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Jan 03 2007

What happened in 1967 that caused Israel’s borders to change?

Posted by smoothstone

What happened in 1967 that caused Israel’s borders to change? Did Israel just decide they wanted more land?

No.  Israel was attacked by warring Arab Muslim nations.

But before we discuss 1967, let’s roll back the clock to the year 1917. 1917 is the year Great Britain issued the Balfour Declaration which stated that the British government favored “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. . . .”

As you may already know, Palestine was ruled by the Ottoman Empire for 400 years before the British came along in 1917. At the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire and other imperial powers agreed to surrender their colonies. In 1919, Emir Faisal, the son of Sherif Hussein who led the Arab revolt against Turkey, signed a declaration in support of the Balfour Declaration, even supporting all necessary measures “…to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil.”

As a result, Great Britain issued the British White Paper of June 1922, agreeing to give Arabs almost 80% of Palestine, which was severed from the rest of the colony and called Transjordan (later re-named Jordan). All of the land given to Arabs was to the east of the River Jordan. Then came The Palestine Mandate. It is from this time that the Arabs living in this area get the name Palestinians. Of course, at that time the Jews living in the region of the Palestine Mandate were called Palestinians too.

In August of 1929, due to the instigation of Muslim clerics in the mosques, a series of riots broke out in which many Jews were massacred. In the Jewish Holy City of Hebron, 67 innocent men, women and children were slaughtered by Arabs while praying in their synagogue. The 1930s saw more rioting and more massacres, especially in Jaffa and again in Hebron. In response, the British convened the Peel Commission which almost totally did away with the Balfour Declaration that had originally promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine on both sides of the River Jordan.

In July of 1937, the Peel Commission issued a report that gave Jews only a tiny, 1-3 mile strip of land that could not possibly become the Jewish National Home because it was far too small and included only one major city – Haifa, but not Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, etc. It also included a small piece in the north abutting the west side of the Lake Kineret (“Sea of Galilee”). Such actions went totally against Article 5 of the Mandate which explicitly state that the British shall not divide the land.

This was an example of British perfidy at its worst. The Brits betrayed their legal document, their legal contract, with the Palestinian Jews.

The Arabs greeted the Peel Commission recommendation with a revolt which lasted until 1939. In 1939, Britain issued the White Paper of 1939 almost shutting down Jewish immigration, thus violating the League of Nations Mandate which calls on the Brits to promote Jewish immigration. The White Paper of 1939 also stated that Palestine shall not become a Jewish National Home and instead should be converted into an Arab state. From a legal point of view, UN resolutions were not needed to establish a Jewish state in Palestine because such state could be legally based on the League’s Mandate.

And that’s when on November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 181 recommending division of the land given to Jews under the Mandate. Great Britain did not support the resolution. From a political and practical point of view, the 1947 U.N. partition plan served as reason for the legal declaration of a Jewish State.

However, the 1967 lines are not a border. After the 1947- 48 war, the Arabs refused to recognize Israel, and insisted the boundaries were only ceasefire lines, and this remained their legal status. The eastern borders of Israel are yet to be decided. Moreover, UN Resolution 242, the foundation stone of Arab-Israeli negotiations, explicitly avoided requiring an Israeli retreat to the 1967 lines, its drafters believing those were indefensible.

Resolution 242 calls for the recognition of Israel’s right to exist, an end to the state of war maintained by the Arab world against Israel and secure and recognized boundaries for Israel. 242 does NOT require Israel to return to the non-secure borders of pre-1967.

What does 242 say?

“Termination of all claims or states of belligerency… ”
“…respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence of every State in the area… ”
“…[every State's] right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”
“Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories in the recent conflict.”

What does 242 mean?

- The Arab states must end the state of war initiated and maintained by them since 1948.
- The Arab states must recognize Israel’s right to exist.
- Israel is entitled to clearly defensible borders.

This is not a privilege, but rather a right guaranteed by international law.

- Israel should withdraw from some, not all, of the territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.
- Israel’s indefensible pre-1967 borders provided no security.
- The Arab states should sit down with Israel, without preconditions, to negotiate peace.

A few days before the UNSC vote on 242, President Johnson summoned UN Ambassador Arthur Goldberg and Undersecretary Eugene Rostow to formulate the US position on the issue of ‘secure boundaries’ for Israel. They were presented with the Pentagon Map, which had been prepared by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Earle Wheeler. The map displayed the “minimum territory needed by Israel for defensive purposes,” which included the entire Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria. The participants of the meeting agreed that the Pentagon Map fulfilled the requirements of 242 for ‘secure borders.’ (Prof. Ezra Sohar, A Concubine in the Middle East, Geffen Publishing, p. 39; Makor Rishon weekly, March 10, 2000).

