69 million page views

There is a precedent for forcible removal

Reader comment on item: The Forcible Removal of Israelis from Gaza

Submitted by Sha'i ben-Tekoa (Israel), Apr 12, 2005 at 06:29

In September 1783, at Versailles, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and John Adams signed the Treaty of Versailles ending the American Revolution.

A month later in New York, the Continental Congress passed a resolution ordering all approximately 100,000 Indians out of the Northwest Territories (north and west of the Ohio River) to clear out, because those 5,000,000 acres (eventuallythe states of OH, IND, ILL, MI and a piece of WISC) had been ceded to the new USA as part of the peace agreement with England.

Of course no civilized person anywhere called this "ethnic cleansing." It was a perfectly normal thing to do, the way of the world, especially since during the Revolution the Indians had been on the British side, with at least one reputable historian estimating that more American settlers were killed on the frontier in Indian raids against civilians than rebel soldiers in uniform who fell in the Continental Army in the more famous and formal battles with the Redcoats.

These raids were commonly ambush attacks on settler families in which everyone was slaughtered - old, young, women, children. Not for nothing were the Indians called "merciless..savages," and the Crown hated for launching them against settlers, which language is to be found in the Declaration of Independence, whose principle author was of course the Father of American Liberalism, Thos. Jefferson.

The following spring of '84, in Annapolis, when Congress convened to ratify the peace treaty with England,it appointed Jefferson to design an administration for the newly acquired spoils of war called the Northwest Territory, which he did, and which design did not foresee the presence of Indians because they had been ordered to clear out - which they had yet to do. Jefferson envisioned an "empire of liberty" beginning with the settling of pioneer Americans in the new territory.

However, because the Indians had yet to go; and because the British were still in their forts in the wilderness supplying them with guns and ammunition and encouraging them to resist the the advance of American settlers and settlements; and because with demobilization the US Army had only a few hundred soldiers, Congress forbade Americans to cross the Ohio and settle because they could not be defended. And re-igniting bloodshed with England was a possibility no one wanted.

Hence the US Army was detailed to cross the Ohio River in this period of the 1780s and 1790s to drive the settlers back across the river and burn down their settlements because the country was incapable of protecting them - yet.

Not that yours truly - an Israeli settler himself - supports Sharon's "Drive the Jews from Their Homes Plan." Only that there is an historical American precedent - but also an historical American precedent for doing what Israel has never done, viz. annex Judea, Samaria and Gaza - like the Northwest Territory - as the legitimate spoils of war, and to order the enemy therein out!

Sha'i ben-Tekoa

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)