A mythical phrase that has become commonplace in the Arab-Israeli conflict is the phrase, “West Bank.” I call this a mythical phrase because it was invented by Jordan to describe the territory West of the Jordan River, a territory which Jordan illegally occupied.

When the news media refers to this area, they call it the “occupied West Bank.” Of course we understand these great reservoirs of truth to mean that it is occupied by Israel. But it was Jordan that illegally occupied the so-called “West Bank” until it was liberated by Israel in 1967. When and how did a land promised to the Jews become the “West Bank?”

On November 5, 1914, the British Government declared war on Turkey. They recruited an Arabian warlord by the name of Ibn Ali Hussein, to lead an Arab uprising against the Turks. Hussein was Sherif of Mecca and the only Arab leader to cooperate with the British during World War I.

Sir Henry McMahon, the British Ambassador to Egypt, promised Hussein Arab independence in return for his assistance. As is often the case with human agreements, some of the details of the agreement were broad and open to different interpretations.

A British officer, T.E. Lawrence provided British leadership, provisions and gold to encourage Hussein and his followers. While Hussein did declare an Arab revolt against Turkey, with British assistance through Lawrence, history gives conflicting claims about the extent and significance of this revolt.

T.E. Lawrence had a great public relations agent named Lowell Thomas. Thomas turned T.E. Lawrence into Lawrence of Arabia and made Hussein the leader of a great revolt. Later reports confirm that the Hollywood Lawrence of Arabia and the great Hussein revolt were myths in themselves.

In 1916, Sir Mark Sykes, representing the British, and Francios Georges Picot representing the French, drew up a first plan to partition the Turkish Empire. The plan was known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement. As other plans developed, the Sykes-Picot Agreement was abandoned.

An important part of this plan was to protect British and French interest in pre-Israel Palestine. While this had been a neglected, desolate region from the time the Jews were dispersed in 135 CE, its location was of strategic interest to the British and French.

At this time, a change of government took place in Britain which would have monumental consequences. David Lloyd George became Prime Minister and Author James Balfour became Foreign Secretary. Both were Christian Zionist.

On November 2, 1917, Britain issued the famous Balfour Declaration giving superpower support of the rights of the Jewish people to establish a homeland in Palestine. The Jews were promised land on both sides of the Jordan River.

At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, the foundation was laid which led to Britain being granted the mandate to administer Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq). This was confirmed by the newly formed League of Nations at the San Remo Conference in 1920.

France would be given the mandate to administer Lebanon, Syria, and the Golan Heights. This set the stage for conflict between Britain, France, Sherif Hussein and the Jews for control of Palestine and both banks of the Jordan River.

At the end of World War I, the British made promises to the French, Ibn Ali Hussein (Arabs) and Jewish Zionists that were conflicting and impossible to keep. Britain would be granted the mandate to administer Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq). France would negotiate the mandate over Lebanon, Syria and the Golan.

Britain promised Ibn Ali Hussein Arab independence which the Arabs have achieved beyond their wildest dreams. Britain also promised the Jewish Zionists a homeland in Palestine which included both sides of the Jordan River.

Hussein had three sons, each of which were involved in the unfolding drama. For a brief time, Ali was king of pre-Saudi Arabia before being overthrown by Ibn Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia and a leader of the radical Islamic group known as the Wahhabis. Their favorite son today is Osama be Laden.

Faisal represented his father at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 and made an agreement with the Zionist leadership represented by Chaim Weizmann. In the agreement, Faisal accepted the principles of the Balfour Declaration which called for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

Unknown to the French, the British had promised Faisal they would appoint him as king of Syria. He was crowned as king but the French quickly forced him out in 1920. To placate Faisal, the British offered to make him king of Iraq. But they had already told his brother, Abdullah, that he would be king of Iraq. Left without a kingdom, Abdullah made plans to attack the French in Syria and establish himself as king.The British panicked and offered to make Abdullah the ruler of the British mandated area East of the Jordan River. But the British had already promised this land to the Jews. No matter what was promised, in 1921, the British took the land of Palestine East of the Jordan River and created a separate territory called Transjordan, later Jordan. This was seventy-seven percent of the land promised to the Jews.

In 1947, the United Nations further partitioned the land allocated to the Jews into a Jewish and Arab state. In 1948, Jordan attacked the new State of Israel and illegally occupied the Old City of Jerusalem and the land area originally promised to the Jews by the world powers. Since this land area is West of the Jordan River, the Jordanians referred to it as the “West Bank.” This is the territory liberated by the Israelis in 1967.

From biblical times, the “West Bank” was called Judea and Samaria. It is the very heart of the land God gave to the Jews as an everlasting possession. It was the inheritance of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Joseph. This is where HASHEM appeared to the Patriarchs, where they are buried, where the Tabernacle was located, where David and Solomon ruled, and where the Temple stood. It  was Judea and Samaria in the time of Jesus and throughout history.

The Lord calls this area the “Mountains of Israel” (Ezekiel 36). He says He will bring back the Jewish people to the Mountains of Israel. He says His people will “take possession” of the Mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 36:12). These are the so-called “settlers.” They are not obstacles to peace. They are not occupying the mythical “West Bank.” They are taking possession of Judea and Samaria, the Mountains of Israel promised by the Almighty to the Jewish people.

Dr. Richard Booker is a pioneering Christian Zionist and the author of 40 books and numerous courses many of which are on Israel and Jewish-Christian relationships. He is considered a spiritual father to many. To learn more about his ministry and teaching resources, see his web site and online bookstore at: