The plan for a Greater Israel

January 15, 2012 23:59 0 comments

Israel’s most vehemently Zionist media, politicians and analysts- justifying their arguments on the supposed need for a “Greater Israel”- are forcefully clamouring for the extension of Israel’s borders to the detriment of its Arab neighbours, in order to consolidate its defence strategy.


Armando Briñis Zambrano

Speculating upon an eventual missile attack by Iran and a possible response by Israel, they are using biblical arguments from the Old Testament to demand the extension of Israel’s landmass to the Sinai Peninsula and parts of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.

Does this Zionist aim, have any sort of validity that provides us with a historical understanding?

Since ancient times up until 1948 the territory currently occupied by the State of Israel had been ruled by innumerable foreign empires and superpowers.

The borders have never been sttled, nor the name Israel itself. Most of the time, except during the era of the kingdoms of Israel and Judea and of the Crusades, the territory was never a single, independent, political entity but a minor province ruled by various imperial occupying powers.

In the year 638 the Arabs seized Jerusalem and Palestine ceased to be part of the Byzantine Empire.

During the Arab caliphate from 638 until 1099 the majority of the population adopted Arabic as their mother tongue and many Christians converted to Islam. Not even approximately 200 years of Crusader rule nor the rule of the Franks could change this tendency, and the fall of Jerusalem into the hands of the Sultan Saladin marked the beginning of the end of the Crusades in these territories.

From 1517 onwards, following conquest by Saladin the Magnificent up until 1918 Palestine was part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire as just one more constituent province, with Jerusalem as its administrative capital.

Due to the persecution of the Jews in Russia in 1881 and the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, which reached its peak during the trial of the French Jewish officer Richard Dreyfus, accused of spying for the German army, in 1882 Jews began to emigrate en masse to the Ottoman-ruled Palestinian province.

The Zionist theologian Theodor Herzl began campaigning for the foundation of a state for the Jewish people, an idea that found support among Jews in Eastern Europe. In 1897 the first Zionist Congress was held in Basel, which chose a flag, an anthem and began an international campaign.

In December 1917 the British general Allenby entered Jerusalem, putting an end to four centuries of Turkish dominion. In November of the same year the British government gave a unilateral declaration in favour of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, known to history as the Balfour Declaration.

During 1918 and 1919 contact between the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann and the Arab leader Emir Faisal gave rise to hopes that the national aspirations of both Arabs and Jews could be resolved by cooperation and international law.

On the 10th August 1920 the Treaty of Sevres was signed by Turkey and the Allied powers that had just emerged victorious in the First World War. Article 95 refers explicitly to the terms of the Balfour Declaration on the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

In 1920 the San Remo Treaty was signed, in which the League of Nations agreed to hand over the Mandate of Palestine to Britain, in agreement with article 22 of the League of Nations mandate. The territories included in the mandate were the current territories of Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights (the last of which was handed over to France, which at the time administered Syria).

On the 24th July 1922 the Council of the League of Nations ratified the terms of the Balfour Declaration.

Following a two year delay the Mandates were finally established on 23rd September 1923. The draft for the Palestine Mandate referred in its preamble to the Balfour Declaration: “… the Jewish people’s historical connection with Palestine… the creation of a national home” and in article 6: “the administrating power (United Kingdom) has as its  obligation the task of facilitation Jewish immigration and settlement whilst insuring that the rights and position of the other inhabitants are not to be harmed.

Jewish immigration

In the 1920s and 1930s Jewish immigration increased significantly, the purchase of lands from indigenous Palestinian Arabs and confrontations between both sides becoming the norm in the territories.

Britain, unable to control the situation in Palestine, established the Peel Commission in 1937 which proposed the partition of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state, with Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth remaining under British jurisdiction.

A third of the territory would be Jewish and the rest Arab, the Arab part becoming part of Jordan. These terms were accepted by the World Zionist Congress and Emir Abdullah of Jordan, but rejected by the Arab Higher Committee in their meeting in Bludan, Syria. Militant Arab separatists increased their attacks in the territories in reaction to attempts to enforce the terms of the Peel commission.

The unstable situation forced Britain to draw up the Woodhead Commission to reconsider the terms of the Peel Commission. The results of this commission were rejected by both Arabs and Jews.

In 1939 Britain published the White Paper which failed to satisfy either side. The Permanent Mandates Commission (they were not linked) ruled that the White Paper did not conform to the interpretation which, according to the governing State and the Council, the Commission had established for the Palestine Mandate and which in practice had established unrestricted Jewish immigration to the detriment of the native Arab Palestinians.

The White Paper marked a U-turn in British policy, its support for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine not as fervent as before. Britain attempted to limit Jewish migration, a policy in which maintaining the support of Arab leaders in the region for the looming war with Germany played a decisive role.

