Fifty years ago, between June 5 and 10, 1967, Arab countries ganged up on Israel – Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Lebanon — forcing Israel’s hand against bellicose Arab neighbors and nations. There was nothing less than Israeli and Jewish extinction on the agenda, as if that hadn’t happened before. In fact, the Chairman of the PLO, Ahmed Shukeiri said,
The only nation that comes to mind that has given up lands captured in territories without anything in return is India, who gave up the Haji Pir Pass in 1965 and withdrew from the Ichogill canal.
“This is a fight for the homeland – it is either us or the Israelis…. Any of the old Palestine Jewish population who survive may stay, but it is my impression that none of them will survive.”
In addition, Arab newspapers and radio reports of the time called for Israel to be “driven into the sea.” With such ominous threat, and fighting with the wall behind their back, against overwhelming odds, and pushed into a corner, Israel fought with tactical brilliance, outmaneuvering its enemies and capturing territories fair and square.
Besides, as is well known the world over, the West Bank territories—and Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Jericho, in particular—all the way to the River Jordan and Dead Sea—are Jewish lands since Biblical and pre-Biblical times. Testimony of this goes back to the days of Jesus Christ, and, before him, to the days of King Solomon, and Jacob and Moses before them. You can forget the return of those holy lands as a matter of principle. Consider it like India gaining independence from the British. Whoever returns a home recaptured?
And whoever willingly gives up territories captured in a hard-fought war where war was thrust upon the winner? Has USA given up Okinawa? For what moral reason should Israel give up the West Bank when Palestine fails to even recognize Israel as a legitimate Jewish nation? Even today, Iran vows to drive Israel into the sea. Have you ever thought whether you would roll over if you were threatened with obliteration? The Jews already had enough of that in the holocaust. I can assure you that hell may break loose, but Israel won’t ever give up the West Bank without security concessions, and then some. Having offered the Palestinians to peacefully co-exist since 1947, Israel has offered multiple olive branches at different occasions, only to be answered with rockets and bullets.
For India, the message was clear: the politicians did not care about the blood of its soldiers, whom they still consider a commodity…
The Indian Approach
The only nation that comes to mind that has given up lands captured in territories without anything in return is India, who gave up the Haji Pir Pass in 1965 and withdrew from the Ichogill canal. There were many other territories that India captured that India returned ignominiously. The same thing in 1971 when more than 5,800 miles of territory was returned to Pakistan in the Western Sector.
For India, the message was clear: the politicians did not care about the blood of its soldiers, whom they still consider a commodity that will fight when called upon, and disengage when told, as if they were all robots, and as if morale and motivation had nothing to do with war. India is paying for those decisions to this day, where a relentless terrorist campaign promises to destroy Kashmir, and makes criminals out of soldiers and CPRF personnel by giving them the opportunity to mistreat local civilians.
So low has the morale and motivation of Indian military personnel apparently fallen that it is feared that the soldiers may simply not perform the soldiery of their World War II fathers and predecessors, when India had its most gallant army that was put to shame in 1962 by irresponsible politicians.
Comparisons and Differences between India and Israel
As Narendra Modi prepares for a historic trip to Israel, it is appropriate to draw comparisons and differences between the two countries. India and Israel both gained independence from the British, have a very large English-speaking population, and gained independence around the same period of 1947-48. Both have ingrained in them a very strong religious identity, with India having multiple religions being born there, and being influenced by their philosophies. And, both nations are vibrant democracies. But, somehow the similarities end there.
Israel has stood steadfast against attack and terrorism, retaliating at every turn – taking an eye for an eye and extracting a tooth for a tooth… In contrast, India swallows insults and terrorist attacks virtually on a daily basis…
Whereas, through the entire middle ages, India supported Jewish immigrants with love and care, being probably the only country in the whole world not to discriminate against them, India has taken a different path to aggression against its homeland as compared to Israel.
Israel has stood steadfast against attack and terrorism, retaliating at every turn – taking an eye for an eye and extracting a tooth for a tooth. In 1956 and 1967, Israel took massive pre-emptive action against enemy attacks. In contrast, India swallows insults and terrorist attacks virtually on a daily basis, and has never launched a massive pre-emptive attack against its enemies even in its own defense.
Another difference is in the treatment of defense personnel and defense production. From the very early years, Israel knew how to use engineering for its military benefit, but India not only shut down its military personnel – uplifting police personnel into ranks above them – but throttled defense production by insisting on production by the government only, while simply not paying adequate attention to engineering, manufacturing, and scientific research. Thus, the most major difference has been how Israel deals with its enemies versus how India does. Israel prepares and plans years ahead. India buries its head in fear and throttles talent. No wonder that India always has a victim-syndrome.
It is a pity that even though Israel supported India with all it could during the 1971 and 1999 wars, India gave little to nothing back in return to Israel, except kicking it in its teeth at the UN, and chummying up to Palestine and Yasser Arafat who never even supported India during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars. So inimical was India to Israel that when I received my first passport in the mid 1970s, a note was stamped inside that forbade travel to Israel and South Africa.
India kept looking at the rear-view mirror and its fantastic fight for independence, Israel always looked ahead at its new paths ahead and how it could assure its own security and future.
Whereas, India kept looking at the rear-view mirror and its fantastic fight for independence, Israel always looked ahead at its new paths ahead and how it could assure its own security and future. India developed its own auto-immune disease where it targeted its own people in Nagaland, all over India during the emergency, and then in Punjab, and later in Kashmir. While Israel was busy manufacturing its own guns and missiles, India was embroiled in the Babri-Masjid controversy. Such are the differences between a country that is headed for survival (Israel), versus a country whose survival is in doubt (India).
