Dr. Handel Mishandles
by Tabitha Korol
The defensive wars won by Israel against four invading countries negate the accusation of occupation, but writers on Academia.edu are not required to support their indictments and inaccuracies.
Academia.edu, based in Los Angeles, despite its authoritative name, can publish anything regardless of accuracy. Amid the genuine material, there is to be found pseudo-scientific nonsense, opinion-based articles, and everything else in between. The papers generally project a scholarly impression, and this is the danger, for there is much that is fabricated and unsupported by reliable documentation.
I had often considered refuting some of those formidable essays, particularly those that were also propagandist in nature, each time overwhelmed by the sheer extent of the distortion. But one need not repudiate a writer’s entire concoction to verify that s(he) has engaged in broadcasting a personal opinion as proven fact.
An essay entitled Chronology of the Occupation Regime, 1967 – 2000, by Dr. Ariel Handel, is such a personally biased presentation. It opens with the heading, “June 5,” followed by, “War breaks out between Israel, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. When it ends, Israel controls the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula.” Within these two sentences, there are concepts sufficient to fuel the fires of Islamic frenzy and influence the average reader into assigning victimhood to the aggressor.
War breaks out. Does Handel suggest a case of spontaneous combustion, such as a fire in dry season? Are we to believe that the peaceful men of the four countries were all suddenly impelled to rise to battle at a given shared border? Yet there is no commonly shared border with Israel. Syria lies to the north of Israel, Jordan to Israel’s east, and Egypt southwest, and all three Arab countries dwarf Israel considerably. How could it be that they broke into war instantaneously and for what purpose?
The operation of the Arab countries was coordinated, and far from “breaking out,” this was a carefully planned “breaking in” – an invasion of Israel’s sovereignty on multiple fronts, for genocide of the Jews and a grab for their land.
The demographics gave the Arabs confidence. Israel’s land mass is about 1/625 (1/6th of 1 percent) of the Arab world, home to six to seven million Jews compared to the 85-90 million Muslims of Egypt, 10 million Muslims of Jordan, and 16.5 million Muslims of Syria. Why would Israel join in such an activity if they were not so programmed or mesmerized? Unless, of course, the one was attacked by the other three, except there was also an unnamed fourth, Iraq, home to 39 million Muslims – Handel’s omission to imply more balance, perhaps.
If there was no common border, there were certainly common incentives and destination – Israel, the stick in the Muslim craw, the thorn in their side, the small sliver of land that caused 250,000 Muslims to erupt in fury and band together to form an army equipped with Soviet-supplied aircraft and tanks. Egypt ominously and illegally blocked Israel’s access to international waters, expelling UN peace-keeping forces. Then-defense minister Hafez al-Assad, who later became President of the Syrian Arab Republic, ordered his troops to “Strike the enemy’s settlements, turn them into dust and pave the Arab roads with the skulls of Jews. We are determined to saturate this earth with your (Israeli) blood, to throw you into the sea.” This unpleasant quote didn’t suit Handel’s views and, thus, escaped his attention.
Between 1948 and 1967, during Egypt and Jordan’s 19-year occupation of Gaza and the West Bank (Judea-Samaria), there was no call for a Palestinian state to include these areas. In fact, the PLO Covenant of 1964 stipulated, “The PLO does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank (Judea-Samaria) in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area.”
The Arabs adopted the name Palestinians after the 1967 war, when Israel won its defensive war and gained land populated with a belligerent people over which it had no desire to govern. Under the Rules of War, this was not occupation, but historically and under any de facto International Law, land for the conqueror to control or relinquish as largesse. Yet each time Israeli governments attempted to negotiate a treaty according to the Land for Peace formula, the generous offer of 98% of what the Arabs demanded, including East Jerusalem, Israel was rebuffed.
Therefore, under International Law, Israel was forced to continue her presence in Gaza and the West Bank until the emergence of a suitable partner with whom they could negotiate an effective peace treaty. To date, there has been nothing but obstinacy and, indeed, additional attacks against the Jewish state. The Gazans continue their deadly violence against Israel, in defiance of the Rules of War, without uniforms, without regard for civilian citizens, and using their own children to ignite rocketry and incendiary balloons to detonate Israeli schools and school buses, and attack private citizens on the streets and in their homes.
