ROOTS OF THE CONFLICT
the United Nations proposed the establishment of two states in the
regionone Jewish, one Arabthe Jews accepted the proposal and declared
their independence in 1948. The Jewish state constituted only 1/6 of one
percent of what was known as "the Arab world." The Arab states, however,
rejected the UN plan and since then have waged war against Israel
repeatedly, both all-out wars and wars of terrorism and attrition. In
1948, five Arab armies invaded Israel in an effort to eradicate it.
Jamal Husseini of the Arab Higher Committee spoke for many in vowing to
soak "the soil of our beloved country with the last drop of our blood."
Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded in 1964 three
years before Israel controlled the West Bank and Gaza. The PLO's
declared purpose was to eliminate the State of Israel by means of armed
struggle. To this day, the Web site of Yasir Arafat's Palestinian
Authority (PA) claims that the entirety of Israel is "occupied"
territory.* It is impossible to square this with the PLO and PA
assertions to Western audiences that the root of the conflict is
Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.
West Bank and Gaza (controlled by Jordan and Egypt from 1948 to 1967)
came under Israeli control during the Six Day War of 1967 that started
when Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran and Arab armies amassed on
Israel's borders to invade and liquidate the state. It is important
to note that during their 19-year rule, neither Jordan nor Egypt had
made any effort to establish a Palestinian state on those lands.
Just before the Arab nations launched their war of aggression against
the State of Israel in 1967, Syrian Defense Minister (later President)
Hafez Assad stated, "Our forces are now entirely ready . . . to initiate
the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the
Arab homeland . . . the time has come to enter into a battle of
annihilation." On the brink of the 1967 war, Egyptian President Gamal
Nassar declared, "Our basic objective will be the destruction of
Because of their animus against Jews, many leaders of the Palestinian
cause have long supported our enemies. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem
allied himself with Adolf Hitler during WWII. Yasir Arafat, chairman of
the PLO and president of the PA, has repeatedly targeted and killed
Americans. In 1973, Arafat ordered the execution of Cleo Noel, the
American ambassador to the Sudan. Arafat was very closely aligned with
the Soviet Union and other enemies of the United States throughout the
Cold War. In 1991, during the Gulf War, Arafat aligned himself with
Saddam Hussein, whom he praised as "the defender of the Arab nation, of
Muslims, and of free men everywhere."
Israel has, in fact, returned most of the land that it captured during
the 1967 war and right after that war offered to return all of it in
exchange for peace and normal relations; the offer was rejected.
As a result of the 1978 Camp David accords in which Egypt recognized
the right of Israel to exist and normal relations were established
between the two countries Israel returned the Sinai desert, a
territory three times the size of Israel and 91 percent of the territory
Israel took control of in the 1967 war.
2000, as part of negotiations for a comprehensive and durable peace,
Israel offered to turn over all but the smallest portion of the
remaining territories to Yasir Arafat. But Israel was rebuffed when
Arafat walked out of Camp David and launched the current
Yasir Arafat has never been less than clear about his goals at least
not in Arabic. On the very day that he signed the Oslo accords in 1993
in which he promised to renounce terrorism and recognize Israel he
addressed the Palestinian people on Jordanian television and declared
that he had taken the first step "in the 1974 plan." This was a
thinly-veiled reference to the "phased plan," according to which any
territorial gain was acceptable as a means toward the ultimate goal of
recently deceased Faisal al-Husseini, a leading Palestinian spokesman,
made the same point in 2001 when he declared that the West Bank and Gaza
represented only "22 percent of Palestine" and that the Oslo process was
a "Trojan horse." He explained, "When we are asking all the Palestinian
forces and factions to look at the Oslo Agreement and at other
agreements as 'temporary' procedures, or phased goals, this means that
we are ambushing the Israelis and cheating them." The goal, he
continued, was "the liberation of Palestine from the river to the sea,"
i.e., the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: all of Israel.
this day, the Fatah wing of the PLO (the "moderate" wing that was
founded and is controlled by Arafat himself) has as its official emblem
the entire state of Israel covered by two rifles and a hand grenade,
another fact that belies the claim that Arafat desires nothing more
than the West Bank and Gaza.
While criticism of Israel is not necessarily the same as
"anti-Semitism," it must be remembered that the Middle East press is, in
fact, rife with anti-Semitism. More than fifteen years ago the eminent
scholar Bernard Lewis could point out that "The demonization of Jews [in
Arabic literature] goes further than it had ever done in Western
literature, with the exception of Germany during the period of Nazi
rule." Since then, and through all the years of the "peace process,"
things have become much worse. Depictions of Jews in Arab and Muslim
media are akin to those of Nazi Germany, and medieval blood
libels including claims that Jews use Christian and Muslim blood in
preparing their holiday foods have become prominent and routine. One
example is a sermon broadcast on PA television where Sheik Ahmad
Halabaya stated, "They [the Jews] must be butchered and killed, as Allah
the Almighty said: 'Fight them: Allah will torture them at your hands.'
Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country.
Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them."
three-quarters of Palestinians approve of suicide bombings an
appalling statistic but, in light of the above facts, an unsurprising
THE STATE OF ISRAEL
There are 21 Arab countries in the Middle East and only one Jewish
state: Israel, which is also the only democracy in the region.
Israel is the only country in the region that permits citizens of all
faiths to worship freely and openly. Twenty percent of Israeli
citizens are not Jewish.
While Jews are not permitted to live in many Arab countries,
Arabs are granted full citizenship and have the right to vote in Israel.
Arabs are also free to become members of the Israeli parliament (the
Knesset). In fact, several Arabs have been democratically elected to the
Knesset and have been serving there for years. Arabs living in Israel
have more rights and are freer than most Arabs living in Arab countries.
Israel is smaller than the state of New Hampshire and is surrounded by
nations hostile to her existence. Some peace proposals including
the recent Saudi proposal demand withdrawal from the entire West Bank,
which would leave Israel 9 miles wide at its most vulnerable
oft-cited UN Resolution 242 (passed in the wake of the 1967 war) does
not, in fact, require a complete withdrawal from the West Bank. As legal
scholar Eugene Rostow put it, "Resolution 242, which as undersecretary
of state for political affairs between 1966 and 1969 I helped produce,
calls on the parties to make peace and allows Israel to administer
the territories it occupied in 1967 until 'a just and lasting peace
in the Middle East' is achieved. When such a peace is made, Israel is
required to withdraw its armed forces 'from territories' it occupied
during the Six-Day War not from 'the' territories nor from 'all' the
territories, but from some of the territories."
[this is not semantics, but actual
facts – Troy].
Israel has, of course, conceded that the Palestinians have legitimate
claims to the disputed territories and is willing to engage in
negotiations on the matter. As noted above, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Barak offered almost all of the territories to Arafat at Camp David in
Despite claims that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are the
obstacle to peace, Jews lived there for centuries before being
massacred or driven out by invading Arab armies in 1948-49. And
contrary to common misperceptions, Israeli settlements which constitute
less than two percent of the territories almost never displace
area of the West Bank includes some of the most important sites in
Jewish history, among them Hebron, Bethlehem, and Jericho. East
Jerusalem, often cited as an "Arab city" or "occupied territory," is the
site of Judaism's holiest monument. While under Arab rule (1948-67),
this area was entirely closed to Jews. Since Israel took
control, it has been open to people of all faiths.
Finally, let us consider the demand that certain territories in the
Muslim world must be off-limits to Jews. This demand is of a piece with
Hitler's proclamation that German land had to be "Judenrein" (empty
of Jews). Arabs can live freely throughout Israel, and as full
citizens. Why should Jews be forbidden to live or to own land in an area
like the West Bank simply because the majority of people is Arab?
In sum, a
fair and balanced portrayal of the Middle East will reveal that one nation
stands far above the others in its commitment to human rights and democracy as
well as in its commitment to peace and mutual security. That nation is Israel.
Does Trust Spell Trap?
On January 4
the Palestinian religious leadership announced that the PA goal should be the
destruction of Israel (www.pmw.org.il).
They state that they shall realize the reality of 1967 borders "no matter what
it takes" which means more violence. They say that "their
grandfather's blood requires this." The "grandfathers" were supposedly
expelled from Arab lands by Israel which is just more historical revisionism.
The PA mullahs go on to say that the Palestinians will conquer the same way
Muhammed conquered--by the sword if necessary.
pleased to hear Rice make a realistic statement: "After ten cease-fires, why
should this one be different?" It isn't different is the point. The same PA
mantras continue. The "shameful suffering of the Palestinians" is the fault of
the Israelis, when it's the fault of PA thugs and leaders. Then there is
the issue of the "shameful fence/wall" which has saved thousands of Israeli
lives. Then we hear "the occupation must end" except the "occupation" isn't
an "occupation." It is land taken by the Israelis in wars in which they were
attacked. The land was confiscated for defensive purposes as in any war.
But in what other war was it ever demanded that such land be returned so their
enemies can turn around and assault them again?
this usual rhetoric, another issue is what the Bible says. I know, few care
about that. You don't read about a two-state solution to this problem in
the Bible! In Ezekiel 26, God states an oath that the restored nation of Israel
will not be given into the hands of the nations around her.
Bush said today that we're watching a process unfold "where people are becoming
more trustworthy." Wrong. Since when is Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and
other similar groups in the region more trustworthy. The PA is not more
trustworthy because terrorists don't change their leopard spots. Hamas
can extinguish all the good Rice might accomplish in one suicide bombing.
Hamas won about 65% of the vote in the recent elections and obviously many
are loyal to this terrorist group, which also operates in America--and not with
good intentions. They have a very loyal following from many Palestinians because
they also do "humanitarian work" for them.
I fear trust
is spelled t-r-a-p and we can throw in the term "strong delusion" as well.
continue to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Ps. 122:6). The only way we
will see that before the Millennium is if individual Jews and Arabs become
followers of Messiah Jesus. It's happening today like no other time since
the early church days, so there is reason to be hopeful and positive in that
respect. The more those in that region become followers of "the prince of
peace," the more we will see genuine, realistic peace.
understand more of the conflict, visit
www.olivetreeviews.org, and the categories of "Islam & the Arabs,"
"Palestine," and "Israel." Also under "Current Headlines" find a perplexing
contrasting Condi Rice with Colin Powell.