“We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. All challenges demand new approaches.” — President Donald Trump
This day has been long overdue. In fact, the U.S. initially recognized the Jewish people’s right to sovereignty over the entirety of the land west of the Jordan River, including Jerusalem, 95 years ago. But endless threats of the “Arab street” has deterred them from following through with this commitment … until President Trump.
The fact that he is willing to break the same old paradigm of putting “Arab street” concerns above our interests and doing what’s right is a very positive quality that will hopefully bear fruit on other foreign and domestic policies as well.
There never was an Arab Palestinian state in the Holy Land and all the land west of the Jordan River was originally earmarked for the Jewish state under the Balfour Declaration exactly 100 years ago. That plan was adopted by the Allied powers and the League of Nations in 1920 and 1922. As I wrote last year:
The only binding resolution of international law, a resolution which has never been countermanded to this very day, is the July 1922 Mandate for Palestine. Adopted by the League of Nations, that resolution recognized the “historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” It called for the creation of a Jewish national homeland anywhere west of the Jordan River.
On Sept. 21, 1922, President Warren Harding signed H. J. Res. 322, which formally adopted the Mandate for Palestine as official U.S. policy. The resolution recognized Jewish dominion over all of Palestine (which was a Jewish, not Arab term, harkening back to the days of Roman emperor Hadrian) so long as they recognized “the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities” and ensured that “the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.”
The committee report from the House Foreign Affairs Committee recognized the God-given rights to the land and the fact that Jews were already rehabilitating the conditions of the people living there from the “wanton and deplorable policy of desolation systemically carried out by its rulers, the Turks, for centuries.” Observed the report: “What was once the land of milk and honey, has become, through misrule and oppression, a devastated and sparsely settled land.”
It was quite evident that the House committee blamed the Turks for the dysfunction and oppression — and viewed the creation of the Jewish state not just as a biblical fulfillment and a place of refuge for persecuted European Jews, but as the only means of preserving democratic rights for everyone.
Congressman Frank Appleby, R-N.J., spoke on the floor and noted that for over 2,000 years no other nation or people claimed the land as their homeland. Despite the prevailing isolationist sentiment among the politicians during that era, they unanimously and passionately spoke of the need to recognize Palestine as the land of the Jews for purposes of justice, liberty, and humanity.
[Read the entire congressional record from the fascinating floor discussion, pages 71-92.]
During consideration of the resolution on the House floor on June 30, Rep. Walter M. Chandler, R-N.Y., delivered a lengthy and riveting speech summing up the purpose and background of the resolution. His speech makes it clear that the intent was to always have one state controlled by Jews, that it was universally understood the Jewish government would be better for all sides in terms of democratic values, and that a few jihadist agitators were seeking to undermine the agreement.
He predicted that Jerusalem would be the seat of the Jewish government. His words were quite prophetic and ominous. Chandler directly addressed the smattering of Arabs living in the area as follows:
1) That the Arabs shall be permitted to remain in Palestine under Jewish government and domination, and with their civil and religious rights guaranteed to them through the British mandate and under terms of the Balfour declaration.
2) That if they will not consent to Jewish government and domination, they shall be required to sell their lands at a just valuation and retire into the Arab territory which has been assigned to them by the League of Nations in the general reconstruction of the countries of the east.
3) That if they will not consent to Jewish government and domination, under conditions of right and justice, or to sell their lands at a just valuation and to retire into their own countries, they shall be driven from Palestine by force.
Thus, it was clear that nobody ever intended to establish any other entity governing the area. Chandler prophetically noted that “the Arabs in Palestine should be and would be happy and content under the present government of that country if it were not for Turkish and Arab agitators, who travel around over the land stirring up trouble by making false representations concerning the true character of the Zionist movement.”
And indeed, that is what happened. For the next 95 years the Arab agitators waged jihad and every modern American president has cowered in the face of jihad. The entire purpose of the agreement on Palestine was to give the land only to the entity that would protect the holy sites and civil rights, yet global elites here and abroad rewarded Arabs for violating the agreement.
Violence, indeed, does pay and did pay off for the jihadists. Commensurate with every threat of violence was a demand that Jews pay tribute in the form of blood or surrender.
After 95 years, Trump has righted a wrong and restored the original intent of a unanimous body of Congress in 1922. Heading forward, it’s important for Trump to surround himself with those who share his views and that he not back down in the face of the century-old Arab tactic of threatening violence.
Although he promised to move the embassy, it’s clear that the State Department will undermine him. And his own appointees – State Sec. Rex Tillerson and Defense Sec. James Mattis – opposed even the Jerusalem announcement.
Trump was right to acknowledge the failure of past pathetic policies and the need for new thinking. He can truly be a transformational president if he fixes the personnel problems and commits to translating his rhetoric into policy outcomes by paying attention to details of our broader failed foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Finally, this should be a first step in abandoning the entire notion of having jihadists govern Judea and Samaria, and instead fulfill the original Mandate for Palestine. To quote Congressman Chandler from his 1922 speech, “The Greeks have Greece. Let us give Palestine back to the Jews.”
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Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.