Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Laura Zittrain Eisenberg

My Enemy’s Enemy: Lebanon in the Early Zionist Imagination, 1900-1948

Laura Zittrain Eisenberg
Reviewed by William B. Quandt

When General Ariel Sharon‘s troops slammed into Lebanon in the summer of 1982, their purpose was not only to drive out the PLO, but also to bring to power a friendly Maronite government led by Bashir Gemayel. (Actually, most  Lebanese Maronite Presidents were serving the Zionist project, directly or indirectly)

The idea of an “alliance of minorities,” based on the “enemy of my enemy” notion, had deep roots in Zionist thinking. (Until the objective is fulfilled)

Indeed, before Israeli statehood, as this excellent historical study shows, the relations between Zionists and some Maronite leaders were far-reaching.

In 1946, a treaty of sorts was even signed with the Maronite religious establishment, but the peace proved as ephemeral as the 1983 agreement between Lebanon and Israel.

Eisenberg sympathetically explains the motives and misperceptions that led to the belief that Christian Lebanon could be detached from the surrounding Arab region as an ally of Zionism, but she also shows the project had no realistic chance, and she implicitly warns against ignoring the lessons of history.

This study drives home that ideas, once they take hold, are often resistant to reassessment, even when the evidence is overwhelmingly against them.

A gracefully written, well-researched book that makes excellent use of Zionist archival materials, interviews, and documents in French archives.

Why the Lebanese Maronite Patriarch feels this urge to visit Jerusalem?

Treaty of 1946: Between Jewish Agency for Palestine and the Maronite Church

The Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon Bshara Al Rai (Ra3i) has decided to join the Pope in his visit to Jerusalem, on the ground of his responsibility to pay visits to the Maronites living in Palestine and Israel.

Many political parties and organizations in Lebanon have been contacting the Patriarch and counseling him from going ahead with his decision.

Mind you that the Jews in Israel have started a wave of widespread defamation of churches and removing crosses from Christian cemeteries.

The same behavior as practiced by the Islamic Wahhabi extremist fundamentalists anywhere they occupy a region and cities in the Moslem World.

And no one of these Jews have been apprehended or detained.

What are the implications of the creation of a minority Jewish state on identity politics in Lebanon?

Check article 4 for one of the reasons of this visit

Treaty between the Jewish Agency for Palestine (a political agency) and the Maronite Church

May 30th 1946

(Two years before the creation of the State of Israel when Lebanon was already recognized as a State by the UN)

“We, the undersigned:

1. His Beatitude Antoine Arida, the Maronite Patriarch of Lebanon, acting on behalf of the Church and the Maronite community, the largest community in the Lebanese Republic with citizens residing in other countries, represented by Cheikh Toufic Aoud, ex-minister by virtue of authorization addressed to the President of the Jewish Agency, Professor Weizmann on May 24th 1946,which hereinafter shall be in this treaty addressed as “first party”.

2. Dr. Bernard Joseph, acting on behalf of the Jewish Agency for Palestine which is known in International Law as the representative of Jewish people around the world aimed at creating the Jewish National Home in Palestine,which hereinafter shall be in this treaty addressed as “first party”.

ART.1: The first party expressly and fully recognizes the historical link uniting the Jewish people to Palestine, the Jewish people’s aspirations in Palestine, and the Jewish people right to a free immigration and independence in Palestine. It also declares its approval on the Jewish agency’s declared current political program including the establishment of a Jewish state.

ART.2: The second party expressly and fully recognizes the independence of Lebanon and the right of its inhabitants to choose the regime they deem as appropriate. The second party also declares that its extending and widening program does not include Lebanon. On the contrary, it respects the state of Lebanon in its current form and borders. The Jewish immigration does not include Lebanon. 

ART.3: The two parties commit themselves reciprocally to abstain from undermining their respective aspirations and status; the so-called commitment has a binding obligation restraining the representatives of both parties – officials and non officials – in the country, abroad, in international conferences whether occidental or oriental, from expressing any kind of support to decisions or actions that may harm the other party. Also do their utmost to avoid taking such decisions or undertaking such actions. 

ART.4: The two parties commit themselves to provide mutual help at the following levels: political, commercial, security and social in order to promote the position of the first party and realize the aspirations of the second one. This engagement includes:

a) Raise the awareness of public opinion in the Orient and the Occident on the cause of each party, according to the spirit of the treaty hereby.

b) Concert their efforts to open the doors of each country with view to deepen cultural and social rights and promote commercial trades and the exchange of liaison officers to forge good neighboring relationships between one another.

c) The first party recognizes the right of every Jewish to immigrate to Palestine commits itself to help as much as possible in the realization of this immigration in the event that it shall pass through Lebanon.

d) The second party commits itself, after the creation of the Jewish state, to respect the sacred character of the holy sites in Palestine and commits itself as well after retaining the command of power to consider the treaty hereby as an integral part of the government program.

