Monday, November 23, 2009
I am Spartacus!
Everyone seems ot have their panties in a bunch over the sudden interest the U.S. has taken in Gilo.
For those not up on their current events, Gilo is a neighborhood on the southern edge of Jerusalem that is home to approximately 40,000 people... almost all of whom are Jewish. From 1948 - 1967 Gilo was in Jordanian hands. But since the Six Day War, it has been under Israeli control and was annexed by Israel as part of unified Jerusalem.
The U.N. and European Union view Gilo as an illegal settlement, but until recently, the U.S. has seemed to have shared Israel's view of it as an integral part of the municipality of Jerusalem.
However, Israel's plan to build new housing units in Gilo has revealed that the U.S.'s position might be more like that of the Europeans than we suspected. Like the E.U., they are demanding that Israel freeze all building, even in what had previously been considered just another Jerusalem neighborhood.
Personally, I couldn't be more delighted. In fact, I'd like the U.S., U.N., E.U. (and any other pair of letters you can think of) to express outrage at new building projects in as many places in Israel as possible.
Seriously, what's so magical about the so called 'Green Line' (more correctly known as the 1949 Armistice Line)? Why is it that only building/settlement activity outside the Green Line is problematic?
In 1947 the U.N. approved the Partition Plan that, had the Arabs simply agreed, would have created a barely-contiguous Jewish state in a tiny fraction of the area once set aside for us in the Mandate. But as we all know, they didn't agree. They attacked us and tried to destroy the tiny, patchwork Jewish state. Because even the tiny entity pictured below (in orange) was too much:
Well, as we know, the 1948-49 war didn't work out so well for the Arabs (as can be seen by the 1949 Armistice lines in the map below):
Make no mistake, while certainly better (for the Jews) than the 1947 Partition Plan borders, the 1949 Armistice lines were no great 'metzia' (bargain). In fact, Abba Eban once famously called the '49 lines 'Auschwitz Borders' because of the narrow area in the middle where Israel could so easily be cut in half and/or it's primary population centers shelled at will.
Yet for almost 19 years we were quite happy with our shiny new country. Except, of course, for the fact that our neighbors (the ones whose @sses we had already so soundly kicked), looked upon the 1949 armistice the way a boxer looks upon the bell between rounds. For the Arabs, it was a (very) temporary break in the hostilities... forcing the infant Israel to weather its formative years quite literally with a gun in one hand and a plow share in the other.
Finally, by the end of the first half of 1967, the usual suspects had begun massing their armies on our borders and making open threats to push us into the sea... again.
This time, rather than wait for them to invade, Israel made the first move... and in the time it took the Lord to create the entire world, we were able to accomplish the more modest task of turning three countries' armed forces (Egypt, Syria and Jordan) into smoldering scrap heaps. Actually, make that nine if you count the other belligerents in the conflict; Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Sudan.
By mid-June 1967, Israel's borders looked like this:
The Arabs tried again on Yom Kippur of 1973 to wipe Israel off the map, but after a brief set-back (due to the surprise attack) we were eventually able to push our enemies back so far that our heavy artillery was within range of the outskirts of Damascus, and the Cairo Hilton had begun taking Bar Mitzvah reservations.
Over the years we gave bits and pieces of our war spoils away in an attempt to buy a little quiet with our neighbors. Menachem Begin famously gave all of the Sinai peninsula back to Egypt (a move which resulted in a peace that was notable only for its lack of open hostilities. And of course Ariel Sharon handed the Gaza strip over to the devil himself (based on the results, since nobody has been able to demonstrate a single good thing to have come from that transaction).
But I digress.
My original point, before I got sucked into a history lesson, was that the Arabs have convinced the world that the 1949 Armistice Lines are somehow sacrosanct and imbued with the sweet smell of International Law.
But anyone with a third grade education can read for themselves that the '49 Armistice Agreements (there were individual agreements between Israel and each of the enemy states that attacked it) clearly state that the final borders must be negotiated between the parties, and that the so-called Green Line (the lines when the fighting ended) was never intended to be viewed by anyone as a permanent border.
So again, I ask what is so magical about the 1949 Armistice Lines? If the Arabs feel they are entitled to a do-over for any and all of the military fiascoes they perpetrated, why not demand a return to the original Partition Plan lines???
