The following was published by the Daily Gleaner (Fredericton) in response to a previous op-ed, The Israelis and Palestinians are in dire need of a divorce, by Navid Majid.
The State of Israel must be universally recognized
Published Wednesday December 16th, 2009
By DAVID MURRELL
In a recent op-ed column, Naveed Majid used the marriagedivorce analogy to suggest that the worldwide distrust of Israel is justified. The piece was called The Israelis and Palestinians are in dire need of a divorce, published Dec. 9.
Majidâ€™s piece is mistake-ridden. In particular, he completely misrepresents the birth of Israel. It is this error that I wish to correct.
Majid claims that “…with British help, the courtship and shotgun wedding of Israelis and Palestinians began in earnest from 1940 to 1948…So, one day in 1948 to everyoneâ€™s surprise, she (Israel) preemptively told the property manager, the British, that she (Israel) was breaking off her relationship with the Palestinians and was also taking over the property from the British. She called it the State of Israel.”
Majid should read factual history. The Jews have always lived in Palestine throughout all of recorded history.
And throughout history, Palestine had been ruled by one imperial power or another â€” the Romans, Christian Europeans, the Ottoman Turks, Great Britain).
After the First World War, with the dismantling of the Ottoman empire, the League of Nations assigned Palestine to Great Britain. Britain, to its credit, allowed local government rule for Jews and Arabs.
The Jewish Agency, from 1927 on, governed Jewish affairs through elected councils. Arabs during this period often attacked Jewish settlements, so the Jews formed civil defence groups.
After the Second World War, the United States pressured Britain to refer the Palestine matter to the United Nations.
The United States was in a strong position to do so. The UN in turn formed the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP).
The Jews co-operated with UNSCOP; the Arabs did not.
(An aside: Canadian Supreme Court Justice Ian Rand was appointed as the Canadian representative on UNSCOP. Rand was a native-born New Brunswicker, and played a key role in the writing of UNSCOPâ€™s majority report to the UN).
The report recommended the end of the British mandate on Palestine and its partition into separate Jewish and Arab states. And on Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations voted for a twostate solution.
At this point, surrounding Arab nations â€” Egypt, Syria, Transjordan â€” and various militia groups attacked the Palestinian Jews. During this critical period, Jewish forces repelled the attacks.
On May 14, 1948, the Palestinian Jewish Agency declared the State of Israel. But unlike what Majid claims, Israel did not achieve its independence on its own. Its independence involved supervision through United Nations administration.
Throughout Majidâ€™s op-ed essay, he depicts Jewish Israelis as foreigners to Palestine, and Arab Palestinians as victims.
But ever since the 1947 UN vote, Arabs have consistently refused to recognize the State of Israel. Egyptian leader Abdul Nasser, who championed the destruction of Israel, fought and lost two conventional wars against the Jewish state.
In 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, together with Syria and Jordan, fought and lost the Yom Kippur war against Israel. In between these wars, Israel had to defend itself against various terrorist attacks.
To this day, with the exception of moderate Egypt and Jordan, the Arab- Muslim community refuses to recognize the Jewish state of Israel. Militant Islamist groups â€” Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza â€” call for the liquidation of Israel, and still fire rockets into sovereign Israel.
Throughout the Arab world anti- Semitism predominates. Knowledgeable writers say that, with the upsurge in militant Islamism, Arab denial of Israelâ€™s right to exist has been increasing.
It is said that, between two disputing parties, if one party refuses to recognize the other partyâ€™s right to exist, there can be no peaceful settlement of the dispute.
Naveed Majid, in his op-ed essay, neglects this point. Indeed, he claims a â€œdivorceâ€ is needed. But the divorce took place back in 1947. What is needed now is a post-divorce agreement which allows Israel to live in peace.