242 does not refer at all the 1949/1967 Lines;
242 mandates negotiation – give and take, rather than give and give;
242 never refers to withdrawal from ALL the territories, which would negate the principle of negotiation;

242 calls for the introduction of a NEW reality of ‘secure and recognized borders’, which indicates that the OLD reality of the 1949/1967 Lines is neither secure nor recognized.

The reality is that if Israel is to protect itself, it must achieve a comprehensive military victory over the Palestinians, so that the latter give up their goal of obliterating it.

Not one of the land suggestions addresses the real problem: the Palestinians’ conviction that, by continuing to hammer away at Israel, they can defeat and destroy it. Every piece of evidence suggests and every opinion poll confirms that the Palestinian assault on Israel is a wildly popular undertaking.

Ending the Palestinian assault will be achieved not through some negotiated breakthrough but by Palestinians (and Arabic-speakers more generally) concluding that their effort to destroy the Jewish state will fail, and so give up this ambition. There is a war under way, but nearly all prefer to ignore this unpleasant reality, preferring instead to suggest meaningless fixes and solutions.

Let’s not leave out the San Remo Resolution. The last legally binding document to be adopted regarding the areas of Israel in question remains the 1920 San Remo resolution, which deeds full sovereignty to the Jewish people. This resolution, consisting of the Balfour Declaration and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, is the basic document upon which the Mandate for Palestine was constructed. The San Remo Resolution concerning Palestine and the Jewish National Home was adopted at the San Remo Peace Conference on April 25, 1920 by the four Principal Allied Powers of World War I who were represented by the Prime Ministers of Britain (David Lloyd George), France (Alexandre Millerand) and Italy (Francesco Nitti) and by the Ambassador of Japan (K. Matsui).

The Resolution was a binding agreement between these Powers to reconstitute the ancient Jewish State within its historic borders “from Dan to Beersheba”, an agreement that was incorporated into the Treaty of Sevres and the Mandate for Palestine.

But it really is futile to have a discussion about a “legalized framework” when a “legalized framework” was already in place with document after document after document that I cited above.

The Arabs have deceived the world for decades with their mendacious protests that their land has been “stolen” from them. One might take such proclamations seriously if it came from a pacifist people such as the Tibetans, who had quietly inhabited their land for ages before it was seized by the Communist Chinese in 1950.

The claim is laughable coming from the Arabs, who in the early Middle Ages conquered and reduced to slavery and penury ancient peoples and civilizations stretching from the borders of Persia to the Atlantic; who in 1947 rejected an Arab state in Palestine alongside a Jewish state and sought to obliterate the nascent Jewish state; who never called for a distinct Palestinian Arab state until the creation of the terrorist PLO in 1964—sixteen years after the founding of the state of Israel and three years before the Six Day War in 1967; and who to this moment continue to seek Israel’s destruction, an object that would be enormously advanced by the creation of the manufactured entity of “palestine”, the Arab state they demand.

The only religious argument that makes sense is to point out how so many Jewish holy places exist in Israel. It’s hardly irrational that Jews should want to live near the Wailing Wall or other sites of great importance in Jewish history and Jewish religion, particularly given how poorly Muslims have treated such sites.

The fact is that the West Bank and Gaza were annexed by Jordan and Egypt fifty years ago with no Arab complaints. Israel has absorbed a million Jewish refugees from Arab lands and the Soviet Union with no complaints. The 3.7 million seething refugees who live abject poverty on the West Bank, and who have received more than a billion dollars in aid from Israel and the rest of the world are refugees only because the Arab states themselves have rejected them and kept them in poverty so they can be cannon fodder for the holy war to push the Jews into the sea. The “Palestinian problem,” is entirely a creation of the Arabs themselves, a product of their refusal to live side by side with any infidels they think they can destroy. If they want peace, they can start with rejecting the Hamas Covenant and the Palestinian National Charter, the only document that I know of where a state defines its national vision by calling for the destruction of another state.

I don’t believe in a two-state solution at all, and a one-state solution with the “law of return” will turn the entire nation of Israel into a land where only Arabs may live – with the goal to supplant Israel – not to live side by side with it. Therefore, there is no solution.

One Response to “What happened in 1967 that caused Israel’s borders to change?”

  1. Cliff Ross Says:

    The solution is for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria BACK into Israel, permanently. Then require all who wish to live in Israel to swear allegiance to Israel, or move to Jordan-Palestine.
    Israel MUST stop appeasing the Arabs. Start demanding respect , quit throwing it away. Clean out all terrorists in Judea and Samaria. Get rid of WAQF, Abbas, and PA Authority.
    Rule your land.

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