Israel Must Combat Lethal Terminology

Israel again refuses to reaffirm its superior political and historical claims to the Golan and the Shabaa Farms.

Dr. Jerome S. Kaufman,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Once again, Israel is falling into its usual trap - ignoring the insidious nature of Arab propaganda terminology. Despite the quickly discredited Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group report, Israel will once again be under the gun to retreat from the Golan Heights and the associated Shabaa Farms. The false terminology "Israeli-occupied territory" once more rears its ugly head; in this case, referring to the Golan and the Shabaa Farms, rather than to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The result of the failure to vociferously object to this terminology may well result in equivalent disasters.
Israel again refuses to reaffirm its superior political and historical claims to the land in question. The facts are as follows.

The Golan and associated Shabaa Farms were a part of the Hebrew nation long before the British and the French divided up the Middle East to suit their own colonial ambitions, and created the nations of Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq in boundary lines that never existed before. The British and French also recreated, under the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate, a homeland for the Jews on both sides of the Jordan River, as it had existed in Biblical times. However, these boundaries were quickly decapitated with the creation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
It so happens there was a Jewish presence in the Golan dating way back to the second century BCE. The ruins of the ancient Jewish village of Katzrin are located in the central Golan, some 13 kilometers northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Archaeological excavations trace the development of the village from the Roman period (3rd-4th centuries). The remains of a synagogue were discovered in 1967, during a survey in which an ancient gravestone bearing the Hebrew inscription "Rabbi Abun" was found.
The Shabaa Farms area is itself a vital defensive part of the Golan. It is a located at the junction of Syria, Lebanon and Israel, on the slopes of the Golan Heights, and it overlooks several Israeli towns, including Kiryat Shemona. It is about 10 miles square with an altitude of up to 6,170 feet. It was captured by Israel from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967; the area was never designated as a part of Lebanon.

Israel rightfully considers the Shabaa Farms to be part of the Golan Heights and extended Israeli law to the region in 1981, in an action that the Security Council of the United Nations declared to be null and void and without international legal effect. The controversy over the farms again arose in 2000, as the United Nations certified that Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon was complete and need not include the Shabaa Farms, since they were never part of Lebanon. Nevertheless, Hizbullah (since May 2000) has used Israel?s refusal to withdraw from Shabaa Farms as an excuse for its continued attacks against Israeli civilians.
As to Lebanon itself, the Syrians make no pretense as to its validity. In August 1972, Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad said, "Syria and Lebanon are a single country." Lebanon has never appeared as an independent state in maps in Syrian textbooks; the area has always been designated as a part of "Greater Syria."
Nevertheless, the Arab League backed Lebanon's claim with a communique issued at the Arab League's 13th session in 2001, asking for "complete Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian territory, including Jerusalem, from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights to the line of 4 June 1967, and from the remaining occupied Lebanese territory up to the internationally recognized borders, including the Shabaa farmlands."
Hizbullah's spokesperson Hassan Ezzedin was even more definitive in his declaration of purpose stating, "If they (the Israelis) go from Shabaa, we will not stop fighting them. Our goal is to liberate the 1948 borders of Palestine and send the immigrant Jews back to Germany or wherever they came from."
So, who cares about Israel's historical, legal, Biblical claim to the Golan, the Shabaa Farms, Judea and Samaria (West Bank) - the entire land of Israel, for that matter? Certainly not the Arabs and certainly not the Europeans, and certainly not the misguided US State Department, so successful in perverting successive American administrations.
On literally thousands of occasions, without any equivocation, the Arabs have stated that their primary goal is the complete elimination of the Jewish state and the murder of as many Jews as possible in the process. So what Israeli, what Jew, in his right mind would continue to surrender territory of any kind and be thus directly complicit in obtaining his own demise? Well, unfortunately, the current prime minister of Israel, Ehud Olmert, appears to be of this mind, as does much of the Israeli population, and as do a far greater number of the uninformed, couldn't-care-less Jews of the Diaspora.

What, then, is the only hope of Israel and Diaspora Jewry? Our only hope, as usual, remains the supreme G-d that gave us the Land of Israel in the first place.