The time has come for all those who love Israel and support Israel’s rights to the Land to speak out assertively. It is not enough to be acquainted with the facts. We must draw on them for maximum effectiveness.
We cannot sit still for another moment while the other side secures further public credibility. Israel’s enemies fight with lies and distortions of the historical reality that are repeated so often they become internalized by many as “truth.” They must be countered.
If retorts to these falsehoods are complex and lengthy they are likely to be ineffective: Keep it simple is still the rule for the general public. Rejoinders should be incisive and brief.
They should give pause. Not everyone will be convinced by what you say; we know too well how closed some minds are. But seeds of doubt can be planted in some, seeds that may take root.
Retorts must be vigorously promoted in appropriate formats, via letters to the editor, talkbacks on the Internet, on FB pages and other social media platforms. And promoted…and promoted, without letup.
If information that is not commonly known can be brought to bear it can have a heightened impact.
Elsewhere on this website there is more detailed information. What follows here are a selection of potentially effective retorts. Draw from these as useful, as the information can serve to refute claims by the Palestinian Arabs and their supporters. It can also be used in communication with your elected representatives in Congress. They must hear from their Israel-supporting constituents frequently.
 We begin with the issue of Jewish rights to the Land — all of the Land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. This is at the heart of the matter. Focus on this issue is urgent right now because “the two-state solution” is back in vogue.
In making the case that Jews do not have a claim on the Land, the Arabs frequently allude to “international law.” Of course, they never specify precisely what law they are referring to. They have no need. Simply using the term provides their position with an aura of legitimacy.
To make Israel’s case, we might refer to a very real but little-known item of customary international law: Uti Possidetis Juris. It states that a newly established state is presumed to have the same boundaries it had immediately before independence. This means Israel as a state has the borders that the Mandate had.
Israeli independence was declared in 1948, immediately after Great Britain surrendered the Mandate for Palestine. The Mandate, which established a Jewish homeland in Palestine in 1922, was certainly an item of international law – approved unanimously by the League of Nations. It encompassed all the land up to the Jordan River.
Thus, as Uti Possidentis Juris comes to tell us, Israel’s border, its boundary to the east, runs along the Jordan River and includes Judea & Samaria.
But Palestinian Arabs refer to another presumed border – the “1967 border,” which excludes Judea & Samaria. They are forever insisting that Israel must withdraw behind that “border.” But there was never any such border!! People need to know this.
For the first months of 1967 an armistice line existed that had been in place since 1949. An armistice line is nothing more than the demarcation line indicating where hostilities between two belligerent armies halted. The line was described in the armistice agreement established between Israel and Jordan after the War of Independence had ended. That agreement included a clause indicating that the armistice line was agreed upon “without prejudice to future…boundary lines.” This was actually put in at the insistence Jordan, which hoped in time to push Israel back. There is no way that it can be claimed that this temporary line represents Israel’s “real” border.
Actually, by June of 1967, in legal terms even this armistice line no longer even existed. During the Six Day War, Jordan attacked Israel, and Jordanian troops breached the armistice line, thereby abrogating the armistice agreement.
After the war, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 242, which called for “recognized boundaries” for Israel to be determined via negotiations. To Israel’s east, those negotiations were understood to be between Israel and Jordan. There was no reference to a Palestinian people or a Palestinian state.
In 1994, a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan was signed. The treaty states explicitly that “the international boundary between Israel and Jordan is delimited with reference to the boundary definition under the Mandate.” This is an article of international law, as the boundary was agreed to by the parties on either side of the line.
Just recently the PA’s Mahmoud Abbas was quoted as saying that if Israel wasn’t interested in a deal based on the “1967 border” (there it is), the PA would work on promoting “another solution – the Partition Plan from 1947.” Every now and then this “proposal” rears its head again.
And so we should take a look at this as well. In a nutshell: the so-called “Partition Plan” is null and void. A dead letter.
As proposed by the UN General Assembly in Resolution 181, it was not the simple division of Palestine into a state for Arabs and a state for Jews, which is how it is represented. It proposed an economic union with two states that both had to be democratic. It involved a joint currency system, common transportation systems, joint postal and telephone services, common ports, etc.
Israel accepted, but legally the acceptance was predicated on the understanding that all of the conditions be met.
As the proposal was a General Assembly resolution, it was not legally binding. It only would have been binding if both parties had accepted all terms.
And the fact of the matter is that the Arabs rejected this proposal: They not only refused to accept it, the record shows that they didn’t accept the authority of the UN to make such a proposal. Why? They were offended by the idea that they should have to share Palestine with the Jews, in any terms.
There are times, as we just saw with Abbas, when the Arabs attempt to hook into this idea again. They act as if the Israeli acceptance is still in force (it is not) and that everyone is just waiting for the Arabs to come on board. But the law is clear on this: one who rejects an agreement does not retain any rights based on that. This was a finding of the International Court of Justice, and it is something else that people should be aware of.
The report that cited Abbas also referred to a meeting Defense Minister Gantz had with him, during which Gantz allegedly said that he was for the “two-state” solution and would like to be the “new Yitzhak Rabin.” Gantz’s office has indicated that this was not quite accurate, but had not explained in what way. But this does provide us with an opportunity to talk about Rabin, who signed on to the Oslo Accords. People who wish to promote two-states often cite Rabin in this regard. In doing so, they often misrepresent Rabin’s position.
