Whose Jerusalem ?
Whose Land ?
One of the myths of our time is that Israel, before it was settled by the “alien” Jews and “stolen” from the Arabs as a result of “imperialist machinations,” was an independent state called “Palestine” whose majority residents were Moslem “Palestinians”. Unfortunately for those who would propagate such misinformation, the truth can be easily and historically seen.
The historical fact is that until the defeat of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire in World War I, there was no geopolitical entity called “Palestine,” no Arab nation ever set historical roots on this soil and no national claim was ever made to the territory by any national group other than the Jews.
Between the time of the expulsion of the Jews by the Romans in the year 70 to 132 AD and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, Israel (“Palestine”) was occupied by fourteen conquerors over thirteen centuries, until in 1948 the Jews once again declared their independence. The following table shows the historical periods of the various rulers of “Palestine”:
1. Israel Rule (Biblical period) 1350 BC to 586 BC 2. Babylonian Conquest 587 BC to 538 BC 3. Israel Autonomy (under Persian & Greco-Assyrian sovereignty) 538 BC to 168 BC 4. Revolt of the Maccabees 168 BC to 143 BC 5. Rule of the Hashmoneans & their successors 143 BC to 70 AD 6. Jewish Autonomy (under Roman & Byzantine sovereignty) 70 AD to 637 AD 7. Rule of Moslem Caliphs
Mecca 637 AD to 661 AD
Umayyides 661 AD to 750 AD
Abbaaside 750 AD to 870 AD
Fatimides 969 AD to 1071 AD
637 AD to 1072 AD 8. Seljukes Rule 1072 AD to 1096 AD 9. Crusaders
Ayyubids (in parts only) 1175 AD to 1291 AD
1099 AD to 1291 AD 10. Mamelukes Rule 1291 AD to 1516 AD 11. Ottomans (Turks) 1516 AD to 1918 AD 12. British Mandate 1918 AD to 1948 AD 13. Israel rule under democracy 1948 AD --- .
Thus, during the entire period of recorded history “Palestine” was never ruled by so called “Palestinians”, the name adopted today by the Moslem residents of the Holy Land. The rule of the various Moslem Caliphates, which was a foreign rule, extended for a period of 432 years – Jewish rule of “Palestine” extended over a period of over 2000 years.
The inhabitants of the land consisted of the conquering soldiers and their slaves, and only during the Moslem conquest of the area were these diverse ethnic inhabitants compelled to accept Islam and the Arabic tongue, or be put to the sword. The Jews, on the other hand, are in fact the sole survivors of the ancient inhabitants of “Palestine”, who have maintained an uninterrupted link with the land since the dawn of recorded history.
It is one of the failures of our media today that, while an almost complete acceptance is granted to an absurd, fabricated lie, no attention at all is paid to the fascinating story of the Jewish families and communities who have resided in the Holy Land without interruption since Biblical times. These people have, throughout hundreds and thousands of years, kept their national claim to God's given ownership of their homeland.
Arabs Recognize Jewish SovereigntyThese facts were well known and publicly recognized by the international community in 1919, during the Allied peace Conference in Paris, to which representatives of the Middle East Moslems, as well as the Jewish people were invited. At this conference, Emir (Crown Prince) Feisal, son of king Hussein (great grandfather of the present king Hussein of Jordan), who headed the Moslem delegation, agreed that “Palestine” should be earmarked as the specific area in which Jewish sovereignty was to mature.
He announced acceptance of the Balfour Declaration of November 2nd, 1917, and concluded an agreement with the World Zionist Organization, confirming that “all such measures shall be adopted as will afford the fullest guarantee of carrying into effect the British Government's Balfour Declaration”.
These same sentiments were expressed by Emir Feisal in a letter (dated March 3, 1919) to Prof. Felix Frankfurter, Justice of the United States Supreme Court: “Our deputation here in Paris is full acquainted with the proposals submitted by the Zionist organization to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as modest and proper. We will do our best, insofar as we are concerned, to help them through. We will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.”
Jewish Areas ReducedThe two sets of promises officially made by Britain – one to the Moslems and the other to the Jews – were originally fully reconcilable ones.
The interesting historical fact is that between World War I and the United Nations partition of “Palestine” in 1947, British promises to the Moslems were over-fulfilled, while their promises to the Jews were constantly violated and whittled down. Far from being the victims of imperialism, the Moslems were handsomely rewarded when 20 sovereign states were artificially established by the British after carving up the former Turkish Empire. These new countries had no previous national history or independent culture.
The development of the part of “Palestine” allocated by the major Powers for Jewish sovereignty took a different course. The area originally designated and agreed to by Hussein and Feisal was first reduced by four-fifths. Four-fifths of the Jewish homeland was given in a “land for peace” agreement and on this land today's kingdom of Jordan was established. On one-fifth of the remaining land, the democratic country of Israel exists today. In 1948, in the wake of 7 invading armies, Israel declared independence. The State of Israel consists of less than 8,000 square miles. Against this, only five Moslem States – Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq – cover an area of 1,200,000 square miles.
It should be pointed out here that at that time over 70% of today's Israel consisted of Crown lands transferred from the outgoing Ottoman Power to the Incoming British Mandatory Authority. The remaining 30% of the land was largely swamp and barren hillside: It was in these areas that Jewish settlement began through land purchase from absentee Moslem owners. At no time did the Jews seek to displace the indigenous Moslem population.
The distribution of land in 1949 in the part of “Palestine” after Israel was re-established was as follows:
Under the Mandate, the Jewish population continued to grow but while their immigration was progressively restricted, that of Moslems from the surrounding countries (Syria and Jordan) was completely free. As a result, attracted by the Jewish development of the country, the Moslem population increased rapidly and had attained majority by 1947.
- 8.6% of the land was owned by Jews.
- 3.3% of the land was owned by Israeli Moslems.
- 16.5% of the land was owned by other Moslems.
- 70% of the land was the property of the British Mandatory Government, after 1948 transferee to the Government of Israel.
Palestinian Arabs Never a Nation“Palestinian” Arab nationalism today is a product of recent political and religious currents. Until the 1920's no such national community had even existed in “Palestine”. This is why both the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate charged the Jews of the National Home with guaranteeing the civil and religious rights of other inhabitants. No mention was made of other national rights of other inhabitants, as it was recognized that the only national claim to the area was that made by the Jews.
But the fiction of Palestinian Arab nationality is still being exploited. If the Palestinians were in fact a separate nationality then their anger over the past 20 years would have been directed as much against Jordan and Egypt as against Israel, for it was the invading armies of these countries which captured, in the 1948 war, a substantial portion of the territory allotted under the United Nations' plan to the Palestinian Moslems. This included the West Bank, which was occupied by the Jordanian Army, and added to their Kingdom, and the Gaza Strip, which was seized by the Egyptians.
The one people that have, in fact, maintained its historic connection with the area called “Palestine,” over a period of 2,000 years, is the Jews. Of course, the Bible never uses the term “Palestine”, but prefers to call this land “Judah” or “Israel”.
Indeed, the Jewish right to the land of Israel is not based only on history and the Bible, but is claimed by the physical process of work invested in transforming it into an area capable of supporting life. It is the fruits of this work that motivate mythological Arab claims to the territory.The Christian Mid-East Conference, CMC Fact Page
The Christian Mid-East Conference, P.O. Box 82, Poway, California 92064