William A. Cook: Justice and Peace as Defined by the Jewish State
“As for the rights of Jewish people in this land, I have a simple message for those people gathered in the General Assembly today, no decision by the U.N. can break the 4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.” (Ron Prosor, United Nations Ambassador from Israel, November 29, 2012)
In today’s world a tragic hero is a representative figure who stands before us as one speaking for his people, an Ambassador if you will, addressing the citizens of the world at the United Nations, enunciating the beliefs and demands of his nation as they must confront an event of great magnitude that appears to represent a reversal of their fortunes. Such a figure was Ronald Prosor, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations on November 29th, 2012, as he addressed the assembled delegates before their vote on the recognition of the state of Palestine. “No decision by the UN can break the 4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel, “he arrogantly proclaimed, thereby determining that no decision by the UN can alter the absolute dictates of the state of Israel as they have impacted the desires and hopes and dreams of the citizens of the world regarding peace and justice in the land of Palestine.
That statement must stand as an articulated hamartia, a mistake of moral blindness, capturing in its hubris the downfall of a noble nation. Before the citizens of the world, Prosor demanded that Israel alone must determine what peace and justice will be, knowing beforehand that the UN, in General Assembly, would momentarily act to question the legitimacy of Israel’s unilateral defiance of its decrees. The vote to recognize the rights of the people of Palestine, by electing it to the forum of nation states, proclaims to all that they are equal to all assembled and can use the powers vested in the UN to bring their oppressors and occupiers before the International Courts of Justice and to seek redress for the rights denied them under its charters. No longer can they be shackled to the demands of either the United States or Israel. Now they can address the UN as victims of an aggressive nation that has defied more than 160 of its Resolutions since 1948 by imposing with force conditions inimical to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which it is a signatory.
Prosor unveiled the true nature of the state of Israel, revealing at its core a total repugnance for the world organization of which it is a member, albeit a fraudulent one, that openly defies its international laws and the rights it proclaims for the people of the world. Thus does Israel stand naked before the world as a nation that threatens its sister nations with actions that it will determine regardless of the will of the UN. Such threats, made in advance of the vote, ennobles the UN since it proclaims that the moral responsibility it addressed with its vote must now be the basis for future responses to the aggrieved people of Palestine. The arrogance of Prosor’s declaration was made with the intention of changing the votes of the sister nations or in full knowledge that Israel would defy their action. Acceptance of the consequences sets the destiny of the state of Israel as it moves through the halls of the United Nations aware that it has openly defied the vast majority of its neighbors throughout the world. This action could result in a change of fortune if the Israeli state recognizes that it must conform to the will of its sister nations and accept their determination of rights and justice, not theirs, “a change from ignorance to awareness of a bond of love or hate” (Aristotle).
On November 29th, 1947, the United Nations General Assembly proposed the division of Mandate Palestine into two states for two peoples. Between that date and May 15, 1948, the date assigned to the British Mandate government to leave Palestine, the Jewish armies began a systematic destruction of Palestinian Arab towns and villages (see All That Remains). A total of 418 such areas were destroyed, bulldozed and eradicated, including a calculated expulsion of the inhabitants (an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 people) and the massacring of their people, approximately 23 such massacres as listed by the Israeli historian Dr. Benny Morris in his recent text, Righteous Victims, the deplorable extent of which can be witnessed through the eyes of the Jewish Agency and its military forces as described by Dr. Ilan Pappe in his book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. On November 29th, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to recognize the existence of a Palestinian State, 64 years after the Jewish armies attempted to eliminate the Arabs from Mandate Palestine.
This historic vote, including the 41 abstentions, is concrete recognition that the people of Palestine should have their own state, acceptance, one might observe, that 188 nations of the 193 member states of the UN realize the injustice that the Palestinian people have suffered under the occupation by the self-proclaimed Jewish State. Arguably those abstaining reacted to the coercion leveled at them by the United States and Israel. Indeed, given the United Kingdom’s attempt to force the Palestinian delegation to abjure any avenue to legal recourse against the occupying state through the International Court of Justice or the UNHRC reflects the amoral behavior of the nation that caused the debacle in the first place through its unjustified Balfour Declaration.
Hence the importance that must be directed to the speech given by the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Mr. Ron Prosor, as he commands the member states of the United Nations to reject the application submitted by Mr. Abbas or face the consequences of not abiding by the dictates of Israel and its puppet the United States. Prosor applies three areas of fundamental and irrefutable Israeli logic to his argument: one historical, the second religious, and the third arrogance, as he threatens the representatives of 193 Nations with potentially catastrophic consequences if Israeli definitions and logic do not determine the outcome.
