Israel’s UN Ambassador waves a bible at the Security Council

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Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon is now claiming the bible as proof to Israel’s fundamental right to all of Palestine.

During his speech at a UN Security Council meeting on Monday, Danon held up a bible at for all the ambassadors present to see and said, “This is our deed to our land.”

Danon is claiming ownership to all of Palestine, which he calls “Eretz Yisrael” at a time when the international community is worried about Netanyahu realizing his recent election promise to annex the occupied West Bank.

Such a religious, literally biblical claim, coming from a supposedly secular representative of a supposedly secular democratic state, put forth to a serious political world assembly, may seem bizarre, to say the least. But it is actually not new, nor isolated to the Israeli political right, which Danon belongs to (Likud). On January 8th, 1937, the New York Times reported how David Ben Gurion was claiming the bible as a kind of deed to the land, in his testimony to the British Royal Peel Commission:

“We are coming to our own country by our own right of historic connection with the land – a right prior to the [British] Mandate… As a matter of fact, the bible is our mandate”, Ben Gurion said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has also used the bible as a direct claim for all of Palestine. Her motto: “This land is ours. All of it is ours. We did not come here to apologize for that”. A couple of years ago she waved an empty book at Palestinian lawmakers in the Knesset, saying that it’s their empty history, and that they are “thieves of history” (stealing it from the Jews, as it were). 

Danon at the UN:

From the book of Genesis; to the Jewish exodus from Egypt; to receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai; to the gates of Canaan; and to the realization of God’s covenant in the Holy Land of Israel; the Bible paints a consistent picture. The entire history of our people, and our connection to Eretz Yisrael, begins right here.

Israel seems to be hoping for another recognition of unilateral and flagrantly illegal annexation by US President Trump, as he did with Jerusalem and with the Syrian Jolan (Golan), as a means of legitimizing its criminality. And Trump might be unhinged enough to do this. But the rest of the international community, especially Europe, will see this as a definitive end to the ‘two-state solution’, which has been its means of portraying support for Israel as compatible with support for Palestinians, since a Palestinian state could, in theory, be a possibility on the horizon. Annexation would mean that this possibility is now flatly and officially rejected by Israel. This rejection would only be a confirmation of Netanayhu’s Likud platform from 1999, never rescinded, which says that “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river”.

Truth be told, neither did left governments ever intend an actual Palestinian state West of the Jordan River. It was always “less than a state”, as the late Prime Minister Rabin told the Knesset about the 1995 Oslo accords less than two months before he was assassinated.

So the game was played, just so that the expansionist status-quo could continue. But now Israel is desperate to get legitimacy for an actual de jure annexation, and there’s just no effective legal argument for it. An Israeli legal justification – maybe, because Israel legalizes whatever it covets, but not in international law. Hence – the bible.

Palestinian UN Ambassador warned the assembly that “Israel’s expansionist appetite is growing”. Indeed, and it is insatiable.

This historical resort to the bible is an indication of Israel’s desperation for legitimacy. When you don’t have any more claims that can have any meaning in modern international law, you resort to old books and old myths, in hope that someone will fall for it.

Meanwhile, the real story is about the continued Palestinian dispossession. And that’s one horror story that should keep us awake at night.

H/t Tom Suarez

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