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The Lie of the Land, or How to Steal a Heritage

For centuries the devil, that unseen spiritual enemy, has lied about the people of Israel. It therefore shouldn’t surprise us that he has lied about the land of Israel as well. It is probably the most lied about piece of real estate on the face of the earth today. In this regard, the scripture assures us that the devil is a liar and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44).

Let us carefully look at the land and try to separate fact from fiction. We need to be prepared however, because peeling off the lies and fiction will be much like peeling
an onion.


Israel view from space
(Wikimedia Commons from the NASA files)

Today we hear much about Palestine, Palestinians, Palestinian rights, and even a Palestinian state. Often the world media shows Palestinian leadership making demands upon a supposed “recalcitrant” Israel.

It might surprise us to learn that far into the 20th century, Arabs vehemently denied being called Palestinians, while strangely, it was the Jews who were referred to by this title. In the early 20th century, the Jewish English newspaper, The Jerusalem Post was called The Palestine Post, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was then called the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra.  Even today, one of the largest Jewish philanthropic funds for Israel still carries its pre-Israel name, the Palestine Endowment Fund (PEF).

The esteemed Arab historian, Philip Hitti, stated before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry in 1946, “There is no such thing as Palestine in [Arab] history, absolutely not.” 2  Another noted Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission a few years earlier, “There is no such country [as Palestine]! ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. ‘Palestine’ is alien to us; it is the Zionist who introduced it!” 3

In 1939, the Arab historian George Antonius spoke of Palestine as being a province of greater Syria. Even as late as 1974, Syria’s President Assad also claimed Palestine as a part of his country. According to researcher, Joan Peters, the one identity that was never considered prior to the war of 1967 was “Arab Palestinian.” 4

How could the “Palestinian” identity do such a “flip-flop” in the last part of the twentieth century? Where did the name “Palestine” originate anyway? Is it mentioned in the Bible? Let us attempt to answer these questions looking at the Bible and at the last two millennia of history.

PALESTINE, ITS BEGINNINGS

By thumbing through the atlas at the back of our Bible we may see maps that read, “Palestine in the time of the early monarchy” [time of David and Solomon]; Palestine in the time of the Maccabees; or Palestine in New Testament times. It might surprise us to realize that all these descriptions contain misnomers. There was no Palestine in the time of David, or in the time of the Maccabees, or in New Testament times. In the New Testament the land was referred to as Israel, not as Palestine (Matt. 2:20). Jesus was not a Palestinian, contrary to what the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has claimed. 5
In fact, no one had ever heard of Palestine in his day.

Palestine was a name given to the land of Judea after the unsuccessful ending of the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome in AD 135. It was a name given in derision by the Romans, in an attempt to erase all Jewish connections to the land. The land was re-named after the ancient Philistines, those proverbial enemies of Israel, in an attempt to sever its Jewish connection. At the time, Rome killed or expelled many of the Jews. Because of this, the amazing historical fact is that the Jews were the very first “Palestinian refugees.” 6

Palestine is therefore not mentioned in the Bible. Those who are using a King James Version will find “Palestine” in Joel 3:4, but in this place the Hebrew clearly refers to the land of the Philistines. Modern translations clarify this by using the designation “Philistia” in this passage. The New American Standard Bible does have some interesting title headings that read, “Joshua’s conquest of Southern Palestine” (Josh. 10:29); and “Northern Palestine Taken” (Josh. 11:1), but again these are unfortunate anachronisms supplied by editors, and are certainly not found in the Bible text.

ANCIENT THIEVES

The Romans were not the first people in history to try and steal the heritage of Israel, they just did the most thorough job of it. The Romans destroyed the land, killed thousands of its inhabitants and sold many of the survivors into slavery. Afterwards, they tried to steal the land away by renaming it. They also tried to steal the city of Jerusalem by placing a pagan shrine on the Temple Mount. The city was renamed Aeilia Capitolina, and Jews were forbidden to enter it.

The name Aeilia was the family name of Hadrian, and Capitolina was another name for the god Jupiter. This re-naming was an attempt to erase the connection between the God of the Bible and his chosen city, thus supplanting it with pagan domination.

