March 7, 2006

What Did Bush Mean?

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:02 pm by yisraelmedad

June 27, 2002

In his speech on Monday, US President George W. Bush made one direct reference to the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza and another oblique one.

In one passage of his address, he stated that “Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territories must stop.” This is a bit unclear. Did he mean a “provisional” stop, such as in a provisional Palestinian state a la Secretary of State Colin Powell?

Is this a halt that is to be temporary, or part of the final esolution of the conflict?

Are the communities to be allowed, at a future date, to begin natural development once again, or must they remain fixed at the current situation?  In another passage, he touched on the core issues that divide Israel and the Palestinians and insisted that if there is to be real peace, these issues must be resolved.

In this context, he said that “the Israeli occupation that
began in 1967 will be ended…with Israeli withdrawal to secure and recognized borders.”

Again, this is unclear. Must the Jewish civilian presence in these areas be banned and the communities dismantled? Would the president be amenable to Jews living in Samaria as they do in Ohio?

And if he does accept the immoral and unjust Palestinian stance that their territory must be emptied of Jews, would he accept a more permanent resolution of the conflict that would permit Israel to move its Arab population into the new Palestine?

Obviously, the question of the legality of the Jewish residential communities in areas beyond Israel’s former “Green Line” border is one that simply will not go away. Arabs are insistent that international law prohibits the existence of Jewish communities in the territories of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

In truth, international law supports those villages, agricultural communities and municipalities.

WHAT BUSH may not be aware of is that the text of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 had been approved by a previous United States president, Woodrow Wilson, prior to its publication. Indeed, the Inquiry Commission established by
Wilson affirmed that “Palestine should become a Jewish State” and that “Palestine…was the cradle and home of their vital race,” a succinct statement of the essence of the principle of self-determination, a principle the Arabs have absconded with as if applicable only to their cause.

That declaration, issued by the British government and later to serve as the basis for the League of Nations Mandate approved in 1922, refers on one hand to “a National Home for the Jewish people in Palestine” while on the other, it refers to “non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

The distinction is neither coincidental nor unintentional.

National and historical rights are recognized clearly in the context of the Jewish people only. The assumption that the land in question, “belonged” to an Arab people (there were no Palestinians to speak of at the time), was, and is, textually
unsupported. What was included in the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate were the “civil and religious rights” of non-specified “non-Jewish communities.” Again, no “Arabs.”

Furthermore, the Mandate acknowledges that “recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” In Article 6, the administration apparatus of the Mandate the temporary form of government was charged with facilitating and encouraging “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and wastelands not required for public purposes.” Well, it seems that international recognition of “settlements” and settlement activity is over 80 years old.

Bush should also be apprised that the US House of Representatives and the Senate adopted resolutions supporting the Mandate, on June 30, 1922, and May 3, 1922, respectively. Indeed, president Warren G. Harding signed a
proclamation on September 21, 1922, which stated that “the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish People…and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.”

These Congressional resolutions and League of Nations decisions reflect what the international community knew then, and needs to be reminded of again today, that group national rights in these territories were intended to belong to the Jewish people. This surely does not negate responsibility for the protection of property and civil rights of individual non-Jews. But there is a difference between the two rights.

This difference is crucial and it is my assumption that Bush’s references in his remarks on the question of a continued Jewish presence throughout our historic homeland were based on misinformation that was provided to his speechwriters. What he asks of Israel, if applied to residency in the United States, would probably be struck down by the Supreme Court as an illegal policy.

The president should review the facts. He must know that no “law” can ban a Jew from living in those places where his religion and cultural/national identity were shaped for thousands of years. Such a ban would not serve the region’s stability, nor would it advance the cause of genuine peace.

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