The Facts of Life (in Israel)

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For Kurdish View, Look to Israel

It took the death of 6 million Jews before Israel was born (“What About the Kurds?” Oct. 5). The United Nations and other states did not help Israel when it was attacked by the Arab states in the vicinity.

It would appear that you have forgotten what happened to Israel. The Kurds deserve their own country regardless of what the world thinks — except for Israel, who sides on their behalf.

The world, tellingly, approved the nuclear deal with Iran, a country that has more than 5 million Kurds. Turkey has more than 18 million. Both of these countries, plus Syria and Iraq, keep this minority under a torturous regime.

Perhaps you should think about the safety of Israel and not the oppressive tactics used against Kurds by Israel’s enemies.

Meyer S. Cooper | Center City

Just the Facts, Please

Owing to the excellent piece written by Gabriel Kaufman concerning mis-assignment of Israeli hatred on the basis of factual and legal misunderstandings, I find it necessary to once again set the record straight (“Israeli Hatred Masquerading as Anti-Semitism,” Oct. 5). Despite beliefs prevalent in this country and elsewhere, Israel is not a West Bank “occupier.”

The ancient country known as Palestine was controlled by the Ottoman Empire for 400 years until its control was terminated at the conclusion of World War I. The Arab population indigenous to that area was exactly that, i.e. Arabs, not “Palestinians,” and they exercised no control whatever.

In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, which provided that Palestine would be assigned as a home for the “Jewish people.” Absolutely no mention of an Arab constituency was included, although Balfour did provide that the indigenous population was to receive “religious and civil” rights without further explanation or delineation.

Balfour was later enshrined in a number of international treaties in the early 1920s and approved by the League of Nations and the U.S. government, but Jewish settlement of the land was not supported by Britain, because of Arab rejection of the Balfour grant. In 1947, the United Nations, contrary to and in violation of international law, partitioned Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. In May 1948, a State of Israel was declared and the very next day five Arab armies attacked.

An armistice ensued in 1949 establishing the so-called Green Line, which stood only for the demarcation of where the battle lines concluded; the lines were not to be regarded as borders. Nonetheless, Jordan occupied the so-called West Bank until the Six-Day War in 1967, at the conclusion of which Israel controlled the West Bank territory.

Since the United Nations never possessed the legal authority to partition Palestine, and since Balfour and its progeny gave the territory of Palestine to the Jewish people forever, it is therefore manifest that Israel, the successor-in-interest to the Jewish people, was and is the legal sovereign over all territory west of the Jordan River. Thus, Israel’s presence in the West Bank cannot be characterized as occupation. Succinctly put, the Arabs now ensconced in the West Bank have no legitimate claim to a state, which claim would clash with Balfour on its face.

Pursuant to Kaufman’s exegesis, these are the facts that must be made known to counter the wrongful and harmful claims that pervade common parlance. And I dare say that the government of Israel must make known that which is correct, not specious as so concocted by the body politic.

Arthur Solomon Safir | Retired Deputy Attorney General of N.J.