I'm being serious here!
Other than the areas indicated in orange on that first map above, every last inch of land in Israeli control today was taken by force from our enemies on the battlefield. Therefore I feel that the U.N., E.U., U.S. and anyone else with even tenuous standing on the international stage, should view everything else as illegal Israeli settlement/occupation and demand that we immediately withdraw to our ORIGINAL borders as set out by the United Nations in 1947!
This may sound like a somewhat strange position for an Israeli to be taking, but if you think about it... it is the only logical place to begin the process of making everyone understand the real situation; that no country is allowed a do-over after losing a war... and that no country that wins a war is required to offer up land in order to sue for peace.
Yet, we've had to fight for our very survival on so many occasions that the world has gotten into the habit of thinking of Israel as temporary... negotiable.
Well, enough already!
Personally, I couldn't possible care less what the world wants Israel to do. If we've learned only one thing during the short history of our country, it is that we are the only ones who will ever have our best interest at heart.
But more importantly, I honestly feel that the only thing that has a prayer of unifying the Jewish people (or at least unifying those living in Israel) is for nearly all of us to be labeled illegitimate by the international community.
Do you remember that climactic scene near the end of 'Spartacus' where the recaptured rebel slaves are asked to identify Spartacus in return for leniency? In a show of unity, they all began shouting "I am Spartacus!"... even though they knew it might very well cost them their lives?
Well, I have a fantasy about the world finally showing some honesty about their hate of Israel and demanding that Israel return to the Partition Plan borders in order to appease the 'downtrodden' Arabs.
And when that happens, people from Kiryat Gat, Ramle, Beer Sheva, Ashdod, Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Modi'in, Nahariya, Ashqelon, Afula, Beit She'an, and other vibrant, thriving Israeli cities, will rise up with one voice and shout, "I am from Gilo!... and my legitimacy is not a question for my enemies and their supporters to decide!"
Posted by David Bogner on November 23, 2009 | Permalink
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The problem is that those that lean left, those that are apathetic, and those that are "tired of endless war" are satisfied with Tel Aviv and its surrounding areas. After all, they've got Habima and lots of cafes, and some tall buildings with businesses in them, what else do they need?
Posted by: Mark | Nov 23, 2009 4:14:49 PM
Mark... I have been guilty on many ocassions of bashing the Tel aivivis, so this may sound strange coming from me. But I have to believe that even the most jaded, post-Zionist, draft-evading, drug-addled, trance-club-attending-Haaretz-reading,latte-sipping, lefty Tel Avivi HAS to understand that a country made up of just Gush Dan would quite literally be pushed into the sea.
Posted by: treppenwitz | Nov 23, 2009 4:24:43 PM
Posted by: Alice | Nov 23, 2009 4:42:08 PM
Posted by: Leah Weiss Caruso | Nov 23, 2009 4:55:36 PM
Dave, originally Israel was the world making a joke of the whole process. They expected Israel to be eliminated by the arabs and they would have felt good about creating the state in lip service. When the war started only one country would consider selling arms. We were not supposed to survive. No they are more open about wanting our destruction and help in any way they can. limiting the size of the country effectively will allow Israel to self destruct. The Israeli arabs will soon outnumber the jewish population and vote it out of existence. and no the left in tel aviv will not have learned the lesson of Germany.
Posted by: dave | Nov 23, 2009 4:59:12 PM
Mark... I have been guilty on many occasions of bashing the Tel Avivis, so this may sound strange coming from me. But I have to believe that even the most jaded, post-Zionist, draft-evading, drug-addled, trance-club-attending-Haaretz-reading, latte-sipping, lefty Tel Avivi HAS to understand that a country made up of just Gush Dan would quite literally be pushed into the sea.
Try bringing it up with the "intelligensia" one day ... I guarantee that within minutes they will bring up the city-state of Singapore and their success. They will also likely bring up the "fact" that if we just gave the Muslims their holy city of Al-Quds, we would already be halfway towards reaching peace.
Besides, what's the big difference between a Gush-Dan only country and what is being proposed? Go back to the '49 borders, add to that that we've pretty much given up on most of the Galil and the South. Look where businesses/jobs are formed and you'll see that the vast majority of them are in Gush Dan ... and people live where the jobs are.
