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Offer, Acceptance, And Those "1967 Borders"
In his speech Barack Obama referred to Israel's "1967 borders."
In 1949 Israel attempted to reach agreements with all of its Arab neighbors. It offered to make the Armistice Lines -- the lines that existed, between the warring armies, when hostilities ceased -- into permanent internationally-recognized borders. That is whati is called, in contract law, an Offer.
This offer, then, which required acceptance by either the promise to recognize these armistice lines as permanent borders, was not accepted by any of Israel's Arab neighbors. Nor in the years immediately following did any of them agree to that recognition.
Now we are told, that more than 60 years after those Armistice Lines were established, and Israel's offer to turn those lines, which reflected not legal, moral, or historic claims, and certainly not the express intent (see the Preamble to the Mandate for Palestine, especially Articles 4 and 6) of the League of Nations, which set up the mandates system to meet the needs of the various peoples, large and small, who inhabited the Middle Eastern lands that formerly had been part of the Ottoman Empire, but rather what territories had been taken, and held, at the end of hostilities, in 1949. Thus the Arab Emirate of Transjordan, managed to hold onto parts of Judea and Samaria that had always been part of the territory that was both assigned to, and remained, part of Mandatory Palestine, even after the British, in 1921 at the Cairo Conference, unilaterally ended application of the Mandate's provisions to what, historically, had always been Eastern Palestine, instead turning that territory over to a newly-created Emirate of Transjordan, as a consolation prize to the Hashemite Abdullah, older brother of the Feisal who had been placed on the throne of an also newly-created territories once possessed by the Ottoman Empire, all of them believed that they would eventually be going in for the kill in any case, and nothing should be done to legitimize Israel or give it an air of permanence.
Now the Arabs, ever since their defeat in the Six-Day War, have turned things on their head. They have pretened, they have claimed, that they are the victims of Israel. They have banked on growing forgetfulness and ignorance, too, on the part of Western publics who do not know the history of the Mandates system, do not know how the claims of various peoples were sorted out and weighed, by the League of Nations, and by men such as Professor William Rappard who served as head of the Mandates Commission, an advanced product of the advanced and self-assured West, and like those who served with him not subject to the kind of pressure that the Arab and Islamic bloc has for decades exerted unopposed at the United Nations.
They have managed to create, out of the local Arabs, a soi-disant "Palestinian people," and no one has asked them to explain why this people were never mentioned, by any Arab leaders, diplomats, intellectuals, writers, before the Six-Day War. They have re-presented the Jihad against Israel, an Infidel nation-state that simply cannot be allowed to continue to exist in the midst of Dar al-Islam, as one of "two tiny peoples," even as, in Arabic, Arab leaders -- even "Palestinian" Arab leaders -- talk openy of their real intentions (Arafat never hid them from Arab audiences, and with a wink-wink would mention the Treaty of Hudaibiyya) and certainly, what the "Palestinians" say and do among themselves, and those they celebrate as heroes, and what they broadcast on their radio and television, all show one thing: a campaign of murderous hatred that never lets up, not even for a second. And in the meantime, for the Western donors, the Westerners who are expected to pressure Israel, but to do so by being provided with the figleaf of "working for peace" or "furthering the peace process" or "working for the two-state solution" the general outlines which, so we are told repeatedly, and with a smug self-assurance designed to bully us into submission, "everyone knows."
That Offer about "borders rather than armistice lines" was made back in 1949.
There was no Acceptance.
Now, we are told, the Arabs are ready to offer their "Acceptance." Even if we were to ignore -- and so many have ignored -- the ideology of Islam which suffuses Arab minds, even if we were to understand that the Jihad is forever, and there is no "solution" to the Jihad being made on Israel, only the possiblity of deterrence and Arab leaders invoking "Darura" or necessity, even if we were to ignore all that, it is absurd to now allow the Arabs to pretend to accept an offer that they have spent more than half-a-century rejecting as noisily as they can, and in fact, still reject, for those who pay attention to what they say among themselves, and not what they say for Western consumption. .
That Offer lapsed, it lapsed decades ago. It lapsed after a "reasonable" amount of time. Circumstances have changed. The size of Arab armories has increased, for they have trillions of dollars to pour into weaponry. The Israelis, and the rest of the West -- or that part of it that is willing to look steadily and whole at Islam -- have come to understand, even if they do not yet express that understanding publicly, that the ideology of Islam explains Arab hostility to Jewish attempts to live in the Middle East not as subjugated and oppressed dhimmis, but in their own ancient homeland, where Arabs are treated incomparably better than Arabs have treated non-Muslims or non-Arabs in any state where Arabs dominate. In any case, the Arabs did not merely respond with silence to Israel's offer back in 1949 to turn those Armistice Lines into borders, but noisily and repeatedly, by word and deed, rejected that Israeli offer.
If you made an offer to buy my company, the only one in the world making slide rules, back in 1955, for twenty million dollars, and I refused that offer then and subsequently, shall I now announce that I am suddenly accepting that offer, which I claim you "held open" and I am free to accept, and we have a contract upon my acceptance, at this late date?
In American law, in the legal systems of all countries, that offer had to be met not by acceptance but by "timely" acceptance. Offers do not remain open indefinitely. The offer has lapsed. Acceptance -- even if it were genuine, and it certainly is not in the case of Muslim Arabs who will never accept the permanence of Israel -- at this point has no validity.
