22/06/08 "ICH" -- - The Israel-Palestine conflict resonates deeply with many people. Opinions are sharply divided and generally unchangeable. However, as a member of a mainstream Israeli peace group, I often encounter opinionated people who are ignorant of many basic facts. And, while much concerning the conflict remains disputed, there are important, undisputed facts which must underlie any coherent opinion.
Therefore, in the spirit of Senator Daniel Moynihan of New York, who used to remind people that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts,” I have designed the below quiz which may lead some to reexamine their misconceived opinions. (Indeed, I will deem the quiz a success if it merely reduces the number of times I hear the common refrains of: “the land was empty before the Jews came” and “Barak made a generous offer at Camp David.”)
While it is undoubtedly true that carefully selected facts alone do not constitute an informed opinion, answers to the following questions should not be ignored if one is to understand the Israel-Palestine conflict. And, while a strong commitment to a cause can blind some people to contrary facts, I appeal to such people through the words of the famous British economist, John Maynard Keynes: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”
THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE QUIZ QUESTIONS:
1. Who wrote the following in 1891? “We abroad are used to believing Eretz Yisrael is now almost totally desolate, a desert that is not sowed, and anyone who wishes to purchase land there may come and purchase as much as he desires. But in truth this is not the case. Throughout the country, it is difficult to find fields that are not sowed. Only sand dunes and stony mountains that are not fit to grow anything but fruit trees – and this only after hard labor and great expense …”
2. Who declared the following in 1930? “Land is the most necessary thing for our establishing roots in Palestine. Since there are hardly any more arable unsettled lands in Palestine, we are bound in each case of the purchase of land and its settlement to remove the peasants who cultivated the land so far, both owners of the land and tenants.”
3. Who, in 1919, wrote the following, in a secret memorandum submitted to the British cabinet? “For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country [i.e., we do not accept the principle of self-determination for the Arabs of Palestine] … the four great powers are committed to Zionism. And Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad, is rooted in age-long traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land …”
4. According to Mandatory Palestine's first modern census, conducted in 1922, approximately what percentage of the total population were Jews?
5. Approximately what percentage of Mandatory Palestine's inhabitants were Jews in 1947?
6. Approximately what percentage of Mandatory Palestine's land was allocated for the Jewish state by the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan (which supported the division of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state)?
7. Approximately what percentage of Mandatory Palestine's land was owned by Jews at the time of the 1947 UN Partition Plan?
8. Which state, the Jewish State or Arab State, was to include Jerusalem according to the 1947 UN Partition Plan?
9. During the 1948-49 War, approximately how many Arabs fled or were ejected from the areas that became the Jewish state?
10. After the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli War, approximately what percentage of Mandatory Palestine=s land was part of the Jewish state?
11. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, what percentage of Mandatory Palestine=s land was part of, or occupied by, Israel?
12. Which future prime minister of Israel wrote the following in October 1937? “My assumption is that … a partial Jewish state is not an end but a beginning … and it will serve as a powerful lever in our historical efforts to redeem the whole of the country.”
13. From Israel's victory in the 1967 War to the Likud's electoral victory in 1977, approximately how many Jewish settlers migrated to East Jerusalem and to the West Bank and Gaza Strip?
14. At the time of the signing of the Oslo Declaration of Principles in September 1993, approximately how many Jewish settlers lived in East Jerusalem and the West Bank?
15. When the Camp David Summit began in July 2000, approximately how many Jewish settlers lived in East Jerusalem and the West Bank?
16. In 2007, approximately how many Jewish settlers and how many Palestinians lived in Hebron?
17. Approximately what percentage of West Bank land is consumed by Israeli settlements and related infrastructure such as a separate road network for Israeli settlers and the Wall?
18. Approximately how many Lebanese civilians were killed by Israel during its 1982 invasion of Lebanon?
19. Approximately how many cluster sub-munitions (bomblets) were dropped by Israel on Lebanon in the last few days of the 2006 Lebanon confrontation?