Posted by: Mark | Nov 23, 2009 5:32:23 PM
Posted by: Jack | Nov 23, 2009 6:01:53 PM
Yet another excellent post.
Any country that says that territory won in the course of a war is somehow "illegitimate" should be forced to cede any territory of its own that was annexed as the result of a war. The world's cartographers would make a fortune.
Posted by: Elisson | Nov 23, 2009 6:06:51 PM
didnt work out so well for spartacus or his buddies though...
Posted by: fred | Nov 23, 2009 6:24:43 PM
Really well thought out post!
Posted by: Mara | Nov 23, 2009 7:15:27 PM
I cannot help but think that one of the myriad of problems facing Israel is the fact that the U.S. has been Israel's most reliable ally and source of defensive weaponry. This coupled with the fact that Obama's foreign policy has been not only a failure but a joke of a failure. These two factors, imo, are causing the Obama administration to focus on Israel as the potential source for a scarce foreign policy victory. Because Obama has an enormous amount of pressure that it can apply to Israel up to and including outright abandonment, I think the administration's willingness to apply that pressure will only increase as Obama's foreign policy elsewhere continues to illicit ridicule from even the weakest of America's enemies.
Posted by: Kae Gregory | Nov 23, 2009 7:29:17 PM
Actually the 1947 partition plan isn't good either. It was a resolution of the General Assembly that contained a plan, a proposal, that the Arabs rejected:
1. Resolutions of the GA are not international law.
2. If it were, you can't hold Israel to a deal where the other side didn't even sign the contract.
This brings us back to the Palestine Mandate and the San Remo Conference of 1920. Everything from the river to the sea plus parts of the trans-jordan are all a homeland for the Jews.
Posted by: Fred | Nov 23, 2009 8:40:57 PM
Quite a number of years ago, Jacques Chirac virtually demanded that Israel cede the Golan to Israel. I thought such a splendid idea deserved European leadership, and France should set the penultimate example as wanna-be Big Macher of the E.U--and give Alsace Lorraine back to Germany. I was sure this would be such a great success that it would be followed by Poland returning Pomerania and Prussia to Germany, Belarus erasing itself and becoming Lithuania again, and the British finally ending their Illegal Occupation of Northern Ireland. So I wrote Jacques a letter suggesting that France go first.
Sadly, he didn't take me up on it. But that's been my answer to the European bully boys ever since then: "You first."
Posted by: aliyah06 | Nov 23, 2009 9:09:11 PM
Giloh was good/Jewish enough to be attacked by the Arabs, as the world stayed silent.
Posted by: Batya from Shiloh | Nov 23, 2009 10:05:42 PM
Excellent post! And I'm with Fred, lets just go back to the "Palestine Mandate and the San Remo Conference of 1920" - or better yet, let's fight for the boundaries Hashem provides in the Torah and pray that He will send Mashiach now to help us make it happen.
As for the Tel Avivi mentality, we can sit back and accept that they outnumber us or we can encourage more "righties" to make Aliyah.
Posted by: Tehillah | Nov 23, 2009 10:35:45 PM
And of course Dry Bones used the same logic to send a message to the US (I remember a Begin/Carter version of this).
Posted by: Toronto Yid | Nov 23, 2009 10:41:07 PM
"the Cairo Hilton had begun taking Bar Mitzvah reservations."
another reason not to drink and read from Trep ;o/
Posted by: Wry Mouth | Nov 24, 2009 4:45:55 AM
Outstanding! I would love to cross-post this.
Posted by: Lady-Light | Nov 24, 2009 8:18:33 AM
Feel free... just include a link. :-)
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Posted by: David Bogner | Nov 24, 2009 8:54:49 AM
I love this line from Wikipedia:
"Gilo (Hebrew: גילֹה) is a lower middle class residential area on the southwestern outskirts of Jerusalem, considered by some to be part of East Jerusalem."
'Some' sure know their geography!
Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Nov 24, 2009 9:23:40 AM
Do you believe these checkpoints? They made her wait in long lines, asked her personal questions over and over, and detained her for over 1/2 hour. I think we should send machsom watch over there right now!
Posted by: Anonomys | Nov 24, 2009 11:58:46 AM