First, there was the Biblical promise. In the Bible, which was cherished by many of the member nations of the UN, God actually promises that bit of land to the Israelites, who lived there for many centuries and were eventually dispersed all over the world. Many of them disappeared, and those who didn’t became known as the Jews. So it’s not as if the UN picked that land out of a hat. They had real, historical reasons.
Then there was the Holocaust. During World War II, which ended only two years earlier, the German nation, along with many collaborating nations in Europe, set up a horrible system of death camps, where they murdered some six million Jews. The Germans killed other people, too, in those camps, but their big aim was to eliminate all the Jews from the world.
Considering how small the Jewish nation was at the time – somewhere between 12 and 15 million – the Germans almost succeeded. And so there was a feeling of urgency among the nations of the world, that they had to correct this wrong by giving the Jews their own country.
But there was another, very important reason. Back in 1920, two years after World War I, the League of Nations, which was the earlier United Nations, declared that the Jews should have a homeland in Palestine. It was a legal declaration, approved by all the nations who had just won the Great War. It was part of the new world order they sought to establish, a new world of everlasting peace and justice.
So the UN gave part of Israel or Palestine to the Jews in 1947 not just out of respect for the Bible, or because they felt sorry for them after the Holocaust, but, most importantly, because it was already legally theirs, they actually owned the deed on that piece of real estate.
BEST LAID PLANS
When, in 1920, the League of Nations—the precursor to the UN—awarded a homeland to the Jews in Palestine, it gave the British government the mandate to create this homeland.
The territory of Palestine at the time stretched all the way from the Iraqi border to the Mediterranean sea, easily three times the size of what we call today Israel or Palestine.
The British government had a problem with its ally the Hashemite tribe, which used to rule the Muslim holy city of Mecca for 700 years. The Hashemite warriors launched the great Arab revolt of 1916, which drained the Ottoman Empire’s military resources and contributed to the British conquest of the Middle East.
But the Hashemites had enemies, the Saudis, who pushed them out of the Arab peninsula and, eventually, took away from them the holy city of Mecca. The Saudi chief was Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, and his new, oil rich kingdom was later renamed Saudi Arabia.
The decline of their Hashemite friends was a huge embarrassment for the British, who solved it by making one Hashemite chief, Faisal, king of Iraq, and then carving the territory of Palestine east of the Jordan River and turning it over to Chief Abdullah, the new King of the new Emirate of TransJordan.
Just like that, the government assigned to give the Jews a homeland, gave two thirds of it to the Arabs.
In effect, the British have already created a two-state solution, back in 1921. The part they left out has room for only one state, stretched between the Jordan River and the sea, designated by the world community to be a homeland for the Jews.
We can discuss who gets to live in that state (everybody) and what rights they should have (many), but if we can’t accept that this one-third of Palestine left-over after Jordan was carved out in 1921 is the Jewish homeland, we’ll never have peace. Like I said, we tried, it was insane.