The following is a response to a young Australian who is interested in what’s happening in the Middle East, and in what I write. However; he questions several issues: First, my objectivity, or perceived lack thereof. Second, Israel’s (Jewish) right to be in the Middle East.
Neil: The often used “fact”, that the Jews simply came and took the land away from the poor Palestinians is a red herring. It is simply not true.
There has always been a significant presence of Jews in the Middle East. Including, and especially around Jerusalem. And until the Jews decided to formally re-settle Israel, there were very few Arabs in that part of the Middle East, other than in Jerusalem. But; as Jews developed the land, Arabs immigrated to this area in large numbers. Finally there was work.
Another facetious “fact”, is one of borders. Until the Europeans and Americans “imposed” borders in the Middle East, just after the Second World War; there were none. Present-day Middle Eastern countries with definable borders such as: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and others, were created.
And before the Europeans and Americans decided to carve up the Middle East, these were regions mostly ruled by Sheiks, war lords and the such.
As a matter of “fact”, the original King of Jordan, King Abdullah, was an Arabian who was handed Trans Jordan by the British for his past service to the Crown. In “fact”, the vast majority of the people living within Jordan (70%) are Palestinian, while the ruling minority are Hashemite.
So why don’t we hear the Palestinians demanding Jordan as their state? Another “fact”: they did. In September of 1970, Yasser Arafat and his PLO attempted to overthrow the Jordanian government. And for his troubles, Arafat was exiled from Jordan along with tens of thousands of other Palestinians. At least the ones which were not massacred by the Jordanians.
As a result of the attempted coup by Arafat, Syria became involved as an opportunist. The final body count after all the fighting was done, included: 5,000 Jordanians, 2,000 PLO and 3,000 Syrians. In all, more than 10,000 people lost their lives due to Yasser Arafat.
And from Jordan, Arafat and his Syrian buddies did the same thing to the Lebanese. But this time, with far more dire consequences. It took Israeli troops to get them out, finally driving Arafat into exile away from the Middle East. The Israelis would have done him in at that point. But like always, the world community saved his sorry ass.
This is a “fact” Arafat and the rest of the world seem to prefer to forget. This failed coup led to the formation of one of the most vicious terrorist groups ever. Black September; responsible for multiple airplane highjackings, assassinations, and the 1972 Munich Olympic slaughter of Israeli athletes.
The “Balfour Declaration” also guaranteed Jews, through the British Parliament in 1917, a State with recognizable borders. Here is the letter sent to Lord Rothschild from Lord Balfour confirming this:
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Arthur James Balfour
It must be noted as a matter of history, that not only did the British not fulfill their promise, they in fact did whatever they could to renege. And more than that, they put in place all form of roadblocks to the realization of the Zionist dream.
From 1901, more than a century past, the JNF (Jewish National Fund) purchased virtually all the land that is currently pre 1967 Israel. At that time, the land was useless rock, dust and weeds. Once developed however, the land became quite valuable.
With this new reality, some of the Arabs who sold, were infuriated and felt cheated. But not all Arabs sold. And as a result, there are more than 1 million Israeli Arabs who prosper with the same rights enjoyed by Israeli Jews.
For those who chose to sell. Tough luck. For those who deserted their land at the behest of the Arab League in 1948, to languish in Arab refugee camps of their own making. Tough luck.
Imagine selling a dilapidated home to your neighbor, believing that its only value is in firewood; when all of a sudden, your neighbor transforms it into a magnificent property by investing an enormous amount of time, effort and money. How would you feel? Well that’s how the Arabs feel. But unlike you, they want it back.
For those who suggest that the Jews do not belong in Israel, specifically in Jerusalem and the West Bank, try this on for size as a Christian.
If that argument is right, then Christ was a fraud, the bible is a fantasy and Christianity is a hoax.
Christ lived in and around the city of Jerusalem, some 600 years before the advent of Islam. However; Christ was NOT a Christian, since Christianity followed in his footsteps. Christ was a Jew, and not just any Jew. He was a practicing Rabbi.
