aside West Bank Story, Part I

Image result for PHOTOS OF 1967 WARDuring the last two weeks of December 2016, the republican President-elect Donald Trump and the democratic Secretary of State, John Kerry have been trading jabs regarding Israel and the West Bank. This is a complicated situation to where one should beware of anyone claiming to have an easy solution. For many years, through republican and democratic administrations, the U.S. has been pushing for Israel and Palestine to adopt a two state solution, where both have its own territories and both states live side by side. Towards this end, the U.S. has been discouraging Israel from building Israeli settlements in the West Bank where the population is mostly Palestinian. Israel with the blessing of its hardline leader, Benjamin Netanyahu have ignored the international community by foraging ahead with  construction projects  in the West Bank. And the republican President-elect Donald Trump is acting in support of President Netanyahu’s position.

With the West Bank now being a point of contention, it is important that we, who are resistant to the normalization of our president-elect, learn more about the history of the West Bank.

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Israeli army entering in the old city during the Six Day War in June 1967 in Jerusalem, Israel.

I did find the cliff notes historical version about the 1967 Six Day War and Resolution 242 from PBS Frontline which published excerpts from Eric Black’s Book, “Parallel Realities” which shares details about the West Bank. It was reprinted with the permission of both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the author. It is titled, “Resolution 242 And The Aftermath of 1967:”

“The argument over which side to blame for the 1967 Six Day War goes on, but all of the parties acknowledge that Israel’s dramatic victory altered the face of the Middle East and established the boundaries–literally and figuratively–within which the quest for an Arab-Israeli settlement has been conducted ever since.”Image result for photo of 1967 war

Territories/In the 1967 war, Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria, the West Bank including East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. Except for the Sinai, Israel still holds all those territories.”

“Egypt regained the Sinai as part of the Camp David Accords of 1979. Israel has formally annexed East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, vowing never to relinquish those territories. But Syria vows never to make peace unless Israel withdraws from Golan. And the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) declares Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.”

“The so-called “land for peace” formula at the center of the 1992 Mideast negotiations comes down to Israeli withdrawal from some or all of the territories acquired in 1967 in exchange for recognition by Israel’s neighboring states of its right to live in peace, and a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.”Related image

“Population/By capturing the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 1967, Israel also captured about one million Palestinians. Many were the same individuals who had fled their homes in 1947-49, or the children of those refugees. Since 1967, the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza has increased to about 1.8 million.” (As of 2014, 2.7 million Palestinians live in the West Bank.)

“This population is often described as a demographic time bomb for Israel. The birth rate of Arabs in the occupied territories and Arabs within pre-1967 Israel is significantly higher than the birth rate among Israeli Jews. Despite the influx of hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews to Israel in the early 1990s, if the higher Arab birth rate continues and no settlement is reached, Israel will lose its Jewish majority within the foreseeable future.”Related image

“Israel has not been willing to offer citizenship to the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza, as they did with the Arabs in pre-1967 Israel, nor to expel them, as some hard-liners have advocated, nor to grant them self-determination, which would result in the creation of a Palestinian state.”

“PLO and Likud/Before 1967, the leading spokesman for the Palestinian cause was not a Palestinian but Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. After the humiliating six-day defeat, Nasser offered his resignation. It was not accepted, and his popularity remained high, but Nasser died in 1970 without having successfully reasserted his leadership of the Palestinian cause. In the aftermath of the 1967 war, the Palestine Liberation Organization, which had been controlled by Nasser, was taken over by Yasir Arafat. The PLO soon gained the leadership position among Palestinians it has enjoyed ever since.”

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RT TO LEFT-King Hussein-Gamal Abdel Nasser, Yasser Arafat and Muammar Ghaddafi 1970 (Photo credit: Palestinian Authorities via Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash 90)

“Before 1967, Menachem Begin was an outsider in Israeli politics, shunned as too radical, expansionist and intransigent by founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. But in the weeks leading to the 1967 war, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, Ben-Gurion’s successor, brought Begin into the cabinet as a symbol that the crisis required national unity. It was a breakthrough toward respectability for Begin. Although he later resigned from the cabinet, he became prime minister himself in 1977. His hardline Likud bloc has dominated Israeli politics ever since.”

“The special relationship/Israel used French arms to win the 1967 test against the Soviet-supplied arms used by Egypt and Syria. But after 1967, the United States quickly began to emerge as Israel’s top ally. Paris rejected Israel’s first strike in 1967 while Washington accepted it. Israel’s victory in the war, which was interpreted in America as an inspiring victory of David over Goliath, caused Israel’s popularity in the United States to surge. Soon after 1967, Israel shot to the top of the list of countries receiving U.S. foreign aid. The war helped establish the U.S.-Israeli “special relationship” that has existed ever since.”

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Shimon Peres (L) with then-premier David Ben Gurion (R) and Moshe Dayan (CTR) in the 1960s.

