[54. Israel's supporters rewrite history

If Sherwood Snyder can lie about well-established facts like he did in his October 15 letter, he can lie just about everything. He can say that the Palestinians are not tortured in Israeli prisons, that Israel does not possess nuclear arms, that Mr. Shamir, the Prime Minister of Israel, is not a terrorist and his terrorist organization, the Stern Gang, did not assassinate Count Folke Bernadotte in September 1948, nor his predecessor, Mr. Begin, is a terrorist and his terrorist organization, Irgun, did not massacre the Arab population of Deir Yassin in April 1948 etc.

Mr. Snyder is irritated because the Associated Press in its report about settlements in the West Bank did not use Mr. Shamir's terminology, that is "Judea and Samaria" instead of "occupied Arab land." He seems to attach an enormous importance to international legality since he mentions the League of Nations and the UN Charter, but surprisingly enough, he appears ignorant of the fact that out of 166 members states in the United Nations only one, Israel, does not consider the West Bank as occupied territory. His statement: "The only time 'Judea and Samaria' (West Bank) were under control of an Arab state was from 1948 when Jordan invaded Palestine" is a lie. All of Palestine and not only the West Bank was under Arab control from 638 to the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate in 1258 and under Muslim control form 1258 until the dissolution of the Ottoman Caliphate after World War I, bearing in mind that Arab and Muslim nationalisms at that time were one and the same under the umbrella of the Caliphate.

His statement: "The fact is that the League of Nations gave a mandate to Britain to administer the territory of Palestine because it did not belong to any sovereign power" is not a all a fact, it is another lie. The fact is that Palestine belonged to the Ottoman Empire, and with the collapse of that Empire, the San Remo peace conference in 1920 assigned France a mandate over Syria and Lebanon, and Britain a mandate over Iraq and Palestine, the latter was an area that included what is today Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. In 1921, Britain offered Emir Abdullah, the grandfather of King Hussein , the governance of the area east of the Jordan River which became known as Transjordan, and is known today as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In 1922, the League of Nations formally confirmed Britain's mandate over Palestine, with exclusion of Transjordan.

In November 1947, the UN General Assembly voted in favor of partitioning Palestine between a Jewish and an Arab entity. It gave 53 percent of Palestine to the Jews even though they owned only 6 percent of the land, constituted just one third of its population and 5 Jews out of 6 were non-natives. The day the British left Palestine in May 1948 war broke out, a Jewish state was established, Jordan "occupied the West Bank," as Mr. Snyder put it, and Israel occupied 25 percent over and above the 53 percent allotted to it in the partition plan, a fact that Mr. Snyder deliberately overlooked. In 1967, Israel started the Six-Day war against Egypt. Jordan, obligated by a mutual defense pact, came to Egypt's aid. Ultimately, Israel occupied the West Bank also. Mr. Snyder's statement that the settlements are "legal" is absurd. These settlements are built on occupied land and the U.S. government, along with all member states of the United Nations, with the exception of Israel of course, considers Israel's occupation to be governed by the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 which explicitly prohibit the occupier from such undertakings.

October 20, 1991]