UI – Part 618 – Palestine – An Area, not a People
Israel is Israel
Israel is Israel. Palestine is Israel. In AD 70 the Romans sought to destroy Israel. The Temple was razed. The area that was historically Israel for a thousand years, the homeland of Jews and Christians, was renamed by the Romans, ‘Palastina.’ Every effort by the Romans to erase Israel in their fight against them was made, but Israel was still Israel; Palastina was Israel (renamed). The people living in the area were Semites, be they Jew or otherwise. Palastina never had a leader or a people. There were no Palastinians. Those that occupied the area were Christ followers, pagans, Romans and Jews. It was after the early Jihadist Caliphs invaded Jerusalem that Muslims became residents. It was desert and unproductive land. The Muslims were Arabs. They were not Palestinians.
After the death of Christ, the period 0 – 70 AD, the Israelites were in constant conflict over Roman rule of their land. Judean rebel factions besieged and controlled the city of Jerusalem in AD 66 following anti-Roman riots The Jewish rebellion was met with irate Roman forces. The Jews were crushed, their Temple destroyed, over one million were killed or taken as slaves. Ruins remained. The Temple remains as destroyed, yet the Wall is a place where Jews pray daily.
The Romans designated the area using a name created to infuriate the Jews. It was never the name of a nation or territory. The Roman Emperor Hadrian wanted the name of Israel eradicated. He named the area ‘Palastina.’ Jerusalem was called ‘Aelia Capitolina.’ From a historical perspective the land was originally called ‘Canaan.’ Even ‘Transjordan’ was an invented name, by the British.
The Arab-Muslims took the land as their own in 638, by conquest. It was occupied then primarily by Christ followers and pagans, some Jews. The residents were not referred to as Palastinians. The Arabs had no name for the area so they adopted the Roman appellation, calling it ‘Falastin.’ Many of the mix of residents of the area converted, most by force, to Islam, controlled by the Caliph headquartered in Damascus (Syria). They were never a nation, nor nation-state, nor a separate culture. The occupiers of the area never did a thing, never lifted a hand, to restore the land and make it prosperous or identified as anything other than an Arab outpost with a mosques and the Dome of the Rock.
With the colonization of the Middle East area by the British (and French) in the 1800’s, beginning in 1798 after Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt, those guiding the region transitioned from Ottoman sultans to British military. The area became part of the British colonizing lands as the Ottoman Empire disintegrated (1908-1922) after WWI. The area referred to as Palestine was established as a British protectorate in 1921. There was a mandate at the time between the French and the British, the French taking Syria and Lebanon under their purview, the British the area known as Palestine (Mandate for Palestine, to include Transjordan). Protecting sea and land routes to India was the plan. The Transjordan area was considered no-man’s land, barren and non-productive, an arid and sparsely populated region. In 1917 the Balfour Declaration announced support for a national home for the Jewish people during the War in the area of Palestine; Arabs and Jews living together.
Religious Jews lived in the area for hundreds of years, primarily in Jerusalem. They were few in numbers. In the late 1800’s a migration began. More Jews relocated and established themselves. They lived with the Arabs, who never called themselves Palestinians.
Jews Migration to Their Homeland
Jews began to relocate to the land of Israel in large numbers about 1881. Mostly religious Jews occupied the area, primarily Jerusalem (for obvious reasons), and extended family members under persecution elsewhere choose to move. Eastern Europe, Russia and even Yemen saw the diaspora of Jews leave and head for their Holy Land. Persecution of Jews (pogroms) in Russia and Romania was significant. Killing of the Russian Tsar (Alexander II)(1881) was blamed on the Jews. The Bolshevik Revolution (1917) with intense anti-semitism created even further emigration of Jews from Russia to their historical homeland.
Jews sought a national sovereignty for their people, safety, and freedom from anti-semitism. They found the Holy Land attractive. Tel Aviv was formed early on (1909). There was tension between the Arabs and the Jews, yet the migrants continued. (Note: At that time the majority of Jews emigrated to the United States). Jaffa and Jerusalem gained numbers. Settlements grew south of Galilee, and elsewhere, in the early 1900’s as a result of inventive agricultural techniques and success. Young Jews and families began to arrive. Religious Jews had occupied the land for centuries, but now found others arriving and becoming more active in a governing body for the increasing Jewish population. The ancestral homeland of the Jews needed immigration (of Jews) to re-establish itself as a nation. Farmers first, then collective settlements (kibbutz) and then urban and industrial growth re-founded Israel. All of this prior to 1948.
Reconfiguration of the Middle East
It was part of the reconfiguration of the Middle East by the British as World War I began. “Self-determination as a long-term goal for the territory’s indigenous inhabitants, who were overwhelmingly Muslim and Christian Arabs, was not a consideration” Source – Encyclopedia (Read here). In fact the idea was to reestablish oversight of the region, disregarded and neglected by the Arabs, by the Jews.
Before WWI Churchill sought to reestablish a homeland for the Jews in the Transjordan area, on land historically occupied by the tribes of Israel. Biblical history supported the land chosen. The Balfour Declaration helped pave the way.
