by Victor Sharpe, Family Security Matters
Yet again an American administration, this one with decidedly pro-Muslim attitudes, is attempting to create a new Arab state called Palestine within the heartland of ancestral Jewish territory known by the biblical names: Judea and Samaria. But most of the world chooses to know the area by the Arab name of West Bank, a name first applied by its Jordanian occupiers between 1948 and 1967.
Sadly, too many Israeli leaders, politicians and journalists have repeatedly used the Arab name instead of insisting upon using the biblical and ancestral Jewish names, which in Hebrew are Yehuda and Shomron. In doing so, they have foolishly ceded much of their patrimony.
In fact, Arabs don’t like the name Yehuda because it is the Hebrew name meaning Judea and for them it is the inconvenient truth that Jews, Yehudim, originate from Judea – Yehuda – the southern region of the very territory they now demand for their Arab state. Twenty two Arab states already exist in a land mass greater than that of the Unites States of America. Israel itself is no larger than Wales or New Jersey.
Israelis, and even pro-Israelis, have fallen into the trap of using what has become in English the pejorative term “settlements” instead of villages for the Jewish communities established in Judea and Samaria. This has been a self- inflicted wound, which carries with it the premise that these communities are imposed upon another peoples’ land. That could not be further from the truth.
Many of the Jewish communities within Judea and Samaria are built upon ancient Jewish villages and towns that existed in biblical and post-biblical times. They are merely the rebuilt and re-constituted habitations where Jewish ancestors lived. But the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians want the land and the expulsion of all Jews living in it. Apartheid: Arab style.
Apart from the patriotic souls who have returned to the biblical heartland and whom the world, especially the Left, vilifies as “settlers,” many Israelis still make the mistake of using terms such as “West Bank” or beyond the “Green Line,” meaning beyond the old 1967 Israeli border, which at its most populous region was only nine miles wide. George Bush, when Governor of Texas, visited Israel and reportedly remarked about the tiny width then of Israel by saying” ‘Why, in Texas, we have driveways longer than that.”
A Christian journalist, Stan Goodenough, who lives in Israel, and who I admire immensely, has written an excellent article on this very subject. It can be found here.
There are only two occasions when the geographical territory known as Palestine had a political association. The first was after Rome defeated the second Jewish uprising against Rome. The Emperor Hadrian renamed Judea in Latin, Palestina, eventually Anglicized into Palestine, as an insult to the Jews by using the name of their ancient biblical enemy, the Philistines. This term lasted from 135 AD until the Arab invasion in the 7th century.
The next time the territory was called Palestine, in a political context, was during the British Mandate in the first decades of the 20th century. But throughout history, no independent, sovereign nation called Palestine ever existed. Certainly there was never an Arab state with such a name. In fact, from the time of the Arab conquest until the British occupation and Mandate, it was never a name on the world’s political map.
The territory was always a portion of some greater empire, be it Arab, Mamluk or Turkish. The few inhabitants who wandered across its empty landscape never considered themselves a national entity. It was merely a territory primarily warred over by conflicting Islamic dynasties ruling from Baghdad, Cairo, Istanbul or Damascus. A Kingdom of Jerusalem existed during the Crusader period, created by Christian knights, but with no ancestral roots to the land.
The first Jew, Abraham, entered Canaan, modern day Israel, some 4,000 years ago and purchased land in Hebron – one of Judaism’s four holy cities – the others being Tiberias, Safed and, the jewel in the crown, Jerusalem. Abraham, his son Isaac, and grandchild, Jacob, along with all but one of their wives, are buried there. You can read the biblical passage in Genesis 12: verses1 to 3 and 12.
The Jewish faith is unique in that it enshrines a people, a national group, in an inseparable bond with a special land: the Land of Israel. Its geographical position along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea lies between Asia and Africa, and between the river valleys of the Nile and Euphrates. This meant that it was fated to be a bridge between warring empires: Egypt to the southwest and, in turn, Assyria, Babylonia and Persia to the East.
When Rome became the controlling empire of the lands adjoining the Mediterranean basin and beyond, it controlled both the Nile Valley and the approaches to the eastern territories. This reduced the importance of Judea to a minor province.
Theologically, and historically, the Land of Israel is the birthplace of first Judaism and secondly, Christianity. The followers of Islam, realizing the attachment of Jews and Christians to their respective historic holy sites in the land, chose to create within the Koran and Hadith the claim that Mohammad ascended to heaven on a winged horse from Al-Aksa, meaning the farthest place, but in later years – for political and triumphalist reasons – they predictably chose it to be Jerusalem.
Thus a political claim on the Holy City was artificially established, which was made tangible by the Muslim mosques of Al-Aksa and the Dome of the Rock built upon the very site of the two ancient Jewish temples. Mosques are built throughout the world on top of holy places or hallowed sites of non-Muslim faiths.
