BY EARL COX, JPOST—
If only Israel would “return” the land it “stole” from Palestinian Arabs there would be a new Palestinian state: that’s the world’s simplistic view of how peace can be won in the Middle East. Despite the continuous repetition of this theme by media, diplomats, world leaders and Arabs, it disregards one foundational truth: Israel does not possess or “occupy” today any land that ever belonged to Palestinian Arabs.
Furthermore, there was never a “Palestinian Arab” until 1993 and the Oslo Accords. It was then that the United States crowned Yasser Arafat as the leader of a new pseudo-state and dubbed its citizens “Palestinians.” Now the world treats the Arabs who live in Israel as if they are citizens of a separate state, giving them multimillions of dollars each year in financial aid. These same world leaders also keep demanding that Israel give back or “return” to the “Palestinians” the land they supposedly took from them in the 1967 Six-Day War.
The world, quite frankly, is on the wrong side of history.
The world seems to forget that during the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel captured the territories of Judea and Samaria, often called the West Bank, from Jordan; the Golan Heights from Syria; and Gaza from Egypt. There was never an Arab Palestine nation.
In 1947 the United Nations voted to divide the land west of the Jordan River into two states, about half of it for an Arab state and half for a Jewish state. The Arabs refused the offer. The Jews accepted, declaring nationhood in May 1948. Five neighboring Arab armies immediately attacked the new Jewish state, and the God of Israel, along with the courageous Jewish people, miraculously defended the existence of the new Israel. Jordan took sovereignty over Judea and Samaria and Egypt over Gaza. 1948: No Palestinian Arab state or Palestinian Arabs on those lands.
The 1917 Balfour Declaration designated the British-controlled area of what is now Jordan and Israel as “a homeland for the Jewish people.” In 1922, however, Britain gave 80 percent of the territory (all the land east of the Jordan River) to the Arabs for a state, which they called Trans-Jordan. Still no Palestinian Arab state; no Palestinian Arabs.
From 1900 to 1948, The Zionism movement brought some 650,000 Jews from European and Asian countries to populate the ancient Jewish homeland. For some 400 years before World War I, the Ottoman Empire controlled the land in question. Before that, the Byzantine Empire ruled the area. Even then, no Palestinian Arab state existed on this land.
Why not go back even farther yet? Accurate historical reports in the Torah and Tenah inform us that this land belonged to the Jewish people for some two thousand years. These Scriptures behold what is called the Biblical Mandate, where the God of Israel promised all this land to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people and nation, and to his seed as an “eternal possession.” Interestingly, Prime Minister Netanyahu often claims this Biblical Mandate is still in effect today.
Yielding to world pressure, several previous Prime Ministers of Israel, under the slogan “Land for Peace,” offered to give the Arabs the land they are demanding. Although Israel has not given full sovereignty to the Arabs over the West Bank and Gaza, they have given them self-government and a great deal of independence. However, these efforts of “land for peace” have not produced peace, but instead continuing Arab terrorism and warfare.
Meanwhile, Israel and her Jewish people continue to hope and strive for peace with their Arab neighbors. Someone has said, “If the Arabs would lay down their arms, there would be peace and no warfare, but if Israel laid down its arms, there would be no Israel.” That is the reality for Israel today, as it has been for all of its 64 years as a restored nation.