For most of my life, I’ve listened in on the conflict between the Palestinians and the Jews. I specifically entered the world of international politics as a result of the 1967 war between the two. Beginning then — and still to this day — I watch and listen to the ongoing feud between Israel and the Palestinians over a piece of land praying we don’t have another war.
“How could any country — even Israel — take land from another country, hold onto to it, settle it, with no regard for its rightful and native people?” That’s the narrative most often used in discussions about these ongoing conflicts — from the Palestinian perspective. Of course, the Israeli version sounds much different. There are infrequent but deadly skirmishes between the two and much political rhetoric that is really just arguing with everybody claiming “their” land and “their” rights and always at the expense of the other.
So what IS the truth of the matter? Who owns what? Who SHOULD own what? What is the history of all this? How can it be resolved IF it even can be resolved?
When in doubt, it’s always good to get facts. That’s just what we’ve done!
The Nation of Palestine
There is NO nation of Palestine. In fact, there never has been. So where did all this uproar begin and over what? Let’s examine the “modern” history of the two entities.
Thein 1947 proposed to divide the geographical region of Palestine into two independent countries: one with a Jewish majority and one with the Arab majority. The leadership of the Jews in the region accepted the plan; the leadership of the Arabs didn’t.
In 1948 the leader of the Jews, David Ben-Gurion, declared an independent Jewish country named Israel according to this plan. The local Arabs, assisted by armies of the neighboring Arab countries, attacked this state, beginning a war called “The War of Independence” in Israel. Israel won, in the sense that it did not succumb and kept its sovereignty within borders that were larger than what the 1947 U.N. plan allotted it. (A large part of the vitriol between the two comes from the United Nations allotment of 1947. I too wonder, “How does the U.N. have the power to determine any nation or nations’ borders? As a matter of international law, THEY DON’T!
When a ceasefire was reached, the northern part of the lands that (according to the U.N. plan) were supposed to become an Arab state (Western Galilee) became Israeli territory and the Arabs who lived there received Israeli citizenship. The central part, known as Judea and Samaria or the West Bank, became part of the Kingdom of Jordan, and the southern part, known as the Gaza strip became part of Egypt. In the process, many Arabs left their homes and became known as the Palestinian refugees.
For the next 19 years, Israel kept developing and absorbed many Jewish refugees from Arab countries. The idea of an Arab state in Palestine was somewhat forgotten, but Israel kept having conflicts with neighboring Arab countries, and the climax of this was the 1967 Six-day War. In the short, but intense, war, the Israeli army occupied all of the West Bank and Gaza. In 1948 these territories were supposed to become an Arab state, but in practice, they were administered by Jordan and Egypt and nobody complained much. After Israel took over, the idea of a Palestinian state was revived and pushed intensely.
In 1988 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) declared an independent state of Palestine. It didn’t specify the borders, but it did specify that it is an Arab state. This declaration was symbolic because this organization worked in Tunisia and had no effective presence in the land of Palestine.
In 1993 Israel signed the Oslo accords with this organization, establishing the Palestinian National Authority, effectively giving the PLO partial sovereignty in part of the West Bank and Gaza. In Israel, it is frequently called “autonomy” or “authority.” It has its own passport, police, and government. Some countries recognize it as an independent state and call it “State of Palestine,” but this recognition is not universal.
As of 2019, the conflict with Israel continues, because the authority, as well as other Palestinian organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad have significant demands, most notably: sovereignty over more land, sovereignty in the city of Jerusalem or at least a part of it, giving Palestinian refugees the right to return to their homes, and stopping the enhancement of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank (or destroying them completely). Israel declared several times that it is willing to discuss these things, but it demands from all Palestinian organizations to stop all violent acts against Israel.
So What’s the HubBub?
Palestinians adamantly claim that Israel stole Palestinian land. What do Israeli’s say?
