Judean heights. It means control of the Jordan Valley. Israel is already reduced to a situation of geographical peril that is without parallel. Americans must imagine their own country, with say a few million enemy troops camped up and down along the Mississippi, allowed there in return for promises of “peace.” It’s nonsense.
If Bush and Rice will not study the wellsprings of the Jihad, at least the leaders of Israel have to do so. They owe this duty to the people they are supposed to instruct and protect. If they do not like what they discover, if they find it too upsetting, if they cannot conceive of a long war without end, they should resign in favor of those who can. For isn’t a war without end exactly what Islam has been conducting, everywhere it can, for the past 1350 years? Why should it stop now? A war without end does not mean that Infidels cannot withstand such a siege, or even inflict terrible damage on those conducting Jihad, and limit the instruments of that Jihad. Did anyone think, in 1950 or 1970, that one day the gigantic police-state of the Soviet Union would crumble, because enough people within that police-state realized that on its own terms Communism had failed?
The “West Bank” is part of Western Palestine. It is the part of historic Palestine that remained after the British lopped off all of Eastern Palestine to fashion the Emirate of Transjordan (a consolation prize for Abdullah, whose little brother had been set by Percy Cox on the throne of Iraq). It was intended by the League of Nations to be forever part of the territory set aside, in the vast lands of the former Ottoman Empire, for the establishment of the Jewish National Home, the future “Jewish state” that the victorious Allies in World War I promised to set up along with “an Arab state” and “a Kurdish state”(still, one hopes, to come) and “an Armenian state” (at long last, one no longer part of the Soviet empire). The League of Nations came to an end, but the Mandates system was accepted, had to be accepted, lock-stock-and-barrel, by the successor organization, the United Nations. The United Nations, whatever the power of its Arab and Muslim bloc (the only bloc that now exists, with no countervailing bloc of non-Muslim states), has no right to undo the commitments that, according to its own charter, were undertaken in the mandates system of the League of Nations.
If current Israeli leaders are incapable of restating intelligently and lucidly the legal, moral, and historic rights of Israel to what the Arabs renamed the West Bank, they should be voted out. Israel has consistently had governments unworthy of its people. But then, so have many countries in Western Europe, now facing a threat that they imported, that they allowed to grow, that they have done little or nothing to halt. And so too does this country, the United States, whose citizens are more aware: just look at the fury over the Dubai Ports Deal. That fury was really an expression of anger over the entire system of dealing with Dubai, the Saudis, and all the others, for whom well-connected Washington officials and ex-officials work and lobby. The entire country is sick of it and sick of them.
One hopes this will be the end of Ehud Olmert. Israelis can imagine what it would be like, with Qassem rockets (a thousand in the last year) coming in from the south, and rockets and attacks from the north, and then more attacks from the east, if the Israelis foolishly were to give up anything more in that “West Bank.” Even were they to retain a few military outposts here and there, that is not the equivalent to finally taking the territory to which they have every right to lay claim, and doing what they could so easily have done in June 1967: incorporate it fully into the state of Israel, instead of permitting not only the BBC and other venomous voices, but some Israelis themselves, to treat this part of the former Mandatory Palestine (which was set up to “facilitate Jewish immigration” and “close Jewish settlement on the land”) as “occupied” land.
Oh, it’s “occupied” land, all right. It’s Jewish land, “occupied” for the moment by a great many Arabs. That’s how it’s “occupied.”
Olmert cannot last. Leaving aside his deplorable children, the draft-dodging son in Paris, the far-left daughter Dana (google “Naomi Ragen” and “Dana Olmert” for more), his policy in Gaza made no sense. Moshe Ya’alon was right. All those who said it was folly were right. Eventually reality has got to start breaking in.