One of the most misunderstood issues today is the question of "Who are the Palestinians"? The truth about this matter has been so deliberately obscured that even to raise the question will seem strange to most readers.
In my book, "The Everlasting Hatred, the Roots of Jihad," I trace the history of the people now being called the "Palestinians." The land of Israel became known as Palestine after the Roman destruction of Israel in A.D. 70. It was ruled by many different invaders for the following 19 centuries.
In the 7th century, the Muslims took control of Palestine for the first time. From A.D. 635 until 1917, the Muslims ruled it, with only a few interruptions by the European Crusaders. During that span of time, the land was reduced to total desolation. Many people who traveled the land in the 19th century remarked on the fact that Palestine was as desolate as the moon and very few people lived there.
In 1867, Mark Twain remarked about his visit to the Holy Land in his book, "The Innocents Abroad." He lamented, "Stirring scenes occur in the valley [of Jezreel] no more. There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent – not for 30 miles in either direction. There are two or three small clusters of Bedouin tents, but not a single permanent habitation. One may ride 10 miles hereabouts and not see 10 human beings."
By all eyewitness accounts of that era, Palestine was a total desolation. There were virtually no trees and no people. Because of lack of trees, the weather changed and it rarely ever rained. The irrigation systems of the once fertile valleys were all destroyed, rendering most areas into malaria-ridden swamps. The terraces of the mountainsides were torn down, causing terrible erosion that left only barren rocks. This was the condition of Palestine by the beginning of the 19th century.
It was at this time that Jews began to flee severe persecutions in Russia and Eastern Europe. In the mid-1800s, some Jews came to Palestine and, with the generous aid of some successful Jews like the Rothschilds, began to buy property from Muslim Ottoman Turks. The Muslims thought the land was worthless anyway, so they sold it to the "dumb Jews" for extremely inflated prices.
To everyone's amazement, the Jews were very successful at reclaiming the land. Many of them died from malaria and the rigorous life the work demanded, but they performed an agricultural miracle that made the land very productive again. As a result of their success, poor migrant workers from the surrounding Muslim countries began to flood in to work for the Jews. The Jews literally became victims of their own success – almost all of the people calling themselves "Palestinians" today are the descendants of those migrant workers.
Much more is said and documented on this subject in my book. But the main point is this: The Muslims have repeatedly shown they understand these things. Since they know that the so-called "Palestinians" are not a homogeneous people, but rather a mixed conglomerate of workers with no cohesive organizational or political skills, they have repeatedly not given them a state.
When the Hashemite Tribe, who were rulers over Mecca and Medina for centuries, were driven out by the Saudis, the British gave them control over the vastly greater numbers of "migrant workers" in Trans Jordan. The British said this would be, in effect, "The State of Palestine." Instead, the Hashemites, who make up only about 20 percent of the population, turned it into their own kingdom and called it the Kingdom of Jordan.
When the Jordanians and Egyptians controlled the so-called West Bank and the Gaza Strip for 19 years (1948 to 1967), there was never a thought of giving the disorganized mass of "migrant workers" a state. Why? Because they knew there was no cohesive, homogeneous people known as "Palestinians."
The current efforts of Jordan and Egypt (and all the rest of the Muslim Middle East nations) to give these same people a state is clearly a ploy to get a foothold inside Israel. It is a strategic accommodation to establish a base from which the final assault against Israel can be made. What they couldn't do militarily is now being facilitated through the United States and the E.U.
Muslims will never accept a permanent presence of infidels in what they claim is sacred Islamic soil. Especially Jewish infidels for which the Koran reserves its most vehement condemnations. In their minds, the Koran and Allah will not let them accept Jews in what they view as their third holiest site.
The United States had better learn these things, or we will find ourselves guilty of facilitating the destruction of God's people, to whom the Word of God says the land belongs forever. God will not let that happen, but He will certainly judge those who have any part in trying to do it.
"Therefore thus says the Lord God: 'Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom [Arabs], who took MY LAND to themselves as a possession, with whole-hearted joy and spiteful minds, in order to plunder its open country ... But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to MY PEOPLE ISRAEL, for they are about to come.'" (Ezekiel 36: 5, 8 NKJ)
Hal Lindsey is the best-selling author of 20 books, including "Late Great Planet Earth." He writes this weekly column exclusively for WorldNetDaily.