We see many instances of ancient people trying to take the land of Israel in biblical times. Perhaps the earliest instance is found in Judges 11:13. Here, when the judge Jephthah asked why the Ammonites were threatening invasion, the king answered:

…Because Israel took away my land when they came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore, restore those lands peaceably.

It didn’t seem to matter much to this ancient king that the Israelites had completely avoided Ammonite territory when they came out of Egypt. They avoided Ammon in order to follow God’s specific command, since the Ammonites were their relatives (Deut. 2:19).

Many other ancient enemies of Israel also tried to take the land. Most of them tried by force and failed. Some of these were the Midianites, Ishmaelites, Edomites, and Moabites. During the time of the return from Babylon we see an interesting episode. Nehemiah was attempting to rebuild the wall around the devastated city of Jerusalem when he was confronted by the confederation of Geshem the Arab, Tobiah the Ammonite (area of today’s Jordan) and Sanballat (from today’s “West Bank”). They all claimed an interest in the city and demanded a part in its restoration. Nehemiah was certainly not a child of “political correctness.” He boldly spoke the truth to these adversaries in words that would petrify today’s political establishment:

I answered them by saying, “The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it.” (Neh. 2:20)

The attacks of surrounding enemies in biblical times are carefully recorded for us in Psalm 83. Also recorded is their clear sworn purpose against Israel. It is said of these enemies:

With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish. “Come,” they say, “let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more” (Psa. 83:3-4).

These enemies, like the two Midianite princes Oreb and Zeeb, were saying: … “Let us take possession of the pasturelands of God.” (vs. 11-12).This Psalm was probably not completely fulfilled until the miraculous war of 1967. Charles DeLoach in his book, Seeds of Conflict, states that before 1967, the Arab nations had often come against Israel, but prior to that time they had never all conspired together to come against the nation. He adds that even Iraq (ancient Assyria), mentioned in verse 8 of this Psalm, also sent a contingent of 5,000 troops in 1967. According to the prophetic words of this Psalm, they came to help the children of Lot (Modern Jordan). 7

In later centuries the Byzantine Christians repeated what the ancient nations and what the Romans had done earlier. They claimed Jerusalem as their own and forbade Jews to enter the city. They built their shrines in Jerusalem and turned the Temple Mount into a garbage dump.

With the rise of Islam in the seventh century AD, we begin to see the truly diabolical dimensions to this ancient contest. The land of Israel was the first major target of the conquering Islamic armies. Somehow after their conquest, they were strangely compelled to build their Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. By doing this, they drove their claim deep into the very heart of Judaism.

For the next 1300 years, with the exception of the brief Crusader episode, Islam would control the land of Israel. To some degree this was a fulfillment of Ezekiel 36:2, 5:

… The enemy said of you, “Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession”… this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland.”

They certainly did plunder the country. During the many centuries of Muslim possession, the land was neglected, ravaged by war, overtaxed, overgrazed by goats, and raided by Bedouin tribes. In more modern times, the Muslim Turks even went to the extreme of taxing the trees. 8 Of course we can imagine what poverty stricken peasants did – they simply cut the trees down. The once beautiful Israel became a howling wasteland.

THE WILDERNESS AND SOLITARY PLACE

The former PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, in one of his many attempts at revisionist history, sought to paint Palestine as a virtual Arab paradise prior to the coming of the evil Jews. He said, “The Jewish invasion began in 1881 (sic) …Palestine was then a verdant area, inhabited mainly by an Arab people in the course of building its life and dynamically enriching its indigenous culture.” 9

Enough for revisionist history. Let us now take a look at the facts.Numerous travelers to the Holy Land in the last three hundred years bear uniform witness to its almost total desolation. Among travelers in the 1700s, were British archaeologist, Thomas Shaw, and French author and historian Count Constantine Volney. Shaw commented that Palestine “was lacking people to till its fertile soil.” 10  Volney speaks of the provinces as being laid waste. He gives an example of one province in these words:

…the traveler meets with nothing but houses in ruins, cisterns rendered useless, and fields abandoned. Those who cultivated them have fled…11

