by Martin Sherman

In the face of mounting international pressure, Israel cannot afford to lose sight of what the conflict is really about.

We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand, we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.
— Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of Egypt, March 8, 1965

This chilling declaration of genocidal intent by the leader of the largest Arab nation, over two years before any Israeli presence in the "occupied territories," was not an isolated aberration.

Quite the contrary, it was typical of a pervasive Judeo-phobic frenzy that prevailed throughout the Arab world, well before the notions of "occupation" and "settlements" — the current buzzwords for rallying anti-Israeli sentiment — had any meaning.

Recalling recalcitrant realities

Thus on May 18, 1967, following the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping forces in Sinai, in compliance with Egyptian demands, the Cairo-based radio station Voice of the Arabs blared:

"As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more.... The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence."

Two days later, Gen. Hafez Assad, then-Syrian minister of defense, and later president, boasted: "Our forces are now entirely ready.... The time has come to enter a battle of annihilation."

On May 27, Nasser reiterated his murderous goal: "Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight." The time has come to enter a battle of annihilation."

And four days before the outbreak of war, on June 1, Iraqi President Abdul Rahman Ali — later assassinated by Saddam Hussein — threatened:

"The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified... Our goal is clear — to wipe Israel off the map."

The Jordanian factor and the Palestinian element

The mood on the Jordanian front and among the Palestinians, together with their Arab "patrons," was strikingly similar.

Nasser on November 18, 1965:

"Our aim is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel."

Jordan's King Hussein, apparently impressed by this bluster, entered into a military pact with Egypt on May 30, 1967 — despite bitter acrimony between Nasser and himself. He declared:

"All of the Arab armies now surround Israel. The UAR [Egypt], Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Lebanon, Algeria, Sudan and Kuwait.... There is no difference between one Arab people and another, no difference between one Arab army and another."

At the time, the entire "West Bank" and Gaza, territories now claimed for the establishment of a Palestinian state as the alleged sine non qua for peace — were under Arab control. Nasser ruled Gaza, Hussein the "West Bank." Yet neither undertook the slightest initiative to initiate any self-governing Palestinian entity in these territories.

What is even more astounding, as we shall see later, is that the Palestinians themselves eschewed any aspirations of sovereignty over the "West Bank" and Gaza, which seem to have been totally irrelevant to "full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people" in the eyes of both the Palestinians and of the wider Arab world.

The rhetoric from Palestinian leaders was no less bellicose.

On May 27, Ahmad Shukeiri, Yasser Arafat's predecessor as chairman of the PLO, gloated:

"D Day is approaching. The Arabs have waited 19 years for this and will not flinch from the war of liberation."

And a few days later, on June 1, in a somewhat premature flush of triumph, he crowed:

"This is a fight for the homeland — it is either us or the Israelis. There is no middle road. The Jews of Palestine will have to leave. We will facilitate their departure to their former homes. Any of the old Palestine Jewish population who survive may stay, but it is my impression that none of them will survive.... We shall destroy Israel and its inhabitants and as for the survivors — if there are any — the boats are ready to deport them."

As the Arab armies massed against it, Israel began to brace itself for the coming war — preparing mass graves in Tel Aviv and other cities in anticipation of heavy civilian causalities.

'Liberation' equals 'annihilation'

Shukeiri's use of the words "liberation" and "homeland" is revealing. They clearly did not apply to the "West Bank" or the Gaza Strip, since both were under Arab rule and certainly not considered the "homeland" towards which Palestinian "liberation" efforts were directed.

The true significance of these terms emerges with stark clarity from the text of the original version of the Palestinian National Charter — formulated in 1964.

Article 16 states: "The liberation of Palestine... [is] necessitated by the demands of selfdefense" and "the Palestinian people look forward to [international] support... in restoring the legitimate situation to Palestine... and enabling its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom."

But Article 24 stipulates precisely what is not included in the "homeland" of "Palestine" and where sovereignty is not to be exercised. Indeed, it unequivocally forswears Palestinian claims to "any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Gaza."

