We all know our friend and guest blogger, Alabama Ben is an extremely educated when it comes to history... So I asked him to do a follow-up article on my piece yesterday about the Gaza conflict. Ben makes some excellent points here about the historic falicies about the conflict that are really interesting and I know you will find them informative as well...
As always, thanks Ben for chipping in....
The Israeli/Palestine Conflict - Myths revealed....
by Alabam Ben
Ok, time to put some of these myths of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to bed. And by bed, I mean buried deep, deep in the salt-sewn earth so that nothing remotely resembling one of these myths grows there ever again.
Myth One: Israel is Occupying the Nation of Palestine in Gaza and the West Bank- Really? Then why is it before 1967 Gaza was a part of Egypt and the West Bank was part of Jordan? The Israelis did not take these lands until the Six Day War broke out between these nations and Israel triumphed over its aggressors.
If it’s true that the nation of Palestine existed in these locations, then where were the attacks and protests against Egypt and Jordan? And since Egypt and Jordan were two of the loudest supporters of the PLO and its activities at this time, why did they not give them “Palestine” when they held these territories?
Myth Two: The Palestinians inhabited key portions of Israel – most notably Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem – for thousands of years and thus have right of possession. This argument is easily countered by the fact that Israelis have always resided in Israel since its original founding in Biblical times. Even when Babylon destroyed Israel and carried off most of her people, a portion remained.
The same occurred when the Romans drove a large portion of the Israelis out of their land: a portion of the people remained. If you really want to get technical about it, the land really belongs to the Canaanites, those tribes that inhabited the land before the Hebrews arrived under Joshua and conquered most of the Canaanite tribes, pushing them out of their ancestral land to claim the Promised Land given to them by God. If one takes God’s promise to the Israelites out of the equation, then the land obviously belongs to the Canaanites.
As there are no more Canaanites, however, we must conclude that the Israelis win by the age-old right of who was there first. After wiping out most of the Canaanites and assimilating the remainder under King David, Israel effectively secured its lasting presence in the region. The Canaanite connection leads me to the next topic:
Myth Three: Palestinians are descended from the Philistines - From the Canaanites, from Jacob’s brother Esau, and from just about anyone else that gives them more right to Israel than the Israelites. While it is certainly possible to be descended from everybody and their mother (If one is to take a literal viewpoint of creation as written in Genesis, then we are indeed all descended from one man and one woman. In which case, this whole argument is moot!), it is highly improbably for a people to be descended from literally just about everybody that would give you some semblance of a claim over another people. To make such a claim only serves to erode your position, as far as I’m concerned.
Yet they do just that. For example, Yasser Arafat, head of the PLO until his death in 2004, claimed to be a Palestinian of Philistine-descent, even though he was an Egyptian native of Cairo. That alone doesn’t make sense, but what makes even less sense is why one would claim to be a Philistine and use this as an argument for possession of Israel. It is true that the Philistines occupied Gaza back in Biblical times and made inroads into Israel during the time of King Saul and King David, but that is what they were: occupiers. They were native to the Aegean Islands before creating city-states in Gaza. To claim Philistine heritage as one’s right to possession of Israel is a tit-for-tat argument. It should even place them on the same level as Israel from their viewpoint, as the Philistines had to conquer somebody to take those cities.
There are then those that claim to be descended from the ten northern tribes of Israel, branch-off tribes if you will. To me, this makes about as much sense as a cousin to royalty claiming the throne of a kingdom when a direct descendant is still living and more than capable of assuming that role. Which is to say, it makes no sense at all! The same applies for those claiming to be descended of Jacob’s brother Esau. Jacob and his descendants were the rightful heirs according to their father Abraham. It wouldn’t even matter if the Palestinians were descended from Esau, as the cousin-to-royalty example illustrates.
My children will certainly be related to my brother, but they won’t get any of his stuff if he has offspring of his own that he leaves it all to. Alone, these arguments don’t stand up. Together, it just shows that the powers that be are desperately trying to come up with something legitimate-sounding for their people and the worldwide media to latch on to. Unfortunately it’s working, convoluted though it is.
Myth Four: The Arab nations supporting Palestinian autonomy have the moral high ground - where Israel does not - I find it interesting hearing all the Arab nations surrounding Israel decrying Israel’s allegedly foul treatment of the Palestinians when it was these same nations that displaced the Palestinians and treated them as subhuman in the first place, going leaps and bounds beyond what Israel has ever done to these people.
Israel is not the nation that placed the Palestinians within its borders into internment camps where there was little food, water, and medicine to go around. That crime goes to Egypt and Jordan at the time of Israel’s formation in 1947 when it was attacked by Arab nations from all sides. The Palestinians living inside Israel’s newly formed borders as well as the West Bank and Gaza willfully joined the Arabs for the promise of taking over Israel’s land once they had pushed the Israelis into the sea. They tried this again in 1967 and again failed.
During the times between, the Egyptians and Jordanians kept the Palestinians living within their borders in refugee camps. And once they had pushed them into Israel the Egyptians set up machine-gunners on the border to keep them from coming back. Very nice. Now, let’s say for the sake of argument that all these arguments against Israel are correct, and that Israel is indeed a displacer of Palestine. If this were true then the arguments placed by the Arab nations surrounding Israel would still hold no water, as they willfully persecuted the Jews living within their borders, some who had been living there for thousands of years. Some 700,000 Jews fled into Israel in the 1940’s because of this persecution. Were they not displaced from their ancestral homes? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
But, even if that were true, the Israelites have treated the Palestinians far better than their neighbors treated them, and far better than their neighbors treated the Jews living within their own borders. To say otherwise is one of many lies being perpetrated by Israel’s enemies and the international media.
Conclusion - People need to realize that there is no such thing as the nation of Palestine. There never has been, and hopefully there never will be. Or, if there is, may it be as far removed from Israel as possible. Maybe somewhere deep in the Himalayas?