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How Israel blurs a distinction it asks the rest of the world to make.By Evelyn Gordon - Jerusalem Post - July 8, 2003
The Shin Bet security service has drafted various criteria for which Palestinian prisoners to release this week. But one of the most important criteria has reportedly been left off its list: the crucial distinction between "militants" and "terrorists," between people who targeted soldiers and people who targeted civilians.
Obviously, the Palestinians make no such distinction: They consider attacks on soldiers and attacks on women and children to be equally legitimate forms of "resistance." The international media parrots this line, terming all Palestinian assailants "militants" regardless of whether their targets were soldiers or civilians.
Yet Israel is no less to blame, since it has been equally unwilling to make this distinction: The Hebrew word pigua is used for attacks on soldiers and civilians alike; in English, Israeli spokesmen often refer to both types of attack as "terrorism."
And now Israel is making the same mistake in its prisoner releases: Palestinians involved in attacks on civilians will be as eligible for release as those involved in attacks on soldiers, as if the former were no worse than the latter.
There is, however, an enormous difference between these two types of attacks. Attacks on soldiers, painful though they are, are a normal part of warfare; thus the Palestinians' insistence that people involved in such attacks be released once hostilities end is not unreasonable.
The only question in this case is whether a three-month truce ought to be considered an end to hostilities - and since organizations like Hamas, whose avowed goal is the eradication of the Jewish state, are unlikely to lay down their arms permanently, the Shin Bet is correct in saying that only people unlikely to resume hostile activity should be released at this time.
There is no justice at all, however, in the Palestinian demand that people involved in attacks on civilians also be treated as "prisoners of war" and released once hostilities end. Every international convention on the subject of war brands the deliberate targeting of women and children as illegitimate, and every civilized country has recognized this distinction.
Indeed, the 1949 Geneva Conventions explicitly include a category called "unlawful combatants," who, unlike ordinary prisoners of war, can be tried by the country they fought and kept in jail even after the end of hostilities.
UNLAWFUL combatants are defined as fighters who are not part of a regular army, do not wear clear insignia, do not carry their arms openly and do not abide by the laws of war - and since "the laws of war" include refraining from deliberate attacks on civilians, all the Palestinian organizations meet these criteria.
Thus Israel would be completely justified in saying that any Palestinian knowingly involved in an attack on civilians, even if he played a relatively minor role, should remain in jail until his sentence has been served, regardless of any agreement on an end to hostilities.
Instead, however, Israel has always chosen to treat militants and terrorists identically. Under the 1993 Oslo Accords it released anyone who merely abetted an attack - drivers, arms providers and the like - whether their targets were civilians or soldiers, while generally refusing to release actual killers, whether the victims were soldiers or civilians.
Under the current cease-fire, two of the first prisoners released were Ahmed Jbarra, who planted a bomb in Jerusalem's Zion Square in 1975 that killed 13 civilians and wounded more than 60, and Suleiman Abu Mutlak, who was arrested just this past May after a two-year manhunt because he is suspected of providing the bomb used to blow up a school bus in November 2000 that killed two adults and seriously wounded three children.
Just last week Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced that this week's releases might include other murderers who, having already spent long years in jail, are considered too old to return to terrorist activity; and though he later reversed himself with regard to actual killers, people who merely abetted attacks on civilians are still eligible for inclusion on the list.
By failing to distinguish between militants and terrorists, Israel sends the message that the Palestinians were right all along, and those who deliberately target women and children are in fact legitimate "freedom fighters" rather than cold-blooded killers. As Jbarra declared upon his release last month: "We are not murderers. We are not criminals. We are people who seek peace and freedom."
By freeing him, Israel tacitly declared that it agrees: Someone who plants a bomb in a crowded downtown area is neither a murder nor a criminal, but a seeker of peace and freedom who deserves release as part of a "peace process."
By legitimizing attacks on civilians in this fashion, Israel clearly undermines international standards of morality. But it also sabotages its own interests - because Israel, as one of the world's leading victims of terrorism, has a vital interest in ensuring that Palestinian terrorists are treated as such by the world rather than being dignified as "freedom fighters."
Indeed, one of Israel's deepest grievances is the long-standing refusal of many governments to outlaw Palestinian organizations that target civilians. Yet as long as Israel itself treats fighters and terrorists identically, it can hardly blame the world for doing the same.
The writer is a veteran journalist and commentator.
Early this afternoon, I opened the newspaper and saw a little boy, smiling, wearing a leather helmet on his head, waving at the camera. The article alongside the picture, in big white letters on a celebratory blue background, read, “Ariel returns with a smile.” I stopped my other activities to read the article, and, when I was finished, brushed a few tears from my eyes.