It is difficult to imagine a more authoritative source for exposing as bogus the Palestinian claim that the "West Bank" and Gaza comprise their "ancient homeland."

Indeed, even within the pre-1967 lines, long before the alleged "root causes of the conflict" — "occupation" and "settlements" — were part of the discourse, much less facts on the ground, Israel was condemned as a colonial, fascist, expansionist power.

According to Article 19: "Zionism is a colonialist movement in its inception, aggressive and expansionist in its goal, racist in its configurations, and fascist in its means and aims. Israel, in its capacity as the spearhead of this destructive movement and as the pillar of colonialism, is a permanent source of tension and turmoil in the Middle East."

The implication is clear. To remove enduring "tension and turmoil" in the region, their "source" — Israel — must be removed.

Accordingly, we must conclude that the only conceivable "plain-English" translation for the 'liberation of the homeland" must be the "annihilation of Israel."

Hatred frozen in time

The 1964 Palestinian National Covenant was replaced by a 1968 version, which in the guise of "the liberation of Palestine," continued to advocate the destruction of Israel as a necessary precursor for Mideast peace — now in blatantly explicit terms.

Article 22 states that the "liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East."

Any thoughts that the reference was now to the post-1967 "occupied territories" is quickly dispelled by Article 19, which declares: "The partition of Palestine in 1947, and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time..."

Article 20 delves even further back into history — to 1917 — to deny the validity of Jewish statehood in any portion of the Holy Land:

"The Balfour Declaration, the Palestine Mandate System, and all that has been based on them are considered null and void. The claims of historic and spiritual ties between Jews and Palestine are not in agreement with the facts of history and the conception of what constitutes statehood."

This implacable repudiation cannot be ascribed to wrath induced by post-1967 Israeli occupation. They echo — almost verbatim — those articulated in Articles 17 and 18 of the pre-occupation 1964 Covenant, underscoring the unbroken persistence of the Palestinians enmity towards Israel — regardless of any temporal or territorial parameters.

From Shukeiri to Abbas

This provides the conceptual context for the indefatigable refusal of the allegedly moderate Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, to acknowledge that Israel is the nation-state of the Jews. After all, he is merely being faithful to his National Covenant (both original and current) according to which "Jews do not constitute a single nation with an identity of their own," and the establishment of Israel comprises a "violation of the basic principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations."

Both versions of the Covenant are posted on the Palestinian Permanent UN Observer website. This is an outrage of epic proportions, for despite a promise to president Bill Clinton and a vague letter that certain — unspecified — articles have been abrogated, the Covenant has not been formally changed or redrafted. Indeed, to fulfill the pledge to Clinton, 28 of the 33 articles would have to be annulled or amended.

It is therefore brazen gall on the part of the Palestinians to aspire to UN membership while flaunting documents that denounce the 60- year-old membership of another nation as a "violation of the basic principles... of the United Nations — and scandalous misrepresentation on the part of Clinton to charge, as he recently did, that it was Binyamin Netanyahu who "... killed the peace process."

Thus, Israel would be sadly remiss not to perceive Abbas, the current chairman of the PLO, as adhering to the principles laid down by Shukeiri, the first chairman of the PLO, who drafted the original National Covenant.

This was rather starkly illustrated at the recent UN General Assembly session when Abbas, theatrically, exclaimed: "After 63 years of suffering: enough, enough, enough."

How reminiscent this was of Shukeiri's 1964 declaration, 47 years earlier at the first session of Palestinian National Council, that "Palestinians had experienced 16 years' misery."

Hmmm. 16 + 47 = 63 years! Thus both past and present PLO chairmen steadfastly condemn the birth of Israel — not the "occupation" — as the "original sin" that is exclusively to blame for Palestinian "suffering"/"misery." Certainly can't fault them for inconsistency!

"The Arabs are the same Arabs..."

So one might be forgiven for conceding that Yitzhak Shamir might just have had a point when he cautioned that "the Arabs are the same Arabs, and the sea is the same sea."