e) The two parties commit themselves to provide help, if requested, to one another in order to maintain security in their respective countries. This engagement has the binding obligation to take all necessary measures to block the entrance or exit of hostile elements capable of sowing public disorder and the obligation to refrain from providing any kind of help for such elements.

f) The two parties commit themselves to exchange information on all issues such as the politics of their countries, their economy, security, and relations with third parties.

g) At the industry, agriculture and scientific research levels, the two parties commit themselves to exchange information and advice in order to synchronize the Lebanese and Jewish efforts with a view to ensure the best development of their respective industries (including the tourism sector), agriculture and research on the basis of mutual cooperation.

h) After creating the Jewish state, the second party commits itself to reserve a friendly treatment to the representatives of the Maronite Patriarch, to facilitate the buying of a land and the construction of a Patriarchate worthy of the Maronite community.

i) The second party commits itself to require from its offices all over the world to support the cause of the first party and back its representatives in Washington, London, and Paris and in international conferences.

ART.5: In order to achieve the afore-mentioned obligations, and additional practical means of collaboration and mutual aid, the two parties will hold direct or indirect (through representatives) talks depending on the relevant advancement and circumstances. The first party has already chosen Cheikh Toufic Aouad to be its authorized representative till further notice.

ART.6: The treaty hereby takes effect upon signature. Each party has the right to terminate it within six months notice. 
In witness whereof the two parties have signed this treaty.”

Double original copy, Jerusalem, May 30th 1946.        

On behalf of His Beatitude His Grace Antoine Pierre Arida, Toufic Aouad    

On behalf of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, Bernard Joseph

Source: Central Zionist Archives 525/3269

Note 1: The treaty was between the Patriarch of a church and a Zionist political entity. That the current Patriarch expect this treaty to still be valid and respected by the State of Israel is tantamount to committing a big political mistake.

In any case, Israel never respected any treaty that stopped serving the Zionist apartheid system and its annexation policies.

Note 2:

Laura Zittrain Eisenberg published a book that reports:

1. When General Ariel Sharon‘s troops slammed into Lebanon in the summer of 1982, their purpose was not only to drive out the PLO, but also to bring to power a friendly Maronite government led by Bashir Gemayel.

2. The idea of an “alliance of minorities,” based on the “enemy of my enemy” notion, had deep roots in Zionist thinking.

3. Before Israeli statehood the relations between Zionists and some Maronite leaders were far-reaching.

4. In 1946, a treaty of sorts was even signed with the Maronite religious establishment, but the peace proved as ephemeral as the 1983 agreement between Lebanon and Israel. (that was not ratified)

Eisenberg sympathetically explains the motives and misperceptions that led to the belief that Christian Lebanon could be detached from the surrounding Arab region as an ally of Zionism, but she also shows the project had no realistic chance, and she implicitly warns against ignoring the lessons of history.

Note 3: I cannot recollect that any Lebanese Patriarch ever visited Jerusalem after 1948, even when Jerusalem was administered by Jordan Kingdom.

Note 4: The visit has political connotation, regardless of the religious reasons and excuses. The Patriarch has to make a public declaration relevant to the treaty and to clarify the Lebanese political positions regarding the Israeli enemy.

Note 5: The Patriarch must avoid to land in Tel Aviv or cross any Israeli checkpoints. A helicopter from Jordan and landing straight in Jerusalem should be considered.


How Israel abused of the Christians during the occupation of one-third of Lebanon (1982-2000)

Part of this post was inspired by the book “A history of Lebanon, 1860-2009” by David Hirst. Hirst is a British veteran journalist who was the correspondent of the British The Guardian for 43 years in the Middle-East: He was kidnapped twice in Lebanon.

In her book “The Amants (lovers) of Zion”, Laura Zittrain Eisenberg, the historian of the Zionist/Maronite relationship, wrote: “A few years before the Balfour Declaration (1917), Russian Zionists contacted the Maronite clergy (Christian sect of Lebanon) and the Zionists leaders were happily surprised to be welcomed warmly. Not only the Maronite clergy wanted the Jews to immigrate to Palestine and Syria (Lebanon was part of Syria), but wished that immigration wave be vast and quick. The Maronites viewed themselves as the Christians of the Orient who are the most westernized in the region and compatible with western civilization.

Consequently, the Maronite clergy, big merchants, and feudal leaders wished to have many more minority religious sects to grow in number in order to counterbalance the vast Moslem population.  They believed that the intellectual and cultural superiority of the Maronite and Jews would compensate for their numerical inferiority. They hoped for fresh investment in industrial equipment, production methods, and western skills to enhance prosperity in the Near-East, where they were the leading business professionals…”

In the early 1920’s, the Maronite people were divided between the isolationist and pro-Zionist groups, and those factions with Pan-Arabic feelings and conviction. The first group selected “Phoenicia” history and civilization as the foundation for a State of Lebanon.

