A nation of survivors and the descendants of survivors, Israel has now survived for 64 difficult years.
In the community of democratic states Israel is more often regarded with suspicion. Unwarranted hostility is one of the forces it routinely faces while pursuing survival. Its sworn enemies are routinely treated with more sympathy. The universities of North America have become comfortable homes for a pro-Palestinian movement that is genially tolerated despite its outrageous rhetoric and mobster tactics. The world’s leftists, once admirers of Israel’s progressive social experiments, have become implacable enemies. The UN is so profoundly prejudiced against Israel that most people, inside and outside Israel, no longer notice its behaviour; those who believe UN reports must also believe Israel commits more crimes against human rights than all other nations combined.
When Roman power obliterated Jerusalem in the year 70, Jews were left stateless and defenceless. Some remained in Palestine. Others somehow maintained their religion and identity in whatever new homes they found. But they lived as outsiders who could be displaced whenever their host countries wanted them gone. In the late 19th century the Zionist movement began to plan for a permanent home, centred on Jerusalem; in 1909 the first new Jewish town was created, Tel Aviv. In the 1940s, Hitler, by killing 6 million Jews, turned the dream of a secure homeland into a matter of urgent necessity.
The British, governors of Palestine under an international mandate, had promised that Jewish and Arab states would share the territory. In 1947 the UN approved a two-state partition, which the Jews accepted but the Arabs did not. On May 14, 1948, Israel declared independence. Immediately the armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraq invaded. The secretary-general of the Arab League, Abdul Rahman Hassan Azzam, had predicted this would be a massacre, “a war of elimination.” But Israel soon turned back the invaders and secured its territory (though not all of the city of Jerusalem).
In May, 1967, the Arab states again decided they could not tolerate Israel’s existence. They gathered their armies and moved toward its borders. “The Arab people want to fight,” said president Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, the most powerful Arab of the day. “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel.” Egypt, Jordan and Syria had help from Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Algeria. Israel was outnumbered about two to one in troops, three to one in tanks and combat aircraft. Israel struck first and won. The Six-Day War ended on June 10 with the land controlled by Israel having expanded about 100%.
This, including the West Bank of the Jordan River, is now called occupied territory. The Arab states whose aggressive misjudgment and incompetence caused this region to fall into Israeli hands now blame Israel for the sin of acquiring it...