The period between the proclamation of the state of Israel in 1948 and up to the Six Day War in 1967 is a time of great concern and strong conflicts over boundaries.
May 14, 1948, is the date that Israel proclaimed its independence. The Israeli Declaration of Independence, which guarantees equality and freedom of religion to all its citizens, regardless of ethnicity (Article 13) is especially interesting. It appeals to the indigenous Arab population not to flee but to stay and peacefully work together to build a common future (Article 16); a proposal for Israel’s neighbors to extend their hands in the hope of peace and acceptance to work together to advance the Middle East (Article 17).
Despite an attack of five Arab countries, the newborn state of Israel came out victorious. The boundaries of the land of Israel were based on UN Resolution 181, even though the Arab side rejected a private Arab land in Palestine. This means that the part of the country that could have been a Palestinian Arab country now becomes a mandate country – a state that no one can claim.
To avoid such situations, which in the future could create huge problems, there is legislation called Uti possidetis (an International principle of international law which provides that newly formed states should have the same borders that their preceding dependent area had before their independence). In Israel’s case, it means that the boundaries of the British Mandate (the latest political entity) draw boundaries to what they looked like in May 1948. Thus, including the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank).
The absence of this legal fact is conspicuous due to its lack in the international debate regarding Israel. At the end of the war in 1949, Samaria and Judea were illegally occupied by Jordan, and the Gaza Strip was illegally occupied by Egypt. The Arab countries that attacked Israel without provocation, and with the intent to destroy the country, refuse to make peace with Israel, only a mere ceasefire agreement. The agreements are therefore temporary until the borders were negotiated and approved by the parties involved in the conflict. Legally, these temporary borders, therefore, have no relevance regarding future contracts, they are only the line where they stopped shooting at each other.
Since the Arabs rejected all proposals for peace, this status continues to apply. Judea and Samaria came to be called the West Bank as these areas are west of the Jordan River regarding Jordan. The West Bank did not exist before the end of the war in 1949. The boundary line to Judea and Samaria is often referred to as “the green line,” a name it got because they happened to have a green pen when drawing the temporary ceasefire line on the map in 1949.
The war in 1948 -49 created two refugee waves. The Arab wave was about Arabs who were asked to give the mandate before the war started and the Arabs who fled or were forced to leave during the war. Altogether there were about 472,000 to 750,000 Arabs, who would later be known as the Palestinian refugees. They fled to the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Most of these refugees were refused inclusion in the respective countries or regions, and continue to be refugees to this date.
The roughly 160,000 Arabs who choose to stay in Israel did, however, receive Israeli citizenships and became fully integrated with the new state. Today they constitute 20 percent of the Israeli population, with the same democratic rights as all other Israelis. The Jewish refugees, the Jews living in Muslim Arab countries, become more vulnerable to pogroms than before, and the immediate confiscation of possessions and livelihoods took place almost immediately.
Approximately 850,000 were forced to flee, about two-thirds of them fleeing to Israel and one third to other parts of the world. All these refugees (which were never classified as refugees by the UN) were directly integrated in Israel, or to the other (mainly Western) countries they fled.
During the years 1949-67, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, encouraged terrorism against Israel and thus breaking the ceasefire agreement they signed in 1949. During the Arab League conference in Cairo in 1964, they agreed on wiping out the Sea of Galilee by diverting its tributaries in the north thereby destroying Israel’s only freshwater reservoir. They also decided on creating a united Arab military force with Egypt as the leading nation; to form the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization) as the representative of the Palestinians and their militant liberation from what they refer to as the Zionist threat (one of many Arabic names for the nation of Israel).
Above all, the Arabs did not wish to create a private Palestinian land. In the summer of 1967, Egypt mobilizes large military forces at the border to Israel, while they order UN peacekeepers to leave the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt also closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships and thus makes itself guilty of Casus Belli. A short time after Egypt then proclaims a declaration of war towards the nation of Israel. During Egypt’s command, mobilized Arab forces (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) moves to the borders of Israel while proclaiming the annihilation of Israel.
On June 5, 1967, they began attacking Israel with full strength. Israel retaliates by bombing the Egyptian air force in a defensive action. After six days, Israel stood victorious from this defensive war with a geographical area that was twice as large as before the war.
Israel occupied the entire Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights and regained the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. To start a war in self-defense – a defensive battle – is a legitimate legal action recognized internationally in the UN Security Council, Article 51. Everyone has the right to defend themselves.
Internationally, however, the Six Day War is the only defensive war that has been questioned. Regardless of what you might think about Israel’s right to protect itself, it is still equality before the law that applies.
The Kingdom of Unixploria will always stand behind Israel’s right to sovereignty. We believe that Israel has been neglected by the civilized world, but we also think it’s time for real peace negotiations if Israel’s neighbors are up for the challenge of unilaterally accepting Israel as a sovereign nation. So far we have seen little of the latter.