In 1942 European Jews began to migrate en masse to Palestine in flight from Nazi genocide. In New York the Baltimore Declaration was agreed, which advocated unrestricted Jewish immigration to Palestine as well as the establishment of a state, while support for the Jewish cause began to be seen in sections of the US government.

In 1945 US President Truman declared that European Jewish refugees needed to be admitted into Palestine urgently.
This declaration led to the establishment of an Anglo-American Commission which published its findings on the 20th April 1946 calling for an end to restrictions on admission of Jewish refugees and the creation of a bi-national state under United Nations jurisdiction.

The inability of the British to implement the League of Nations mandate led them April 1947 to call for the inclusion of “the Palestinian question” on the Agenda of the UN General Assembly. A Special Committee (UNSCOP) was formed and was entrusted with the task of preparing a report containing proposals for the future of the region.

In 1947 the United Nations adopted Resolution 181 (II) which would partition Palestine. The Jewish community accepted this resolution, but not the Arab countries.

On 14th May 1948 Israel accepted Resolution 181 (II) and declared its independence, recognised de facto by the United States and the following day by the Soviet Union.

In 1949 following continuous and intermittent fighting, the Rhodes Armistice was signed under the auspices of UN mediator Dr Bunche. The Armistice was then signed with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, while Iraq refused.

The map of the region then took the following form:

The State of Israel, which had been handed 54% of the territory by the Partition Plan for Palestine, gained another 26% which it had won in combat.

The kingdom of Transjordan merged with the West Bank and changed its name in favour of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This move was recognised by Britain and Pakistan, but by none of the Arab governments or by the United Nations. And Gaza remained under Egyptian control as an administered, rather than annexed, territory. (PL)

(Translated by Jose Stovell - – Email: jose_stovell@hotmail.co.uk)

Share it / Compartir:

Leave a Reply


*


× four = 24



The Prisma News

  • Comments, In Focus What is peace?

    What is peace?

    A white cow is not a white dove, says Eduardo Embry, a Chilean poet based in the UK. A gracing pristine cow is heavy, and the meaning of peace is not to appease or to be appeased. By contrast, peace is not a given, but an ongoing process of understanding and doing together.   Mabel Encinas   Peace...

    Read more →
  • Comments, EdgeNotes, In Focus “F” is for Fringe

    “F” is for Fringe

    Photo by Kim Traynor Visiting the Edinburgh Fringe, we went to several stand-up comedians; and we learned that bad language and explicit sexual references are endemic. In particular, the F-word is ubiquitous.   Steve Latham   Maybe I am shocking because I am getting on in years, and it expresses...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Visual Arts A giant man and a tiny woman in the Hunterian museum

    A giant man and a tiny woman in the Hunterian museum

    This Hunterian museum, which unites anatomical and pathological specimens to be studied by undergraduate and postgraduate students, also houses Charles Byrne and Caroline Crachami.   Photo By StoneColdCrazy Edith Tacusi Oblitas   Irishman Charles Byrne was 2 metre and 48 centimetres tall when he died...

    Read more →
  • Comments, In Focus, Needle's Eye Reparations and genetics: Have they anything to say to each other?

    Reparations and genetics: Have they anything to say to each other?

    Genetic modification and reparations for slavery might seem on first appearances to be somewhat distant companions.   Nigel Pocock   How should we define ‘GM’? If we limit the definition to a laboratory, deliberately excluding the social context, then we are unlikely to make a connection...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Globe, Screen, United Kingdom London Spanish Film Festival celebrates its 10th year

    London Spanish Film Festival celebrates its 10th year

    The 10th edition of the festival will take place from the 25th of September to the 5th of October, bringing together Spanish and Catalan productions , comedy and cuisine.   Photo by London Spanish Film Festival London Spanish Film Festival is 10 years old this year, and to mark the occasion the...

    Read more →
  • Comments, Culture, In Focus, Screen Carpe Diem

    Carpe Diem

    (…) My wife has proposed a family suicide / both of us and our two daughters / when the mushroom cloud arrives (…) Affonso Romano de Sant´Anna.   Armando Orozco Tovar   We are surrounded by death, something that sounds like stating the obvious, a great truth. But what are we going to do...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Pages Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the flight of the prince

    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the flight of the prince

    Seventy years after his plane was tragically shot down, we are still no closer to knowing which of the Nazi Luftwaffe pilots – Horst Rippert or Robert Heichele – ended the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.   Miguel Fernández Martínez   On the 31st of July 1944, at 8:45am, Saint-Exupéry...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Pages, Trade Unions, Workers ‘Private’ is ‘Public’: Health Care is our right

    ‘Private’ is ‘Public’: Health Care is our right

    “The Price of Experience: Writings on living with cancer” by Mike Marqusee demands an end to inequalities in health care and challenges the British government’s ideology which blames people for their ill health. It makes us think about how this “winners” and “losers”...

