The Land God Promised
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
On June 3, 2009, the American president, Barack Hussein Obama, while addressing the Muslim world from Cairo, stated: "Israel has been depriving the Palestinians of their homeland for 60 years."
Since many of us may not remember our history, I'd like to clarify the background of his statement and argument. But first, we must ask three specific questions:
Number One: "When did Israel become a state?"
The Answer: "In 1312 B.C."
Number Two: "Why is this land called Palestine?"
The Answer: "In 63 B.C., Roman troops invaded Judah and named the land Palaestina, for Philistia. Palaestina (Syrian Latin) - our English word, Palestine – was named because of its location between Egypt and southwest Asia."
Number Three: "When was the state of Israel the Palestinian homeland?"
The Answer: "Never! Palestine has been a center of conflict for thousands of years. Many peoples have invaded the region, yet there has never been an independent state of Palestine or a Palestinian homeland."
A Brief History of Palaestina
Amorites, Canaanites, and other Semitic peoples entered the area about 2000 B.C.1 The area became known as the Land of Canaan2. Sometime between, about 1800 B.C. and 1500 B.C., a Semitic people called Hebrews3 left Mesopotamia and settled in Canaan, where they became known as Israelites4 – named from their father, Jacob, later named Israel by the Lord. In the 1200's B.C., Moses led5 the Israelites out of Egypt, and they returned6 to Canaan. The Israelites practiced a religion centered on the belief in one God. Other peoples in Canaan worshiped many gods.
For about 200 years, the Israelites fought the other peoples of Canaan and the neighboring areas. One of their strongest enemies, the Philistines, controlled the southwestern coast of Canaan, an area which came to be referred to as Philistia.
Until about 1029 B.C., the Israelites were loosely organized into 12 tribes. The constant warfare with neighboring peoples led the Israelites to choose a king, Saul7, as their leader. Saul's successor, David8, unified the nation to form the Kingdom of Israel, about 1000 B.C. David established his capital in Jerusalem9. His son, Solomon, succeeded him as king and built10 the first Temple for the worship of God. Israel remained united until Solomon's death about 928 B.C. The northern tribes of Israel then split away from the tribes in the south. The northern state continued to be called Israel. The southern state, called Judah, kept Jerusalem as its capital. The word Jew, which came to be used for all Israelites, comes from the name Judah.
During the 700's B.C., the Assyrians, a people who lived in what is now Iraq, extended their rule westward to the Mediterranean Sea. They conquered Israel in 722 or 721 B.C. After about 100 years, the Babylonians began to take over the Assyrian Empire. They conquered Judah in 587 or 586 B.C. and destroyed Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. They enslaved many Jews and forced them to live in exile in Babylonia. About 50 years later, the Persian king Cyrus conquered Babylonia. Cyrus allowed a group of Jews from Babylonia to rebuild and settle in Jerusalem.
The Persians ruled most of the Middle East, including the southwestern coast of Canaan (or "Philistia" - again - the area that 467 years later would be called Palestine), from about 530 to 331 B.C. Alexander the Great then conquered the Persian Empire.
After Alexander's death in 323 B.C., his generals divided his empire. One of these generals, Seleucus11, founded a dynasty (series of rulers) that gained control of much of Philistia by around 200 B.C. At first the new rulers called Seleucids allowed the practice of Judaism. But later, one of the kings, Antiochus IV, tried to prohibit it. In 167 B.C., the Jews revolted under the leadership of the Maccabeans and drove the Seleucids out of the Cannanic area of "Philistia". The Jews reestablished an independent kingdom called Judah.
In 63 B.C., as previously stated, Roman troops invaded Judah, and it came under Roman control. The Romans called the area Judea. Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem in the early years of Roman rule. Roman rulers put down Jewish revolts in A.D. 66, 70 and A.D. 132. In A.D. 135, the Romans drove the Jews out of Jerusalem.
Most of the Jews fled from Judea, including the southwestern coast of Canaan, now called "Palestine" by their Roman conquerors. But Jewish communities continued to exist in Galilee, the northernmost part of Palestine. Palestine was governed by the Roman Empire until the A.D. 300's and then by the Byzantine Empire. In time, Christianity spread to most of Palestine.
During the A.D. 600's, Muslim Arab armies moved north from Arabia to conquer most of the Middle East, including Palestine. Muslim powers controlled the region until the early 1900's. The rulers allowed Christians and Jews to keep their religions. However, most of the local population gradually accepted Islam and the Arab-Islamic culture of their rulers.
In the 1000's, the Seljuks, a Turkish people, began to take over Palestine. They gained control of Jerusalem in 1071. Seljuk rule of Palestine lasted less than 30 years. Christian crusaders from Europe wanted to regain the land where their religion began. The Crusades started in 1096. The Christians captured Jerusalem in 1099. They held the city until 1187, when the Muslim ruler Saladin attacked Palestine and took control of Jerusalem.
In the mid-1200's, Mamelukes based in Egypt established an empire that in time included Palestine. Arab Muslims made up most of Palestine's population. Beginning in the late 1300's, Jews from Spain and other Mediterranean lands settled in Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine. The Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamelukes in 1516, and Palestine became part of the Ottoman Empire. The Jewish population slowly increased, and by 1880, about 24,000 Jews were living in Palestine.
Beginning in the late 1800's, oppression of Jews in Eastern Europe set off a mass emigration of Jewish refugees. Some Jews formed a movement called Zionism, which sought to make Palestine an independent Jewish nation. The Zionists established farm colonies in Palestine. At the same time, Palestine's Arab population grew rapidly. By 1914, the total population of Palestine stood at 700,000. About 615,000 people were Arabs, and 85,000 were Jews.
During World War I (1914-1918), the Ottoman Empire joined Germany and Austria-Hungary against the Allies. An Ottoman military government ruled Palestine. The United Kingdom and some of the European Allies planned to divide the Ottoman Empire among themselves after the war. The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 called for part of Palestine to be placed under a joint Allied government. The United Kingdom offered to back Arab demands for postwar independence from the Ottomans in return for Arab support for the Allies. In 1916, some Arabs revolted against the Ottomans in the belief that the United Kingdom would help establish Arab independence in the Middle East. The Arabs later claimed that Palestine was included in the area promised to them, but the British denied this.
In 1917, in an attempt to gain Jewish support for its war effort, the United Kingdom issued the Balfour Declaration. The declaration stated the United Kingdom's support for the creation of a Jewish national home in Palestine, without violating the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities.
After the war, the League of Nations divided much of the Ottoman Empire into Mandated territory. In 1920, the United Kingdom received a provisional mandate over Palestine, which would extend west and east of the Jordan River. The British were to help the Jews re-build a national home and promote the creation of self-governing institutions. In 1922, the League declared that the boundary of Palestine would be limited to the area west of the river. The area east of the river, called Transjordan (now Jordan), was made a separate British mandate. The two mandates took effect in 1923.
The terms of the Palestine mandate were not clear, and various parties interpreted it differently. Many Zionists believed that the United Kingdom did not do enough to promote a Jewish national home. They especially opposed restrictions set by the British on Jewish immigration and land purchases. The British hoped to establish self-governing institutions, as required by the mandate. But their proposals for such institutions were unacceptable to the Arabs, and so none were created.
The Arabs opposed the idea of a Jewish national home. They feared that the British were handing Palestine over to the Zionists by allowing too many Jews to immigrate to Palestine. During this period, a Palestinian Arab national movement first appeared. On several occasions, riots and demonstrations were mounted by the Arabs to protest British policies and Zionist activities.
In the early 1930's, over 100,000 Jewish refugees came to Palestine from Nazi Germany and Poland. This development alarmed the Palestinian Arabs. The Arabs organized a general uprising that almost paralyzed Palestine during the late 1930's. In 1939, the British began to drastically limit Jewish immigration and land purchases for the next five years. Any Jewish immigration after that would depend on Arab approval.
During World War II (1939-1945), many Palestinian Arabs and Jews joined the Allied forces. After the war, the Zionists used force to stop the United Kingdom from limiting Jewish immigration into Palestine. The Zionists wanted the British to allow immigration of several hundred thousand Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, the mass murder of European Jews and others by the Nazis.
The United Nations Special Commission on Palestine recommended that Palestine be divided into an Arab state and a Jewish state. The commission called for Jerusalem to be put under international control. The UN General Assembly adopted this plan on Nov. 29, 1947. The Jews accepted the UN decision, but the Arabs rejected it. Fighting broke out immediately.
On May 14, 1948, the Jews proclaimed the independent state of Israel, and the British withdrew from Palestine. The next day, neighboring Arab nations attacked Israel. When the fighting ended in 1949, Israel held territories beyond the boundaries set by the UN plan. The rest of the area assigned to the Arab state was occupied by Egypt and Jordan. Egypt held the Gaza Strip and Jordan held the West Bank. About 700,000 Arabs fled or were driven out of Israel and became refugees in neighboring Arab countries.
The UN arranged a series of cease-fires between the Arabs and the Jews in 1948 and 1949. Full-scale wars broke out again in 1956 and 1967. By the time the UN cease-fire ended the 1967 war, Israel had occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Israel also held Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and Syria's Golan Heights. In October 1973, Egypt and Syria launched a war against Israel. Cease-fires ended most of the fighting within a month.
The 1967 war brought about a million Palestinian Arabs under Israeli rule. After the war, the fate of the Palestinians came to play a large role in the Arab-Israeli struggle. In time, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) became recognized by all the Arab states as the representative of the Palestinian people. The PLO pledged to liberate Palestine. Israel strongly opposed the PLO because of its terrorist acts against Jews.
In 1978, Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David Accords, an agreement designed to settle their disputes. Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982. The agreement included provisions for a five-year period of self-government for the residents of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. This period was to be followed by a decision about the future status of these territories. But no arrangement for such self-government was made following the agreement.
Beginning in 1987, periods of violence occurred in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as protests by Arabs swept through the regions. These actions became known as the first intifada12, which means uprising in Arabic. Israeli troops killed a number of protesters. In 1993, 1995, and 1997, Israel and the PLO signed agreements that led to the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip and most cities and towns of the West Bank. As the Israelis withdrew, Palestinians took control of these areas. In January 1996, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian-controlled parts of the West Bank elected a legislature and a president to make laws and administer these areas.
In October 1998, Israel and the Palestinians signed another agreement. As a result of the accord, Israel turned over more land in the West Bank to Palestinian control, and it allowed a Palestinian airport in the Gaza Strip to open.
Peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders continued in 2000. However, the two sides were unable to agree on some key issues, especially those involving the final status of Jerusalem. In September 2000, Palestinians began to stage riots and demonstrations against Israeli security forces in Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. This violence came to be known as the second Palestinian intifada. Israel responded to the intifada with police crackdowns and military attacks in Palestinian areas. Hundreds of Palestinians and Israelis died in the violence.
So we see that Israel became a state in 1312 B.C, two millennia before Islam existed. Upon conquering the land in 1272 B.C., Jews ruled it for 1,000 years and maintained a continuous presence there for 3,300 years. The only Arab rule following conquest in 633 B.C. lasted 22 years. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem was the Jewish capital and was never the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even under the rule of Jordan, the existing Palestinian Arab state created by Britain, (East) Jerusalem was not made the capital and no Arab leader came to visit it. Jerusalem is mentioned 700 times in the Bible, but not once is it mentioned in the Quran. King David founded Jerusalem; Muhammad never set foot in it. In 1948, Arab leaders urged their people to leave, promising to cleanse the land of Jewish presence. Sixty-eight percent of them fled without ever setting eyes on an Israeli soldier. Arab refugees from Israel began calling themselves "Palestinians" in 1967, two decades after the creation of the "modern state" of Israel.
Seven hundred twenty-five thousand Palestinian Arabs living within the borders of Israel fled or were expelled in 1948. Today nearly 1 million Arabs live as citizens within the borders of the state Israel. It is rather strange to hear that today there are 4 million Arab refugees. Where do they come from? And why didn't affluent Arab leaders drenched in oil-money look after their own Arab people for 60 years? Because they have a Nazi-like lack of concern for their fellow men and enslave their women. They use those who live in the camps to pressure Israel – this is the dirty purpose of those camps.
There have been five wars against Israel by Arab nations all started by the Arabs. During the Jordanian occupation, countless Jewish holy sites were vandalized. The U.N. was silent when the Jordanians destroyed 58 synagogues in the old city of Jerusalem. It continued its silence while Jordan systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, and remained silent when Jordan enforced apartheid laws preventing Jews from accessing the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. Out of 175 United Nations Security Council resolutions up to 1990, 97 were against Israel; out of 690 General Assembly Resolutions, 429 were against Israel.
Former Prime Minister Olmert, as well as President Peres - misjudging the motives of their enemies - both seem to think that delivering more and more Israeli land to the Arabs will lead to peace. But this initiative will lead to putting the Jewish state in extreme danger.
The conference in Annapolis in November 2007 was a waste of money. No wonder Arab leaders urge a strong U.S. role in Israel/Palestinian peace talks. Hearing then President Bush talk about "occupied territories," it is easy to see that he has accepted their diabolical reasoning. Who are they to undo God's promises to the Jewish people?
A survey conducted by the Midgam Institutes reveals that 73 percent of the Israeli population refuses any concession on Jerusalem that is not approved by a referendum. In addition, 70 percent of respondents believe that Jerusalem cannot be the capital of both countries at once, according to Guysen International News. Another poll undertaken shortly before Olmert's departure to Annapolis sponsored by the Israel Policy Center for Promoting Parliamentary Democracy and Jewish values in Israeli Public life oppose handing strategic territory to the Arab Palestinians.
Our Founding American Fathers were crystal clear that a free society can only exist with responsible and moral people. That is true for any society. The Israeli government has to deal with liars and terrorists. According to Guysen International News, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, stated recently during an interview by the Jerusalem Post, "There has never been a temple on the Mosque Esplanada." He thinks we should not talk about the "Temple Mount," but instead, talk about the "Al Aqsa" mosque. I am pretty sure that most, if not all, Arabs at the Annapolis Conference not only believe the same and therefore are committed to a lie, but are determined to liquidate the basis of Western Civilization in their midst, the thousands of years old Israeli heartland. Western leaders, including George W., Bush and Barack Hussein Obama, state that they are Christians, but in their political dealings deny our roots and capitulate to the aggressive Islamic lies.
And what about the brilliant Israeli proposition of Benno Elon, chairman of the National Union Party and a member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee? He describes the Israeli borders set by God in his booklet "Israel, Arabs, and the Middle East" when God gave the Land of Promise as a gift to Abraham and his descendents. Nowhere in the Bible is there any indication that God canceled His promises.
The God-given borders of the land belonging to Abraham's descendants through Isaac are from "the River" of Egypt (the Nile, or smaller wadi in Eastern Sinai) to The River (the biblical name for the Euphrates). These two border descriptions have never been fully occupied by the Jewish nation, but they stretch from Eastern Egypt past Damascus all the way into western Iraq.
To deny this is to deny God who gave it.
1. Genesis 10, et al. (back to text)
2. Genesis 9:25-27; Exodus 23:31 (back to text)
3. Genesis 14:13 (see also Genesis 10:25; 11:16-17); Genesis 40:15 (back to text)
4. Genesis 32:28; Israel - literally: he who strives with God; God strives; God rules. (back to text)
5. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy in their entirety. (back to text)
6. Joshua and Judges in their entirety. (back to text)
7. 1 Samuel 10 (back to text)
8. 1 Samuel 16: 1 through 2 Samuel 2:4 (back to text)
9. 1 Chronicles 11:4-9 (back to text)
10. 1 Kings 5:1 through 8:66; 2 Chronicles 2:1 through 7:10 (back to text)
11. Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, founded a dynasty called Seleucids that ruled over Syria and a great part of western Asia from 311 to 65 B.C. Its capital was at Antioch. (back to text)
12. intifada: The origin is from an Arabic word denoting an uprising (literally: a jumping up as a reaction to something - to be shaken; to shake oneself.) (back to text)
Israel: The Land God Promised
Published: 1 April 2010 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
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