Monday, January 5, 2009
A Review of Israel Basics
A Review of the Israel Basics
Just in case anybody’s not up on the history of the area.
Until Israel turned Gaza over to the Palestinian Authority two years ago, there had never been an independent, non-Jewish state in the area we call Palestine. Ergo, Israel is not occupying anything.
There have been three instances of independent states in the area we call Palestine, and all three have been Jewish states. They are: The Davidic kingdom, from about 1250BC to about 650 BC, the Hasmonean Kingdom, from about 140 BC to about 60 BC, and the modern state of Israel formed by UN agreement in 1948 (those years are off the top of my head, and may be off 50 years or so here and there.) There are no known descendants of the Canaanite peoples that the Davidic kings conquered. At all other times, Palestine has been ruled by an occupying army from elsewhere.
There have been Jewish residents in the area pretty much non-stop from the time of the Exodus in the Bible. There were periods when the land was very, very sparsely populated, but what residents there were have been at least partly Jewish since then.
The Zionists began emigrating during the mid-19th century, and produced an economy in a previously barren area. Most of the land they farmed was purchased from its owners in the area.
Shortly after the British took over the region from the Ottoman Turks in 1917, they attempted to solve the already-existing tensions between Jewish settlers and Arabic farmers using a two-state solution, similar to what’s being tried today. They created a Jewish state called Palestine, and a Palestinian Arabic state called Trans-Jordan. Trans-Jordan is the modern nation of Jordan. Yes, that’s right, Jordan was intended to be the Arabic Palestinian state.
After WW II, when the British ceded the land to its residents, the UN attempted to solve the mounting tensions between Jewish and Arabic residents using another two-state solution — again, like what’s being tried today. The Arabic nations and the Palestinians rejected the UN’s partition agreement in 1947 and mounted an attack aimed at pushing the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea. They lost — and in my mind, they forfeited any possible claim to a separate, non-Jewish state in Palestine at that moment.
The West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights were the regions in Palestine that the Arabic armies managed to hold onto after they assaulted the fledgling state of Israel in 1947 and were repulsed. They lost all of those regions when they attempted to annihilate Israel again in 1967. The Palestinians have no legitimate claim to those lands, since they only obtained them by conquest in 1947, and lost them by attempted conquest thereafter.
When non-Jewish residents of the area fled in 1948 after the war, the surrounding nations (except for Jordan) refused to grant them citizenship. They have been kept in camps by those nations ever since. Palestinian Arabs are welcome to become citizens in Israel, and are represented in the Knesset.
You may form your own conclusions regarding who’s entitled to what land. However, the modern notion that’s so common among young folks who don’t know the history of the region, namely that Israel is occupying Palestinian land and the Palestinians are patriots attempting to free their homeland, is fantasy, completely unsupported by history. There has never been an independent, non-Jewish state on the land we call Palestine.
Pay attention to the number of times well-meaning outsiders attempted to settle the conflict with a two-state solution. Note how well it’s worked. If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got…