The Armistice Lines of 1949 never became borders, and are hardly to be revived as a guide to borders now. If anything is to be a guide, it should be the Mandate itself, its express terms, its reason for being. And its reason for being, in all of historic Palestine that lay west of the river Jordan, was to make possible the Jewish National Home, the Jewish state of Israel. That was its reason for being, not "two states for two peoples" that would have required the creation of that "Palestinian people" (out of the local Arabs, many of them having arrived, or their parents having arrived, between 1900 and 1940, from around the Middle East, just as Arabs would later flock, for similar reasons -- economic opportunity -- to Kuwait, the Emirates, and Saudi Arabia), and an overlooking of all the Arab states -- now some 22 -- that existed for the Arabs.
When discussing borders, the most sinister people even like to dredge up, though they do not as yet dare to bring up as a guide (as they do those 1949 Armistice Lines), the U.N. Partition Plan of November 1947. But even before the Arabs rejected it, and thus sent it back to oblivion, that Partition Plan was of doubtful legality. By its own Article 80 -- see the first part -- as fleshed out by case after case, the U.N. had committed itself to accepting, and not ignoring nor changing, the already-existing terms of the mandates that, as the successor organization to the League of Nations, it inherited -- and that included the Mandate for Palestine. But what about the acceptance then, by the Jewish representatives, of that Partition Plan? That reflected one thing, and one thing only -- not right, not justice, but the absolute desperation of the Jews, in 1947, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were still being kept in D.P. camps, in the countries where their families had recently been murdered, sometimes even kept with, though treated worse than, captured enemy soldiers and collaborators, in the same camps. And it was Great Britain that was enforcing its own embargo on ships, preventing Jews from reaching Mandatory Palestine, with British sailors firing on ships, or boarding them, and turning them back. If the Jews accepted the 1947 Partition Plan it was only because they were desperate, When the U.N. Partition Plan -- an illegal attempt by the U.N. for that organization, was not, by its own Article 80, free to change the terms or tamper with the purpose, of the League of Nations Mandates that, as the successor organization to the League, the U.N. had inherited, to accept -- at a time when the concentration camps had just been liberated, and Jews were desperate to get Great Britain and others to allow those Jews to travel to Mandatory Palestine. The Israeli offer lapsed a long time ago.
Offers do not remain open forever. If you offer to sell me your house for $25,000 in 1955, and I do not accept that offer, I am not free to come back today, in 2011, and tell you that at long last I am ready to buy your house for that price you once offered -- what was it again? Oh yes, $25,000 -- and you are obligated to accept. It would be an outrage, a farce, to require you to accept.
And it is even more of an outrage, and a farce, to talk as if the Arabs were now free to treat those Armistice Lines of 1949 as if they had always been what the Arabs explicitly rejected their being -- internationally-accepted borders. A lot has happened since 1949. The fedayin in Egypt made more than 19,000 attacks on Jewish farmers, before the Suez Campaign put an end to that. Israel gave up the Suez, for promises from Nasser which turned out to be entirely worthless. In mid-May 1967 Egypt prepared for, Nasser noisily called for, Cairene crowds screamed hysterically for, a war to annihilate Israel. Things did not work out as Nasser and many Arabs had hoped, and by force of arms, the Jews of Israel came into possession of territories, including those that they had a prior claim to under the Mandate. They gave back -- they were not required to any customary practices of victor states after wars -- the entire Sinai, to Egypt, with billions of dollars in infrastructure, only to see that Mubarak's regime completely failed to honor the Egyptian government's solemn commitments under the Camp David Accords, to end hostile propaganda and to encourage friendship between Israelis and Egyptians.
And there was something called Resolution 242, which clearly was intended, in its wording, and in the testimony of those who wrote it -- Lord Chalfont and Ambassador Goldberg -- to redraw the lines between Israel and its neighbors, for it allowed Israel to keep territory it required to have "secure [i.e., defensible] and recognized boundaries." This decision is not a moral matter -- though morally, Israel is entitled to hold onto every inch of Judea and Samaria, unallocated parts of the Mandate for Palestine. It is a military matter. And as a military matter, too, Israel must maintain control of the entire area from Jordan to the sea. The two areas, those to which it has a legal, moral and historic claim, and that which it has as a military claim to "secure and defensible borders" as recognized by Resolution 242, overlap completely.
Part of the diplomatic offensive or sausage-strategy that the Slow Jihadists are pursuing (all smiles for the Western photographers, but with that knife under the cloak) , is a supposed Acceptance of an Offer that lapsed a half-century ago.
It can not, and must not, be revived. And certainly Western governments, some at their wits' end as they try to avoid recognizing, and then having to deal with, the threat that the adherents of the ideology of Islam now pose to Infidels all over the world, should not be attempting to revive it, so that the Arabs may better push back, and push back, and push back, the only secure base and outpost of the West between Italy and East Asia.
The lines that separated Israel its three defeated enemies in that conflict -- Egypt, Syria, and Jordan -- were the 1949 Armistice Lines that, back in 1949, the Arab countries refused to recognize -- did not accept the offer -- by Israel to make them, then, recognized boundaries.
There are no "1967 borders."