Will The Creation Of A Palestinian State Stop The Violence?
Millions of Americans and Europeans have swallowed many MYTHS about the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the past several decades, a miasma of
confusion; a web of lies, distortions and disinformation has led millions of
Americans and Europeans to believe that the Palestinian people are
legitimate “freedom fighters;” that they have the same cause as did American
colonists who rebelled against Britain; that their cause is as just as that
of the Palmach, Irgun and Hagana, Israeli “freedom fighters” who waged
guerilla war against the occupying British following World War II.
Few realize that the UN offered the Palestinian Arabs a STATE OF THEIR OWN as far back as 1948! A partition plan was put forth wherein the Jewish population of Palestine, together with hundreds of thousands of refugees from Europe and elsewhere, would be given a narrow-waisted parcel of land along the Mediterranean seacoast as the State of Israel, while the Palestinian Arabs would receive a like parcel of land for the State of Palestine. The Arabs turned down the proposal.
The “Palestinian Arabs” are NOT A RACE OF PEOPLE. They are not a “people without a country!” As I explained in detail in my booklet, “Mideast Strife, Will It Lead To Armageddon?” (Published on our web site), the Palestinian Arabs lived in lands which were part of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. As a people, they are identical to the Arabs in Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia. They are not a separate race, nor even an identifiable sub tribe of any particular race. They are Arabs whose ancient ancestor is Ishmael, just like all other Arabs.
They do not have ANY historical, ethnic, sociological, religious or Biblical claims to the lands upon which they have lived.
Recognizing how violently the Islamic peoples in the nations of the Middle East would react to the creation of the State of Israel, the UN offered statehood to the Palestinian Arabs side by side with Israel.
Instead of accepting a peaceful solution, they joined in, and applauded when the armies of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia attacked the little fledgling State of Israel in 1948, in an attempt to annihilate the Jews. The Jews defeated those combined armies, forcing through a narrow corridor up the mountains to save thousands of Jews in the western part of Jerusalem from being massacred, or starved to death.
Like the United States in 1776, the nation of Israel was preserved by force of arms. From 1948 onward, the State of Israel occupied lands it had been granted by the nations of the world, whose consciences, at least in some cases, had been roundly pricked by learning of the incredible pogroms of Hitler; the systematic murder of more than six million Jews in places like Belsen, Auschwitz, Maidenak, Buchenvald, and Dachau. One of the best books one can read which relates the epic story of the Jews establishing their own homeland is “Exodus” by Leon Uris. The book was later made into a movie by the same name.
From 1948 on, the Islamic peoples have sought nothing short of the destruction of every Jew in the Middle East, and have dreamed about the slaughter of every remaining Jew on the earth. By 1967, the nations surrounding Israel believed their supplies of Soviet armor were sufficient; their training adequate, to allow them to destroy Israel completely.
They launched a surprise attack from the Golan, the West Bank, and the Gaza strip. But the Israelis quickly gained the initiative when Israeli air force fighter-bombers destroyed much of the Egyptian air force on the ground; destroyed hundreds of Egyptian tanks and APC’s at the Mitla Pass in the Sinai, and destroyed hundreds of Syrian tanks in the Golan.
Had Israel desired to do so, it could have occupied Damascus! Had Israel desired to do so, it could have marched on Cairo! But the Israelis had no desire to occupy any lands except those it had won in a defensive war; lands which would give them more advance warning if and when Syrian and Egyptian tank columns tried it again. Prior to 1967, Israeli farmers just below the Golan, along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, had been periodically fired upon by Syrian soldiers in the heights above. Not even tourists were safe in the area of the ancient city of Capernaum, where the ruins of a synagogue in which Jesus taught still remain.
Far from occupying the capitals of their attackers, the Israelis, having defeated the combined Arab armies in a defensive war, decided to withdraw to defensible lines in the Golan; to withdraw to the Jordan river between the West Bank and Jordan, and to make the Suez Canal their westernmost defensive line. For many months, Israel labored with bulldozers and tractors to create the “Bar-lev” line; a system of fortifications more than 100 miles long, with fortified bunkers and sand berms, festooned with barbed wire, land mines, and observation posts.
Israel began to exploit the natural resources of the Sinai. She also built a military base at Sharm El Sheik, at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, overlooking the entrance to the Red Sea. Oil was discovered, and production began.
But as a part of the peace treaty forged by Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin; the famous “Camp David Accords,” Israel handed over the entire Sinai, which made Egypt immediately self-sufficient in oil, and even gave them the capability to export oil.
When I interviewed Anwar Sadat at his palace outside Cairo, I chatted with him extensively following the televised interview. He told me of how he had kicked the Russians out; of a secret visit he had made to Moscow of which the world press knew nothing; of how the Russians were not forthcoming with new military equipment and spare parts.
I told him, “You are the only head of state in modern history who, once the Russians had put their foot down, was successful in telling them to leave!” He had told me of how proud he was when the Egyptian army had broached the Bar Lev line; how sad he was when his younger brother (who Anwar had raised, and who he looked upon as his son, as much as his brother) was killed in the fighting. Speaking of the need for peace and cooperation in the Mideast, I then began saying, “You are the leader of the largest Arab nation in terms of population, and yet the poorest nation on a per capita basis. To your north is a virtual “brain trust” in the nation of Israel. Israel has the highest per capita number of doctors, educators, scientists, skilled technicians of any country in the Mideast. Why could not your massive labor force be benefited by such a number of skilled people?” I asked him why he did not simply go to Israel and talk peace with Begin? I even suggested that a kind of “United States of the Middle East” could ultimately be created; a union of cooperative states, each benefiting from the special gifts, natural resources, and labor force of the other.
He began telling me the reasons why this seemed impossible, not the least of which was his concern about political groups in his own country, and their possible reaction. He was also worried that, if he should do such a bold thing as go directly to Jerusalem, the Israelis would react angrily.
I asked, “Do you honestly believe the Israelis would dare shoot down the personal airplane carrying the President of Egypt? They would not dare!”
I have never forgotten that conversation, nor have I forgotten that, EXACTLY ONE MONTH LATER, in one of the most surprising developments in Mideast history, Anwar Sadat WENT TO JERUSALEM! His surprise visit led directly to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel; the famed Camp David Accords.
Not long after this, when Anwar Sadat came to Washington, my wife and I were invited to be his guests at a reception hosted by the Egyptian Embassy. We were warmly received. When Shirley and I approached the Sadats, in a reception line, his lively wife, Jihan, recognizing me, turned to her husband, and said, “Anwar, it is the Armstrongs!” He shook my hand warmly, and thanked me again for our interview, and my 3-part series of television programs “Egypt under Sadat.” I have a much prized personal letter from Anwar Sadat, who was brutally murdered as he sat in the stands, reviewing a military parade. His letter of thanks has hung on my office wall for many years. It was at that reception dinner that I met Nelson Rockefeller, Hubert Humphrey, Barbara Walters, and a number of senators and congressmen. Both Rockefeller and Humphrey told me that they watched my TV programs regularly. At that time, my TV program was aired over a top TV channel in Washington, DC. Earlier, former President Lyndon Johnson told me, as I visited him on his ranch in Texas, that he watched my program often. He said, “I agree with you...MOST of the time...” We laughed.
How well I remember that, when I had interviewed Mrs. Jihan Sadat at her lavish home in Cairo, she had told me of her first visit to New York. Cairo is a huge, sprawling, filthy city; a city of vastly more population than it can support; dirty, bedraggled, unkempt. One of its “tourist attractions” is the “city of the living dead,” a huge cemetery, where the remains of those buried were removed, and people live in the tombs.
Jihan Sadat is half British, being the daughter of a British Army Officer and an Egyptian mother. She told me how overawed she was, to see “Gotham” for the first time; to be overwhelmed by the vast numbers of huge skyscrapers. She returned home, she told me, and said to her husband, “Anwar, why are we fighting these people?” She recognized that Egypt needed the United States.
I have never for a moment doubted that I was used to convey a message to the President of Egypt; that the thought was planted in his mind which led to the Camp David Accords.
From the very beginning, it has been the heart-felt desire of the Jews to LIVE AT PEACE with their Arab neighbors. Consider: During the period from 1948 until the 1967 six-day war, the Jews were DENIED access to their holy places in the Old City of Jerusalem. They could “WAIL AT” the famed “wailing wall,” from a distant vantage point, but could not actually go there to pray.
But when Israel conquered the Jordanians, and took control of all Jerusalem, they GAVE ACCESS to any person of any religion to visit the holy places! Arabs could come across the Allenby Bridge over the Jordan River north of the Dead Sea, and come to the Dome of the Rock, or the Al Aksa Mosques.
When I interviewed Mr. Gideon Hausner (who was the chief prosecuting attorney in the Adolf Eichman trial), Proprietor of the “Yad Vashem,” the Jewish Holocaust Memorial, he asked me, “Why should we not be the protectors of the Holy Places? We allow all people to come freely. The Arabs did not!”
To obtain a keen insight into the mind set of many Palestinians, I would recommend very highly reading “The Haj” by Leon Uris. It details the lives of Arab and Jewish neighbors; gives one a feel for the many religious and political pressures which are present in the region.
As I write, word comes of yet another hideous massacre; the blowing up of a civilian bus with many children aboard; at least 20 people blasted to shreds — then, another attack with 19 injured, and word that HAMAS, that infamous organization of cowards who sit behind their desks and send young people to their deaths, has claimed “credit” for the bombings. Then, when Israel sent tanks once more into Jenin, Hamas swears that “Israel will pay dearly” for doing so. Incredible. The terrorists precipitate mass murder, and are then OUTRAGED that Israel would retaliate.
They would do well to consider the following.
What if the situation were reversed?
What if JEWISH suicide bombers were blowing up Arab buses, pizza parlors, dance halls, super markets, and weddings?
What if such had taken place in occupied Europe during World War II?
While it is BRUTAL beyond belief, the Nazis systematically carried out REPRISALS against underground fighters. When a leading Nazi officer was killed, the Germans picked civilians at random, and shot them down. On one occasion, they rounded up the entire population of Lidice, in Poland, herded the people into a barn, and burned it! BRUTAL is hardly an adequate word! What do you think the Arabs would do if the Arabs in Palestine had the tanks and armor, and if JEWISH suicide bombers were blowing their women and children to bits?
They would probably say, “For every Arab you kill, we will take TEN Jews from your towns, line them up, and shoot them!
For one, I wonder, I am amazed, at the incredible RESTRAINT shown by the Israeli government and Israeli people. What did the US do when suicidal maniacs murdered THOUSANDS of us in the trade towers and Pentagon? Why, we sent our armed forces half a world away to DESTROY THE GOVERNMENT and INFRASTRUCTURE of the brutal regime in Afghanistan which was harboring and training the terrorists!
One should only be amazed at Israel’s restraint. They have been accused, incredibly, lugubriously, idiotically, by many Arabs of being the “Nazis of the Middle East.” Arabs should give thanks every day that they are not!
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