by Martin Sherman
Professor Martin Sherman is the 2009-2010 Hebrew Union College/University of Southern
Professor Sherman is the academic director of the
Professor Sherman's books include The Politics of Water in the
The Context: Restoring Memory
"Occupation" and "Settlements" have thus become the buzzwords by which to denote, to decry and defame
A 2003 article "Jus ad Bellum: Law Regulating Resort to Force", published by the American Bar Association, sets out the rather stringent conditions for the legitimate exercise of "anticipatory self defense." It stipulates that the necessity for action must be "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." It goes on to quote a "recent edition of a leading treatise [which] states that [anticipatory] self-defense may justify use of force under the following conditions: an attack is immediately threatened; there is an urgent necessity for defensive action; there is no practicable alternative, particularly when another state or authority that legally could stop or prevent the infringement does not or cannot do so..."
There is clearly not doubt that these conditions were met in June 1967.
The declarations of Arab leaders, before
On March 8th 1965, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser proclaimed:
"We shall not enter
On May 18, 1967 the Cairo-based radio station Voice of the Arabs blared stridently:
"As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect
Two days later, on May 20, 1967, Gen. Hafez al-Assad,
On May 27,
"Our basic objective will be the destruction of
And four days before the outbreak of war, on June 1, 1967, Iraqi President Abdul Rahman Ali (later killed by Saddam Hussein) threatened:
"The existence of
Therefore, it was not Israeli aggression but unequivocal Arab aggression that led to the events which precipitated
The Jordanian Factor and the Palestinian Element
On November 18, 1965,
"Our aim is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of
It should be recalled that at this time the entire "West Bank" (Judea and
So, as the Arab armies massed against it,
The use of the word "liberation" is both interesting and revealing for, at the time, the notions of "occupation" and "settlements" had neither conceptual significance nor practical relevance. Consequently, they could not in any way account for this ferocious hostility towards the Jewish nation-state by the Arabs who clearly were not seeking "liberation" in Arab-ruled
"All of the Arab armies now surround
In a premature flush of triumph, on June 1, 1967, PLO leader Shukairy crowed:
"This is a fight for the homeland. It is either us or the Israelis. There is no middle road. The Jews of
Here again Shukairy's terminology is of interest. For quite apart from the explicit articulation of his bloodcurdling intentions, the use of "homeland" is instructive and illuminating. For it clearly did not refer to "West Bank" or to
Cleary then, "the liberation of the homeland" must be construed as "the elimination of the Jewish state." Indeed, how else could be construed? (That this was the Arab intention is made even more explicit a little later.)
This view is strongly endorsed by the text of the original formulation of the Palestinian Coventant adopted in 1964, before any "occupation" or "settlements" were ever part of the discourse, much less facts on the ground.
Thus, in Article 16, the covenant states:
"The liberation of
But, in Article 24, it specifically eschews claims to:
"any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the
What more authoritative source could be imagined for exposing the Palestinian claims to the West Bank and
The Palestinian - Then and Now
So what, if anything, has changed since then in the motivations and objectives of the Palestinians? Very little, it would appear.
For when one looks at the founding documents of the major Palestinian organizations today, the same abiding animosity persists.
For example, the constitution of the allegedly moderate/pragmatic Fatah, adopted in 1964 and purposefully left un-amended in its 2009 Convention in Bethlehem, states as its "Goal" (in Article 12):
"Complete liberation of
In the (still un-amended) Article 19, it details how this "eradication" is to be accomplished:
Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.
This parallels closely the sentiments expressed in the currently valid (and accessible via the UN website) Palestinian National Covenant adopted in 1968. This document, despite promises to U.S. President Bill Clinton, still includes clauses calling for the destruction of Israel.
In this regard, Article 22 is quite specific stating that the "... liberation of
Furthermore, should anyone opine that the vigor of the Palestinians' genocidal - or rather "Judeocidal" - aspirations has receded, the Hamas Charter will quickly dispel such illusions. For the founding document of the largest Palestinian political faction, which sets outs its raison d'etre, proclaims:
Israel ... will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors ...Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam ... The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, ... there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him. (From the Preamble, Article 28 and Article 7)
Clearly then, Arab Palestinian enmity towards the Jews is not about borders but about being; not about Israel's "occupation" but about Israel's existence; not about what the Jewish people do but about what the Jewish people are; not about the Jewish state's policy but about the Jewish state per se.
Indeed, should further evidence be required that "Occupation" and "Settlements" are merely an excuse and not a reason for Palestinian violence, the situation in
So, in the final analysis, in accounting for the enduring bloodshed in the
Professor Martin Sherman
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