It seems there is no limit to the insolence of the Israeli lobby and their insults to people’s intelligence. First, they claimed to support the partitioning of Palestine and the two-state solution. Then they ethnically cleansed over 70 per cent of the Palestinian people, denied their right of return, stole their properties, occupied half of what was supposed to be the Palestinian state according to the UN partition, then nineteen years later occupied what remained of historic Palestine as well as land from neighbouring Arab states. They blame their victims for their aggression, occupation, violations of international law and building of Jewish colonies, and now they are trying to prevent the Australian government from recognising the state of Palestine and its right to exist!
Neither is there a limit to their deceptions, starting with the Zionisation of the Bible that claims God gave them Palestine and ordered them to kill and displace its people and deprive them of their homeland, turning a God of compassion, righteousness, justice and peace to a racist real estate agent and warmonger, and following up with the myth that Palestine was a desert and they made the desert bloom, forgetting that the Bible describes it as ‘the land of milk and honey’ and that the English poet George Sandys spoke of it in 1615, more than 330 before they stole it, as ‘a land that flowed with milk and honey; and no part empty of delight or profit’, while the only desert in Palestine, the Negev, is still a desert.
Then they denied our existence in the eighteenth century with a slogan claiming Palestine was ‘A land without a people, for a people without a land’ and that ‘There was no such thing as Palestinians. They didn’t exist’, as Prime Minister Golda Meir claimed in 1967. This was repeated recently by the current finance minister and leader of the Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich, in a speech in Paris, during which he showed a map of Israel which includes all of historic Palestine as well as Jordan and parts of Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. These and tens of other myths, lies and half-truths show how far Israel and its lobby are prepared to go.
While the Israeli lobby loves to repeat that the Arabs rejected the partition of Palestine in 1947, they never tell you why, nor what the Arabs were proposing as an alternative to the Zionist colonialist project.
The Arab and Palestinian rejection of partitioning Palestine was natural and understandable because the partition was unjust and contrary to the UN charter, and the UN has no power to partition any country against the wishes of the majority of its people, then or now. The Palestinians were two thirds of the population and owned more than 94 per cent of the land; the other third were mostly recent Jewish immigrants, most of whom were illegal, imposed by the British occupiers against the wishes of the Palestinian people. UN Partition Resolution 181 asked the Palestinians to give the one-third newly arrived European Jews, who owned less than 6 per cent of the land, 56 per cent of the best fertile land, cities and villages; it robbed them of their historic capital Jerusalem, making it a corpus separatum under a special international regime; and it gave them only 42 per cent of their own country.
The Palestinians naturally rejected this preposterous, unjust and undemocratic resolution, as any people would, especially when they were also aware of Zionist colonial aims to create ‘Greater Israel’ in the heart of the Arab world, in all of Palestine and parts of neighbouring countries. The Palestinians were advocating instead a civilised, just and durable solution based on British withdrawal, the independence of Palestine, and democracy and equality between all citizens regardless of their religion.
It was not only the Arabs who rejected the partition, but also nearly half the then UN members, and many Jews including the Governor-General of Australia Sir Isaac Isaacs, the distinguished Rabbi, scholar and author Dr Julian Morgenstern, and the President of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr Judah Magnes. US and Zionist bullying and enormous pressure on three countries—Liberia, Haiti and the Philippines—to change their votes made it possible for the partition resolution to pass. US President Harry Truman acknowledged the ‘extreme Zionist’ pressure used in his memoirs.
The aim of Zionists and Israeli leaders, from Herzl, the father of Zionism, to Israel’s prime minister Ben Gurion and Netanyahu, has always been the creation of what they call ‘Eretz Israel’, the Land of Israel, which includes all of historic Palestine and land from neighbouring Arab states. Their ‘acceptance’ of the partition was a deceptive tactical strategy to gain the legitimacy they were looking for, and to establish a colonial base from which to build a strong army for expansion to accomplish their project of ‘Greater Israel’. This is precisely what they were saying then and have been doing since the passing of the partition resolution.
Not satisfied with the 56 per cent the UN partition resolution gave them, they launched a military attack called Plan Dalet on 1 April 1948, aiming to occupy as much of Palestine as possible and ethnically cleanse as many Palestinians as possible, turning the non-Jewish majority into a minority and the Jewish minority into a majority. Through over 70 massacres, they ethnically cleansed over 70 per cent of Palestinians and occupied 78 per cent of Palestine, on which they declared the establishment of Israel on 14 May 1948.
The UN, under the chairmanship of Australia’s Herbert Vere Evatt, called on Israel to withdraw back to the partition borders and allow the refugees to return, making it conditional in UN Resolution 273 accepting its membership of the UN, but after its membership was accepted Israel refused to comply. Instead, it destroyed 531 Palestinian towns and villages to prevent the refugees from returning to their homes. Despite Israel’s massacres, ethnic cleansing and violations of UN resolutions and international law, including UN Resolution 181 which gives it its legitimacy, Australia recognised Israel unilaterally, and has never shouldered its historical, legal and moral obligations towards the Palestinian people nor recognised their state.
