Since 1948, Israel has had to fight to keep its land, and has more than once been pressured to give up land it acquired by force of arms after having been attacked by her enemies.
Even prior to Israel’s independence in 1947, the UN Partition Plan attempted to define the borders of a Jewish and Arab state but the intransigent and disunities Arab neighbors rejected the plan, and after Israel subsequently declared its independence, the Arabs invaded.
Of course, Israel emerged victorious with borders that afforded them an area 50 percent larger than had been allotted to it in the Partition Plan. The state at that time did not, though, include the Golan Heights or East Jerusalem.
The Six Day War, in 1967, changed that as Israel annexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, reuniting the divided Israeli capital. Israel began settling the area and creating villages.
Israel defeated Jordan and Syria when the Arab countries attacked, and has kept the land it won in battle (in some cases for defensive purposes). But many have called for Israel to return to “pre-1967 borders” – in other words, a land without East Jerusalem, without the West Bank or Gaza Strip, and without the Golan Heights. Some who believe the land rightfully belongs to Israel have compared this to Britain demanding that the United States return the thirteen original colonies, or Mexico reclaiming Texas. Somehow, though no other country in the world would entertain the thought of returning land it conquered in a war, Israel is expected to do so.
Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 caused a great deal of concern for Israelis. Many feared that unchecked Palestinian control of Gaza would lead to more terrorism at Israel’s doorstep. Israel, they contend, needs “defensible borders,” borders which strengthen and protect Israeli citizens, not undermine that security. The fears were, of course, well founded.
Prudent Israeli leaders have been adamant about not returning to pre-1967 lines, but the pressure from the international community, including the current White House resident, is great.
President John F. Kennedy recognized the US right to prevent the Soviet Union from establishing a foothold just 90 miles from our shores in Cuba. Yet Obama favors the Arab demands against Israel while publicly declaring Israel to be a close friend.