As a matter of “fact”, Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper, was a depiction of Christ and his Apostles at a Passover Seder, just before Judas’ treachery did him in. This was about 2,000 years ago.
Prior to Christ; King Herod constructed the Second Temple upon which the Islamic Dome Of The Rock, and the Al Aqsa Mosque were built more than 600 and 700 years later; respectfully. This is at least 600 years AFTER the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 AD.
Prior to King Herod’s Second Temple; the First Temple was built by King Solomon, son of King David in 1000 BC. That is 3,000 years ago. And prior to that, King David, the Jews’ first King, made his capital in Hebron, which is part of the West Bank, and will be part of the “eventual” Palestinian State.
Therefore; the argument that Jews have no historical right to the “Holy Land” is both false and specious. Jews have been in the Middle East, specifically in and around Jerusalem far longer than the Christians and the Moslems combined. Three times longer.
As another matter of fact, in keeping with the concept that the group who has the longest continuos history in the land is the legitimate occupant, at least according to the UN when this comparison is convenient, the Moslems come in third after the Christians, and well after the Jews.
But that is not what this argument is all about. As an Atheist, albeit a Jewish Atheist, I find the significance of this history fascinating, not on a religious basis, but more-so on a basis which reflects the movement of world history. What happened in Israel (Middle East) during and before this period, has had an enormous impact on how we live our lives today, thousands of miles away in the 21st century.
Back to reality, and away from religious significance. The Jews were there for almost 6,000 years. They have a right to be there now. The Palestinians have been there for about 50 years; solely as a result of European and American tampering.
I kid you not. The Palestinians, are more or less a creation of the politically correct. In essence, Palestinians are Arabs, the same as the Jordanians, Syrians and Lebanese. But these Arabs want to convince the world that their national credibility exists in history. But in reality, this “history” is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
There never was a country of Palestine, nor a Palestinian people. At least not before Europe and the USA created one.
After Roman Emperor Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasianus destroyed the Second Temple in 70 AD, and had his Roman Legion crush the Jewish Zealots at Masada, he named the REGION Philistine, in honor of the Jew’s most hated enemy, the Philistines. Remember little David and the giant Goliath? This is the REGION which the world has condensed into the territory we presently refer to as Palestine.
Ask yourself this question. Who was the last king, emperor, president, prime minister, governor; or any leader of PALESTINE before Yasser Arafat? Biblical or current? And if you can not answer; then how can there be Palestinians, and how can Palestine claim to have been stolen by the Jews?
Israel is an unbelievably successful Western Style Democracy that pisses off all the failed tyrannies in the Middle East. The success of the Israelis also seems to bother anti-Semitic Europe as well. It’s not as if European anti-Semitism started with Adolf Hitler and died in his bunker.
The fact that so many European countries, including the USA, are so dependent for their energy and enormous wealth earned from the vast amounts of oil in the Middle East, is by and large the reason the world shows so much sympathy to an entire people they would otherwise never care less about.
After-all, the Middle East is the antithesis to everything the West has strived to become, in terms of multi-culturalism, modernity and democracy; where the rights of the individual are considered to be sacrosanct; especially in the USA.
Ehud Barak, Israel’s Prime Minister prior to Ariel Sharon, offered Arafat the deal of a lifetime in terms of settling the debate over Palestine, and not only did Arafat turn it down, he never even attempted to make a counter offer. Arafat and the Palestinians, including the rest of the Arab “street”, do not want a deal with Israel. They just don’t want Israel.
As far as I am concerned, Israel should continue to build its massive security wall, keep the Palestinians out of Israel proper, and leave the Palestinian problem for the Arabs to work out. And if the Palestinians still want to continue murdering Jews, then let the Jews respond with all due prejudice.
And if the Palestinian Arabs finally decide to join the civilized and democratized 21st century, they will find no better friend and ally than Israel. The choice is; and has always been theirs.