As Israel Celebrates Its 69th Anniversary, the Palestinian Authority Still Seeks to Litigate the Past

In preparation for the centennial of the Balfour Declaration this November, Mahmoud Abbas has been campaigning for Britain to apologize for its 1917 commitment to establishing “a Jewish national home in Palestine,” and has even threatened to sue the United Kingdom for this alleged injustice. Last week, London issued a statement that it remains “proud of [its] role in creating the state of Israel.” Ruthie Blum comments:

In a piece in the Washington Post in October, the chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the Balfour Declaration the “symbolic beginning of the denial of [Palestinian] rights.” He failed to mention that it was actually [Palestinian] leaders who have denied the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza their rights. Well before the 1967 Six-Day War, when the term “Palestinian people” was coined, Arabs rejected the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine—the original “two-state solution.” They have been refusing to reach any peaceful arrangement with Israel ever since.

The end result is on display for all to see. Israel has spent nearly seven decades building a booming democratic country, while the Arabs of Palestine have frittered away the time by engaging in acts of destruction. Yes, as the Jewish state marks 69 years since its establishment, 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, and 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, the Palestinian Authority is threatening to take Britain to court.

Let Donald Trump be reminded of this before hosting Abbas in the Oval Office and listening to his lies. The rest of us should take a break from discussions of war and peace to toast Balfour—and Israel’s success in a region otherwise characterized by failure.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Balfour Declaration, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Independence Day, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority

Israel Can’t Stake Its Fate on “Ironclad” Promises from Allies

Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the Gazan city of Rafah yesterday, suggesting that the campaign there is progressing swiftly. And despite repeatedly warning Jerusalem not to undertake an operation in Rafah, Washington has not indicated any displeasure, nor is it following through on its threat to withhold arms. Even after an IDF airstrike led to the deaths of Gazan civilians on Sunday night, the White House refrained from outright condemnation.

What caused this apparent American change of heart is unclear. But the temporary suspension of arms shipments, the threat of a complete embargo if Israel continued the war, and comments like the president’s assertion in February that the Israeli military response has been “over the top” all call into question the reliability of Joe Biden’s earlier promises of an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. Douglas Feith and Ze’ev Jabotinsky write:

There’s a lesson here: the promises of foreign officials are never entirely trustworthy. Moreover, those officials cannot always be counted on to protect even their own country’s interests, let alone those of others.

Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements, and membership in multilateral organizations. There can be value in such things—and countries do have interests in their reputations for reliability—but one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never “ironclad.”

Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the United States and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship