My wife came to me with a story that a person at our church gave a lecture on the Holy Land…a.k.a. Israel. Then she told me the people coming out of the presentation were saying things like, “I didn’t know the Jews were so evil.” or “It’s hard to believe what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians who are just trying to feed their families.” and “sure they throw bombs, aren’t they justified given what has happened to them.” I’m sure she was paraphrasing here but the end result of the entire presentation was about the evils of the state of Israel and how it should really belong to Palestine…except this person is a layman, using typical liberal and Hamas arguments that are easily disproven.
The fact of the matter is that I often listen to liberals whine about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the country of Israel. Listen hard enough, or actually just listen, and you will hear someone talking about the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people, or Israel is illegally occupying the territory and country of Palestine, etc. What it all boils down to is that Israel bad, Palestine good, as the evil Jewish invaders seek to push all the peaceful Palestinians out of their rightful country. Well, now it is time for a history lesson on the region.
When arguing their point the opposition often brings up this visual. However, this map series is dishonest; made up of four or five maps, the message of the series is clear: The Jews of Palestine have been gobbling up more and more “Palestinian land,” spreading like some sort of plague that overcomes the land. Fact Time.
The state of Palestine didn’t exist until 1988, when the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization founded in 1964), established the “state” with the flag and coat of arms, all the trappings. Never mind that the PLO had been declared a terror organization in 1987, they established a state. Nevermind that the state they established was the already occupied by the country of Israel…of course this state wasn’t even recognized by the United Nations as a non-member observer state until 2012. Up until that time the PLO’s “state” was only a thing on paper, a magical, fictitious land like Narnia, Westeros, or The Shire. A country named Palestine NEVER existed until 2012 when it was recognized by the same body that partitioned and recognized the State of Israel in 1948. So the nation of Israel is 64 years older than the “nation” of Palestine.
The fact of the matter is that the entirety of the middle east didn’t exist as we know it until after WWI. There was no Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabi, Qatar, Egypt etc.. it was all the Turkish Ottoman Empire from 1798-1918. Really, you can blame WWI and T.E. Lawrence, yes Lawrence of Arabia. He was a british officer during WWI who united the vast arab tribes on the Sinai Peninsula to revolt against the ottoman empire between 1916-1918. After WWI he helped split the Ottoman empire into OETAs (occupied enemy territory administrations) after the fall of the empire. This empire started in 1299 and controlled nearly all of the middle east, and it was carved up by the western powers like a thanksgiving turkey with no regard to ethnic lines, religious groupings, alliances, or again, etc. Is it any wonder the whole region is some kind of S&^% show?
And yes, there was no Israel prior to 1948, but there had been a Jewish presence in that region of the world for over 4000 years.The historical Jewish right to a homeland in Palestine was first recognized by the modern international community (and by Great Britain, which had gained control of the region from the Ottoman Empire during World War I) in the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, the Treaty of Paris in 1919 at the end of WWI and the League of Nations Mandate of 1922. All of these documents preceded the Nazi Holocaust by decades, thereby disproving more recent claims according to which Israel’s creation was justified not by thousands of years of Jewish history, but rather only by the Holocaust.
Before that time, that entire region was Syria, which was part of the Ottoman Empire…not an individual state. The area became Mandatory Palestine, an area under British protection from 1920-1948. When the U.N. did finally partition the area for a Jewish State in 1948, they set aside land for both a Jewish and an Arab state…the small areas listed on that last map. Israel has worked to stay within their borders, but several times the angry arabs that live there have tried to break out of their borders and usurp land that rightfully belongs to Israel. Despite the fact that all Israel wants to do is live in peace. But a tiny bit more on the non-entity that Palestine is….palestine is a reference to an area, a vast area, and not a people…again these were ottomans in the empire…not palestinians.
The word Palestine or a derivative thereof first appears in the 5th century B.C. when Herodotus called the entire area of the region that now includes Syria, Israel, and Lebanon…Palaistine. In the 2nd century the Romans crushed the Shimor Bar Kokhba revolt in 132 AD (by the way this was a Jewish revolt in Judea…not an arab in sight for this one) and the Romans renamed the area Palaestina to minimize the Jewish identification with their promised land (Israel). Centuries later, leading up to Israel’s independence in 1948, it was common for the international press to label Jews, not Arabs, living in the mandate (British ruled Mandatory Palestine) as Palestinians. It was not until years after Israeli independence that the Arabs living in the were called Palestinians. The word never applies to arabs until after 1967 when they adopted the word in an attempt to create a class of people who had been robbed of their land by the terrible Jews.
This conflict has never been about the occupation of “Palestine,” instead it is about the actual existence of the Jewish state of Israel. Israel has accepted a two state solution many times as long as there would be an end to hostilities, but the Arabs (a.k.a palestinians and every other middle eastern country) reject that solution. They don’t want to live in peace the want to live without Israel existing and this is why they attempt to twist the truth about the actual Israel-Palestine conflict and turn it into an actual thing, when in fact it is hardly anything at all.