Saturday, August 26, 2006

A journey into history

It is a little known fact that the Jewish community as a whole was pro-German during World War I, in the hope that a German victory would liberate the pale settlements (ghettos) in Poland and Russia. On the battlefields, the Allied forces were faring badly and The United States had not entered the war.

At that crucial moment, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, a noted British scientist who had rendered valuable services to Britain in the chemical field was able to prevail upon Lord Balfour, then Foreign Secretary, that a Declaration promising a Jewish national home in Palestine would serve to sway the sympathies of the Jewish community in the United States in favour of the Allies and hasten the entry of the United States into the war. Lord Balfour accepted the validity of that argument and in November, 1917, he made his famous Declaration, on the basis of which the world Zionist Organisation was able to create the State of Israel. Soon after the Declaration was made, United States troops were fighting on the battlefields of Europe which eventually led to the victory of the Allies over Germany.

Prior to the Declaration which also served to introduce venomous poison into the political body of the Near East, British and French Ambassadors Sykes and Picot, were huddled together at Masabni Hotel at Chtaura in Lebanon's Beka'a valley, negotiating the distribution of the Turkish spoils in the Arab World. Ambassador Picot related the following amusing anecdote, that following heated arguments over the chunks of territory to be taken over by Britain and France, the two ambassadors decided to take a break, which they spent shooting in the Beka'a valley. They returned to their task, mush refreshed, and both agreed that all disputed items would be settled by a toss of the coin, and in that way, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan came into being, on a toss of the coin.

The Sykes Picot Agreement of 1916 and the Balfour Declaration of 1917, virtually annulled all the promises of independence which Britain's Representative in Cairo, The Count of Mac-Mahon, had made to Shariff Hussein of Saudi Arabia to revolt against the Turks and to join forces with Britain.

Under the Sykes Picot Agreement, Syria and Lebanon. were to go to France, while Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan were to go to Britain, under Mandates from the League of Nations. Needless to say, the wishes of the local populations were not to be taken into consideration.

The first British High Commissioner over Palestine was Sir Herbert Samuel, a British Zionist Jew whose principal priority was to facilitate Jewish immigration to Palestine. For the record, the total Jewish population in Palestine at that time did not exceed eighty thousand, spread in small communities in Acre, Safad, Tiberius and Jerusalem, and in two British financed settlements. As was to be expected, the Palestinian population rose, again and again, against an immigration and settlement policy which threatened their future, culminating finally in the 1926-1939 revolt, in the course of which ten thousand Palestinians were killed by the British army. As a result of this revolt, Britain convened the Arab countries to a Conference in London, and in due course Britain issued the White Paper of 1939, which put a ceiling on Jewish immigration and prohibited land sales in rural areas.

Britain thus became the enemy, and no sooner had World War II ended that the Jewish terrorist organisations, namely the Stern Gang and the Irgun Zvai Leumi, aided and abetted by the Haganah launched their campaign of terror against the British administration in Palestine, to force Britain to withdraw from that country, in the knowledge that the Palestinians could be dealt with at a later stage. They were successful in their campaign of terror, and in due course Britain, exhausted and penniless following World War II decided to end its Mandate and to refer the whole problem back to the United Nations. Following the Anglo-American commission and the United Nations Special commission on Palestine, the United Nations adopted a Resolution to partition Palestine into a Jewish and a Palestinian State with Jerusalem and environs and a corridor down to Jaffa, as an international zone to be administered by the United Nations.