Resolution 242

“The 1967 war also gave rise to U.N. Resolution 242, which has become a sort of mantra of all Middle East peacemaking efforts since it was adopted by the United Nations in 1967. By the late 1980s, Israel, most Arab states, the PLO, the United States, the Soviet Union and most of the nations of the world had accepted Resolution 242 as the proper basis for a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Whenever negotiations are in the offing, all of the parties hasten to reaffirm their support for Resolution 242, to insist that the resolution provides the road map to peace, and to imply that the other side is the one that will not abide by the requirements of 242.”

“When the fighting stopped in June of 1967, the action moved to the United Nations. The Soviet Union, then the superpower-of-choice for Egypt and Syria, pushed for a resolution demanding Israel’s withdrawal to its prewar boundaries. Israel wanted recognition of its existence and security guarantees. It found the United States more willing than ever to use its Security Council veto power on Israel’s behalf. This was one of the benefits to Israel of the just-blossoming “special relationship.” The Security Council argued throughout the summer and fall of 1967 before agreeing on Resolution 242 in November.”Image result for PHOTOS OF 242 RESOLUTION

“Resolution 242 was sponsored by Britain. It passed because it tied the main thing the Soviets and Arabs wanted–Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories–to the main thing Israel and the United States sought–recognition of Israel by its neighbors.”

“In its key sections, the resolution calls for:

‘”Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in recent conflict.”

“Termination of all … states of belligerency and … acknowledgment of the sovereignty … of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries.”Related image“A just settlement of the refugee problem.”

“So what’s the hang-up? If all the requirements of Resolution 242 were fulfilled, the Arab-Israeli conflict would be settled. Yet a quarter of a century after it was adopted, Resolution 242 has turned out to be a road map to limbo. Israel still occupies several of the territories it captured in 1967; no Arab state except Egypt has recognized Israel’s sovereignty nor formally ended the state of war with Israel; and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians still inhabit squalid refugee camps.”

“The hang-up, as you can also see, is that the language of the resolution is vague enough for each of the parties to see what it wants to see and interpret the rest out of existence.”Related image“The United States, for example, sees Resolution 242 as the embodiment of the principle of land for peace, which has been the core of U.S. policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1967. But the United States has not specified what land Israel should give up, what peace guarantees the Arab states should provide, nor what would constitute a “just settlement” for the Palestinians.”

“For ten years after the 1967 war, Egypt, Jordan and Syria interpreted Resolution 242 in unison. It meant that Israel had to give back all of the territory captured in the war. Until Israel did so, the Arab League agreed, it would have no peace, no recognition and no negotiations. One of the shortcomings of the resolutions is that it doesn’t say what should come first, Israeli withdrawal or Arab recognition of Israel. Each side insisted that the other make the first concession.”girl-on-west-bank

“Traditionally, the Arab states argued that the only way to implement 242 was to convene an international conference that would consider all of the issues at once and have the power to enforce a solution. This negotiating format has always been unacceptable to Israel. The three front-line Arab states also forswore bilateral negotiations with Israel. Syria in particular has worried that if Israel got recognition and peace on its Egyptian and Jordanian borders, Israel would never negotiate the return of the Golan Heights.”

“Sure enough, in 1977 Egypt broke ranks, negotiated directly with Israel, and made a separate peace with Israel in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai. The other Arab states kicked Egypt out of the Arab League.”

“But, as is often the case, the widest divergence of interpretation occurs when Israelis and Palestinians give their parallel versions of Resolution 242.”

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13 comments

  1. Gronda, many thanks for this summary. The Middle East issues are far more complicated and subtle, than some leaders care to admit. Easy solutions are hard to come by and you are so right that we should be wary of someone peddling them. Have a great 2017. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      This is going to be a challenging time. While DT has a bromance with the Russian President Putin, President Putin is making nice with its ally, Iran. Israel despises Iran. And so how is this supposed to play out in the near future.

      Ciao, Gronda

    • Dear Horty, This issue is so complicated and DT isn’t helping by inserting his opinions before he is even sworn in as president.

      Thanks a million for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

      • You’re most welcome, dear friend!
        DT isn’t going to help in anything!
        This sorry excuse of a human being will cause (has already caused) so much damage … I can’t take 4 years of it!! 😦

        • Dear Horty,

          He stepped all over President Obama re U.S policies towards Russia, China, Taiwan, Israel. He is like a bull in a china closet. All Americans will be cleaning up after him.

          Hugs, Gronda

        • I know … and that’s so scary!! And he’s simply following those he’s chosen for his cabinet .. all are anti-LGBT
          Have you heard about Ted Cruz .. First Amendment Defense Act? … that’s bad for us!! Hugs ..

  2. Very informative post, Gronda! I am working tonight on a post about the Israeli settlements and the U.N. resolution. As I always tell Hugh, great minds think alike! Happy New Year, Gronda!

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