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November 30, 2010: What Comes First

May 12, 2011

Yesterday was kaf-tet b’november — the 29th of November.  I was so busy writing about WikiLeaks that I let it pass without notice and now want to return to the significance of this date in 1947: This was the day on which the UN General Assembly voted for the partition of mandatory Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state.

Please, view this beautiful video that gives a glimpse into the dramatic history of this day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrIjzUK0FKg  (With appreciation to Chana G. for sharing it.)

Perhaps you will weep, as I did, on viewing this — weep from deep inside your soul, with an understanding of how this all matters.


I cannot let this pass without noting that the resolution was not binding in international law, because it came from the General Assembly (only Security Council votes carry the weight of international law).  In fact, it subverted the earlier Mandate for Palestine, passed in 1922 by the League of Nations, which was binding in international law, and conferred upon Britain responsibility for establishing a Jewish homeland in all of Palestine.  (The United Nations, in its founding charter, later assumed legal responsibility for commitments of the League of Nations.) 

Because the Arabs — offended by a Jewish presence in the Middle East — rioted and brought pressure to bear, the Brits reneged on their responsibility under the Mandate, threw up their hands in defeat, and turned the matter over to the UN.  And then, in spite of the fact that all of Palestine had been promised to the Jews, we rejoiced to receive part.  While the Arabs — who could have had their state back then! — rejected the partition because they wanted all of Palestine and would agree to leave nothing for the Jews.  As soon as Israel was declared a state the following April (the 5th of Iyyar on the Hebrew calendar), the Arab League attacked. 

Not that much has changed since then.  The Palestinian Arabs, for all their pretense at “peace,” still intend to have the whole thing and not share what had been Palestine between the river and the sea with Jews. Make no mistake about this.


And the United Nations?  Yesterday was the anniversary of the 1947 vote to partition Palestine.  But since 1977, it is also, according to a resolution of the General Assembly, “the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”  No other people in the world is so recognized by the UN: not the Kurds, who are truly a people, or the people of Tibet, occupied by Chinese, or… you name it, no one else.  For the UN, you see, the “Palestinian people” are uniquely special.  In 2005, the General Assembly passed another resolution requesting “the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People…to organize an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer mission of Palestine to the UN.”

Dearly, my friends, do I wish the democracies of the world would pick up and walk out of the UN and take their annual dues with them. This international organization has become a travesty of all that is fair and decent.   


Before leaving the subject of the UN, I want to share one more video — this from Anne Bayefsky’s “Eye on the UN.”

As Bayefsky explains:

“The Obama administration joined the UN Human Rights Council in one of its first foreign policy moves.  As justification for what it labeled “principled engagement and strategic multilateralism,” top administration officials pointed to the Council’s new Universal Periodic Review (UPR) system.  They called the UPR a “good mechanism” (Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State) and an “important change (Koh, State Department Legal Advisor).

“On Friday, November 5, 2010, senior American representatives went to Geneva to participate in the first UPR-review by the Council of the human rights record of the United States.”

Be forewarned: when you see this it may make you sick to your stomach.  Sick, because of the obscenity of UN behavior, but also because of the groveling of the representatives of the US.  What has America become?

Please view this to the end, to see the American response to a human rights critique of the US by the likes of Cuba, Egypt, Qatar, Iran, China, and North Korea.  (Sound crazy?  I kid you not.)

Share this broadly so American citizens can be informed of what is happening.  Not many will know about this.



WikiLeaks.  The reports — drawn as they are from 250,000 documents — will go on and on.  I’m sure I’ll come back to this many times.  Here, as we’re on the subject of how Obama handles matters, I want to cite from the analysis by Herb Keinon — which reflects upon issues I addressed yesterday — in today’s JPost. “Burying the linkage between the peace process and Iran”:

“Since the earliest days of Barack Obama’s presidency, there have been…major conceptual differences between how Israel and how the US administration view the Middle East.

“…While the US maintains that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conundrum is the key to unlocking peace in the Middle East and getting other countries in the region on board to help stop the Iranian threat, Israel’s position is to first deal with Iran…

‘Israel’s logic is that Hamas and Hezbollah – Iran’s two proxies – will be much less able to gum up the works whenever diplomatic progress looms if Iran is defanged.

“And along comes the cache of WikiLeaks documents and reveals that Obama’s linkage of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Iran is nothing short of fiction – a fiction he and his key aides have been spinning since the beginning of his tenure.  (Emphasis added)

“At his very first White House meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in May 2009, that famous meeting in which Obama called for a complete halt to all settlement construction, Obama was asked what he thought about Israel’s position that only if the Iranian threat were solved could there be real progress on the Palestinian track.

“’Well, let me say this,’ Obama said. ‘There’s no doubt that it is difficult for any Israeli government to negotiate in a situation in which they feel under immediate threat. That’s not conducive to negotiations. And as I’ve said before, I recognize Israel’s legitimate concerns about the possibility of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon when they have a president who has in the past said that Israel should not exist. That would give any leader of any country pause.

“’Having said that,’ the president went on, ‘if there is a linkage between Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, I personally believe it actually runs the other way. To the extent that we can make peace with the Palestinians – between the Palestinians and the Israelis – then I actually think it strengthens our hand in the international community in dealing with a potential Iranian threat.’

“And that position, that progress on the Israeli-Palestinian issue – that stopping settlement construction – would somehow magically mollify the Arab world and get it to put its shoulder to the wheel regarding Iran has been a constant thread throughout the Obama regime. Here it was popularly dubbed ‘Yitzhar for Bushehr.’

“What the WikiLeaks cache revealed, however, was that this argument was a fabrication. There was no need to crack the Palestinian-Israeli nut before getting the ‘moderate’ Arab nations in the region…on board regarding Iran, because those nations were already fully camped out on board the deck of the ship, just waiting for action against Iran.

“The following quotes from Arab leaders culled from the WikiLeaks trove do not exactly portray a picture of leaders who need any further enticements before ‘getting on board…’

“• King Hamad of Bahrain was quoted in 2009 as saying, ‘That program [the Iranian nuclear program] must be stopped. The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it.’

“• Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed in 2009 urged the US, according to another cable, not to appease Teheran and said, ‘Ahmadinejad is Hitler.’

“• Maj-Gen. Muhammad al-Assar, assistant to the Egyptian defense minister, was quoted in a cable in 2010 as saying that ‘Egypt views Iran as a threat to the region.’

“Obama was obviously well aware of the views of these leaders, most of whom he personally met, yet he continued to propagate what he must have known to be a falsehood – that these countries would only sign on to sanctions and otherwise support efforts to neutralize Iran if there were progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track.” (Emphasis added)


Keinon says Obama muddled matters by linking the two issues and asks why he felt compelled to do so. I asked a different question yesterday: why Obama turned a deaf ear to Muslim pleas for action on Iran.  The question Keinon poses seems to be easier to answer.  By conflating the two issues, he hoped to put the screws to Israel and secure that much-coveted “peace agreement.”


Majid Shahriari, a top nuclear scientist in Iran, who was working on a major project, was killed yesterday when bombs attached to his car went off. 

The Iranians, as might be expected, are blaming the Zionists.  The Israeli government has nothing to say.

All I can say is, gee, the Iranians seem to be having a hard time lately. 


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.



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