Back in President Obama's second term in office, Secretary of State John Kerry, like his boss and other members of the same pea -pod (Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Joe Biden, Chuck Hagel, etc.), liked to warn Israel about such things as its isolation and alienation if it did not agree to Arab demands to return to its pre-'67 war, '49 armistice lines (not borders) which made it an over-sized ghetto, 9-15 miles wide at its waist, where most of its population and infrastructure are located. President George W. Bush commented that Texas had driveways larger than that. I don't know about driveways, but I don't doubt this about some Lone Star ranches. And I'm pretty sure Mrs. Obama had to travel farther than that for shopping trips to Target.
Others like President Jimmy Carter supposedly worried/worry (and even wrote books) about Israel's soul and looming "apartheid nature" if it insists on the more secure, defensible, real borders that UNSC Resolution 242 promised in the wake of the '67 fighting--a war Israel was forced to fight after being blockaded by Egypt (a casus belli), shelled by Jordan, abandoned by the UN Emergency Force placed in Sinai after the '56 war (largely fought over another blockade and acts of terror), and other hostile acts and constant threats of annihilation.
All of 242's architects (Lord Caradon, Eugene Rostow, etc.)--and Presidents Johnson, Reagan, and others (including George W. Bush in his letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon)--agreed that Israel would never return to those pre-'67 Auschwitz lines. That, dear readers, is what the "settlement" issue is mostly all about...besides Jews having both modern, religious, and historical connections to Judea and Samaria (only since the 20th century, the "West Bank") for over three thousand years. Question: Was Jesus born in Bethlehem of the West Bank or Bethlehem of Judea? Ask the Gospels' Matthew.
Indeed, many or most Arab settlements, er, "villages," were named after their original, pre-7th century C.E. Arab conquest Hebrew locations. Think Bethlehem (Beit Lehem, where King David was born, his great-grandparents Ruth and Boaz lived, Jesus was born, etc.); al-Khalil (Hebron/Chevron, where most Hebrew Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried and David was crowned King of Israel); Beitin (Beth El, named by Jacob); Jenin (Ein Ganim); Selum (Shilo); Tequa (Tekoa); Silwan (Shiloach); Batir (Beitar--Shimon Bar Kochba's last stand in the 2nd major Jewish revolt against Rome in 135 C.E.); El-Jib (Giv'on); and others as well. Even the Jordan River and the Arab nation of Jordan itself (carved out of almost 80% of the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine in 1922) is named for the Hebrew tribe of Dan which lived in that area (Yarden--"descends from Dan"). All of this, of course, only adds insult to injury when those of Kerry's ilk lecture Jews on such matters. Check this link out for more http://www.factsonisrael.com/occupied-territories-hebrew-origins-of-palestinian-arab-towns-in-judea-samaria/.
In the wake of President Trump's historic decision to finally recognize and formalize the Jews' 3,000 year old connection to Jerusalem (how many other peoples/nations can make such a valid claim to their own capitals?) by pledging to move the American embassy there, Kerry recently returned to his earlier shtick (only back burnered when milking "'Progressive" Israelites for campaign funds)...After all, who knows what's best for Israel--Obama's peapod mate or Jews themselves?
Like most others of the Democrat persuasion these days (folks I've voted for in the past), according to a Jerusalem Post report on 1/24/18, it was confirmed that Kerry recently told an emissary of Fatah and the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas--Israel's alleged peace partner who shelled out around $400 million last year alone to families of shahids, Arab "martyred" heroes who murdered Jews in cold blood (a good amount of the sum coming from American tax payers courtesy of the State Department)--to convey to Abbas, among other juicy things about Trump himself, to "hold on and be strong...play for time...and not yield to President Trump's demands."
Like Kerry (who hints at a presidential run in 2020), Carter, Obama, and others claiming friendship towards Israel, the Czechs and Slovaks had Chamberlain and other such "friends" too in 1938–ones which also demanded that they sacrifice themselves for "peace for our time." Soon, Hitler overran them and most of Europe as well. And had it not been for the Russian Front, Chamberlain's England would most likely have been speaking German today.
For an Israel one needs a magnifying glass to find on a world globe, whether a victim of careful deliberation or naiveté, dead is dead. If Arabs do what they do to each other daily, imagine what they would do with "their" kilab yahud--Jew dogs--if given half a chance. Unfortunately, we don't have to just imagine...
As I've like to summarize this over the years, overwhelmingly, Americans realize that justice does not demand that the sole, resurrected, minuscule nation of the Jews sacrifice itself on the petroleum-greased altar of international hypocrisy so that Arabs may obtain their 22nd state–and second, not first, in "Palestine," the name the Emperor Hadrian's ancient Rome gave to Judaea after the Judaeans'–Jews'–second costly revolt for freedom and independence against the imperial conqueror of much of the known world. Contemporary Roman historians had much to say about those events themselves.
Around that same time, a great spiritual leader and contemporary of Jesus in Judaea, Rabbi Hillel, said "If I am not for myself, then who will be? And, if I am only for myself, then what am I?"
Jews, collectively, have been among the most of those who have shown compassion and concern for Hillel's "other" over the millennia. It's no accident that the great social movements for the betterment of the human condition have a disproportionate amount of Jews in leadership and membership roles. Look to the Hebrew Bible itself for the roots of this.
It took Commodore Uriah P. Levy to ban flogging from the United States Navy in 1850. Read the Prophet Isaiah for what's required regarding the poor, the widowed, and the orphan. Find out about Samuel Gompers, Emma Lazarus, and so on...And Jews have cared about--and tried over and over again to reach fair compromises with--Arabs as well. How have Arabs treated their own scores of millions, non-Arab competitors in a region Arabs claim solely for themselves? When's the last time the likes of a Kerry lectured them?
Regardless, it's long past due that Jews start taking the first part of Rabbi Hillel's teaching more seriously. You can't have peace when your alleged partner only envisions your own peace of the grave.
Thank G_d, America once again has a leader who appears to also understand all of this. Let's wish him success and Divine guidance in all his worthy endeavors--those involving true peace and relative justice for all peoples in the Middle East...not just, but also not excluding, Arabs as well.
Gerald A. Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral studies in Middle Eastern Affairs, created and conducted counter-Arab propaganda programs for college youth, lectured on numerous campuses and other platforms, and has publicly debated many Arab and other anti-Israel spokesmen. His articles and op-eds have been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, academic journals and websites all around the world. He is the author of The Quest for Justice in the Middle East.