See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .The Palestine problem became an international issue towards the end of the First World War with the disintegration of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Palestine was among the several former Ottoman Arab territories which were placed under the administration of Great Britain under the Mandates System adopted by the League of Nations pursuant to the League's Covenant. (Article 22)
All but one of these Mandated Territories became fully independent States, as anticipated. The exception was Palestine where, instead of being limited to "the rendering of administrative assistance and advice" the Mandate had as a primary objective the implementation of the "Balfour Declaration" issued by the British Government in 1917, expressing support for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".
During the years of the Palestine Mandate, from 1922 to 1947, large-scale Jewish immigration from abroad, mainly from Eastern Europe took place, the numbers swelling in the 1930s with the notorious Nazi persecution of Jewish populations. Palestinian demands for independence and resistance to Jewish immigration led to a rebellion in 1937, followed by continuing terrorism and violence from both sides during and immediately after World War II. Great Britain tried to implement various formulas to bring independence to a land ravaged by violence. In 1947, Great Britain in frustration turned the problem over to the United Nations.
After looking at various alternatives, the UN proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized (Resolution 181 (II) of 1947). One of the two States envisaged in the partition plan proclaimed its independence as Israel and in the 1948 war expanded to occupy 77 per cent of the territory of Palestine. Israel also occupied the larger part of Jerusalem. Over half the indigenous Palestinian population fled or were expelled. Jordan and Egypt occupied the other parts of the territory assigned by the partition resolution to the Palestinian Arab State which did not come into being.
In the 1967 war, Israel occupied the remaining territory of Palestine, until then under Jordanian and Egyptian control (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). This included the remaining part of Jerusalem, which was subsequently annexed by Israel. The war brought about a second exodus of Palestinians, estimated at half a million. Security Council resolution 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967 called on Israel to withdraw from territories it had occupied in the 1967 conflict.
In 1974, the General Assembly reaffirmed the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, and to return. The following year, the General Assembly established the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The General Assembly conferred on the PLO the status of status of observer in the Assembly and in other international conferences held under United Nations auspices.
Events on the ground, however, remained on a negative course. In June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon with the declared intention to eliminate the PLO. A cease-fire was arranged. PLO troops withdrew from Beirut and were transferred to neighboring countries after guarantees of safety were provided for thousands of Palestinian refugees left behind. Subsequently, a large-scale massacre of refugees took place in the camps of Sabra and Shatila.
In September 1983, the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, which was widely attended, adopted inter alia the Geneva Declaration containing the following principles: the need to oppose and reject the establishment of settlements in the occupied territory and actions taken by Israel to change the status of Jerusalem, the right of all States in the region to existence within secure and internationally recognized boundaries, with justice and security for all the people, and the attainment of the legitimate, inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.
In December 1987, a mass uprising against the Israeli occupation began in the occupied Palestinian territory (the intifadah). Methods used by the Israeli forces during the uprising resulted in mass injuries and heavy loss of life among the civilian Palestinian population.
A Peace Conference on the Middle East was convened in Madrid on 30 October 1991, with the aim of achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement through direct negotiations along 2 tracks: between Israel and the Arab States, and between Israel and the Palestinians, based on Security Council resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973) (the "land for peace" formula). A series of subsequent negotiations culminated in the mutual recognition between the Government of the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, the representative of the Palestinian People, and the signing by the two parties of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements in Washington, D.C., on 13 September 1993, as well as the subsequent implementation agreements, which led to several other positive developments, such as the partial withdrawal of Israeli forces, the elections to the Palestinian Council and the presidency of the Palestinian Authority, the partial release of prisoners and the establishment of a functioning administration in the areas under Palestinian self-rule. The involvement of the United Nations has been essential to the peace process, both as the guardian of international legitimacy and in the mobilization and provision of international assistance.
You may be wondering why everything is italicized. The above text is taken straight from the United Nations website, an unbiased account without justifications or declarations of Israel's right to defend itself during the most recent invasion of Lebanon.
Less than two years ago Lebanon democratically elected a government which George Bush claims to believe is the inherent right of all humanity to insure basic freedoms. Yet when Israel, a country which has refused to honor U.N. Security Council resolution 242 passed in 1967, nearly 40 years ago, launches a massive attack on Lebanese territory, with the justification that the fledgling Lebanese government has failed to disarm factions deemed terrorists as called for in U.N. Security Council resolution 1559 passed in 2004 two years ago, Bush claims they have every right to demolish anything and everything in the name of self-defense.
Under Ariel Sharon, Israel finally agreed to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 2005, thirty eight years after they were called on by the U.N. to do so.
Israel can't have it both ways. They can't expect rational, unbiased people to ignore facts and support the destruction of a sovereign nation when they themselves have disrespected the very institution they are claiming must be obeyed by the Lebanese government.
If they were truly concerned about disarming Hizbollah they should have worked through diplomatic channels to assist the new government in Lebanon. Establishing business relationships and trade partnerships with the Lebanese people would have gone a long way towards eliminating the need for the humanitarian endeavors that have established such a strong loyalty to Hizbollah in Lebanon.
It's all a matter of perspective. If you have a choice between a neighboring country with a history of encroaching and occupying territory and an armed militia providing for your basic needs, who are you going to support?