Ariel Yered, on April 3, 2001, then only 14 months old, was playing on the porch of his home in the Atzmona community, in Gush Katif, Gaza. At that time, he had just learned to say “Imma” and “Abba” – Mommy and Daddy. Suddenly, an awesome explosion – a mortar fired by Arab terrorists landed right next to him. Ariel’s mother Lia was wounded in the arm. But another mortar fragment hit Ariel, striking him in the head, penetrating his brain. Two other fragments hit his spine. At the time, many of the doctors trying to save his life didn’t expect little Ariel to live much longer. He was brought to the hospital without any pulse and wasn’t breathing. However, one of the doctors reported a “slight movement of the heart”, just enough to try and save him.
In order to prevent pressure on his brain, surgeons performed unique surgery, by removing a piece of Ariel’s skull and then storing it in deep freeze. Since then, Ariel wore a special helmet on his head, protecting his open skull. After an initial recovery period, Ariel underwent intense rehabilitation in Jerusalem. The right side of his body, including his arm and leg, were partially paralyzed as a result of his injuries. Now, the 10- by 7-centimeter bone, removed from Ariel’s skull almost two years ago, was returned to his head, and finally, Ariel can remove the helmet from his head. Ariel’s mother, Lia, said, “He was dead, and it’s like he’s been reborn.”
Thank G-d for miracles. Ariel Yered is a living miracle, living proof of the wonders of the L-rd. The question is, how many miracles must we wait for?
This week, the Israeli government decided to release hundreds of terrorists from prison. Many of them were convicted in courts of law. Others are being held under administrative detention, having been apprehended with the help of first-class intelligence information. They have killed, wounded, and maimed. Maimed both physically and mentally. I know a young man who was actually sitting next to the terrorist who exploded on Ben Yehuda Street one Saturday night, a couple of years ago. For reasons he cannot even understand he stood up and walked away, only seconds before the terrorist detonated his bomb. His friends were killed and injured. Exploding body parts flew by him, some hitting him. I can assure you, an event like that leaves its mark, despite that fact that he wasn’t physically wounded. Anyone anywhere near the vicinity of a terror attack asks, maybe for the rest of their lives, “Why was I saved?” and “What if…?”
Is a terrorist who “only wounded” people any better than a terrorist who killed? Is the Arab terrorist who “almost killed”, but “only wounded”, Ariel Yered any better than the terrorist who shot and killed Shalhevet Pass? Their intentions were identical - one succeeded in fulfilling them and the other “almost, but not quite.” Is there any reason in the world to grant him freedom, allowing him a “second chance to try again?”
And for what? For a three month hudna – for a three month cease-fire? For promises, which can be classified as ‘virtual’ – in the mind of the beholder only. After all, the Americans are demanding that all terror organizations be dismantled – i.e., destroyed. But Abu Mazen and Dahlan, despite their seeming agreement to the “road map” and its obligations, have publicly stated that they will not try to disarm Hamas or the Islamic Jihad or take apart their terror infrastructure. Rather, they will use the ‘power of persuasion’, which is, in other words, ‘wait a few months, regroup, take a breather, and when the time comes to start again, we’ll let you know.’
And then, Israel will have to deal with another 1,200 terrorists or so, who received at least an MA in advanced terror tactics while in Israeli jail.
A few days ago, Hebron community leaders learned that the Israeli army has, for all practical purposes, already withdrawn from H1 – Arafat-Abu Mazen-controlled side of Hebron – that being about 80% of the city. True, Israeli forces are still in the hills that surround us, but for how long? Dahlan will meet with Mufaz, Abu Mazen with Sharon, Bush and Condoleezza will make a couple of phone calls, and, bingo-presto, we’ll be back where we started. Sitting ducks in a pond, waiting for the sharpshooters to take aim and pull the trigger. The last time the IDF pulled out of the “other side of Hebron”, the result was the November 15th Friday night massacre, leaving 12 men dead. That continuing bloodbath has left 27 people murdered in and around Hebron in the past eight months. But, so what? After all, Condi was reported as saying, a few days ago, that the US expects Israel to restrain itself and not react, even in the event of a terror attack, because a harsh reaction would “damage the peace process.”
