If Menachem Begin had worn swim trunks, he would never have completely withdrawn from Sinai (and kept Gaza). Actually everything was pretty clear when Begin - with Ariel Sharon''s help and approval - basically unilaterally withdrew from Sinai, bulldozed Yamit, and kept Gaza! This was in response to “the mouse that roared,” Jimmy Carter, who won a Nobel Peace with him and Sadat because of it, but would soon be thrown out of office by the Americans themselves - Obama already has one, so hopefully the same thing won’t again happen with him (September 18th, 2010).So who said, “the Jews were so smart” or not stupid or, to put the propostion as an American might: “A fool and his money are soon parted”. In any event, it has been a slow, downhill slide politically-speaking - and sometimes not so slow - ever since. It was in response to this slide that I began to characterize this episode from the Eighties onwards, “If Begin wore swim trunks, he would have never withdrawn from Sinai”. Rather, he would have drawn a line halfway down the middle or, as the old adage would have it, “You keep half and we''ll keep half” (can you picture Menachem Begin in swim trunks?).
Neither Golda Meir or Levi Eshkol - swimsuits or no swimsuits - would have ever done this. They were more careful, thoughtful, and practical than this. It was their legacy to apportion as they saw fit, since it was they who led these two crucial wars that created Sinai and they never admired the D’Annunzio-style “grande geste” of Dayan, Begin, or Sharon.
Nor has there has been any real peace since. Not only did Israel lose all the resources of Sinai, but once Begin and the Israelis had withdrawn from Sinai, all attention was focused on the Palestinians in both Gaza, and the West Bank, as that problem too had been left unresolved - “the Trojan Horse” left behind, very cleverly, by Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarrak - and it was crystal clear that no one would settle for anything less than Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarrak settled for; and no one ever has or ever will! But the young Israelis celebrated their withdrawal -or, as some would put it, ‘their discomfiture’ -and released “peace doves,” unmindful of the downhill slide, even towards illegitimacy, that had commenced and has not let up even to this day. How “au courrant,” yet how humiliating!So what has been achieved since? Almost nothing; and now, some thirty-five years on, everything is on the table once again, as it has been really all along, even with sympathetic presidents. Nor is there any point to retreating to “the Green Lines” people like to speak about while “forgetting” - ever so conveniently - that there was never anything “official” about these. They was just where the 1948 fighting stopped, c. 1949. If one were going to go that far back, why not go further, to older “Partitions” or, better still, all the way back? One could go back to 1919 or, even perhaps before that and World War I, but 1919-1922 will do.What is so important about then? Well, first of all, there was the Versailles Peace Conference establishing Mandates and, in particular, the Mandate for Palestine with the “Balfour Declaration” subjoined. Then in 1922, there was the Palestine Order-in-Council promulgated by the British Authorities and fixing the Goverment. But “Palestine” at that time consisted of both sides of the Jordan River, an area in which there was enough space to solve the national problems of the two Peoples, “the Arabs” and “the Jews,” as the situation was then seen (“Jews” at that time even calling themselves “Palestinians boys” as some might still remember). But no one ever imagined or said that “the Mandate for Palestine” was supposed to end up setting up three states -two Arab and one Jewish (or maybe even four!).
Any realistic person would have, either at that time or this, realized that there was not room for three or four Independent States in the cramped territory between the desert and the sea - there was hardly room for two. The whole point of the now-seemingly futile exercise was the supposed setting up a “Homeland for the Jews” - “the Arabs,” presumably, not needing another, already having so many -a purpose which failed since half of “the Jews” were wiped out in the ensuing twenty-twenty-five years; but in “the Mandate” and in the 1922 Order-in-Council, there were no borders set forth - and certainly no “Green Lines”.So who were the biggest war “profiteers” of the whole process -why the “Jordanians” of course, never even mentioned from the beginning! No one ever questions their existence or their right to exist as a State, which is why they always remain so silent, just in case anyone should. They “swallowed the canary” as it were. This was another bit of British map-drawing, just like the disastrous one creating modern “Iraq” - a country which also never existed before, except in the imagination of extravagant British map-makers like Gertrude Bell and her Foreign Office sponsors.
But where “Jordan” was concerned, it was courtesy of Winston Churchill and T. E. Lawrence, et. al., who cut away two-thirds of the Palestine Mandate and gave it, for services rendered in the First World War, to the Hashemite Family of Mecca (later to be given “Iraq” too for a time), after they had been unceremoniously expelled by the House of Saud. This has always made a tenable solution to the Jewish-Palestinian problem impossible - as, once again, one goes back to the question of land or space and any clear-eyed person would be able to see that there was not enough space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea to accommodate the needs of two Peoples - one of whom not even “a People” at all. Nor has any of this anything to do with so-called ”Green Lines” so many so enjoy talking about.
