Editorial - Comment: The Big Lie

by Joseph Hunting

There are two scriptural truths that are the basis of the ongoing struggle between Arab and Jew. Firstly it is a family feud that can be traced back to Ishmael and Isaac, and then to Esau and Jacob. It has been a 4,000 year quarrel.

Secondly the parties to this dispute are on territory which was deeded by God (because it was HIS land and therefore HIS to allocate) to the descendants of Isaac and Jacob, NOT Ishmael and Esau.

Originally it was God who designed the borders of Arab territory and forbad the descendants of Isaac and Jacob to even set foot upon it. Likewise He allocated the territory for the Hebrews to inherit which included Judea and Samaria, the area now under dispute. Just as long as the original territorial title deeds for either party are ignored the problem will continue.

And quite apart from the scriptural basis for Israel's being in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, Mr Atlas in the following article points out the simple 'everyday' facts that are irrefutable.

THE BIG LIE courtesy ISRAEL SCENE by Yedidya Atlas

Since the start of the recent round of riots in the administered territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza by assorted groups of Palestinian Arabs, coupled with the deluge of one-sided foreign media coverage turning Israel into Goliath to the Palestinians' David, there has been an increasingly louder revival of the old line about "Israel's obligation to solve the Palestinian Problem".

It will contend again that all that stands in the way of achieving peace in the Middle East is the adamant refusal by hardline elements within Israel to proffer "territories for peace". The assumption is that were Israel to genuinely offer territory, i.e. Judea and Samaria, to the Arabs, Israel will have solved the Palestinian problem, ended PLO terrorism, and by extension, resolved the Arab-Israel conflict.

The line stating that "the core of the conflict is the Palestinian Problem" is consistently and continuously repeated, like Hitler's Big Lie. For indeed, that is exactly what it is.

By assuming, however, that the Palestinian problem is at the core of the Arab-Israel conflict, one is forced to also assume that Arab enmity towards Israel began only after the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. One must also assume that Israeli territorial concessions are the necessary precondition to any negotiated peace settlement with the Arabs. Yet even cursory examination of the historical facts belies these contentions because they are based on the false premise that the Arab-Israel conflict has something to do with the so-called "Palestinian Problem".

Chronologically, Arab enmity preceded the Palestinian problem before the state officially existed. The Arab countries declared war on Israel before the Palestinian Arabs fled. Logically, then, one can conclude that the Arabs had some other reason to attack the fledgling Israel other than Palestinian refugees that didn't yet exist.

It was in this vein that the semi-official Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram , printed the following editorial on 26 November 1955: "Our war against the Jews is an old struggle that began with Muhammad and in which he achieved many victories ... it is our duty to fight the Jews for the sake of Allah and religion, and it is our duty to end the war that Muhammad began ..."

Al-Ahram makes no mention or reference to Palestinians or refugees because the highly touted Palestinian problem is, at best, nothing more than a secondary detail and, at worst, an artificially created political weapon. The Arab-Israel conflict is based on Arab enmity towards the Jews, and therefore the Jewish state, and has nothing to do with either Palestinian Arab refugees or any specific Israeli policies.

Bearing that in mind, we come to the question of "territories for peace". Even assuming Israel should be prepared to make concessions, one wonders why the territories under discussion, Judea and Samaria, became holy soil in the eyes of Palestinian Arab nationalism only after Israel took possession of these territories following the clearly defensive war in 1967.

During the previous nineteen years, from 1949 to 1967, these areas were under Jordanian control. Yet despite the alleged existence of a Palestinian Arab people, there was no public outcry for Jordan to return this region to anyone in order to establish a Palestinian Arab state. Nor were international protests made demanding that Jordan cease "creating facts" by building new Arab neighborhoods throughout these areas, thus creating "obstacles to peace".

If these areas held no importance to solving the Palestinian problem prior to 1967, why did they suddenly gain such prominence simply because Israel is now in possession?

The Palestinian problem has been created and promoted, and the double Big Lie prospers: "Israel must give territories in exchange for peace" and "without Israeli territorial concessions the Palestinian problem will never be resolved and the Arab-Israel conflict will continue with Israeli intransigence to blame."

The reality, however, is different. The Arab-Israel conflict, only one of half a dozen conflicts in the Middle East, has little to do with the Palestinian problem. Peace will only come when the Arab countries accept that Israel is here to stay.

As the late Prime Minister Golda Meir once told a western journalist who had asked her what she was willing to give in exchange for peace: "Why peace of course. What else should I give? Is my peace any cheaper than theirs?"