Historical artifacts and ruins were evidence of the people of the area, as well as attempts to conquer defined areas, Jerusalem, Antioch, and so forth, by Jihadists, Abbasids, Turks, and others. In 691 at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik during the Second Fitna the Dome of the Rock was completed at the site of the Temple Mount. Even the early Muhammadians recognized the significance of the Holy City of Jerusalem, attempting to take it as their own. They wanted to have their god, Allah, on an equal footing, even above, the true God. Muhammad initially prayed facing Jerusalem, his awareness of Biblical history from his first wife’s (Khadija) cousin Warqah made it clear to him the location of God’s most significant act of Grace. As his following grew, however, he altered the direction, facing towards Mecca, his birthplace. During his purported night visit he was transported in his dreams to Jerusalem and climbed through seven stages to meet Allah. This Holy Place is where God’s chosen people settled and Christ was crucified for the sins of mankind. History is on the side of the Jews and Christians when laying claim to the area.
During the Crusades the battles between Christian Knights and various Jihadist Sects, to include that led by Saladin, fought over Jerusalem. Never was the war about Palestine. There were no Palestine people.
In 1917 a prominent British Jew, Lord Balfour, asked the government to favorably view the establishment of a National Home for the Jewish people in the area referred to as Palestine. The civil, political or religious rights of non-Jewish communities in the area would not be threatened. Peaceful co-existence was the objective, but a homeland for Jews nonetheless. (The Balfour Declaration of November 1917).
After WWII, in 1948, the Jewish homeland, Israel, was established (May 14), the day the last British forces left from Haifa. This was the goal of the Zionist Movement (Read more). A few days later Army units from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq invaded. They lost the confrontation. Over 700,000 local Arabs fled and were prevented from returning. Their Arab neighbors were remiss in accepting them as well. The Arab-Israel conflict began and refugees from the area were displaced.
Palestine as an area, a land defined by questionable borders, more for mapping purposes; it never had a citizen base nor a government nor a leader. That is, until 1989 when the Palestine Liberation Organization, under the command of Yasser Arafat, identified Arafat as its head. He was the leader of the displaced Arabs who sought to return from the battlefields the Arabs lost to the new independent State of Israel. Many distortions and lies have been told about the Israel-Arab conflicts; one of the most widespread is that of the existence of Palestinians. The PLO was formed in 1964. Its’ goal was to liberate Palestine, but for Arabs, and against Jews. The Islamic hatred of Jews was in full bloom. From 1967, for 10 years, destroying the State of Israel was PLO’s objective, but failure was the result. So this militant cabal, with numerous splinter or competing groups, turned to diplomatic and political means. They succeeded in gaining recognition by the United Nations, Arafat the spokesperson. More barbaric than legitimate, this so-called freedom movement, gained sympathies among media and other liberal organizations, and perpetrated the distortions. Understanding and reporting facts was not evident in support garnered for the Zionist hatred.
Efforts to Identify Arab Hatred
Was it jealousy over the success by the Jews since 1948 in converting arid land into a habitable, productive and prosperous nation? Was the ready defeat by a dedicated small contingent of the whole of the Arab military circus surrounding the area a major embarrassment? Was it a lack of interest in absorbing displaced Arabs in Saudi Arabia or Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt? What was a nothing landmass defined in part as Transjordan now restored as Israel too much of a success for the Arabs to comprehend or accept?
Lest we forget Arafat in 1988 announced the right for Israel to exist.
Hamas and Hizbollah came later. They were convinced and insisted Palestine exists and requires a State of its own. As if they could compete with Israel and be as successful? If that were the case it would have, in my mind, happened well before the land was designated for Jews to return to their historical homeland. Anti-semitism, most evident by the Nazi Germans, gave need to an area where Jews could feel safe, protected and secure. Ever since the land became theirs however Islamic hatred has targeted the area to be eliminated.
The Islamic world cares little for the Muslim resident, many living peacefully among the Jews, even designated locales for so-called Palestinians, such as Gaza and the West Bank (the designated ‘Occupied Palestinian Territory’ by the UN and the EU), as well as the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque (the 3rd holiest site in Islam), which would all be destroyed when the Jihadists bring their wanted armageddon to the Holy Land.
What right did members of the UN have to declare, or recognize, a State of Palestine, which they did in 1988? What was there before? Were they not aware of history? Land once ruled by Jordan or Egypt contained Jordanians or Egyptians, not Palestinians.
Previously controlled by Jordan (to the East) and Egypt (to the South), Israel has occupied and maintained control of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since their victory in the Six-Day War of 1967.
Now we have Palestinian Authorities, be they Hamas or Fatah. Who is behind the so-called Palestinians? Is it Iran, who supports Hamas and Hizbullah? Coordinating Gaza and the West Bank was too much for Hamas, as they yielded their authority over the whole of the debated areas. What about Syria? Egypt appears quiet on the subject. Jordan yielded any claim on the area, as I understand, in 1988.
The boil of hatred in the hearts and souls of the Islamists, the Jihadists, seems to be at the heart of the debate. There is no chance for peace as the debate as to whether there were ever Palestinians will never end. But in Israel Jews and Arabs, and Muslims, can live in peace, they can work and prosper together. That has been so since more than a half-century before 1948. So where does the problem lie?
You know the answer.
Next week we discuss the recent Trump Plan for Israel and Palestine.
Grace and Peace