In his last address to the Knesset, then Prime Minister Rabin said he envisioned something less than a full sovereign state for the Palestinian Arabs – something more like an autonomy.
In fact, the Oslo Accords themselves say nothing about a “Palestinian state. The stated goal of the Accords was a “permanent status” agreement to be achieved via bilateral negotiations. It was understood that the issue of Israeli “settlements” in Judea and Samaria would be resolved in the final negotiations—there was no prohibition on Israeli building in Area C. So much for charges of “illegal building” by Jews.
As to the charge that Israel is an “occupier” in Judea & Samaria, it can be refuted on a number of different grounds:
It has just been demonstrated, above, that Judea & Samaria are legally part of Israel. A country cannot said to be “an occupier” in land that already belongs to it.
The occupier in this scenario was Jordan, which moved into Judea & Samaria illegally in the course of an offensive war in 1948-49. Only two countries in the world recognized Jordan’s legitimacy in Judea & Samaria (which the Jordanians named “the West Bank”).
Israel took that land, liberated it, in 1967 in a defensive war. That point is important. While generally acquisition of land by force of war is not acceptable, the exception is in the case of a defensively fought war. In fact, the UN Charter affirms the legality of a defensive war. As International law professor Eugene Kontorovich has pointed out, at the time, there was no precedent in international law for forbidding acquisition of land in a defensive war.
The Palestinian Arabs “leaders” know full well that raising alarms about threats to “Al-Aksa” – which refers to the mosque on the Temple Mount with that name, but which they also use to mean all of the Mount – is probably the single most effective way to arouse the Muslim populace. They make claims regularly about the Mount belonging exclusively to them, charging that the Jews encroach upon it even though there is no Jewish connection to it. They maintain that Jews are out to harm Al-Aksa, which must be protected.
There is a vast amount of information providing proof that Jews, who built the two Temples there, most certainly have primary claims to the Mount. Here you will find just some of the Information that refutes the Palestinian Arab claims:
A nine-page English-language tourist guide entitled “A Brief Guide to al-Haram al-Sharif [the Temple Mount] was published by the Supreme Moslem Council in 1925. It stated that the Temple Mount site “is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute.” (Emphasis added)
In the 1930s, renovation work was done on the Al-Aksa Mosque. Beneath it was found the remains of a Byzantine mosaic floor, which may have been the floor of a church. Beneath that was found a mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath. Writes Dutch biblical archeologist Dr. Leen Ritmeyer, “…this…proves the Jewish origin of the Temple Mount.”
We hear calls from the Palestinian Arabs for maintenance of the “status quo” on the Temple Mount. What they are referring to when they used the term “status quo” is the right of Muslims and not Jews to pray on the Mount – a situation that Moshe Dayan set in place after Israel took the Mount in 1967.
But in reality there has been a serious erosion of the terms set in place in 1967:
In 1967, there was one mosque on the Mount – Al Aksa. Today there are five. Once worship was limited to that one mosque. Today there is worship not only in the five mosques, but the entire Mount is utilized for Muslim prayer, with tens of thousands of worshippers coming.
It was Dayan’s intention to permit Jews free access to the Mount for visitation. But now hours of visitation for non-Muslims is exceedingly limited with regard to days and hours – with entrance restricted to the Mughrabi Gate, while Muslims come and go at will via several gates.
When Muslims call for the “status quo” they should be reminded of all of the above.
A quick note regarding the charge that Israel is an “apartheid” state:
Those who make this charge know full well that it is fallacious. It is intended to delegitimize Israel.
Those who truly accept that charge do not understand what this term means. They feel a certain antipathy to Israel and are ready to concur with what is said.
In South Africa, under apartheid, there was total separation of the races, along with a suppression of blacks. Today in Israel, Arab citizens enjoy complete equality under the law and freedom to participate fully everywhere – in hospitals, malls, educational institutions, restaurants, public transportation, etc. There is no separation between Jews and Arabs.
On the other hand, Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority is on record as declaring that, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli on our lands.”
It is appropriate to quote him, and to then ask why this is accepted as OK.
There is, of course, a great deal more to be said: More than can be adequately represented in quick retorts, such as those I have provided above – retorts that are valuable and can provide an important service for Israel.
Israel has never had a legitimate “partner for peace,” no matter how words have been bandied about. It is clear that the PLO has never intended a “two-state solution.” Had it wanted a state, it would have had it long ago. The true goal of the PLO is the eradication of Israel.
After the Yom Kippur War, it became obvious to the leaders of the PLO that Israel could not be destroyed in one fell-swoop. And so the “Strategy of Stages” was implemented, which set out to weaken Israel one step at a time.
On May 10, 1994, mere days after the Gaza-Jericho agreement of Oslo had been signed, Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO, gave a speech in a mosque in Johannesburg, South Africa. His talk, given in English, was supposed to be off the record, but a South African journalist secretly recorded it and then publicized it. That speech includes this:
“The Jihad will continue…
“This agreement I am not considering it more than the agreement which had been signed between our prophet Mohammad and Quraysh.”
Arafat was referring to a duplicitous agreement – a peace pact — Mohammad had forged with the Quraysh tribe. Once the guard of the Quraysh was down and Mohammad had succeeded in securing sufficient armed force, he attacked them without mercy.
Again and again, the leftists of the world, and many who are centrist leaning left, allow themselves to be deluded. They see what they hope might be, what they want to see, and not what is.
Israel must not pay the price for this deluded thinking. Which means we must fight for Israel’s rights.