Save the date: Manhigut Yehudit is planning a major conference at the New York Marriott East Side hotel in Manhattan on Sunday, July 26 from noon-2 p.m. (registration at 11:30 a.m.).The conference theme will be “no to a Palestinian state; yes to a strong and proud Jewish state.” For more information, call 516-295-3222 or e-mail USAevents@jewishisrael.org. Note: See ad in this week’s Jewish Press.
The first summer heat wave is already here, and with it the burning forests. If you have any doubt as to whose land this is, just take a look at the Judgment of Solomon that takes place here every time the desert wind blows in from the East. The Jews say, “The baby is mine” and plant trees. The Arabs say, “The baby is mine, and as long as he is in your hands, we will turn him to ashes.”
This is nothing new. In February 1947, when British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin explained the decision of Her Majesty’s government to transfer the Land of Israel mandate to the UN, he explained the basis of the Arab-Israel conflict as follows:
“For the Jews, the main point is to establish a sovereign Jewish state. For the Arabs, the main point is to completely oppose any form of Jewish sovereignty in any part of Palestine.”
The Arabs are not motivated by positive national aspirations. They have no desire to return to a “homeland” and realize their imaginary Palestinian nationality. They simply want to make sure that the Jews are not in Israel. It is not despair caused by loss of what is theirs that motivates them; it is the hope to destroy what belongs to the Jews. The nurturing of this hope is the factor that gave birth to Arab nationalism. The elimination of the Arabs’ hope to drive us from our land will promote calm.
In his book, The Long Short Way, former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon describes how, when he was head of Israeli Intelligence, he initially believed that Yasir Arafat actually wanted a state. Slowly but surely, and after a horrifying period of bloodshed that left scores of Israelis dead, he reached the conclusion that the Arabs of the Land of Israel do not want a state. If the politicians and generals who determine Israel’s policies would only study the roots of the conflict, delve into its historical sources and draw conclusions on the basis of facts and not on the basis of wishful thinking, we could put an end to the painful price that Israel’s citizens have been paying and continue to pay.
The Arabs in Israel never had a separate self-definition. There is not, and there never has been, a Palestinian nation or a Palestinian state. There is no cultural difference between an Arab in Shechem and an Arab in Damascus or Baghdad – not in language, religion, and custom. The Arabs in Israel did not have independent national aspirations until the Zionists arrived here. Even afterward, their national aspirations were limited to the territory where the Jews lived. Arab nationalism focused its aspirations not on the Land of Israel, but on the State of Israel. The only territories that interested the Arabs were those that Jews had already settled.
Israel’s 1948 War of Independence was not waged over Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem, or the right of return. According to the Partition Plan, all those territories were to remain in Arab hands. The War of Independence was initiated by the heads of the Islamic movement in Israel. Their purpose was strictly to prevent the Jews from establishing a state on a tiny piece of land – much smaller than the area within the “Green Line.” And remember, the Arabs were but a small minority in the area that the UN designated for the Jews.
When the PLO was established (prior to the Six-Day War), its national aspirations were focused inside the boundaries of the Green Line, on the territory held by the Jews after the War of Independence. But wonder of wonders: After the Six-Day War and the liberation of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, everything changed. Now the “stolen” Palestinian homeland was no longer Israel’s coastal region, but rather the mountains. Why? Because Jews lived there.
But as soon as an Arab army, any Arab army – be it Jordanian, Iraqi, Syrian or Egyptian – controls territory in the Land of Israel, Palestinian nationalism evaporates. The motivation of the Arabs as per the Land of Israel is negative. Bevin’s definition was most exact. The smoke from this year’s forest fires is proof of his words. Let the land burn.