Then, having consolidated its occupation and digested 78 per cent of Palestine, Israel launched the 1967 war and occupied all of Palestine and parts of neighbouring Arab states. UN Resolution 242 called on Israel to withdraw; it refused, and instead annexed Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights, and started a frenzied building of Jewish colonies in the newly occupied Palestinian territories.
While the Palestinians made peace proposals in 1968, presented officially by the late Palestine Liberation Organisation chairman Yasser Arafat at the UN in 1974, for the establishment of one democratic, secular non-sectarian state for all its citizens—Jews, Christians and Moslems—and in 1988 offered a huge and painful compromise of 78 per cent of our country and acceptance of a two-state solution, Israel rejected both, and has never made one single peace proposal, its leaders openly declaring their rejection of a Palestinian state. The more compromises the Palestinians make, the more Israel demands.
Henry Siegman, president of the US–Middle East Project, said in an article in the Huffington Post (2.4.2013) that
In fact, neither Netanyahu nor any previous Israeli prime minister has ever offered any concessions to the Palestinians, painful or otherwise, on the Israeli side of the 1967 border. Without exception, their position on every permanent status issue—whether territory, refugees, Jerusalem, water resources or security—is that Palestinians must make the concessions on their side of that border.
Recently, on 28 December 2022, Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted in Hebrew,
The Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the Land of Israel. The government will promote and develop settlements in all parts of the Land of Israel—in the Galilee, the Negev, the Golan, Judea and Samaria [the West Bank].
The Jewish Nation State Law ratified in 2018 by the Knesset and the Israeli Supreme Court which states that ‘The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people … The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people [alone] … ’, in addition to 65 other racist laws, institutionalises racism and racial discrimination against Muslims and Christians.
Israel and its lobby speak about their ‘offers of statehood’ to the Palestinians, but they never tell you what Ehud Barak or Ehud Olmert’s ‘offers’ were. First, these so-called offers were verbal, and they refused to put them in writing; nor did they meet the minimum requirements for a just peace. The state they offered was an Israeli-controlled Bantustan of three separate cantons on less than 15 per cent of Palestine, and the links between these cantons would always be at the mercy of the Israeli army and colonies, with no control of their borders or even their airspace. Israel refused to recognise the inalienable rights of the ethnically cleansed refugees to return—the core of the Palestine question—and refused to withdraw from Palestine’s historic capital of Jerusalem. So is it surprising the Palestinians rejected such ludicrous verbal offers?
Since the Israeli government has never defined its borders, the Australian government needs to tell the public how it recognises a country without knowing what its borders are—and if it knows, it needs to inform the public which Israeli borders it recognises. Is it the UN partition borders of the two states, which Australia advocated, lobbied for and voted for, or the borders beyond the partition on which Israel was declared in 1948, or the current borders incorporating all of historic Palestine and land from neighbouring Arab states?
In his statement to the UN General Assembly on 11 May 1949, Evatt said that ‘the territorial boundaries of Israel were fixed by the decisions of 1947, and these boundaries must remain until they are altered either by the General Assembly or by the agreement of Israel with the other states and peoples directly concerned’. Nevertheless, Israel did alter its boundaries unilaterally, in defiance of the UN and the international community.
History shows that the obstacle to advancing the cause of peace and progress towards a just and enduring two-state solution is some Western countries’ shameful appeasement of Israel and non-recognition of the state of Palestine, giving Israel the impression that it can continue with its rejectionism, oppression, violations and expansion and without which it would not dare to challenge the international community with such gross violations.
How can the Israeli government honestly say it is seeking peace when it is violating UN resolutions and international law, building Jewish colonies, continuing racial discrimination, rejecting peace proposals, refusing to recognise the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and carrying on with its internationally condemned policies of arbitrary killings, arrest, collective punishments, bombing of residential areas, strangulation of the Palestinian economy, exploitation of workers, demolishing of homes and confiscation of land for Jewish-only use? Israel’s actions are defined in international law as war crimes. They are acts of state terrorism and grave violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, Palestinians’ basic human rights, UN resolutions and the Oslo accord. They are the actions of a racist colonialist power, not the actions of a state that wants to live in peace with its neighbours, and are destabilising the whole region.
Since the Australian government supported the partition of Palestine against the wishes of the Palestinian people in order to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish state in their country, recognises the two-state solution and Palestinians’ right to self-determination and regards the Jewish colonies as an obstacle to peace, and since public opinion shows that the majority of Australians (and ALP members) demand the recognition of the state of Palestine, how can it then ignore all this and view the conflict from the occupier’s and oppressor’s perspective in order to justify its non-recognition of the state of Palestine?
Recognition of the state of Palestine by 138 countries, the Arab League, the non-Allied movement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other international bodies is the best proof of its legality in international law, and that it is a political decision. It is time for Australia to be on the right side of history and grant full recognition of the state of Palestine. This is the least Australia can do to pressure Israel into recognising the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and advance the cause of peace in the Middle East. It is not in Australia’s national interest to be isolated internationally for the sake of appeasing colonial Israel and its extremist lobby.
Marcelo Svirsky, Mar 2023
As long as Israel could continue pretending to be a full democracy, the world could look aside and ignore the occupation.