    Read more →
  • Comments, EdgeNotes, In Focus Revelation of “Boyhood”

    Revelation of “Boyhood”

    This is the latest film directed by Richard Linklater. Astonishingly, the movie was filmed over twelve years, taking thirty-nine days of shooting.   Richard LinklaterPhoto by Siebbi Steve Latham   Tracing the life of a young boy as he grows into a young man, the picture follows the central character’s...

    Read more →
  • Comments, EdgeNotes, In Focus Are we decadent?

    Are we decadent?

    “Decadence” is usually a term used by right-wing people to castigate individuals and societies with whom they disagree, and whose lifestyle they disapprove of.   Photo from http://goo.gl/9HxW4f Steve Latham   The arts are frequently said to be in decline, embodied in paradoxical trends:...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Screen Diego Quemada-Díez: “The happy end is a manipulation”

    Diego Quemada-Díez: “The happy end is a manipulation”

    The journey of three teenagers riding “the Beast”, the train that leads to the desired future in the United States, is full of risks and is destroying innocence, hope and grand dreams, metre by metre.   Diego Quemada-Díez Noelia Ceballos Terrén   From his first steps behind a camera 20...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Screen Marc Silver tells the horror of immigrants risking their lives

    Marc Silver tells the horror of immigrants risking their lives

    He directed  “Who Is Dayani Cristal?”, a documentary which recently premiered in the UK and recounts the dangers faced by immigrants travelling from Mexico to the United States through the so-called “death row”.     Marc Silver  Juanjo Andrés Cuervo   Thousands of...

    Read more →
  • Comments, Globe, In Focus, World CTRL + (H)ALT + DELETE: Israel and the Palestinians

    CTRL + (H)ALT + DELETE: Israel and the Palestinians

    There is a photograph of this graffito beside an Israeli army checkpoint; it seems to sum up the Gaza situation: electronic eavesdropping, media manipulation and high tech shock and awe to wipe the Palestinians off the map.   Graham Douglas   In 4 weeks 1,800 Palestinians including about 400 children...

    Read more →
  • Comments, Critical Dialogues, In Focus A requiem for Gaza

    A requiem for Gaza

    The killing of Palestine’s civilian population, including women and children, is unjustifiable. The people of Palestine can only choose between freedom and death.   Claudio Chipana                    How can a country justify the destruction and subjugation of another population...

    Read more →
  • Comments, In Focus Palestine and our daughters and sons

    Palestine and our daughters and sons

    I wonder what effects the facts in Palestina have on our lives. The Gaza Strip is more than 3500 kilometres away from London (and over 12000 kilometres away from the Latin American region, where I am from), and still, the shocking facts cannot be ignored.   Mabel Encinas   Palestinian people...

    Read more →
  • Comments, In Focus Palestine… Imprisoned in the open air

    Palestine… Imprisoned in the open air

    The genocide committed against Palestine is reminiscent of the Napoleonic phrase: “God is on the side with the best artillery.” It hits/ your whip is daring/  it teaches us to be stubborn/ and of the contempt of the threats/ our destiny is transformed in/ resistance… (Palestinian poetry).   Armando...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Globe, Latin America, Listings, Screen Documentary captures the presidency of Hugo Chávez

    Documentary captures the presidency of Hugo Chávez

    On 29th July, the East London Venezuela Solidarity Campaign will be screening a short film entitled “Chávez”, in partnership with the coordinator of the movement.   Luis Castro’s documentary charts the transformation that Venezuela has undergone since Chávez was first elected to the presidency...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Music The story of how Lennon’s  strawberry fields came to be

    The story of how Lennon’s strawberry fields came to be

     The fact that John Lennon wrote ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ in Almeria has been referred to before in historical accounts about the Beatles but the artist’s Spanish involvement went beyond this and  included some abortive projects such as the film that never was with bullfighter ‘El Cordobes’(the...

    Read more →
  • Comments, EdgeNotes, In Focus Money rules

    Money rules

    Society is being hollowed out by a set of non-values which are overwhelming ever other set of criteria for evaluating worth.   Steve Latham   F. S. Michaels’ book, “Monoculture. How one story is changing everything”, analyses the deep structure of our culture’s infatuation with wealth. It...

    Read more →
  • Culture, Listings, Screen The real drama is in the ‘corridor of death’

    The real drama is in the ‘corridor of death’

    The documentary film ‘Who is Dayani Cristal’ will premiere in British cinemas on July 25th, the story of a migrant whose body was found in this deadly area of desert.   The film is directed by Marc Silver and produced by Gael Garcia Bernal, and is based on real events. The film shows the arduous...

    Read more →