Indeed there are those who might see corroboration for this abrasive assessment in the fact that the allegedly "pragmatic" Fatah movement (established in 1959) found no need to amend its constitution (also formulated in 1964 but not to be confused with the Palestinian National Covenant) at its 2009 Convention in Bethlehem.

This constitution specifies the "goal" of the organization as: "Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence."

It goes on to stipulate the "method" by which this "eradication" is to be effected, i.e., "armed struggle," and emphasizes that this "is a strategy and not a tactic. [T]he Palestinian Arab People's armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated."

The Fatah emblem shows "Palestine" as extending from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

Separating 'red herrings' from 'root causes'

Israel has allowed itself to be manipulated into a perilous and potentially tragic situation. To have any hope of extricating itself from this unenviable position, it must be very clear as to what this conflict is really about — and what it is not about.

It must separate the "root causes" from the "red herrings." Mistaken diagnosis will result in mistaken policies choices which are liable to precipitate "terminal" consequences.

It is time to acknowledge the unpalatable fact that the enmity of Arabs towards the Jews and the Jewish state is:

Israel must internalize these truths and undertake a policy to convey them — with conviction and vigor — to the world. Otherwise it may well be "liberated."


Some of the comments that added useful information:

Fantastic article, Sig. Sherman!

The leaders of the world have manipulated palestinian "victimhood at the hands of Israeli oppression" so convincingly and with such great gusto that the poor poor oppressed palestinian have become the "opiate" of the leftist masses.

When it comes to seeking peace, the palestinians have shown themselves completely hopeless and rather they are focused on war. In fact, they are so committed to war, so determined to continue their path homicidal violence for violence' sake, that they are indoctrinating the next generation into the cult of death and they don't even need "Mickey Mouse" to do it, but Western leaders are amazingly slow learners. They have been excusing the palestinians and vilifying Israel for decades now and yet they wonder why peace is so elusive in that part of the world.

Too late, I am afraid. It has already lasted for half a century and it couldn't get more culturally and societally "comprehensive" than it already is. The Palestinian Con is one of the greatest deceptions in the history of the world.


you know how it goes they want to fight until somebody gets hurt and then they go crying foul to the UN there are countless abnormalities in this conflict, where the combatents pull their punches at the last second you know you have to tell the difference between just desserts and outright bullying. The only problem in politics is the crisis that you imagine once you figure out who the bad guys are then why don't you do your job as a soldier? And not speaking to the jews in general but to the world! If you don't shoot the enemy combatent he will kill you so, you lose. The worst aspect of this conflict is how poiliticians try to delay the inevitable. If you obfuscate the militaries ability to determine friend or foe, civilian from combatent then you will put lives and risk and, in my opinion, if you do that you deserve to suffer casualties because when they get going you should get out of the way simple as that, if you want to live. Hard facts of life are something else that are cheerfully ignored in warfare, until they smack you square in the face!


The 'solution' is to make the best of the situation -- go on and resolutely fight the enemy until it is willing to concede to let us live in peace.

Many issues in all aspects of life have no ideal solution, but must be managed as well as possible and accepted. Examples include health and personal relationships. This is no different.


Best rendition to date of the historical, fact based/root causes, as well as the fallacious/red herring gambits utilized in our war for survival.

Our leaders would do well to pay heed to Sherman's analysis.Our very existence, theirs too, (except for those who have well planned escape hatches.....)as well as all future generations of Jews demand they do so.

The core issue is - will our leaders allow us to lose Zion for a third time in Jewish history, not because we are too weak this time to defend ourselves, but because of their MASSIVE failure to lead, their failure of vision?

Time will soon tell.


The real question is how come that Pat Condell, a non Jewish Brit understands more about the crux of the matter regarding Palestinian hatred of Jews than most American Jews and many Israelis do? He immediately grasped the importance of the Abbas Zaki MEMRI clip where Abbas Zaki, a member of the FATAH Central Committee said :

"If we say that we want to wipe Israel out... C'mon, it's too difficult. It's not [acceptable] policy to say so. Don't say these things to the world. Keep it to yourself."