20. Who said the following in 1998? "If I were a young Palestinian, it is possible I would join a terrorist organization."
21. Who wrote the following September 18, 1967 Top Secret memo, concerning Settlement in the Administered (or Occupied) Territories, to Mr. Adi Yafeh, Political Secretary of the Prime Minister of Israel? “As per your request ... I hereby provide you a copy of my memorandum of September 14, 1967, which I presented to the Foreign Minister. My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
22. Who wrote the following passage, in an article in one of Israel’s leading newspapers, in 2002? “The Six-Day War was forced upon us; however, the war's seventh day, which began on June 12, 1967 and has continued to this day, is the product of our choice. We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one - progressive, liberal - in Israel; and the other - cruel, injurious - in the occupied territories. In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture. That oppressive regime exists to this day.”
23. Who wrote the following passage in his 2006 book? “For, regardless of party loyalties and according to most studies, the overwhelming majority of Israelis would support a peace settlement that is based on the Clinton parameters--two states, withdrawal from territories, massive dismantling of settlements, two capitals in Jerusalem--but they trust neither their political system nor, of course, the Palestinian leadership to come to an accommodation on that basis. Which may explain the results of a poll conducted in 2002 by the Steinmetz Centre for Peace at Tel Aviv University indicating that, convinced of the incapacity of their political system to produce solutions, 67% of Israeli Jews would support an American effort to recruit an international alliance that would coax the parties into endorsing such a settlement.”
24. Who stated the following on Democracy Now!, a news program, on February 14, 2006? “…Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well. … But Taba is [another matter] …”
25. Who said the following? "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail."
THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE QUIZ ANSWERS:
1. Ahad Ha'Am: Liberal Russian Jewish thinker and a leading Eastern European Jewish essayist.
2. Dr. Arthur Ruppin: Head of the Zionists’ Land Settlement Department and the foremost land expert of the Jewish Agency.
3. Lord Balfour: As British Foreign Secretary, he was responsible for the Balfour Declaration in 1917 which promised Zionists a national home in Palestine.
7. 7%: Perhaps Arab rejection of the Partition Plan is more understandable when it is recognized that 37% of the population was given 56% percent of the land of which they owned only 7%.
9. 700,000. Only 150,000 Arabs remained in Israel at the war’s end.
12. Ben-Gurion, in a letter to his son, Amos.
15. 365,000: Yet, the Oslo 2 accords specified that “neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
16. 500 and 170,000, respectively.
19. Four million bomblets were contained in hundreds of thousands of cluster bombs. The following was stated by the UN humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, soon after the war ended: “What is shocking and completely immoral is 90% of the cluster bomb strikes occurred in the last 72 hours of the conflict, when we knew there would be a resolution …” According to the UN mine action coordination centre for South Lebanon, by December 19, 2006, 18 people had been killed and 145 injured since the ceasefire in August.
20. Ehud Barak: Prime minister of Israel from 1999 – 2001.
21. Theodor Meron: One of the world's most eminent international jurists; and in 1967 he was a legal adviser at the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Meron's clear recommendation was that the prohibition was "categorical and aimed at preventing colonisation of conquered territory by citizens of the conquering state."
22. Michael Ben-Yair: Israel's Attorney-General, 1993-1996.
23. Shlomo Ben-Ami: Israel’s Minister of Public Security in 1999, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2000-2001, and Israel’s top negotiator at Camp David and Taba negotiations.
24. Shlomo Ben-Ami: As Israel’s lead negotiator at the negotiations, he should know.
25. Rabbi Yaacov Perrin: Stated at his eulogy of Dr. Baruch Goldstein, the American Jewish settler who, on February 25, 1994, entered the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron and opened fire on Muslim worshippers praying. Twenty-nine Palestinians were killed and many more wounded. In the riots that followed the massacre, another 9 Palestinians were killed.
Jeffrey Rudolph was the Quebec representative of the East Timor Alert Network in the 1990s, and presented a paper on its behalf at the United Nations. He is currently a member of Canadian Friends of Peace Now.