Following this Resolution, Britain announced that it would abandon Palestine to its destiny on May 15th, 1948. Needless to say, the Palestinians and the so called Arab World, an anachronism still living in the 15th Century, rejected that U.N. Partition Resolution, and prepared to invade Palestine. In the meantime, and by April of 1948, Jewish forces had occupied the whole of Galilee, up to the Syrian frontiers, whose forces had been thrown back to Syria, with hardly any resistance. The so called Army of Liberation, a collection of riffraff and army deserters under the command of a swash buckling adventurer, Fawzi Kauwkji, spent more time pillaging than resisting the enemy. Egypt, against the will of its Prime Minister Nokrashi Pasha, but in deference to the wishes of King Farouk, sent a regiment into Palestine. It followed the coastal road, which was still in Arab hands, and made no attempt to occupy any of the settlements in the Beersheba desert. Those settlements were, at a later stage, to play a crucial role in cutting Egyptian lines and in permitting an Israeli victory which sent the Egyptian army reeling back to Egypt. The Syrian army was back in Syria licking its wounds. Husni Zaim, an army officer, engineered the first of successive coups d'├ętat ending with Hafez el Assad, and the Alawite dictatorial rule of Syria, to this very day. The Syrian Coup d'├ętat set the scene for other changes of Regimes. In Egypt, King Farouk was eased out to be replaced by Jamal Abdul Nasser. The Hashemite monarchy of Iraq was in due course to be overthrown. Abdul Nasser, the hero of the Arab World came from a modest background, and his education must have been minimal. What else can explain the fact that he tried to invade and conquer Yemen when the Ottoman Empire had failed to do so. Abdul Nasser imagined that by invading Yemen, he would control the Sraits of Ormuz, and the flow of oil to the western world. In his ignorance, he imagined that the western world would tolerate to have its essential blood line of oil controlled by Abdul Nasser. Worse still, he allowed himself to be pushed by Syria and other Arab nationalists into the 1967 war with Israel, the end result of which were catastrophic for the Arab world. And this is where we are today.

So what next? U.N. Resolution 1701 has provided breathing space for the belligerents. The problems which gave rise a very destructive and inhumane war have remained. The exchange of prisoners has not taken place. Sheba'a farms is the object of disputes between Israel, Lebanon and Syria, and Hizbullah, following its heroic resistance to the Israeli invasion, has emerged stronger than ever, a state within a state.

The Lebanese army, ill equipped and ill trained as it is, has been deployed in south Lebanon, but has been refused access to the frontier by the Israeli army, until such time as the multinational forces have been deployed along the frontier between Lebanon and Israel. In the meantime Israel continues to violate the terms of U.N. Resolution 1701, by imposing a total air, land and sea blockade of Lebanon, such that it is difficult to conceive of reconstruction, when five ships, for example, loaded with fuel are refused access to the Lebanese coast by Israel. Bush, of course has not uttered a word of condemnation. In the simian eyes of Bush, Israel can do no wrong.

And so, where do we go from here?

3 comments:

copy editor said...

I think your thorough history answers your rhetorical question quite nicely.

Solomon2 said...

Why do you degrade yourself by misrepresenting the contents of 1701? You of all people should know better than that. Don't you think you have a duty to Lebanon to clearly explain what 1701 means?

Anonymous said...

While factually correct, you perfrom an intellectual sin by picking only the facts that suits you.
"It is a little known fact that the Jewish community as a whole was pro-German during World War I" - lie. The Jewish community was never a whole, and different people always held different opinions.
"Palestinian population rose, again and again, against an immigration and settlement policy which threatened their future" - Half truth. The real truth is that Palestinian population also kidnapped, butchered and terrorized the jewish communities in palesite at that, and later, periods. That was before the state of Israel was established.
"Britain thus became the enemy, and no sooner had World War II ended that the Jewish terrorist organisations, namely the Stern Gang and the Irgun Zvai Leumi, aided and abetted by the Haganah launched their campaign of terror against the British administration in Palestine, to force Britain to withdraw from that country, in the knowledge that the Palestinians could be dealt with at a later stage." - lies. The Etzel (Irgun Zvai Leumi) and Stern Gang were in disagreement by the majority of the Jewish community in palestine. More-over, they had no agenda regarding Palestinians.
"the Palestinians and the so called Arab World, an anachronism still living in the 15th Century, rejected that U.N. Partition Resolution, and prepared to invade Palestine." - Thats a nice way of describing an orchestrated attack on the one-day-old state of Israel.
"Sheba'a farms is the object of disputes between Israel, Lebanon and Syria," - lie. The current border between Israel and Lebanon was defined with the blessing of the U.N. The only-one thinking the Sheba'a farms are a part of Lebanon are the people of Lebanon and Syria.


"And so, where do we go from here?"
We start by everyone realizing the state of Israel is here to stay.
(hint: This is violated by Ahmedinejad and Nasralla constantly declaring their goal is to wipe Israel out).
Then we give Lebanon the power to control itself.
(Hint: if someone kidnaps soldiers of a different country from your country, you are not in control of your country.)
By then it should be pretty easy to reach a peace-accord everyone supports.