(May 1, 2020 / JNS) Jackson Diehl knows nothing about deals. In his latest Washington Post op-ed, “Will Trump save Israel from Netanyahu’s reckless land grab?” (on April 27), we read yet another of Diehl’s prognostications. In his quarantined yet comfortable armchair, he calls moves towards annexation of Judea and Samaria by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which hasn’t happened, a land grab. For someone who has been writing about the Middle East for a good 30 years, you would think that Diehl would know something about the San Remo conference, the 100th anniversary of which occurred just this week.
In the San Remo Resolution, we see the incorporation of the Balfour Declaration of 1917, which promised a Jewish national home in the British Mandate for Palestine. It reads as follows: “[T]he Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
The decision was ratified by a unanimous vote of the League of Nations (the predecessor of the United Nations) and stands to this day as the only binding determination of sovereign rights over the disputed territory. So by any legal definition, if Israel decided to declare sovereignty over what was allotted for them in the West Bank, it would not be a land grab or an annexation, but a rightful re-acquisition of land already in their name.
Diehl has been writing about Israel’s actions causing “doom” for as long as he has been able to hold a pen or type on a typewriter. And he has been wrong every time. Israel is a thriving democracy, living in peace with its Arab neighbors, with two peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan, and getting along better than ever with Saudi Arabia and certain Persian Gulf states. Mr. Diehl, where is the “doom”?
What would a Washington Post panic piece on the Jewish state be without the screeching that Israel will become either binational, or even more ridiculous, an “apartheid” state? Israel will never attempt to again take control of or acquire the Gaza Strip, one of the two disputed Palestinian areas. If Israel did claim the West Bank, Jews would outnumber non-Jews by about 2-1. Despite claims to the contrary, Jewish mothers are out-producing non-Jewish mothers. Further, with all of the anti-Semitism going on in the world, more Jews are flocking to Israel. Lastly, does Mr. Diehl think that in a state of Muslims and Jews, the Muslims would elect a leader like Mahmoud Abbas after all the corruption he has brought to the West Bank?
Jackson Diehl loves to write about Jews wanting to expand to a “greater Israel.” To put this into context, that is akin to the State of New Jersey wanting to add an area the size of Delaware (the smallest state in the United States) that has already been legally reserved for New Jersey. There is nothing “greater” about anything in that discussion.
Furthermore, in 1922, Great Britain deprived the Jewish people of 78 percent of the original “Palestine” as conceived in San Remo when the British reallocated eastern Palestine to create the Arab state now known as Jordan. So whatever Israel decides to do, it will always be “lesser,” not greater.
Dr. Michael Berenhaus is an optometrist, and a contributor to the news and public-policy group Haym Salomon Center.
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