Pat Condell's "The Great Palestinian Lie" video is here.

And also here.


What do you expect? Most Jewish organizations in America are in the tank for the Democratic Party, the media in America is not even vaguely pro-Israel, and our own spokesmorons babble about ''peace;'' when ever they are interviewed. Anyway, our own government undermines anyone who tells the truth, our own media for the most part is full of BS. Only the right-wing blogs like American Thinker or Pajamas Media or Atlas Shrugs or Jihad Watch tell the real story.

Rebecca Johansen Collapse

Thank you for this very astute factual analysis, Mr Sherman. The "emperors of terrorism" are as naked as they deserve to be.

Erdogan and Ahmadinejad, in their frenzy and ambition to control the Suez Canal, will pump unlimited funds into Egypt's MB - as "saviors and benefactors" - to oust Egypt's military, or to corrupt it. Assad is still part of their entourage, Hizballah and Hamas have been active, agitating and operational in Egypt and Tunisia MONTHS prior to the Cairo "Spring", whilst Turkey has been smuggling and selling Libyan arms to Hamas, and container loads of weapons to Yemen, collecting fat paychecks and commissions from Qatar and Iran. Erdogan's blood libel and theatrics against Israel is the common cause and denominator to rile and incite the hungry and impoverished masses surrounding Israel - while the UN and it's "directors" are nothing more than very corrupt, greedy and feckless puppets to the persuasion power of OIL money. The UN has been transformed into a rubber stamp for another pre meditated and well planned "mandate of genocide" against Israel and Jews. CNN, the Washington Post, AlJazeera, TDB, and the BBC have perverted journalism into their weapon of media libel , gross distortion, deliberate lies, photo shopping, false testimony and hate propaganda against Israel - and, no doubt - they are making a ($)"killing" of their own, in this orchestrated pornography of hate, bigotry and criminalizing of Israel.

Europe would very much welcome these combined efforts to 'get rid of the Jews' for once and for all - as long as it's not in their back yards, and they can claim they " had NO idea.........."and Norway will no doubt give the next Nobel Prize to Abu Mazen, the sponsor and funding source of the 1972 Olympic massacre and holocaust denier, fraud and Oslo Accords violator, would be a "utopic" icon for their gallery, along with Obama, the liar in chief, and Hillary, his "shrill"

who are dining on Lobster and Donations, whilst secretly cheerleading for a perverted, twisted cause that has killed hundreds and thousands of Muslims, Copts, Bahais, Kurds and Jews - and helpless, abandoned Syrians caught in a nightmare of violence and killing fields.

My tuches are more worthy of a Nobel "peace" Prize.

Israel has to STOP catering and appeasing , because it has SIX MILLION very good reasons to trust nobody's "road maps", like the road maps to Dachau and Auschwitz.............all Israel can trust and believe in is their determination to SURVIVE, and to cut their losses.

The BUCK should have stopped when the first Kassam was launched from Gaza. When you are dealing with a tumor that diseased, it's time for surgery - not for liberal aspirins.

Obama and Hillary are scheisters. Anyone voting for this corrupt administration is signing our death warrant.


After Ambassador Susan Rice,s baptism of UN hypocrisy con cerning the Arab Spring/Summer killing spree in Syria maybe the Yanks will finally wake up to cold reality and the madhou se that the UN really is ,either take back control or leave it to the Muslim madhouse ,a quandary for the US,UK,the EU and sanity as a whole ?

  Martin Sherman is the academic director of the Jerusalem Summit. He lectures at Tel Aviv University, served in Israel's defense establishment and was a ministerial adviser to the Yitzhak Shamir government. He has undergraduate degrees in physics and geology and a doctorate in Political Science and international relations. He has written extensively on water, including "The Politics of Water in the Middle East," London: Macmillan, 1999.

This article appeared October 7, 2011 in The Jerusalem Post

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