Those who are so quick to blame Israel for the breakdown in Middle East peace negotiations had better come up with an explanation for this news story
. Meeting in Cairo today, Arab foreign ministers spoke out against any further peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, whether in direct or indirect negotiations, until the United States endorses a pullback by Israel to its borders prior to the June 1967 "Six Day War." The chutzpah
of this demand is breath-taking: the Arab nations are demanding that the U.S. endorse the surrender of all of Israel's negotiating leverage before peace talks may even resume.
A little history may be useful to the reader in understanding the audacity of the Arab demand. The pre-June 1967 borders of Israel were not internationally recognized borders, but rather the 1949 ceasefire lines left after Israel successfully beat back an invasion by Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in its War of Independence. Because U.N. negotiator Ralph Bunche, an American diplomat who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his contribution to the ceasefire negotiations and implementation, drew the ceasefire lines on the "official" U.N. map in green ink, the ceasefire lines became known as the "Green Line." They were never recognized as Israel's national borders by any of the Arab nations who had invaded the newborn Jewish State, seeking to strangle it at birth. To the contrary, those nations never recognized the legitimate existence of Israel as a nation at all, and except for Egypt and Jordan they still do not recognize her existence, and have been in a continuous declared state of war with Israel since 1948.
Yet now the very nations that invaded Israel in 1948 and sought to destroy her again in 1967 have the temerity and insolence to demand that the United States endorse the Green Line as Israel's borders before peace talks may resume.
Here are two more pieces of historical information that reveal the pernicious nature of the declaration by the Arab foreign ministers:
1. From the 1949 ceasefire until June 5, 1967, all of what is now known as the West Bank (Yehuda and Shomron) and the Gaza Strip were occupied, not by Israel, but by Kingdom of Transjordan (which annexed the West Bank and changed its name to Jordan) and by Egypt (whose armies controlled Gaza). At any time during those 18 years, nothing would have prevented the Arab League from endorsing the creation of a Palestinian state in those territories or Egypt and Jordan from midwifing its birth. They did not do so and had no desire to do so. The demands for a Palestinian state in all of the West Bank and Gaza did not arise until after the Six-Day War, when contrary to the expectations of Egypt, Syria and Jordan, which had united to once again try to destroy Israel, Israel decisively defeated their armies and conquered Yehuda, Shomron, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. (Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in 1982 after those two nations signed a peace treaty.)
2. In the 1949-1949 War, Arab armies captured the three most important Jewish holy sites, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem. During the next 18 years, no Jew (not merely no Israeli, but no Jew) was allowed to visit and pray at those sites. (If you don't believe this, you are probably unaware that no Jew may enter Saudi Arabia today.) Jewish towns and villages such as the Etzion group in Yehuda, the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem and Kfar Drom in Gaza were also captured, and their Jewish inhabitants either killed or taken prisoner. In the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, the Jordanian Arab Legion and Palestinian Arabs looted and destroyed over 50 synagogues and houses of study, including the famous and beautiful Hurva Synagogue. No Jew was allowed to live in those areas, or anywhere in Yehuda, Shomron or Gaza, for the next 18 years. (That situation still prevails in Gaza, under Hamas, and in those areas of Yehuda and Shomron controlled by the "moderate" Palestinian authority.) The Arab Legion commander who led the conquest of the Jewish Quarter bragged to his superiors, "For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew remains in the Jewish Quarter. Not a single building remains intact. This makes the Jews' return here impossible."
It was impossible until June 1967. Jews only regained access to their holy places and were able to rebuild their destroyed homes, synagogues and houses of study in the Old City of Jerusalem, Yehuda, Shomron and Gaza as a result of the Israeli victory in the Six-Day War.
In contrast, from the 1949 ceasefire until today, Israel has tolerated and provided full civil rights to all of its citizens, Jew and Arab, Moslem and Christian, including the unfettered right to practice their religions. The government of Israel not only protects Moslem and Christian holy places under its control, it financially supports them.
Yet these arrogant sons of Ishmael (of whom an angel of the Lord aptly says in the Bible, Genesis 16:12 "He will be a wild ass of a man: his hand shall be against every man and every man's hand shall be against him")now have the utter nerve to demand that the U.S. endorse and pressure Israel to surrender back what she lost in 1948-49 and regained in 1967. In order to even talk about peace with the Palestinians, the Arab foreign ministers say that the U.S. must urge Israel and the Jewish people to give up any claim to the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter, the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Hurva and the rebuilt and new synagogues and houses of study; Israel must depart from Tomb of the Patriarchs, Rachel's Tomb and the towns, villages and farms that the Arab armies callously destroyed in 1949, to say nothing of the Jerusalem neighborhoods cities, towns, villages and farms that Israel has built "over the Green Line," in Yehuda and Shomron since June 1967.
All this, so that the Palestinian Arabs will be able to make their new terrorist state Yudenrein
(free of Jews), as Saudi Arabia, Gaza and the PA-controlled portions of Yehuda and Shomron are today. And Israel's critics acuse her of ethnic cleansing? What a joke!
This public challenge to U.S. foreign policy by the Arab ministers must be met with a public response by the United States. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton must issue a statement endorsing the immediate resumption of direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, without any preconditions.