Unauthorized statements have been made to the effect that the purpose in view is to create a wholly Jewish Palestine. . . . His Majesty’s Government regard any such expectation as impracticable and have no such aim in view. Nor have they at any time contemplated . . . 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 (Balfour) 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. . . . His Majesty’s Government therefore now declare unequivocally that it is not part of their policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State.
(Command Paper 1922, from the Avalon Project at Yale Law School, 1996–2000),
The above statement was approved by the Council of the League of Nations, thus establishing the legal charge for the British Mandate government. Together with the Sir Richard C. Catling papers, held in a Top Secret file in the Rhodes House Archives at Oxford University, to be released later this spring from Macmillan in the Introduction of The Plight of the Palestinians, this declaration recorded by the Avalon Project graphically demonstrates how the Zionist-controlled forces within the Jewish community defied the legally established authorities in Palestine. This defiance continues to the present day.
Today’s “spat” between friends, as reflected in the hassle between Obama and Netanyahu, forces reconsideration of America’s support of the defiant Israeli government, not because the halting of the settlements is the crucial issue but because America’s President has lost face, America’s reputation around the world has plummeted, and the dangerous position our military face as a result of Israel’s belligerence threatens the United States’ security as General Petraeus testified before Congress earlier this month.
If justice becomes the beacon that guides the UN toward peace, it would have to begin at Resolution 181, the partition of Palestine. Assumptions were made at that point, assumptions that had both positive and negative effects. A moral determination was made that the Jews deserved a homeland as a consequence of the horrific slaughter that had decimated their people. The world accepted a moral responsibility to right that atrocity; in so doing, they assumed, perhaps unwittingly, that they could grant to the Jews a portion of another people’s land. That assumption, however, was not shared by the natives of that area. Yet the reality remains that the division and its assumptions became the basis for the existence of an Israeli and a Palestinian state.
Justice demands that Israel and the United Nations address the enormous inequities that exist in Palestine. There is no justice if the division of the land remains 86 percent to 14 percent when both populations are of approximately equal size, especially if the right of return is acted upon according to international law. There is no justice if Israel remains the controlling power over a faux state that cannot manage its own affairs and control its own destiny. There is no justice if Israel does not compensate those from whom they have stolen land and return to Palestine the natural resources it has commandeered. There is no justice if a reconfiguration of the land is not achieved so that both peoples can move freely from one sector of their country to another. There is no justice if the separation wall continues to imprison the Palestinians with its constant reminder that Israelis defied international law to impose their own and made visible the unacceptable attitude that one people has a right to psychologically and physically isolate others from communication with their neighbors or the world, a collective punishment that denies the very humanity of the people. There is no justice if the status quo remains the day-to-day reality of the Palestinians, because that way is a slow, torturous route to sickness, psychological torture, deprivation, starvation, and death; it is the Israeli government’s heinous action of a slow genocide acted out on the world stage as the European Union, the Asian nations, and America look on indifferently.
There is no justice if the United States blocks the UN Security Council from enforcing the means to bring about justice in Palestine, an action that may require the UN to stand against the United States or lose its credibility as an international body that protects the weak as well as the strong. And, conversely, there is no justice if the Palestinians do not accept the people of Israel to live in peace and security, in separate states or in one, so that all may thrive and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Four score and eight years ago, a not unusual span of life for a man or woman, the British government, His majesty’s government “viewed with favor the establishment in Palestine of a home for the Jewish people,” declaring, as the Avalon Project notes, that the whole of Palestine would not be turned into a Jewish state. Yet, a handful of Zionist Ashkenazi Jews from Europe took control of the growing Jewish immigrant community through the 1930s and 1940s, (recorded in morbid and frightening detail by Ilan Pappe in The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, 2006), and clandestinely worked against the British Mandate government in their own “war of terror” to undermine the King’s intent that supported the existence of a “home” for the Jews, not the creation of a Jewish nation on the land of the Palestinians. Today the United States, having devoted its wealth in the billions of dollars and its military personnel to this country, supporting in the process a deception of enormous magnitude with tragic consequences for the Palestinian people and the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, finds itself, as its generals now attest, suffering the consequences of that deceit as its actions in the mid-east, executed on behalf of Israel, become the seeds of violence that can destroy the country.
How unfortunate that the sympathy of Europeans and Americans for the plight of the Jews at the end of WWII, indeed of the community of nations that compose the United Nations when they offered them a home in Palestine through Resolution 181, should have been turned by deceit and propaganda into an apartheid state that has ruthlessly subjugated the indigenous population as they appropriated their land and imprisoned them behind concrete walls and electrified chain link fences making impossible a normal life. How unfortunate that Americans have devoted so much of their wealth to a nation that had no intention of complying with the British government in 1940 or the United Nations Partition Plan to provide for both peoples, but rather to claim that they were the victims of those who wanted to destroy them and drive them into the sea. How unfortunate for the indigenous people that they were driven into the sea as the armies in the tens of thousands of Jews swarmed down upon their villages and wiped them off the map. How unfortunate that United States Congressmen and women have become the pawns of a power that threatens their political will if they disobey the dictates of AIPAC regardless of the consequences to American soldiers and American security.
Consider what might have been. What if the immigrant Jews had arrived in Palestine and the British created Jewish Agency had cooperated with the Mandate Police rather than clandestinely worked against it, to fashion a “Home” for the Jews living side by side with the Palestinians who owned all but 6% of the Mandate land governed by Britain. Consider how things might now be with a Jewish population unencumbered with the fanatical sects from Russia that drive the apartheid demands that corrode the very core of Judaism with their sick understanding of their historical right to a land because they are G-d’s chosen and goyim are subhuman. Consider the richness of that land in mind and soul had these people worked together to fashion a state that would be a doorway for the west to the east and not the source of vengeance and violence that it has become. What if rule by law had prevailed and not rule by defiance.
William A. Cook is a professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His works include Psalms for the 21st Century, Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy, The Rape of Palestine, The Chronicles of Nefaria, a novella, and coming in June from Macmillan, The Plight of the Palestinians. Articles by Cook appear in Counterpunch, the Palestine Chronicle, MWC News, Pacific Free Press, Atlantic Free Press, Dissident Voice and Countercurrents among others. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.drwilliamacook.com.
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