.. The will to survive and succeed as a nation, and to be refused that right.

Still bearing the load of its economical crisis, the world turns to greet a new year, and the beginnings of what could develop into yet another, serious and drawn out conflict in the Middle East.

There are accounts of history that do little credit to the United Nations, even when it was newly created. Yet the UN Partition Plan (UN General Assembly Resolution 181, November 29, 1947) dividing 'Palestine' into two States, Arab and Jewish, and designating Jerusalem as an international city under the administration of the UN, was indeed accepted by the Jewish community but categorically rejected by the Arab League and their Higher Committee.

On the day prior to that ending the British mandate, May 14th, 1948, the Jewish Agency declared independence, and the country was renamed Israel. This sparked off the first Arab-Israeli war when the following day Israel was invaded by five Arabian countries (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq) also militarily supported by Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Sudan.

It was generally believed that Israel, isolated, and without any external help, would have no chance against such odds, yet there was no Arab victory, and a year of conflict finally led to a ceasefire and the establishment of new, temporary (Green Line) borders.
On May 11, 1949, Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations.

This first of seven Arab-Israeli wars was the most significant and costly in human life. It determined the exodus of over 700,000 refugees. Many of these Palestinians were also admitted into Lebanon where they contributed into radically changing the multicultural nature of the country introducing ethnical disputes which developed into serious internal conflicts. It is also the tragic fate of the Palestinian refugees that has always been the subject, if not an additional pretext, of the continual contention between the Arabs and the Jews.

The facts of history are there to refer to, including those of biblical history. The results of seven wars, assassinations and counter assassinations, the continual thwarted efforts to establish a bilateral, peaceful solution, and the malignant growth and menace of terrorist organisations are all part of the exorbitant price the region and the world continually has to pay. Yet to commemorate its 60th anniversary, Israel still exists.

And one wonders if all this had to be, for Israel simply to exist..

Had the Arab League and their Higher Committee accepted the UN Resolution N° 181 on November 29, 1947, history would surely have been vastly different.
There would have been no Arab-Israeli wars to win or lose. The Palestinians would already have established their State, Lebanon might still have been the multicultural pearl of the Middle East. International terrorism would, at least in this area, have had little impact or reason of being. The sacred city of Jerusalem under the UN protectorate would also have been the international symbol of peace and good will, accessable to all cultures and religions of the world.

If such a refusal was considered absolutely essential, the interminable, negative consequences amount to a monstrous and fatal responsibility for any nation, league, committee, or individual to assume.
Yet with history as with life, one is obliged to conclude that there is always a reason for everything, and dreams rarely correspond with reality. 

Satellite image of Israel, by kind courtesy of Israel Science and Technology Directory
© 1999-2008.

Text © Mirino (PW) December, 2008

The Garden


Memories of the garden, of fruit trees one grew up with, climbed and marked. The old Bramley (cooking apple) and the Cox's-Orange Pipin. They seemed so big and resistant then, like one's parents. With time they appear to be so much smaller, like little old, smiling ladies. Then the memories seem more remote and aerial, as if one were a giant looking down nostalgically on what would be its miniature, where everything is seen with one, sweeping glance.

But when you are small, it's the whole world. Each corner is a vast jungle where ants patrol like countless soldiers and where you can almost shelter under the rhubarb leaves. Small stones are boulders and the tiny, neat areas of moss in shady nooks, are opulent, miniature lawns.
And the little flag stone walls made for the flower beds, built with such love and patience, would then be great ramparts of endless, winding fortifications.

One especially remembers the sweet smell of the lawn freshly cut, the perfume of the peaches then the apples ripening in the sun, as well as the odour of those with maggots. The early morning song of the blackbirds, thrushes and the wood-pigeons on the roof, and the sight of grey squirrels sneaking across the dewy grass. The friendly winter robin that always appeared as though it had something important it wanted to convey to you.

The opulent, pink Rhododendron that seemed to smile in the circular bed around which we would run to avoid an angry mother wielding 'the wooden spoon', until she too would start to laugh.

Sweet memories that represent such precious, timeless and secure periods of one's life. A garden cultivated with care and devotion that is indeed part of our identity and history. A special place that remains within us all our lives, in a perfumed corner of our minds. It blossoms on, an immutable, heavenly haven.

Text and image © Mirino (PW) December, 2008