Listening to outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry try to defend President Barrack Obama’s decision to let the United Nations Security Council’s anti-Israeli resolution stand, I was struck by how history was being ignored.
Kerry portrayed Israel’s presence in the West Bank as that of an occupying power. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To understand why we need to go back to the 1967 war.
Before the war, the West Bank was illegally occupied by Jordan. It was only when Jordan attacked Israel, despite being warned by the latter to stay out of the war, that Israeli forces acted and crossed into the West Bank.
Israel’s right to claim at least part of the West Bank was acknowledged in UNSCR Resolution 242 because of the need for defensible borders.
Having defensible borders cannot be stressed enough. Israel, after all, has been attacked repeatedly by its Arab neighbors who refuse to recognize its right to exist.
In terms of the West Bank, major Israeli cities are well within striking distance of Palestinian rockets.
Even so, Israel has withdrawn from 40 per cent of the West Bank and has offered further withdrawals in return for a peace treaty recognizing Israel’s right to exist.
That is what the Palestinians and other Arabs refuse to do – recognize Israel.
All of which makes the actions of President Obama and the United Nations so hypocritical. They reserve all their indignation and wrath for Israel and blithely ignore the very real dangers faced by Israelis daily.
Why does the UN not turn its attention to the occupation of Tibet or Kashmir, for example?
Why is the international community so focused on Israel?
Jordan, after all, illegally occupied the West Bank from 1948 to 1967. No one complained then and Palestinians were even given Jordanian passports.
So why is Israel the focus?
Anti-Semitism is one reason. Anti-Zionism is the fig leaf that is used today to hide the ugly anti-Semitism that still pervades the world.
The second reason is that some leaders truly believe that the source of discontent in the Middle East is the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The ugly truth, however, is that Arabs have been waging war with each other for more than a thousand years. It is tribe against tribe. It is sect against sect. It will not change in the short term.
The fact of the matter is that Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East where Arabs enjoy full civil rights. There are about 1.5 million Arabs living in Israel. Arabic is the second official language of Israel. There are Arabs serving in the military. There are Arab judges, politicians, political parties.