Israel Makes Peace with Egypt and Jordan
Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt in 1982 after Egypt agreed to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and promised not to re-militarize the Sinai. As a result, Israel’s southwest border has been peaceful ever since. But in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians continue their unholy revolt against Israel, launching rockets and pelting Israeli Defense Forces with regularity. The Palestine government gives a stipend to the family of every person who plants a suicide bomb among Jews.
With such laws in Palestine, it is impossible for any sane nation, let alone Israel, to grant concessions in the West Bank or Gaza. With such attacks ongoing, and a rain of rockets on a periodic basis, no country with honor will ever negotiate except with bullets and rockets of its own. This is to be expected. This is natural for humans, unless you are an Indian politician or diplomat.
Jordan, which lost the West Bank to Israel during the six-day war, saw the writing on the wall and sued for peace, recognizing Israel in 1994, forever conceding the West Bank to Israel, and foregoing military posturing against Israel. But not so 18 of the 21 members in the Arab League or another 10 members in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, including so-called moderate Islamic countries. How does their behavior advance the cause of peace?
…how safe you would feel if your neighbors were to look daggers at you and swear your extermination on a daily basis.
The Jordanians saw that the Palestinians were a problem for them. Hence, with a masterful stroke of the pen, they conceded not only the West Bank, but forever transferred the Palestinian problem onto the Israelis. As it is, Jordan had to fight the Palestinians in 1970 when the PLO tried a coup against King Hussein of Jordan. But, King Hussein crushed the uprising and forever expelled the Palestinians from Jordan, making them migrate en masse to the West Bank and Kuwait.[i]
At one time, close to half the expatriate population in Kuwait was of Palestinian origin. During the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the Palestinians sided with Saddam Hussein, hoping to become de facto masters of Kuwait as a vassal state to Iraq. But, after Iraq lost the first Gulf War, and the Kuwaiti government returned, the Emir of Kuwait expelled Palestinians en masse. Nothing in the Palestinian methodology appears holy or respectful.
Opportunities for Peace in Palestine
Various opportunities for Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank have failed mainly because of refusal by the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish nation, assure the military security of Israel, and allow Israel the safety of Jewish holy sites and temples. You tell me how safe you would feel if your neighbors were to look daggers at you and swear your extermination on a daily basis.
The Palestinians were given opportunities per the Oslo Accord of 1993 that Arafat broke, and again with the Barak-Arafat settlement that Bill Clinton mediated in 2000, but again Arafat broke that. What’s worse, Israel offered Palestinians in 1948 to live on in Israel as equal citizens, but the Palestinians and Arabs replied with bullets.[ii] There is no help for the damned, and no help for those who will turn down help.
It will be meaningful for Narendra Modi to express unity with Israelis in its fight against terrorism emanating from Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank.
And, all of this is not to forget the contributions made to science by the Jews: more than one hundred Nobel Prizes and Albert Einstein – plus the greatest gifts of all to the world: Moses who parted the Red Sea and brought back a nation from bondage, and then, Jesus Christ himself, who gave himself for the world. To ask for the extinction of Israel as a Jewish nation is eccentric and pathetic, at the very least. Israel needs to be treated with much respect, not least because it is the only democracy in the Middle East.
All peacemaking deals have failed because none fully address the safety concerns of Israel. All the shuttle diplomacy of Warren Christopher, Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, or the repeated visits of John Kerry, Obama’s Secretary of State to the region have borne any fruit or changed the situation by even a hair. The reason was given above. It is not possible to ask a lion to bow, to ask the upright to stand down, to ask the righteous to give up their principles. It is not possible to forget the bloodshed by its soldiers (unless you are India) and the difficulties under which freedom and security are won. Simply said, it is not possible to ask Israel to compromise her security, no matter who or what is stacked up against it. They have no choice in the matter. Shukeiri was right … “it is either us or the Israelis.” And so Israel has made up its mind that it’s not going to be them. As General George Patton so famously said, “[t]he only good enemy is a dead enemy.”
No Peace Possible in the West Bank
What all mediators from the USA failed to realize, but which was confirmed during research by the author, is that the Jews of Israel and the surrounding Arabs think differently. While the Jew males are predominantly left-brained, the Arab males are predominantly right-brained. This means that their groups will never see eye to eye with each other.[iii] The gap between the Arabs and the Palestinians in thought processes is wider than the Red Sea or Straits of Tiran or the River Jordan. There is no peace without major concessions by either side so as to reach equilibrium in a lasting contract of peace. Hence, pursuing peace in the West Bank and Gaza is an absolute waste of time under conditions inimical to Israel. It is much better to expend energies on economic and other pursuits. And, foreign diplomats and self-appointed peacemakers, including foreign Presidents and Ministers, would be advised that it is meaningless to beat their head against the Wailing Wall.
It will be meaningful for Narendra Modi to express unity with Israelis in its fight against terrorism emanating from Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. One has to look at the picture very realistically.
[i]Black September: The Jordanian-PLO Civil War of 1970, Thought Co., https://www.thoughtco.com/black-september-jordanian-plo-civil-war-2353168, Accessed June 7, 2017.
[ii]DavidMargolick, “Endless War,” New York Times, Sunday Book Review, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/books/review/Margolick-t.html, May 4, 2008.
[iii]Singh, Amarjit, Organizational Behavior: Welcome, Space Cadets, Engineering News-Record, Vol. 248 (22), McGraw Hill, June 10, 2002. tp://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/books/review/Margolick-t.html, May 4, 2008.
[iii]Singh, Amarjit, Organizational Behavior: Welcome, Space Cadets, Engineering News-Record, Vol. 248 (22), McGraw Hill, June 10, 2002.