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Arabs recognized Israel - 1919

By Charles A. Morse
web posted June 17, 2002

The Arab position is that Jewish settlements on the West Bank and Gaza are "illegal" because they interfere with the right, usually articulated with vague references to international law, of the Arabs to create an all-Arab state west of the Jordan. In addition, over 50 per cent of the Arab population on the West Bank and Gaza, according to a recent poll, support the idea of Arab control over all of "historic Palestine" which is to say they support Israel's destruction. History stands witness to the falseness of these claims.

Emir Feisal (middle)
Emir Feisal (middle)

The fact is that the international community, including the emerging Arab nations, recognized Israel at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference which was held by the victorious Allies in order to settle international questions after the 1918 Armistice ended World War I. An official Arab and Zionist delegation, as well as delegations from nations and groups from around the world, were invited to attend the conference. The head of the Arab delegation, Emir Feisal, great-grandfather of Abdallah, the present King of Jordan, agreed that "Palestine" would be the Jewish homeland.

Feisal accepted the British Balfour Declaration of Nov. 2, 1917, which afforded recognition to a Jewish national homeland, and agreed with the Zionist delegation stating, "All such measures shall be adopted as we afford the fullest guarantee of carrying into effect the British Government's Balfour Declaration." Emir Feisal confirmed this determination in a March 3, 1919 letter to Harvard Law Professor and later US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter with whom he wrote: "Our deputation here in Paris is full acquainted with the proposals submitted by the Zionist organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as modest and proper. We will do our best, insofar as we are concerned, to help them through. We will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home."

In exchange for Arab recognition of Israel, the allied powers, in 1919, agreed to the eventual sovereignty of almost 20 Arab States, covering vast oil-rich lands, after a period of mandatory oversight by European powers. The Europeans would proceed to draw the borders of their respective mandates and, in essence, create the system of Arab States that would emerge out of the remnants of the old Turkish Ottoman Empire. In 1922, a couple of years after the Conference, in a land for peace deal, the British would split Mandatory Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish Mandate using the Jordan River as the line of demarcation. The Arabs were granted East Palestine, or Transjordan, which would later become Arab Jordan while West Palestine, or Cis-Jordan, would become the Jewish National homeland of Israel.

In 1948, upon Israel's declaration of Independence from Britain, Jordan and Egypt, by use of aggressive military force, illegally occupied portions of the internationally recognized Jewish State. The Arab occupation continued until Israel reasserted its sovereignty, June 1967, after defending itself against an aggressive military campaign launched by combined Arab forces. Following the June 1967 war, UN Resolution 242 called on Israel to withdraw from "occupied territories." Israel proceeded to fulfilled the letter and spirit of UN Resolution 242 when, in 1978, it concluded a peace treaty with Egypt and withdrew from the only territory that was, in fact, occupied by Israel which was the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. Since that time, Israel has existed within borders that are, and have been since 1919, recognized by the nations of the world, including the Arab nations.

In light of the seditious opinions of over 50 per cent of the Arab population on the West Bank and Gaza, and the murderous campaign that has been launched from that territory against Jewish citizens, its time for Israel to stop playing along with the charade and re-assert its legitimate sovereignty over its internationally recognized territory. While it would be reasonable for Israel to consider the establishment of a regional elected Arab Authority on the West Bank and Gaza, Israel would be acting entirely within international law and custom if it did what any nation would do in similar circumstances. Try those involved in conspiring to overthrow the state by violent means and expel them.

Chuck Morse is a radio host with Salem Radio/WROL in Boston.

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