“Israel did not steal Palestinian land. It’s not Palestinians’ land; it’s never been their land. This land was given to the Jewish people, as stated in the Bible, by the Creator. Despite 27 invasions of Judea and Samaria (called the West Bank), conquests by many, forced conversions, exiles, massive oppression, generations of Diaspora, and cowardly acquiescence by a group of 5th-column Jews themselves, Jews have not only survived in what’s known in Hebrew as Eretz Yisrael (Israel), but they’ve taken a desert wasteland and turned it into a powerful little democracy, the envy of the world. That cannot be denied.
To her detractors, of whom there are many worldwide, the mantra remains the same, ad nauseam. ‘Israel is complicit in doing this. She omitted doing that.’ ‘We respect Judaism but are against Zionism.’
Attempting to mask anti-Semitism as anti-Zionism, Israel’s enemies continually make accusations in such numbers that much of it sticks. To cite just a few:
- Myth: “Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens.” The facts show otherwise. Israel is one of the most open societies in the world. Out of a population of 6.7 million, 1.1 million are Muslims, 130,000 are Christians, and 100,000 are Druze. All have equal voting rights — Israel is one of a very few places where Arab women have the right to vote, and Arabs currently hold 14 seats in the Knesset.
- Following a five-year trial, in a landmark decision for women’s rights, an Arab judge, Salim Joubran, sentenced the former president of Israel, Moshe Katsav, to seven years in prison for rape. In what Muslim country do Jews have such rights? How many seats do Jews hold in the Saudi government or Jordan? Can anyone recall a Jewish judge sentencing a prominent Arab in Egypt? More to the point, has anyone ever heard of a Jewish judge in Egypt?
- Myth: “The Palestinian Authority protects Jewish holy sites.” If so, one important element blocking a sincere peace would be eliminated, but the facts speak otherwise. Just in the years between 1996-2000:
- In September 1996, Palestinian rioters destroyed a synagogue at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
- Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem has been repeatedly attacked since 1996.
- In October 2000, Joseph’s Tomb was torched after the Israeli garrison guarding it was temporarily withdrawn. It was subsequently rebuilt as a mosque.
- In October 2000, the ancient synagogue in Jericho was destroyed by arson, and a second historic synagogue was damaged.
In textbooks, speech, and daily life, the Palestinians and their supporters deny any Jewish connection at all to these ancient landmarks. This all occurs under nominal Israeli control of these areas.
Why the continuous uproar between Israel and the Palestinians that frequently break out in skirmishes, rocket fire, and deaths in both groups as a result?
“The Jews are building settlements on Palestinian land.”
The issue here that started and perpetuates the animus between the two is there is no Palestinian land. We did extensive research and found no historical evidence of there ever being a Palestinian country with national borders. If there were, when would it have been founded, and by whom? What would its borders have been, and what about the name of its capital? What would its major cities have been? What would have constituted the basis of its economy? What form of government would it have lived under?
Was Palestine ever recognized as an entity by another country? By whom? What was the language of the country called Palestine? What was Palestine’s religion? What was the name of its currency? Since there is no such country today, what caused her demise?
These questions were posed by a Japanese writer, Yashiko Sagamori. Only the most adherent of the Palestinian narrative could even attempt to answer her questions shared above. Pose these same questions regarding Israel and the Jewish connection to this land, each can be answered.
At no time in history has there ever been a nation called Palestine. During the Ottoman Empire, which lasted from 1299-1922, the land dubbed by the Romans as Palestine was controlled by the Turks; there was never an outcry for a Palestinian State then. During the illegal annexation of Judea and Samaria by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan subsequent to the 1949 Armistice and prior to 1967, there was never talk of “occupied territory” or a Palestinian State. Why did the dynamic change subsequent to Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War — a conflict initiated by Palestinians?
Search as you will — throughout the annals of history, Israel is the only nation victorious in war on successive occasions and then expected by the vanquished and the world at large to sue for peace, to cede land she reclaimed that was historically hers, to begin with.
The Jewish people were driven out of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria by the Babylonians. They returned to their homeland and rebuilt the Second Temple only to have it burned again, this time by Romans, and to be once again exiled from their land.