Arik Sharon is acting as a dictator – forcing his will, not only on his ministers, but also on the entire Israeli population. He refuses to hear anyone. When Minister Benny Elon asked to discuss the “road map” in the cabinet, he was told to mind his own business, that of the tourism ministry, and to leave “other matters” alone. Sharon, together with Bush and his team, are forcing Israel to participate in its own execution. According to recent reports, Sharon has ordered the destruction of another so-called outpost community, Beit-El East. If the “road map” continues on schedule, other, larger communities will be uprooted before the end of the year, including Tekoa and Beit Hagai.
And so I ask, Arik, Condi, George and Shaul, what will you say to the mother of the next Ariel – how many more children will need Divine miracles? And what will you say to those mothers and fathers who aren’t so lucky – to the Ariels that don’t make it?
How many more Ariels?
David Wilder is a spokesman for the Jewish community of Hevron.
Hello. I'm conducting a survey on the road map to peace, and I'd like to ask you some questions. It will take only a few minutes of your time.
The road map will succeed at bringing peace because
a) The Palestinians have a new leadership not compromised by terror.
b) The Europeans will monitor compliance.
c) The younger generation of Palestinians has been educated for peace.
d) None of the above.
The road map is different from Oslo because
a) There are no lawns in Aqaba.
b) This time Israel is not making unilateral concessions.
c) Abu Mazen's demands are different from Arafat's demands.
d) The Palestinians get a state without a final peace agreement.
Abu Mazen is a legitimate peace partner because
a) He wears a suit.
b) He may have been involved in the terror attacks at the Munich Olympics.
c) He is a Holocaust denier.
d) None of the above.
If the road map to peace were made into a movie, it would be called
a) "The State Department Strikes Back."
b) "Release from Alcatraz."
c) "It's a Wonderful Life - Not."
d) "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Israel."
Hudna is Arabic for
a) "Jews are suckers."
b) "Americans are suckers."
c) "Both Jews and Americans are suckers."
d) "My gun isn't big enough yet."
The cease-fire is working because
a) Shimon Peres says it is.
b) The first shooting attack killed only one foreign worker.
c) The first suicide bombing killed only one Jew.
d) None of the above.
The Palestinians will abandon terror because
a) They are concerned about the Jewish "other."
b) The Europeans don't think terrorism is very civilized.
c) Terror doesn't pay.
d) None of the above.
If the road map to peace were a book it would be called
a) "Not Such Great Expectations."
b) "Nonsense and Insensibility."
c) "Jews in Wonderland."
d) "A Freier's Tale."
Israel won the war against terror because
a) Israel's chief of staff said it won.
b) Arafat is "irrelevant."
c) The Palestinians are due to get a state in a few months.
d) None of the above.
Which of the following statements is false?
a) Abu Mazen's statement that the PA will not dismantle Hamas.
b) Abu Mazen's statement that the PA will not relinquish the "right of return."
c) Abdel-Aziz Rantisi's statement that Hamas will not rest until every Jew leaves the country.
d) The Israeli government's statement that it will not capitulate to terror.
How many suicide bombers does it take to get a state?
d) We'll soon find out.
How many suicide bombers does it take to destroy a state?
b) More than 250
c) More than 250 for a small state; more than 1,000 for a superpower.
d) No one knows - yet
If the road map to peace were a song, it would be called...
a) "The Devil Went Down to Ramallah."
b) "Don't Start Thinking About Tomorrow."
c) "I Second That Explosion."
d) "Peace is a Battlefield."
State Department officials should be trusted to oversee the road map because
a) They wanted to bring "moderate Taliban elements" into the Afghan government.
b) They neglected to tell their own government that North Korea had a nuclear bomb.
c) Their judgment of Oslo was spot-on.
d) None of the above.
When Israel kills terrorist leaders it is wrong because
a) Shimon Peres says so.
b) The president says so.
c) The secretary of state says so.
d) None of the above.
If there were a commercial to market the road map to peace, its tag-line would be:
a) "Wheeeeeeeere's the Peace?"
b) "Cease-fire: Never Had it, Never Will."
c) "The Terrorizer Bunny: It keeps going and going and going."
d) "Nails: NIS 40. Explosive materials: NIS 230. Suicide Belt: NIS 50. Road map: Priceless."
Thank you for your time.
The writer is a political consultant who lives in Jerusalem.
“President Bush did not get rid of two terrorist states to create a third one.”– Elliot Abrams, the US National Security Council’s top Middle East policymaker, insisting that there would be no move toward the creation of a Palestinian state before the uprooting of the terrorist infrastructure. (Ha’aretz, July 8)
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