So what then is the solution? The solution is to keep driving this point home until it begins to be understood; and no one has put it better than, of all people, former Cuban President Fidel Castro just the other day. This is about the greatest Rosh Ha-Shanah present the Jewish People could ever have imagined or received - and from such a source -no left-wing terrorist State will ever be able to raise its voice with impunity again. Even Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez has already started talking about being concerned about “Anti-Semitism”!
But certainly Castro knew what he was doing and chose his words very carefully. He, of all people, realized the problem had to do with “Christianity”, putting it in terms of what he had heard as a six-year old boy: “The Jews”, whom he had never heard of before except as “jewbirds,” “had killed God” - a proposition inherited to some extent in the Koran and, therefore, by Islam in the constantly-reiterated assertion, “the Jews killed all the Prophets” (originally given voice by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:15).
In fact, when I ask my students or any Muslim, who says such things, to name one, because not a single namable Old Testament “prophet” had ever been killed by “Jews” -not Moses, not Aaron, not Eli, not Deborah, not Samuel, not Nathan, not Elijah, not Elisha, not Amos, not Hosea, not Isaiah, not Jeremiah, not Ezekiel, etc. (if they have heard of any of these) -the only ones they can ever come up with are John the Baptist and Jesus. But both of these, in so far as they existed, were patently killed by foreigners - Herodians or their Roman overlords and Governors -not Jews, despite the deliberate libelous incitement involved.
No one has ever put it as succinctly or tellingly as Castro - no friend previously of the Jews. He even put it in religious terms because, being an intellectual, he recognized truth and even specifically told the Muslims that no people, group, or religious community had ever suffered as much and that besides the suffering of the Jews over two thousand years - who publically ever said such a thing? -the Muslims had suffered nothing. The Holocaust incontestably occurred and, as such, was an incomparable historical event. In fact, the Muslims had really not suffered at all.
So back to my original point, which Castro put even more eloquently. It is the Jewish People whose existence is threatened. It is they who need “a Homeland” -not the 22 or so ''Arab'' States, whose right to exist, no one questions. Nor does anyone even seem to question just about any other country on earth, including even such far-away places as Fiji, Ecuador, Oman, or Chad. So why is it always the Jewish People''s right to exist that is questioned? The answer goes back to the documents in the West, I have cited above, particularly the New Testament and, following it, the Koran, and the accusations contained in the “blood libels,” I (along with Fidel) have described - in “the East”, these exist only so far as they have “bled in” from the West -and which Castro admits were the only things he and most others had ever heard of regarding “Jews” when he was a boy.
I have alluded to these things in previous artiicles but, for the present, suffice it to say, “if Menachem Begin had worn swim trunks, there would have been no outright withdrawal frm Sinai” and therefore no “Palestinian problem” on “the front burner” -which Mubarrak and Sadat had deftly left behind on the table unsolved when they went home. Nor would there have been any issue of withdrawal from Gaza, nor any armed Palestinian militias both there and on the West Bank. Nor would there have been any First Lebanon Campaign by Sharon, to show how tough he was after bulldozing Yamit -the first Jewish “settlement” to go. Nor would there have been a Second in Lebanon by his successors (while he lay comatose) to make up for the weakness of his subsequent unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. These things would have been present, as they always were, but “on the back burner” as it were, “not the front”. “On the front burner’”, there would have been the issue of how to fairly divide Sinai -and this should have been, as already signaled, in half -right down the middle, as any objective observer at the time would have realized. Anwar Sadat was a political genius. He realized that all he had to do was kiss Menachem Begin on the cheek and everything, he wanted, would be forthcoming -and so it was.
So where are all these supposedly “clever Jews”? Everything stemmed from those foolhardy decisions and commitments made at that time to a lame-duck United States President like Jimmy Carter! A fair division would have been to divide the oil, keep some of the airfields for early-warning times and areas, and certainly keep Nueiba, Sharm el-Sheikh, and Ophira -the perfect scuba-diving, sunbathing, and “Club Med” locales, utterly devoid at that time of any significant population. Instead, Egypt got these and the wonderful tourist attractions associated with them and Israel was left with the population nightmare, we and all the world now know as “Gaza”! No wonder there is a demographic time-bomb in the making. As P. T. Barnum put it, “There is a fool born every minute!”