So much of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could be taken off the negotiating table, if not truly solved, by simply acknowledging documented history.
The main thrust of the Palestinian side’s argument is that the Jews are colonizers who have no history in or right to this land. But mountains of proof, even from Arab sources, belie the Palestinian narrative.
The problem is that until now, international peace brokers have been too scared of upsetting the delicate oil-rich Arab Middle East to call out the Palestinians on their deceitful rhetoric.
That changed on Monday, when the Trump Administration decided to set an example by publicly acknowledging what all educated people already know to be true–that the Jews have a long and rich history in the lands of Judea and Samaria, and to bar them from living there would be wrong, to say nothing of racist.
In a dramatic press conference, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repudiated the 1978 State Department statement deeming the presence of Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria (the so-called “Occupied West Bank”) as “inconsistent with international law.”
Of course, there is no binding law prohibiting Jews from living in these territories. In fact, the last legally-enforceable document regarding a Jewish presence in these areas remains the 1920 San Remo Resolution, which endorsed “close settlement by Jews” in all the historical Land of Israel. All other UN resolutions touching on this topic to date have been passed by the General Assembly, and are therefore not legally binding.
More than that, Pompeo correctly noted that the international community’s position on this debate (which it adopted verbatim from the Arabs) ignores “history and facts.”
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in turn thanked the US for finally recognizing said “historical facts.”
In a follow-up phone call with President Trump, Netanyahu reportedly reiterated that “we [Jews] are not in a foreign land. This is our homeland for over 3,000 years. The reason that we are called ‘Jews’ is that we came from here, Judea. This does not prevent negotiations. On the contrary, it advances peace because it’s not possible to build true peace based on lies.”
I spoke on the phone with US President Donald Trump and told him that he had corrected a historic injustice
Somebody needed to say a simple truth, and President Trump did this, just as he did with the recognition of the Golan Heights and the moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) November 18, 2019
Quite so. For decades, international peace brokers have played this diplomatic game according to the Palestinians’ terms. And doing so has resulted in anything but peace.
Do the European governments who are today so critical of Trump and Pompeo really think that they are facilitating peace by continuing to deny evidence such as the Arch of Titus in Rome, hundreds of archaeological sites across the Holy Land, and innumerable historical documents (including the Bible and the Koran!)–all of which point unquestionably to a storied Jewish history in this land?
Israel isn’t necessarily opposed to letting the Palestinian Arabs establish a sovereign state on these lands, despite the fact that they once made up the heartland of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Surveys consistently show that at least half of all Israeli Jews remain in favor of a two-state solution.
But what a firm majority of Israeli Jews do demand is that everyone stop pretending that they don’t belong here.
Perhaps America’s decision to stop going along with this mockery of common sense will prompt other international players to do the same, which in turn will eventually force the Palestinians to start negotiation on a foundation of historical truth.