Palestine – Obama Won’t Become Israel’s Embalmer
By: David Singer
Speculation is rife that a far-reaching shift is taking place in how the United States views the Jewish-Arab conflict – and how aggressively America might push for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Whilst nothing concrete has yet emerged to confirm such speculation – there is plenty of evidence available to suggest that President Obama will not be attempting to publicly impose any settlement on Israel that would not have first been approved of by Israel before its release.
Americaâ€™s special relationship with and commitment to the future of the Jewish people extends over 90 years and was first made by United States President Woodrow Wilson on 3 March 1919 when he declared:
â€œI am persuaded that the Allied Nations, with the fullest consent of our own Government and people, are agreed that in Palestine shall be laid the foundation of a Jewish Commonwealthâ€
The reconstitution of the Jewish National Home in Palestine subsequently became accepted at the San Remo Conference on 25 April 1920, was confirmed by Article 95 of the Treaty of Sevres on 10 August 1920 and adopted by the unanimous approval of the League of Nations in the Mandate for Palestine on 24 July 1922.
America was not a member of the League of Nations but on 30 June 1922 a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States unanimously endorsed the Mandate.
On September 21, 1922 President Harding signed the joint declaration of approval to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Two days later a Memorandum was presented to the League of Nations by the British Government denying the Jews the right to establish their national home in 77% of Mandatory Palestine – today called Jordan.
This left the remaining 23% of Palestine west of the Jordan River – today called Israel, the West Bank and Gaza – as the only remaining location available for fulfilling the Mandateâ€™s Jewish National Home objective
The Mandate was clear in stating that:
1. The Jewish National Home was to be established in Palestine whilst safeguarding the civil and religious – (but not any political) – rights of â€œthe existing non-Jewish communities in Palestineâ€ irrespective of race and religion.
2. Jewish immigration and close settlement on the land, including state lands and waste lands not required for public purposes was to be encouraged.
The demise of the League of Nations in 1945 did not mean an end to these rights vested in the Jewish people. They were preserved by the introduction of Article 80 – known as â€œthe Palestine Clauseâ€ – in the United Nations Charter. America took a leading role in the drafting and inclusion of Article 80.
At midnight on May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed a new State of Israel. 11 minutes later the United States, in the person of President Truman, recognized the provisional Jewish government as de facto authority of the Jewish state (de jure recognition was extended on January 31, 1949).
On 15 May 1948 six Arab armies invaded Palestine.
At the conclusion of hostilities Egypt had occupied Gaza and Jordan had occupied the West Bank. Both continued to do so until Israel assumed control of both areas on 10 June 1967 following the conclusion of the Six Day War.
America led the drafting of Security Council Resolution 242 – passed on 22 November 1967 – which did not require Israel to return to the armistice lines existing since 1949 – but only to secure and recognized boundaries.
The conditional acceptance by Israel of President Bushâ€™s Roadmap issued on 30 April 2003 led to Israel proposing a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza – but only after it had received the following written assurances from President Bush on 14 April 2004 :
* The United States would do its utmost to prevent any attempt by anyone to impose any other plan.
* The United States reiterated its steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.
* The United States understood that after Israel withdrew from Gaza and/or parts of the West Bank, and pending agreements on other arrangements, existing arrangements regarding control of airspace, territorial waters, and land passages of the West Bank and Gaza would continue.
* The United States was strongly committed to Israel’s security and well-being as a Jewish state.
* It seemed clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement would need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel.
* As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it was unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations would be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution had reached the same conclusion. It was realistic to expect that any final status agreement would only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.
The importance of these American commitments to Israel was stressed in a speech given in the Knesset by Prime Minister Sharon on 22 April 2004 when he stated:
â€œThe political support we received during my visit to the United States is an unprecedented accomplishment for Israel. Since the establishment of the State, we have not received such vast and staunch political support, as was expressed in the President’s letter.â€
President Bushâ€™s letter of commitment to Israel was subsequently approved by the US Senate and House of Representatives on 23 June and 24 June 2004.
On 11 April 2005 President Bush again confirmed these American commitments to Prime Minister Sharon in Crawford – Texas.
At the Annapolis Conference convened on 27 November 2007, Israel made its future negotiating stance clear when Israelâ€™s then Prime Minister – Ehud Olmert – said in the presence of President Bush:
â€œ The negotiations will be based on previous agreements between us, UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the Roadmap and the April 14th 2004 letter of President Bush to the Prime Minister of Israel.â€
For President Obama to unilaterally seek to impose a settlement contrary to these American commitments extending over 90 years would be a complete abnegation of Americaâ€™s credibility in the international arena. America would be exposed as a nation whose commitments are not worth the paper they are written on. Americaâ€™s proud record of standing by and honouring the commitments it makes would be shattered forever.
Israelâ€™s enemies are unceasing in their determination to end the Jewish State’s existence. President Obama is not going to oblige them and become Israel’s embalmer by breaching any of America’s solemn commitments made to the Jewish people.