According to Volney’s estimate, the whole population of Palestine in 1785 amounted to no more than 200,000 souls. 12  Another traveler, Alphonse de Lamartine, describes the city of Jerusalem in 1835:

Outside the gates of Jerusalem we saw indeed no living object, heard no living sound, we found the same void the same silence…as we should have expected before the entombed gates of Pompeii or Herculaneam…a complete eternal silence reigns in the town, on the highways, in the country…the tomb of a whole people. 13

In 1857, the British Consul in Palestine reported: “The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population…” 14 By the middle of the nineteenth century one estimate is that the population of Palestine had actually shrunk to between 50,000 and 100,000 people. 15

One of the most descriptive and informative accounts of the Holy Land was that given by American author Mark Twain. Twain departed on his tour in 1867, exactly one hundred years before Israel would gain much of the land in the miraculous Six-Day War. Twain commented about the now beautiful Galilee area:

It is seven in the morning, and as we are in the country, the grass ought to be sparkling with dew, the flowers enriching the air with their fragrance, and the birds singing in the trees. But alas, there is no dew here, nor flowers, nor birds, nor trees. There is a plain and an unshaded lake, and beyond them some barren mountains. 16

The off-handed remarks of Twain have shed much light on the condition of the whole area. He and his group traveled from the Sea of Galilee to Mount Tabor. He remarks, “We reached Tabor safely…We never saw a human being on the whole route…” 17 As his Palestinian pilgrimage ended at Jaffa, Twain summarized the whole tour by saying:

Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent…Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies…Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village…Palestine is desolate and unlovely. 18

THE BRITISH, ISHMAEL AND OIL

The first aliya (Jewish immigration wave) arrived in Palestine in 1882. This wave primarily consisted of Russians who had just suffered greatly from the terrible pogroms. These new immigrants, like the many that would come after them, arrived as idealists desiring to rebuild their ancient nation with their own hands. They purchased land, drained mosquito infested swamps, planted trees and crops, and began to rebuild their cities. They had some success, in spite of the uncooperative Turkish government that exercised a corrupt and faltering jurisdiction over the land.

By the end of the First World War, Great Britain forced the Turks out of Palestine and took control in their stead. Also in 1917, the British originated the famous Balfour Declaration, which looked favorably upon the establishing of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The area involved included both sides of the Jordan River. In pursuit of this declaration the League of Nations at its San Remo Conference in 1920, granted to Great Britain what is known as the Palestine Mandate instructing Britain to establish a home for the Jewish people in Palestine. 19

BritishMandatePalestine1920[1]

 

 

 

 

 

British Mandate of Palestine (Wikimedia Commons)

In God’s great providence, the Jewish people of Palestine now had a legal guardian. We might say that Great Britain was in a unique position of all nations on earth, to work together with God in his age-old plan for the restoration of Israel. It was a great honor that had been accorded to just one other nation in history, to Persia in ancient times. Britain after the war was perhaps the most powerful nation on earth, with massive land holdings and colonies spanning the globe. What a bright future she had in store.

Unfortunately, Britain did not live up to these high expectations. She terribly bungled her divine assignment. The problem apparently began early with a group of British officials serving in Egypt and Sudan. They began to envision the vast Arab-speaking areas in the Middle East consolidated under British control. 20 This concept was in direct opposition and greatly detrimental to Zionists’ dreams. Almost from its outset the British Mandate began to be twisted toward these ends.

A few years later, there was the additional enticement of the discovery of oil in the surrounding Arab lands. Soon the British spy Jack Philby was working hand in hand with Ibn Saud of Arabia. His purpose was not only to help Britain get an interest in the vast oil wealth, but to also spy on the Zionist. Loftus puts it simply, “The Jews were an obstacle to the smooth flow of Arab oil.” 21

One of the very first acts of Britain’s new twisted policy was to lop off three-quarters of the Mandate area and present it to Abdullah ibn-Hussein. 22 This included all the area of Palestine east of the Jordan River, an area formerly parceled out to the Children of Israel by Moses (Num. 32:33). Also in Zechariah 10:10, God speaks of bringing his children home in the end days to Gilead which is a part of this eastern area. This vast area was called Tansjordan (today’s Jordan), and was immediately closed to all Jewish settlement.