Yet Handel, with counsel of professor of political science, Neve Gordon of Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and Dr. Shir Hever, economic researcher and journalist, now rue the Arabs’ loss of land. The civilized world has Rules of War, effective since the nineteenth century. Had Handel been capable of clear thinking, he would have recognized that it was the Arab aggressors, not the defending Israelis, who were guilty of war crimes.
Aggressors are those who commit crimes against peace, and who wage aggressive wars with disregard to territory or political independence of another state. Those who violate the express terms of a peace settlement may be prosecuted as war criminals under the United Nations Charter. Crimes committed against civilians because of their race, religion, and national origin, including genocide, are considered war crimes. In fact, the only type of war recognized by the United Nations as lawful is one fought in self-defense.
Contrary to Handel’s position, Israel was forced to continue its presence in Gaza and the West Bank from 1967 – 1993 because no Palestinian had yet emerged as a peace partner to successfully negotiate and administer the Territories. When Egypt and Jordan renounced their claims to the Gaza Strip and West Bank Territories in 1979 and 1988, Israel was left with the task of administration, unable to extricate itself from that duty. Gaza is now an independent entity, ruled entirely by Hamas (a name that means “violence”).
The balance of Handel’s long diatribe was built on desert sand, accusations and arguments on behalf or in defense of a people that never existed, and who, to this day, have no tangible tie to the land they were unable to conquer by war. These Egyptians, Iraqis, Jordanians, Syrians, and other Muslims who came first to work within the nascent state, but bound together in common enmity, called themselves Palestinians to fabricate a tie.
The author blamed the Israel Defense Forces for the manner in which they took “control and responsibility for maintenance of public order and safety,” and proceeded to cite some of the more than 2500 humane proclamations needed to communicate how peace would be restored and maintained by the Arabs who were to live harmoniously with Israelis. Bear in mind that the Arabs were smoldering with resentment at their defeat and had not the slightest intention of living peaceably alongside Jews.
The first proclamation, June 1, was posted on Palestinian houses as the Israeli military forces advanced. It stated: “The Israel Defense Forces have today entered the area and taken control and responsibility for maintenance of public order and safety.” This proclamation and other orders that would be issued subsequently had already been drafted by the Judge Advocate General’s Office in the early 1960s as part of a legal framework for a future military government in Occupied Territory.
As a counterweight to Handel’s sham analysis of Israel’s past and present, the following facts should be more than sufficient.
The Jewish State of Israel has often brought prosperity and order wherever it has been permitted and so, under Israel’s authority, the West Bank and Gaza became the 4th fastest-growing economy in the world, with an 80 percent increase in income. Israel increased millions of dollars in funding to improve refugee camps, allowed Arabs easier travel to Jerusalem, modernized Palestinian infrastructure, and created thousands of manufacturing plants. It established seven universities, expanded schools, taught modern agriculture, set up medical programs and opened 100+ health clinics. Israel instituted freedom of the press, of association and of religion with the first authentically Palestinian administration they had ever known. Adult illiteracy dropped by 14 percent, unemployment plunged, life expectancy soared, and their population nearly doubled between 1967 and 1993.
These are the facts, Dr. Handel. Were you unaware of them or did they not fit your narrative?
Palestinian life was undeniably improved under Israeli laws, but the Islamic leadership could not relinquish the very thing that brought them centuries of squalor: the rigidity of the Koranic dictates that they must never make peace with Jews and Christians. Once Hamas and Hezbollah retook their charge, it was business as usual: the violence against Israelis, the redirection of international aid into their own pockets, and the subsequent degradation of their people.
The changes of name of Judea and Samaria to “West Bank” and of Israel to “Palestine” further underscore the ongoing Arab determination to sever the Jewish connection to their historic homeland. These documented and indisputable facts appear to be unknown to some commentators, despite their claims to be serious investigators.
There also exists in the west an inexplicable, mindless ideology, albeit with good intentions, that supposes that Islam can come to terms with its own toxic 1400-year history and heritage and accept peace with both Israel and the rest of the world. Accordingly, Jared Kushner, senior advisor to President Donald J. Trump, proposed an extensive, detailed offer for peace to the Palestinians with Israel. True to form, Muslims/Palestinians have denounced it once again.
Acknowledgement: Israel 101, produced by StandWithUs
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