LETTER: Palestinians’ position misrepresented
Frans Cronje’s statement that in 1917 the Jews were promised modern-day Israel and Jordan as a future Jewish state is nonsense
Frans Cronje’s article on the “misrepresentations” that guide many liberal democracies’ views on the Arab-Israeli conflict is itself a gross misrepresentation of the facts and requires a response (“The war in Gaza and the stark test it demands of liberal democrats”, November 14).
It is ominously significant that Cronje conveniently omits from his letter any mention of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which was addressed to Lord Rothschild as follows: “... His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil or religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”
So for Cronje stating that in 1917 the Jews were promised modern-day Israel and Jordan as a future Jewish state, that is arrant nonsense. He mentions that there have been Jews in the territory for 3,500 years. Of course there have always been Jews in what is now Israel, but in 1845 there were a mere 12,000, and this number grew to 85,000 by 1917 with the influx of about 70,000 Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Romania in 1882 and 1904. But there were also about 600,000 Arabs, Bedouin and Druze, who had also been there for centuries.
Cronje continues that another misrepresentation is that Israel launched a war against the Arab world in 1967. But how can this possibly be a misrepresentation when he immediately says Israel launched a pre-emptive strike against Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967?
Israel captured territory on the West Bank that had previously been held by Jordan, and has occupied it ever since. It is now the site of dozens of Israeli settlements. So it is again nonsense for Cronje to say people are wrong to maintain that Israel stole land it never returned.
I could go on to demolish the rest of Cronje’s misrepresentations, but the above will suffice to demonstrate either his ignorance or a more sinister intention to mislead his readers.
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