Myths and Realities about Israel
Myth No. 1: About UN Partition Resolution
The UN voted in 1947 to create the State of Israel in the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Israel accepted the compromise while the Arabs rejected it.
REALITY: The 1947 UN resolution is a General Assembly resolution, not a Security Council resolution. The UN General Assembly can only make recommendations. Recommendations have no obligatory character. Member states are free to accept or reject them.
Israel’s apologists are quick to say that Israel accepted this compromise. The Partition Plan granted 52% of Palestine to the Jews who were 30% of the population and owned no more than 6% of the land. This is a net gain on the part of Israel, not a compromise.
Israel’s apologists are quick to claim that the Arabs started the 1948 war. Ben-Gurion himself in Rebirth and Destiny of Israel wrote: “Until the British left, no Jewish settlement, however remote, was entered or seized by the Arabs, while the Haganah, under severe and frequent attack, captured many Arab positions and liberated Tiberias and Haifa, Jaffa and Safad” (p. 530). Israel’s military activity started well before any attack by the Arab armies.
Israel’s apologists are quick to accuse Jordan of occupying and annexing what is now called the West Bank. While not a single Arab soldier entered the area allotted to Israel in the UN resolution, Israel occupied and annexed areas in excess of what was allotted to it in the UN Partition Plan. These areas include, among other areas, the Arab cities of Nazareth, Jaffa, Acre, Lydda and Ramleh. Thus Israel expanded from 52% to 78%.
Moreover, according to the UN Partition Plan, 49% of the population of the Jewish state was supposed to be Arabs. Through a war of ethnic cleansing this percentage was reduced to 12%. The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians was the result of a deliberate master plan, code named Plan Dalet.
In light of all the above, it is ludicrous to pretend that Israel accepted UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 29 November 1947.
Myth No. 2: About Annexation
The military occupation of Palestinian territories has never been converted by Israel into an annexation.
REALITY: Immediately after the 1967 war, the Israeli government issued an order declaring that an area comprising the Old City of Jerusalem and some adjacent territory should be subject to the law, jurisdiction and administration of Israel. Thus Israel expanded municipal East Jerusalem from 6 km2 to 73 km2 of the West Bank. Furthermore, Jewish colonization of East Jerusalem went beyond the extended municipal boundaries to include what Israel calls Greater and Metropolitan Jerusalem comprising 330 km2 and 665 km2, respectively.
The Annexation of the Old City of Jerusalem was carried out under the Law and Administration Ordinance (Amendment No. 11 of June 27, 1967). Not only did Israel annex East Jerusalem but it also feverishly worked toward the judaization of its population by expropriating Arab land to build Jewish settlements.
As for the rest of the occupied territories, the real reason for not annexing them is the racist nature of the Zionist state. The only way for Israel to annex the occupied territories is by cleansing them of their indigenous inhabitants, following the pattern of 1948 (see Myth No. 1 above).
Furthermore, on December 14, 1981, Israel officialy annexed the Golan Heights. The legislation, extending Israeli law to the area of the Golan Heights was adopted by the Knesset by a majority of 63 against 21.
Myth No. 3: Jordan attacked first
Israel in 1967 notified Jordan that it wished to maintain non-belligerent policy between the two states and that Jordan nevertheless attacked Israel.
REALITY: “The pretence that Israel would not attack Jordan is belied by the secret decision adopted by the Israeli cabinet on June 4, 1967 (which was made public on June 4, 1972) to attack Egypt, Syria and Jordan on the following day” (Henry Cattan, Jerusalem, p.69).
Also, Israel was well aware that Jordan signed on May 30, 1967 a defense pact with Egypt, allowing Egyptians to take command of the Jordanian army.
Myth No. 4: Recognizing and making peace with Israel
When Egypt recognized and made peace with Israel in 1979 the entire Sinai was returned to Egypt.
REALITY: The purpose of such a statement is to give the impression that Israel is willing to withdraw from the land it occupied in exchange for peace. The return of the entire Sinai would be a proof of that. In this context, the name of Anwar Sadat is mentioned.
Jimmy Carter’s memoirs: Keeping the Faith: Memoirs of a President shatters this impression. Menachem Begin did not want to withdraw from the entire Sinai. For Israel to come to it senses, it necessitated the pressures that only an American President could have applied.
For Israel’s apologists to say that when the Palestinian Authority agreed to recognize and negotiate with Israel, Israel began to “transfer control of West Bank lands” is further evidence that Israel’s goal is not to achieve with the Palestinians a peace resembling the peace with Egypt, (the withdrawal from the entire occupied territories, similar to its withdrawal from the entire Sinai), but to establish another form of occupation.
Israel's defenders claim that by mid-2000 more than 90% of the Arab population of the West Bank and more than 25% of its land were under complete Palestinian control. This only demonstrates what Israel is really after: an indigenous authority controlling its indigenous population, while Israel continues to build Jewish settlements in the remaining 75% of Palestinian land. The result of such policy is the establishment of numerous disconnected Palestinian enclaves (bantustans) in a sea of settlements rendering the free movement of the Palestinians difficult, if not impossible.
Myth No. 5: Barak’s “unprecedented offer”
Israel made an “unprecedented offer” consisting of giving back 95% of the West Bank and all of Gaza. Jerusalem itself would be partitioned into Israeli and Palestinians sectors.
REALITY: The Jerusalem that is being referred to here is just the Old City of Jerusalem, not the entire East and West Jerusalems. Not only will Israel keep West Jerusalem but it also wants to partition East Jerusalem. The Palestinians, by the way, accepted to give Israel sovereignty over the Jewish holy places, something that the Israelis refused to give to the Palestinians. They rather talked about “religious sovereignty” over Haram al-Sahrif, and “autonomy” over the Christians and Muslims quarters.
The 95% of the West Bank referred to is in fact 95% minus the expanded municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, that Israel has already annexed (see Myth No. 2 above), which makes Barak’s offer more like 85% of all the West Bank.
Furthermore, the so-called Palestinian state that would have been created according to the “unprecedented offer” would have control neither over its natural resources nor over it air space (For more details see: Camp David mythology)
Myth No. 6: Israel never target civilians
Israel does not deliberately target civilians.
REALITY: How else can we qualify dropping a 2,000 pound bomb on an apartment building in a civilian neighborhood supposedly to kill one “terrorist leader”?
Also, a Jan. 3, 2003 editorial in The Washington Post had this to say: “Israeli paramilitary forces have reportedly been operating something they call ‘the lottery,’ in which they detain Palestinians and order them to choose from pieces of paper labeled with punishments such as ‘broken leg’ and ‘smashed head.’ The practice was reported by an Israeli newspaper on Dec. 22, more than a week before Amran Abu Hamediye was beaten to death.” This is what a self-censorship press revealed. What is not being reported must be even worse.
Myth No. 7: The “only democracy”
Israel is the “only democracy” in the Middle East.
REALITY: How many times have Israel’s apologists repeated this slogan? In fact, Israel is not a democracy by Western standards. Not a single Western democracy occupies another people’s land, rules another people and subjects them to all kinds of humiliations, torture and mistreatment. Israel indeed is a democracy, but a democracy by Zionist standards, just as South Africa, under the White minority rule, was a democracy by apartheid standards. It is true that Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have the right to vote in Israel. So are all the citizens of the Arab countries. This however doesn’t make them democracies. In Israel, there is no equality between Jews and non-Jews. In a Jewish state, Jews are more equal than non-Jews. It has always been that way and unless Israel becomes the country of all its citizens, it will lack the characteristics of a Western democracy.