Sunday, December 7, 2014

Learning from History - Yoram Ettinger

by Yoram Ettinger

Unlike the Arabs, Jews are reliable and do comply with agreements. … Zionism is the ‎hope for the reconstructed Jewish homeland; it is also a clear strategic benefit to the ‎British Empire. … The British policy in the Middle East bets on the wrong horse, when ‎appeasing the Arabs."

Col. Richard Meinertzhagen, the chief political/intelligence officer of the British ‎Mandate in Palestine, inspired the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, who laid the ‎foundation for the landmark U.S.-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014, which was ‎overwhelmingly supported by Congress. The Act reflects Israel's increasing and ‎unique strategic contribution to vital U.S. defense and commercial interests, and the ‎mutually beneficial, two-way-street nature of the U.S.-Israel relationship. ‎

Col. Meinertzhagen's Middle East Diary 1917-1956 is as relevant today for the ‎USA as it was 80-100 years ago for Britain, maintaining that a Jewish state would ‎be the most reliable and effective beachhead of Western democracies in an area that is vital to their critical economic and national security interests. ‎

In 1923, Col. Meinertzhagen stated: "Britain will not be able to sustain its control of ‎the Suez Canal endlessly. … [Therefore], I've always considered the land ‎of Israel to be the key to the defense of the Middle East. … When a Jewish state will ‎be established, Britain shall benefit from air force, naval and land bases … as well as ‎Jewish fighting capabilities … which will secure its long-term regional interests. … ‎Unlike the Arabs, Jews are reliable and do comply with agreements. … Zionism is the ‎hope for the reconstructed Jewish homeland; it is also a clear strategic benefit to the ‎British Empire. … The British policy in the Middle East bets on the wrong horse, when ‎appeasing the Arabs." ‎

In 1920, he wrote: "I firmly believe that a sovereign Jewish state shall be established ‎in 20-30 years, militarily assaulted by all its Arab neighbors." In 1919, he assessed ‎that a long-term, and possibly insoluble, clash between Jewish and Arab nationalism ‎was inevitable. He expected the Jews to prevail due to their impressive military track ‎record in ancient times. Jewish quality would overcome the Arab quantity. ‎

In 1920, Meinertzhagen noted that the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict and ‎the Palestinian issue was the Arab obsession with the existence -- not merely the ‎size -- of a Jewish state, as evidenced by the systematic campaign of anti-Jewish ‎incitement by Arab leaders, especially the Jerusalem mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini (the ‎role model for Mahmoud Abbas and Yassir Arafat). ‎

He noted that while Zionism was relentlessly determined to re-establish Jewish ‎sovereignty in the land of Israel, the Arab worldview was dominated by a seventh ‎century fanatic Islam. Arabs displayed hopeless inter-Arab fragmentation, intrigues, ‎tenuous regimes and policies, as well as violent intolerance, featuring ruthless ‎incitement, toward the Christian and Jewish "infidel," in a region that Muslims ‎perceived to be divinely ordained only for the followers of Islam.‎

Meinertzhagen opposed British policy, which egregiously violated legally binding ‎commitments made to Jewish sovereignty over (at least!) the entire area west of ‎the Jordan River, such as the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1920 San Remo ‎Conference British Mandate, and the 1922 League of Nations reaffirmation, which ‎was integrated into Article 80 of the 1945 U.N. Charter. He claimed that British policy ‎was driven by pro-Arab and anti-Semitic sentiments, discriminating against Jewish ‎aspirations, thus radicalizing the Arabs and minimizing the prospects of peace. ‎

Meinertzhagen considered a sovereign Jewish entity a strategic and moral asset, ‎while the Arabs were defined as a strategic and moral liability, urging the British ‎government to ally itself with the reliable and grateful party. ‎

The conviction-driven British clairvoyant was convinced that the Jewish state was ‎destined for a rosy commercial and military future due to boundless Jewish tenacity -- ‎as evidenced by the survival of Judaism in defiance of historical adversity -- and ‎Jewish brainpower, inspired by values that generated monotheism and Western ‎democracies. Moreover, in 1920, Meinertzhagen wrote that "the Zionist entity shall ‎provide its Arab citizens with enhanced economy and security." In 1949, he referred ‎to the newly born Jewish state as "one of the world wonders, and the only positive ‎outcome of the Second World War."‎

Noting in 1937 that "a secure Jewish state would bolster the regional position of ‎Britain," while "a splintered land of Israel would weaken, and possibly, eliminate, the ‎Jewish state," Meinertzhagen delineated the security lines of the Jewish state ‎‎(before the intensified unpredictability, instability and threat generated by the Arab tsunami): from the Sea of Galilee to the Jordan River, the Dead Sea and the Gulf of ‎Aqaba in the east; from the Gulf of Aqaba to Rafiah (southern Gaza) in the south; the ‎Mediterranean in the west; and the Litani River (southern Lebanon) in the north. ‎Meinertzhagen's map was similar to the map of Israel's minimal security ‎requirements, submitted on June 29, 1967 to President Lyndon Johnson by Gen. Earl ‎Wheeler, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs-of-Staff. ‎

Against the backdrop of the 2014 controversy over the Jewish state law, it is ‎instructive to read that Col. Meinertzhagen indicated in 1932: "It is clear that the land of Israel will become a Jewish state no less than England ‎is English."

Yoram Ettinger


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

No comments:

Post a Comment