Article source: JOY! Magazine

In the last month, we have witnessed a horrific and brutal war between Hamas and Israel. Many lives have been lost and much blood has been shed. As the world watches from afar, and many people are divided on their opinions, we thought it best to provide our readers with a little more information about Palestine.

1. Misleading maps
Though these popular maps purport to show how territorial control over the land has shifted over time, they are fundamentally misleading. Apart from seeming to imply that the land was first a Palestinian state, which it was not, these maps also omit something crucial that anti-Israel activists are rarely willing to admit: Israel has made a series of withdrawals from land in a bid for peace. Israel has long sought to make compromises for the benefit of its neighbours, especially when there has been a reasonable chance of making peace.

2. Palestine was not an Arab nation that the Jews took over
Great Britain, in fact, controlled that region of the Middle East until they asked the United Nations (UN) to decide what to do with it. On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 (known as the Partition Resolution) that would divide Great Britain’s former Palestinian mandate into Jewish and Arab states. The State of Israel was formally established on 14 May 1948, and was admitted to the UN as a full member state on 11 May 1949. Before Great Britain won the land in WWI, the Turks had controlled it since the early 1500s.

3. The Arabs’ right to land
The UN vote did not merely give Israel authority to create a state, but granted the Arabs living on the west side of the Jordan River a right to also create an independent country. They could have had their own nation in 1948. The Arabs refused to recognise this arrangement, which they regarded as favourable to the Jews and unfair to the Arab population that would remain in Jewish territory under the partition. The Jews accepted it and, on May 14th 1948, Israel was re-birthed. The Arabs who remained became part of Jordan.

4. Palestine’s naming
To rid Judea of its Jewishness, the Romans renamed the area Filistia (Palestine) in the mid-130s AD. The name came from the ancient Philistines (who were wiped out in approximately 765 BC). It was a region, not a nation. There had never been a president of Palestine before Yasser Arafat, or a government. The current president, Mahmoud Abbas, has been in power for 18+ years. His initial four-year term has been extended repeatedly because of a failure to hold elections in the territory, which is politically dominated by the terrorist organisation Hamas.

5. Everyone living there was Palestinian
Before 1948, it would not have made sense to talk about Palestinians as opposed to Jews. The population was divided into two primary groups: Jewish and Arab. Any person who lived in that region was considered Palestinian. The Jewish newspaper was called the Palestine Post.

6. Between 1948 and 1967, Jerusalem was under control of Jordan
When Israel captured Jerusalem in 1967, it was not from Palestinians, but from Jordan. Why didn’t Palestinians demand Jerusalem when Jordan controlled it (1949-1967)? Why did the Jordanians not create an independent Palestinian state with the West Bank? It was certainly in their power. The reason is simple – Jordanians made no distinction between Arabs that lived east of the Jordan and those who lived west of the Jordan. They were all Jordanians.

7. Palestinians are Arabs
Palestinians are indistinguishable from Jordanians (a nation created by Great Britain 1922), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. There is no rich Palestinian history, nor is Palestinian a language. The inhabitants speak Arabic.

8. A tiny land area
Arabs control 99,9% of the Middle East. Israel represents just one-tenth of 1% of the landmass!

9. Stolen land?
You may have heard rumours that the Jews “stole” land from the Palestinians. In actual fact, when the Jewish people began to return to Palestine in the late 1800s, the Turks – not the Arabs – controlled it. Every bit of land was paid for by the returning Jews – nothing was stolen! Even in 1948, the Arabs were invited to join the new state. Many did, and they became the most liberated Arabs in the Middle East. However, 600 000 to 800 000 fled, and, of course, Israel was blamed.

10. Religious significance of Jerusalem
The wording “Jerusalem” or “Zion” appears nearly 1000 times in the Old and New Testaments, whereas it does not appear in the Quran at all. This land is rich in biblical history.

Important reminder
The Lord Jesus died for all mankind and desires that none would perish. As Christians we are to pray for the salvation of the Palestinians and the Jews. Countless people lose their lives everyday – there are no winners in war. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6).

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Date published: 02/11/2023

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