This is Islamic practice and should be a dire warning to all as we witness the present day Islamic attempt to build a victory mosque a mere 600 feet from hallowed Ground Zero where Muslim terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers.
After Hadrian’s defeat of Judea and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Jews, with many more taken as slaves, the land was almost denuded of its inhabitants. However, Jews remained in whatever numbers they could sustain and there is ample archaeological evidence of Jewish villages and synagogues existing throughout the Byzantine period from the Golan in the north to southern Israel, including in Gaza.
It is false to believe that Jews only returned in the late 19th century. On the contrary throughout the nearly two thousand years of exile, Jews never stopped returning to join existing communities in the land.
Despite often brutal alien conquests of the land – from the Babylonians in 586 BC, Muslim Arabs in 637 AD, Crusaders in 1099 – up until the British capture of the land from Ottoman Turkey in 1917 – there has been a continuous Jewish presence.
In the Diaspora, Jews found refuge wherever they could and retained a spiritual bond with their ancestral homeland. In synagogues around the globe, Jews face towards Jerusalem, which is synonymous with Zion, and utter prayers for a return to Zion and Jerusalem.
The vast majority of Arabs living in Mandatory Palestine in 1947, just prior to the reconstitution of Israel in 1948, were not the descendants of Arabs who had lived in the land for “thousands of years” as Arab and pro-Arab propagandists would have you believe.
Rather, the Arabs were immigrants, or children of immigrants, mostly illegal, who came in the late 19th century and early 20th century from Egypt, Syria, and even as far as Sudan, to take advantage of the opportunities in agriculture and industry the Jewish pioneers were creating.
These Arabs immigrated to a new land from their stagnant countries of origin; the Jews, on the other hand, were returning to their ancestral homeland.
The eternal Jewish capital, Jerusalem, is now demanded by the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians. In the current “peace talks” Judea and Samaria are in grave danger of being turned into an Islamist terrorist bridgehead, which will threaten what is left of Israel just as Gaza, which Israel relinquished to the Arabs in 2005, has become a nightmare for the Jewish state.
The Arabs demand that Jerusalem be re-divided as it was during the Jordanian occupation from 1948 to 1967. And the world applauds these demands, even desiring to celebrate the re-division of Jerusalem as it celebrates the reunification of Berlin. How strange, but we live in strange times. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any people other than the Jews and never, in all recorded history, has it ever been the capital of an Arab state.
It is only a matter of time before Israel is blamed by the Obama regime for any failure of the peace talks. It is long overdue, therefore, for the Jewish state to do what I and many others have been urging for so long and which Mr. Goodenough so tellingly implores in this portion of his article. He states:
“As the second round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks wrapped up in Sharm e-Sheikh on Tuesday, US Mideast envoy George Mitchell offered no evidence of progress on the issue of West Bank settlements.
“West Bank settlements” instead of Jewish communities in Samaria and Judea! It’s as if almost all Israelis have resigned themselves to calling their land “not our land.”
“This course has been followed for so long now. And truly, in the world of 21st century international politics, it is hard, some would say impossible, to reverse.
“Whose is the land? This is the battle: You have to announce, declare, proclaim, and assert: “Samaria and Judea is our land. It is Jewish land. It is the cradle of our nationhood, the home and the burial place of our founding fathers, the geographical furnace in which our nation was formed and forged. Our roots are irremovably planted here and they will not be severed.
“And you have to vow: “We will build on this land; we will develop it; we will live in it, we will grow in it, and we will die in it. We will never give one inch of it away.”
This then is the stark but long overdue choice Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has before him. And not only him but all Israelis who have been seduced into using the nomenclature of a world, which exults in delegitimizing the Jewish presence in its tiny homeland. Israelis did this because they yearned for peace but it has had disastrous ramifications.
But from the Muslim Arabs, peace will never come. And even now, according to the Debka Security Report, Netanyahu is proposing to give away most of the Golan – biblical Bashan – to Syria in return for yet another worthless piece of paper.
Finally, remember these words written by Ruth Wisse in her book: If I am not for myself.
“Arabs, having conquered more civilizations than any other people in history, are in the weakest position of all to deny the rights of a single, tiny Jewish state. Indeed, Jews have more concurrent rights to their land than any other people on this earth can claim: aboriginal rights, divine rights, legal rights, internationally granted rights and pioneering rights.”
Ms. Wisse has also stated that, “Jews have set themselves up as a comfortable punching bag for the rest of the world.”
She is correct. The time is now long overdue for Israel to be the lion; to finally end once and for all the nonsense that peace talks with the Arab and Islamic world represent, and to no longer be the international sacrificial lamb.
Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer, contributing editor to Jerusalem Connection, and author of Volumes One and Two of “Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.”