Let us entertain each in sequence. Historical: these are Prosor’s words, “President Abbas described today’s proceedings as “historic”. But the only thing historic about his speech is how that 65 years ago today, the United Nations voted to partition the British Mandate into two states: a Jewish state, and an Arab state. Two states for two peoples.” Mark that he fails to mention this inconvenient truth that the minute the UN recommended its Partition Plan in November of 1947, Israeli forces not only ignored the proposal, they defied it. Ironically that defiance followed six years of terrorism against the British Mandate government, whose authority was granted by both the League of Nations and the new United Nations , the international body responsible for proposing the existence of an Israeli state. Nor does Prosor mention yet another inconvenient truth, the deception showered on President Truman as the deadline for the Mandate authorities termination neared, details of which can be found in my article “A Nation Born in Deception,” April 27, 2010. That omission avoided mentioning that the clandestine government fighting against Britain had no intentions of partitioning the land of Palestine. Indeed, in documents now available in The Plight of the Palestinians, documents seized by the Mandate authorities from the Jewish Agency and classified as Top Secret, it is clear that the Jews intended to eradicate every Arab living in Palestine.
But Prosor continues his tirade against the Palestinians, “Israel accepted this plan. The Palestinians and Arab nations around us rejected it and launched a war of annihilation to throw the “Jews into the sea”.” How can he assert that Israel accepted this plan when they were, in November, planning and executing the eradication of hundreds of Palestinian towns and the forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands, not to mention the expropriation of land they did not own? Tragic deception before an international audience!
Prosor continues his harangue: “They have never been willing to accept what this very body recognized 65 years ago. Israel is the Jewish state. . . Not only do you not recognize the Jewish state, you are also trying to erase Jewish history. This year, you even tried to erase the connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. You said that Jews were trying to alter the historic character of Jerusalem. You said that we are trying to “Judaize Jerusalem”. There is an inconvenient truth avoided here: Prosor fails to mention that the very Balfour Declaration he relies on as granting the existence of a homeland for Jews does not establish a Jewish State. Witness this statement by the British authorities as noted in the Command Paper 1922 from the Avalon Project at Yale University: “His Majesty’s Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is no part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State.”
This statement was later confirmed by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine in 1947:
“Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. Phrases have been used such as that Palestine is to become as Jewish as England is English. His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated, as appears to be feared by the Arab delegation, the disappearance or the subordination of the Arabic population, language or culture in Palestine. They would draw attention to the fact that the terms of the Declaration referred to do not contemplate that Palestine as a whole should be converted into a Jewish National Home, but that such a Home should be founded in Palestine.”
One final historical reference should be part of this discussion. “65 years ago the Palestinians could have chosen to live side-by-side with the Jewish State of Israel. 65 years ago they could have chosen to accept the solution of two states for two peoples. They rejected it then, and they are rejecting it again today.” Prosor, as he does consistently throughout this talk, omits the truth. Consider the reality of the conditions in 1947 as the UN committee met to address the issue of the two peoples living in peace side by side. Witness these observations:
“75. Few phrases in history have provoked such lasting contention as “Jewish National Home.” Twenty years after the issuance of the Balfour Declaration, the Royal Commission devoted a chapter63/ of its report to a careful appraisal of the relevant texts and historical antecedents in order to clarify the meaning of the phrase.
“76. Regarding the political implications of the term “National Home,” the finding of the Commission is unequivocal:
“We have been permitted to examine the records which bear upon the question and it is clear to us that the words “the establishment in Palestine of the National Home’ were the outcome of a compromise between those Ministers who contemplated the ultimate establishment of a Jewish State and those who did not. It is obvious in any case that His Majesty’s Government could not commit itself to the establishment of the Jewish State. It could only undertake to facilitate the growth of a Home.”
Prosor provides but one perspective about the recognition of Palestine by the UN, don’t, it is contrary to the Israeli State’s best interests, after all they have had 64 years to arrive at a settlement and they have succeeded in preventing a resolution to peace (see Dr. Jeff Halper’s, “Israel is the Problem,” in The Plight of the Palestinians, for a discussion of 19 failed attempts).
Consider Prosor’s second attempt to justify the existence of the state of Israel couched in biblical terms: “Peace is a central value of Israeli society. The bible calls on us: “seek peace and pursue it.” He continues to give substance to his point by noting, “Peace fills our art and poetry. It is taught in our schools. It has been the goal of the Israeli people and every Israeli leader since Israel was re-established 64 years ago.” How unfortunate then that the instruction in the schools and the efforts of Israeli leaders have failed year after year. Perhaps it’s the responsibility of the Palestinians to usher in peace that the admonition of the Israeli G-d might be fulfilled. Certainly it is understandable that a quid pro quo should exist as negotiations for a lasting peace, based on the biblical directive, could be achieved.
Today the populations of Israel and that of the Palestinians is relatively comparable hovering in the vicinity of 7 million each. The Jewish state controls over 93 % of the land for Jews only constituting about 84% of Mandate Palestine. That leaves about 14% for the Palestinians. Would an objective observer see the enormity of this discrimination and find it Israel’s responsibility to give something for peace? What in the way of land does the new state of Palestine have to offer in exchange? Water? Ocean frontage? Gas reserves possible now off the Gazan coast since they are now recognized as a state? Internal highways to facilitate transportation? None of the above? Israel controls all water in the West Bank and controls all egress and ingress to Gaza, including access from the Mediterranean. Israel has highways for Jews only throughout Palestine and what Israel considers Israel; Palestinians can only drive on unimproved roads checked often at military checkpoints.
Let’s face it, there is nothing the Palestinians can barter with except these three items: a. Palestine must recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist and to accept it as a Jewish State; b. it must stop violence against Israel; and c. it must be a demilitarized state accepting Israeli security needs. Realistically, recognition of the State of Israel as a Jewish State denies the rights of 20% of its Arab Israeli population; it also assumes that by implication that Israel is an apartheid state, something no western democracy should support much less a mid-eastern state. The second demand makes no mention of a reciprocal action by Israel to cease and desist from all violence against Palestine. Why can Israel argue that every incursion into Gaza, every new settlement with government approval of settler violence is labeled self-defense or required for security purposes while Palestinians, who have no military, has no means of securing their people from the ravages of the IDF. Why should Palestine be “demilitarized” while the state with the fourth largest military in the world rides rough shod over their borders, confiscates their land, bulldozes down homes, businesses, and schools? Saying the words mean truth does not make it so.
Prosor continues by reference to Israel’s Declaration of Independence which states, “We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help…” What he does not say is that Israel does not have a Constitution that commands its government to be such a neighbor. The Declaration has no power over the government of Israel. But consider the truth of Prosor’s statement. Israel has invaded all of its neighbors over the years and occupies some of their lands to this day: Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. It has invaded in recent years Lebanon in 2006, Gaza in 2008-9, Syria by bombing its purported nuclear plant, and before that Iraq’s , it sinks or takes control of international shipping including the illegal attack on the Turkish ship the Mavi Mamara with the resulting assassination of nine innocent people. Saying the words mean truth does not make it so.
Finally, it is important that we not lose sight of the root cause of the Israeli state’s claim that it has an “Historical Right” to the land of Palestine. This thought is imbedded in Prosor’s statement, “the 4,000-year-old bond between the people of Israel and the land of Israel.” Consider the reality of this claim in light of 4000 years of millions of diverse peoples living in this geographic area. The God of ancient Judaism existed in the minds and hearts of a few thousands of people, estimated at 20,000-40,000 at the time of the Exodus. New research notes: “Instead of the Exodus happening in the 13th century, when the estimated population of the Israelites numbered somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000, it never happened as told about the Israelites. It was recorded in the 7th century using ancient stories gathered together into a “history” of the Israelites to aid Josiah in creating his dream kingdom.” The god of Israel, like the gods throughout ancient cultures, was a creation to address conditions of the times, a means of understanding self in a world beyond comprehension, a world that could give meaning to the citizens of a place. For contemporary society to direct their future through the eyes of ancient peoples, a pitifully small percentage of the population in the seventh century BCE, when the populations of the planet exceeds seven billion is to exercise a futile gesture not only in logic but in fairness to all peoples.
Consider that Prosor’s observation, “the 4000 year-old-bond…” implies a continuity of Jewish domination in the land. It is not so. If “King David” conquered the tribes and city states of Canaan in 1000 BCE (a date still in dispute), a kingdom of small numbers, approximately 300,000 that lasted until 722, that’s about 278 years. Following that date Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Seleucian’s controlled much of Palestine. In 586 Babylonians destroyed Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. In 331 Alexander the Great conquered the Persians. In 61 BC the Romans invaded Judea and sacked Jerusalem. The Romans maintained control through 400AD. In 600 Arab armies conquered the mid-east and kept control until the end of the first World War. At the beginning of the 20th century there were approximately 85,000 Jews resident in Palestine. Add to this diverse population and control history the work of Dr. Schlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People, and it becomes markedly absurd for the nations of the world to be controlled by a mythological god of a small tribe that existed in the Canaan area 3000 years ago.
International Law and the creation of a world body to aid in the direction of nation states to live in peace and justice under defined conditions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charters of the UN suggests that Israel must change, it must recognize that it is not the sole determiner of world events, that it has lifted its beliefs beyond those that exist elsewhere in the world and it must, therefore, reverse its direction to become one with its neighbors and all the nations of the UN. No longer can it use ruthless force to attain its ends, no longer can it run to the US veto to maintain impunity in crime, no longer must the people of Palestine be ignored, no longer can this world body live with the lies, the distortions, the deceit used by the Jewish nation to control all the peoples of the earth.
William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His most recent book is Decade of Deceit: 2002-2012 Reflections on Palestine. His other works include Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy, The Rape Of Palestine: Hope Destroyed, Justice Denied, and The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction all dealing with the crisis in Israel/Palestine. His fiction works include The Chronicles Of Nefaria, a morality tale, The Agony of Colin Powell, a one act play, and a co-authored tragedy written with his wife Darcy, The Unreasoning Mask. He also has a Book of Psalms published by Mellon Poetry Press, Psalms for the 21st Century. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his web site: www.drwilliamacook.com.