by Gerald A. Honigman
Recently, tragedy struck Samoa in the South Pacific Ocean in the form of a tidal wave triggered by an earthquake. American Samoa is an unincorporated state southeast of independent Samoa.
As I heard the reports come in, I couldn't help but ponder the irony here.
We just let those words roll right off of our tongues...American Samoa.
In case you didn't know, the various Polynesian peoples living on those islands and others as well didn't ask to be invaded, converted, conquered, given offers they couldn't refuse, and so forth. Yet the French, Germans, and Americans wound up dividing the islands among themselves.
The U.S. Navy secured Deeds of Cession of Tutuila in 1900 and of Manuʻa in 1904. The last sovereign ruler of Manuʻa was forced to sign that Deed of Cession following a series of U.S. Naval trials, known as the "Trial of the Ipu", in Pago Pago, Taʻu, and aboard a U.S. Navy warship.
Samoa is many thousands of miles away from America, Americans have no natural nor historical ties to the land, but--in the name of American national interests--eastern Samoa became American territory as a result of the Tripartite Convention dividing the archipelago between Germany and America in 1899.
Okay...now let's consider Samaria.
Together with Judea, they both make up what is now called the "West Bank." The latter name did not exist until the early 20th century. After the defeat of the over four century old Ottoman Turkish Empire in World War I, the Brits and the French divided up much of the Middle Eastern and North African spoils.
In 1922, to reward Hashemite Arab allies in the Arabian Peninsula (remember the movie, Lawrence of Arabia?)--who were in the process of gradually getting their own derrieres kicked out of there by the rival clan of Ibn Saud (hence, Saudi Arabia today)--the Brits chopped off almost 80% of the original Mandate of Palestine that they had received on April 25, 1920 and handed it over to the Hashemites.
Since all of this land reward consisted of Palestine across (east of) the Jordan River, the East Bank became known as the Emirate of Transjordan. The West Bank--formerly known for thousands of years as Judea and Samaria--was on the opposite shore.
When Transjordan illegally seized the non-apportioned territory of the Mandate on the "West Bank" in 1948 (where Jews, Arabs, and others were legally allowed to live) when it joined other attacking Arab states to try to nip a reborn, miniscule Israel in the bud, it further emphasized this designation to distinguish its newly conquered territory from the original 1922 East Bank Emirate.
Jews had lived and owned property in Judea and Samaria for--literally--thousands of years. Massacres by Arabs in the 1920s and 1930s took their tolls as did previous ups and downs of Jewish history under the various imperial conquerors which succeeded each other since the fall of Judea to Rome some two thousand years earlier. As soon as Transjordan grabbed Judea and Samaria, it declared that no Jew could live there. Places such as Hebron, Beth-El, Shilo, Bethlehem, Shechem, and so forth are known to the world today because of their introductions via the Hebrew Bible. Most Arabs came into the area after their own imperial conquests in the 7th century C.E. They ruled, first out of Damascus and then out of Bagdad, for a few centuries and were then conquered themselves by the next of Judea's imperial settlers, colonizers, and successors.
After 1949, when Transjordan grabbed the "West Bank," while no Jews were allowed in the territories, numerous Arabs poured into them from all over. To further its Judenrein policies, Transjordan--now holding both banks of the River-- renamed itself Jordan and proceeded to destroy dozens of synagogues, cemeteries, and so forth in adjacent Jerusalem and elsewhere dating back numerous centuries and showing the Jews' continuous connections to the land.
Alright, now consider this next...
The current American Administration and the perpetually anti-Israel State Department insist that no Jews should be allowed to live in Judea or Samaria. Furthermore, they also demand that Israel abandon what UNSC Resolution 242 promised it after the June '67 War--secure, defensible borders instead of the previous '49 armistice lines which made it virtually invisible on a world map.
America can grab lands thousands of miles away in the name of its own interests, but no Jew may live in Judea or Samaria. And do you really think President Noriega was toppled in Panama, thousands of miles away, because he was a drug dealer? The Panama Canal, of course, had nothing to do with this...Yea, right.
Nothing wrong with this picture?
I have a deal...and I hope Israeli leaders are listening closely.
Only Jews worry about this sort of thing when they're fighting for their very lives against enemies who won't grant them any peace at all except the peace of the grave--regardless of the size Israel will shrink itself to. And the rest of the world's hypocrites couldn't care less...
So, let's think about what's needed for survival for a change...not thousands of miles away from home, but right on Israel's front porch and backyard.
If Judea must be Judenrein, then every Arab in Israel must be sent packing. Israel must be made Arabrein. Half of the latter are just waiting-- like vultures-- to pounce anyway... given the right moment.
It is truly time for equal treatment here. What's good for Jews must be good for Arabs.
Trading hundreds of live Arab butchers and wanabees for the remains of a few Jews, for example, is just another pathetic example of the inequality Israel seems to just accept.
Execute--quickly--the former, and you won't have as many to trade (only to have them return to kill more Jews) after you've been repeatedly blackmailed. Think Hamas and the current tragic Gilad Shalit fiasco. There have been too may others just like this.
Forget land for peace. This has been nothing but a bloody, bad joke--part of the Arabs' well-known and openly-admitted destruction-in-phases plan since 1967. Look at a map of the region. Is the problem really a lack of Arab land in comparison to Israel?
Peace for peace...Period.
No recognition of a Jewish State of Israel?
Then the hell with recognizing a 22nd state for Arabs--and their second , not first, one in "Palestine"... Period. Non-negotiable. No groveling either...no matter who is tightening the screws.
Unlike Samoa to America, Judea and Samaria are literally a stone's throw away from Israel's heartland, are an integral part of Jewish history, and are positioned to allow a hostile army entering from the east to cut Israel in half. The Arabs have indeed already tried that one on for size.
Finally, and this can't be repeated too often...
Look at what came after Israel's total withdrawal from Gaza years ago to see what a total Israeli withdrawal from the "West Bank" will mean for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Ben-Gurion Airport, the Knesset, and so forth once Israel has been forced back to the '49 armistice lines--not borders--imposed on it by the United Nations and which made it a mere 9-16 miles wide at its strategic waist, where most of its population, industry, and so forth are located.
And the next time you hear Washington insisting upon a Jew-free Judea and Samaria, please give a long, hard thought to American Samoa.
Please check out my new book at http://q4j-middle-east.com . It makes its Washington debut at the renowned Professors Fuad Ajami and Bernard Lewis's ASMEA Conference this month.