The Zionist movement welcomed any support coming from any corner in the Arab World, on the ground that “Necessity is the driving law”

Journalist British correspondent Robert Fisk wrote a book “Affliction of Nation” and I have been summarizing chapters of the Arabic version.  Fisk covered the civil war in Lebanon for 9 years for the British daily The Times and investigated on the ground.

Fisk wrote “In the winter season of 1981, the Lebanese Forces installed mortar guns on Mount Sannine. (Robert Fisk was among the “Christian” forces, called “The Lebanese Forces” headed by Bashir Gemayel).  I could barely breath from the high altitude and the freezing weather.  The Syrian army got suspicious of Beshir’s purpose, particularly that Bashir boasted publicly of his friendship with Israel.

“Actually, Israel has been unloading military equipment and ammunition in the port of Jounieh for quite a time. What if this side road is being prepared for Israel to use in a preemptive war against Syria?

Syrian tanks fired over these mortar installations.  The militia behaved as frightened adolescent every time a tank fired over them.  The Syrian troops managed to stop finishing constructing this military road.  The Christian militia prevented the Syrians from reaching Faraya snow skiing resort.  The Syrian troops acquired the top of Sannine, while the Christian militia were contented of remaining 50 meters below. Fisk looked over the sand bags and could see the entire Bekaa Valley down below.

This was a totally bungled battle, meant principally for propaganda purpose.  The university graduates in the Christian militia were hardly capable of firing properly the mortar guns.  Fisk wrote: “As we were withdrawing in a hurry, using a German truck (the same kinds imported by the Palestinians in West Beirut), a tire blew up.  We had to scramble on slippery snowy ways for 9 miles toward the hotel Mazar Faraya.  This hotel was transformed into a military garrison.  All the utensils were imported from Israel, as well as the military clothes”. The militias were into the new trend of shalom here, shalom there.” (See note #1)

“As the invasion of Israel to Lebanon in June 1982 progressed, fear and apprehension of Israel military vanished. The might of Israel was not in its soldiers, but in its destructive fire power and air superiority, all of it given for free by the US.

In this invasion, Israel emptied its last shot at scaring its neighboring States:  Israeli soldiers were hunkering down in their bunkers.  An Israeli war analysts wrote: “Illusion was the basis of this preemptive war and its motivation was concealed. This war was doomed to end in catastrophe”

Israel was pressured to withdraw from the Capital Beirut in late 1982, as resistance started and officers were assassinated in broad daylight and in public, but it managed to impose its stooges Bashir Gemayel as President to Lebanon.  Bashir was assassinated two weeks before he takes office. Israel reacted by inviting the “Lebanese Force” militia to enter the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Chatila.

A terrible genocide was carried out for two days and three nights under the watchful eyes of the Israeli army cordoning-off the camps. Actually, Israel lighted the sky, dug mass graves, sent supplies to the criminals, and also brought by helicopters scores of Lebanese/Israeli soldiers from south Lebanon to lead and initiate the slaughter-hood.

Israel occupation forces withdrew to the Chouf district, mostly Druze, and by 1983, Israel suffered over 140 casualties and over 400 injured soldiers in resistance attacks. Israel decided to withdraw further south to the north of the Litany River.  Before it withdrew, Israel invited the Lebanese Forces militia, commanded by Samir Geaja, to occupy the Chouf district on its behalf. The Lebanese Forces militia committed indignities and humiliated the Druze population.  As Israel vacated the premises, the Druze counter reacted and forced the Christian to flee and transfer to the Christian canton. Until now, the Christians failed to return to their home towns and homes.

In 1985, as Israel prepared to relocate and withdraw to newer defensive lines, Israel called upon Samir Geaja, leader of the “Christian Lebanese Forces”, to come to Saida.  Geaja set up his guns in the Christian village of Mieh wa Mieh (overlooking the city of Saida) and shelled the city for an entire day.  The next morning Geaja returned to Beirut (Achrafieh).  A week later, Israel withdrew its troops, and the Christians were forced to vacate their towns and village, never to return.  That was mainly the job of Samir Geaja.

In 2000, Israel was forced to withdraw from Lebanon, without negotiation, preconditions, and unilaterally.The Christian in south Lebanon who supported Israel occupation had to flee to Israel, in order not to succumb to violent reactions.  Thousands of Lebanese are still living precariously in Israel and are waiting for viable Laws to return.

With the exception of the Damour case in 1976, most of Christian transfer calamities were the planning and tactics of Israel occupation forces, executed by small-minded and sectarian Christian leaders.

Note 1:  You may read how Israel contributed in inflaming the civil war before the 1982 incursion

Note 2: You may read as an introduction to this article, the condition of south Lebanon under Israeli occupation




March 2023

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