American president likes to highlight ‘truth’ but conveniently ignores some facts.
by Ophir Falk
President Obama often turns to the “truth” when talking about the Middle East. In fact, he used that word five times in his 2009 Cairo speech and four times in his Middle East doctrine speech at the White house last week.
In 2009, the president proclaimed before his Cairo audience that “the truth is that America and Islam are not exclusive”, that “Islam is a part of America, and America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations.” He also said “there is one rule that lies at the heart of every religion – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. This truth transcends nations and peoples.”
In his doctrine speech last week, Obama said that America would assist civil societies “who speak uncomfortable truths”, that “the truth cannot be hidden”, and that “precisely because of our friendship (America and Israel it is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, Israel must act boldly to advance a lasting peace” and that America "holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
Before an AIPAC audience that same week he reiterated the “fundamental truth that has guided presidents and prime ministers for more than 60 years: that even while we may at times disagree, as friends sometimes will, the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable.”
All of these truths may have merit, but for truth to become the theme for Middle East peace and prosperity, President Obama and his various audiences should also consider the following noteworthy truths:
1) Jerusalem has been the capital of the Jewish people for over 3,000 years and that of the State of Israel since its re-establishment, with a large Jewish majority since 1860. Jerusalem is referred to thousands of times in Jewish scriptures; Jews pray towards Jerusalem and yearned to return to it during 2,000 years of forced exile. Jerusalem was never the capital of an Arab state, doesn’t appear once in the Koran and Muslims pray towards Mecca;
2) The 1967 borders, referred to by Obama and others, are in essence the 1949 armistice borders drawn after Israel’s victorious 1948 War of Independence;
3) Although there was never a sovereign Palestinian state at any point in the history of mankind, Israel accepted the UN’s 1947 partition plan. The Arabs did not, and instead reciprocated with war, and another war, and then a couple of more wars, simultaneously combined with more than 70 years of terror against innocent civilians. Therefore, aside from its biblical and historical rights, Israel has more than 25,000 reasons, one for each slain soldier and terror victim, to refuse the return to 1967 borders;
4) Peace could have prevailed at any point during the century-long conflict between Israel and its Arab enemies had the Arabs only agreed to put down their arms. In contrast, if Israel would put down its arms it would cease to exist;
5) With the rapidly changing world, one of the few theories of International Relations that still holds water is that “true Democracies do not go to war against true Democracies.” Israel is the only true democracy in the Mideast and therefore, as Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out in his 2011 AIPAC speech, “it's time to recognize this basic truth: Israel is not what's wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what's right about the Middle East.”
Acknowledging these telling truths is the preface to peace and prosperity.
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -