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May I have a side of history with that, please?

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May I have a side of history with that, please?

The polemics of the Palestinian have always been vitriolic. There’s been charges of racism, anti-antisemitism, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, so on.

That’s nothing new.

What is new is Canada's full-throated support of it, even in the face of agression that wouldn't be acceptable from any other country.

But what really gets my hackles up is when people start attacking history. Yes, my mortal enemies are revisionists.

Enter Danny Ayalon and some cute, albeit disturbing, cartoons.

(Watch the video here)

Ayalon is the deputy foreign minister for Israel and has made it his mission to clear up history’s left-wing bias.

He introduces the video,

“During the Six Day War, Israel captured the West Bank from the Palestinians, refused the United Nation’s demand to retreat and illegally built settlements. But is that really the case?”

Now before we get into more of Mr. Ayalon’s historical gerrymandering, let’s just clear up that what he just outlined essentially is the case.

To begin with, the very foundation of Israel is built on a UK-mandated immigration policy. The English invaded Palestine, and forced them to accept Jewish immigrants (keep in mind that, in the beginning, the Zionists were immigrants, not refugees.) So the entire premise of the question is off to begin with.

But let’s fast-forward to the Six Day War. First off, it’s always been portrayed as an act of Arab aggression and the ensuing Israeli counter-attack and occupation was justified out of self-defence. In reality, if the Arabs hadn’t instigated the war, Israel likely would have. The war started on the day it did because of intelligence that said Israel was prepping for war, so the Arab countries took the first step.

And the brutal act of war by Egypt that essentially launched the war? In what is now considered a bluff, Egypt occupied and blockaded the vacant Straits of Tiran.

The Israeli air force then unleashed hell onto the Arab world. It took out the air forces of Egypt, Syrian and Jordan within days. The Israelis battered the Arab armies and took vast amounts of territory as a reward to itself. It took not only the West Bank, but the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and a vast stretch of land in the Sinai Peninsula.

So the UN security council came out and, rightly, said that a state cannot occupy land in such a way while claiming defence. Furthermore, a vast humanitarian crisis was emerging due to waves of refugees leaving the Palestinian territories. The Israelis then put their settlers on ill-captured land.

Just the facts, ma’mn.

But Ayalon continues,

“From whom did Israel capture the West Bank? From the Palestinians? No.”

He argues that Palestine never existed, and that Israel captured the land from Jordan.

First off, I have immense problems with someone suggesting that they have ancestral, religious historical rights to a land they’ve never lived on, but want to suggest that a people that have lived there for thousands of years have no claim to that land. It’s mind-boggling, actually.

Let me preface the next bit by say that trying to define Arab states as Western-conceived nation states is problematic, especially for this time period. After the death of the Ottoman Empire, there was a push to create a united Arab land. It’s not uncommon for a part of the Middle East to retain distinct cultural and political status while being part of another nation state. 

But Ayalon is right - other Arab states were occupying the Palestinian lands. Partially due to paranoia about Israel, partially to try and protect the Palestinian people from Israeli aggression. A people’s occupation, however, does not justify further occupation.

But Danny Boy’s bizarre read of history even alters the texts of UN documents.

“Security Council resolution 242 did not demand a unilateral Israel withdrawl, rather, the United Nations called for negotiating a solution that would leave Israel with secure and recognized boundaries.”

That’s certainly wrong.

It actually called for,

“(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

So it did call for Israel to withdraw, and it called for all states to live in safety, not just Israel.

By the way, this is a good time to point out that the little cartoons of the AK-47-wielding Arabs is incredibly offensive.

Ayalon then goes on to say that Jordan had no right to occupy Palestine prior to the Six Day War. In the same breath, he says that the Israelis have a right to the land because an English diplomat gave it to them after occupying the Middle East.

How do I find thee illogical? Let me count the ways.

Ayalon then laments the fact that the Israelis didn’t also get the East Bank (which would have swallowed up part of Jordan.) Ayalon tells us that the Israelis had already been making some pretty painfully concessions.

And if you’re watching the video, you probably just missed a bit of slight-of-hand by Ayalon. See, he says “With the British mandate ending...”

But why did the British mandate end?

In reality, some of the Zionists weren’t too happy about the British cow-towing to the rights of the Palestinians. So unhappy, actually, that they waged an insurgency war. That’s why the British left; because of Zionist terrorism.

Assassinations, bombings, beatings. The reign of terror instigated by Zionist gangs such as the Haganah, the Irgun and Legi were brutal and unprovoked. They killed Arabs, the English and even other Jews.

Between 1944 and 1948, hundreds died at the hands of these thugs.

So the British left not because they thought the Israelis and Arabs could figure things out on their own; they were tired of having their citizens killed at the hands of terrorists.

And see the little cartoon of the violent Arabs once again threatening the Israelis. The Israelis were never interested in negotiating; they were interested in getting more land.

Ayalon then lists some other “disputed” territories. He neglects to mention that those territories really are disputed - as in, there is a history of war and violence along those borders because two neighboring states disagree.

In this instance, the Israelis have no real claim to the land before the early 1900s, and the land had previously been undisputedly Palestinian.

So rather than trying to play from a position of power, Danny should recognize that Israel should be the one ceding land, not demanding more of it.

Furthermore, Ayalon tries to argue that nobody owned the West Bank, hence why it's disputed. That contradicts his previous argument that Jordan was occupying it. This also plays into a very dangerous neo-imperialist hand that peoples deserve no sovereignty, only nation states.

But we have another trick here. Listen closely, Danny says,

“Israel’s claim to the land was clearly recognized by the international community during the 20th century. That is why the presence and construction of Israel settlements in the West Bank should not be considered illegal.”

Did you catch it?

He references the British and UN mandates of Palestine prior to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. However, the West Bank did not come under Israeli control until 1967 - a move absolutely not approved by the UN.

So, please, tell your friends - don’t buy into the Israel communications office’s cute drawings and clever ploy to reach people on Youtube.

And please, for my sake, respect history. 

 


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JustinL (Justin Ling)
Halifax
Member since December 2009

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Journalist first, activist second. Sometimes the other way around. Editor @ the HMC.

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Comments

Deligitimizing Palestine

Release of Ayalon's video appears to be an attempt by Israeli government to deligitimize Palestine as we approach September vote in UN on Palestinian state. Based on video feedback, many people appear to be duped by Israeli government's revision of history.

Revisionism is a politician's best friend.

The most disturbing thing that comes to mind about your post is that none of it comes as a surprise.  Truth is a rare commodity in the political world.  Great read.

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