Despite 27 invasions and conquests subsequent to the Grand Monarchy of Kings David and Solomon, Jews have always had a contiguous connection to this land. If not the land of Israel, where are Jews from? Poland? Ukraine? Russia?
Perusing World history, it seems that the Jewish people have a legitimate claim moreso than any other to their historic homeland, and certainly more so than the Palestinian Arabs do.
But it is obvious that Palestinians do NOT agree with that statement. They have fought to the death in the past to show their disagreement. And unless somehow a mutual agreement is reached, they certainly will fight and die again.
The “Two-State” Solution
The two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict envisions an independent State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, west of the Jordan River. The boundary between the two states is still subject to dispute and negotiation, with Palestinian and Arab leadership insisting on the “1967 borders,” which is not accepted by Israel. The territory of the former Mandate Palestine (including Jerusalem) would continue to be part of Israel.
In 1974, a UN resolution on the “Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine” called for “two States, Israel and Palestine … side by side within secure and recognized borders” together with “a just resolution of the refugee question in conformity with UN resolution 194.” The borders of the state of Palestine would be “based on the pre-1967 borders.” The latest resolution, in November 2013, was passed 165 to 6, with 6 abstentions; with Israel and the United States voting against.
The Palestinian leadership has embraced the concept since the 1982 Arab Summit in Fez, Morocco. Israel views moves by Palestinian leaders to obtain international recognition of a State of Palestine as being unilateral action by the Palestinians and inconsistent with a negotiated two-state solution.
Why are we at TruthNewsNetwork making such a big deal out 0f the continuing conflict between these two peoples? Simple: it seems that the conflict is escalating. The recent large number of rockets fired into Israel by Palestinians (or maybe from terrorist groups hiding among the Palestinians) may be a message that they are about to mount a push to take territory from Israel. Hamas and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard — recently labeled as a terrorist organization — both have strongholds among the Palestinians. Most people know the hatred held by these and other terrorist organizations for Israel and the Jewish people.
Further escalating U.S. conversation about the issues between Palestinians and Israelis are the very vocal freshmen Congressional members who are Muslim and who do very vocally back the Palestinians in this conflict with Israel: Somali-born Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). Both have since being elected been embroiled in several serious debates for remarks they have made that are very pointed reminders that they do NOT support Israel and both vehemently oppose a Two-state solution. Their many comments primarily from national talk show interviews seem to many to be outward anti-semitism. Regardless of the validity of that, it is obvious of their support for the Palestinian people in this conversation.
So what will happen regarding the possible resolution? Conventional wisdom says Israel and the Palestinians should work out a mutually acceptable solution. That would be wonderful for everyone else in the World! But it is unlikely to happen. Both peoples have repeatedly marked their point in the sand and have dug-in. Both refuse to budge. Sadly, the losers in that political war of words has been and will continue to be the Palestinian people and Israelis who find themselves in the middle of a political conflict of which they play no part.
There is no doubt the U.S. has been a long time and devoted ally of Israel as are almost all democratic countries in the World. Backing the Palestinian efforts are the obvious countries who are primarily Muslim. Several Middle East countries known for their terrorist activities have and probably will continue to play less than desirable roles in this conflict that seems to just keep going.
If it comes down to another armed conflict, the sense is that Israel — sporting the most powerful military in that region — would unleash its might and power against the Palestinians. The West shudders at that thought because almost certainly if that happens, surrounding countries who are pro-Palestinian militant entities will certainly unite in an all-out effort to forcefully take if not all of Israel the portion claimed by the Palestinians.
I hope we don’t see that conflict. I have no idea what countries in the region have in military assets, but I’m certain Israel has more. And Israel has nuclear weapons — that’s a scary thought!
Maybe that conflict between the two has already been named. I hope not! The conflict I’m thinking of is the Last Battle on Earth, known as Armageddon.
I’d rather not go down that road.