We constantly hear of the “West Bank” in the TV news, as if the Jordan River only had one bank. The “East Bank” that we never hear about was the one stolen from the Jews. It was given to form this first “Palestinian state” of Jordan in the early twentieth century.

The British then began to pursue their new selfish policy by placing many restrictions upon the Jews. The British ruling group in Jerusalem saw the Balfour Declaration as an impediment to their plans and were determined to undermine it. To this end they helped mobilize the Arab resistance. Suddenly in 1919 the tiny militant Arab movement mushroomed with great explosive force.  This movement arose with British backing.23

In pursuit of their shameful plan, the British began to patronize Haj Amin el Husseini, an Arab radical who later became a Nazi collaborator. In 1920, Col. Waters Taylor, Chief of Staff in Palestine, suggested to his Arab contacts that it would be advisable to organize anti-Jewish riots. The riots took place just before Easter in 1920, but only after the British had safely withdrawn their forces from the Old City. The resulting Arab mobs swarmed over the city echoing the cry, “the government is with us.” 24

The Arab mobs, joined by Arab policemen rampaged, beat, killed, raped and looted for three days. When it was finished, six Jews were killed and 211 were wounded. In the end, the British arrested two Arabs for rape and twenty Jews for organizing their own self defense. 25

After the riots, the British pursued their goals head-long by elevating Haj Amin el Husseini, to the position of Mufti of Jerusalem. He later became President of the Supreme Moslem Council, a body also established by the British. The mechanism was now in place for organized persecution of the Jews in their own God-given land.

Another weapon the British used quite effectively was an opening of the borders of the Mandate to Arabs from all the surrounding nations. The new Jewish industry in the land had created many jobs and made the land very attractive to those impoverished in nearby countries.

According to author and researcher, Joan Peters, the total population of Western Palestine when Jewish colonization began was between 300,000-400,000 people. This figure included Jews, Christians and wandering Bedouin tribes. Of this figure Peters calculates that about 200,000 Muslims were actually living in Western Palestine (west of the Jordan River) in 1882. 26

Besides the 200,000 Muslim Arabs in Western Palestine other thousands were added by natural increase. Then Peters calculates that according to the most conservative figures, 170,000 Arab immigrants entered the land. They were purposely never recorded by the British. 27 Peters remarks of the Arab newcomers that they “…immediately acquired the status of ‘indigenous native population since time immemorial…’” 28

The British not only turned their backs upon illegal Arab immigration, they curtailed Jewish immigration and finally brought it to a standstill. They did this at the precise time when the Holocaust was looming in Europe and six million doomed Jews had no place on earth to flee.

It is shameful that in the twenty-six years of the British Mandate, only about 400,000 Jews were allowed into their very own country by their British guardians. 29  This was the country assured to them by the British Balfour Declaration and the Palestine Mandate.

All through the period of the Mandate there were various riots and revolts, many of them at best tolerated or at worst instigated by the British. The so-called “Arab Revolt” of 1936-1939, was a cooperative action by the British and the Arabs. 30 After the infamous British “White Paper” of 1939, virtually closing the land to Jewish immigration, the Jewish resistance to British administration began to grow.

The Jews dropped their resistance during the Second World War and fought along with Britain and the Allies. However, at the close of the war their resistance was continued. In time, the British were forced to cast the now “hot potato” of Palestine back into the hands of the United Nations.

THE PARTITION PLAN AND INDEPENDENCE

Some three fourths of the proposed area of settlement outlined in the Balfour Declaration had already been given away by Britain in order to form the Arab/Muslim state of Transjordan. The nations, not content with this, would attempt to steal away what remained in western Palestine.

In 1947 the UN proposed its partition plan for the area. The plan suggested that the Arabs receive most of the mountainous area. According to the Bible, the mountainous area was primarily where the ancient Israelites lived. It might be referred to as “biblical Israel” or Judea and Samaria. Most of the ancient biblical cities like Hebron and Shechem are in this area. The plan proposed that Israel would receive the desert of the Negev and precarious and indefensible strips of land along the Mediterranean coast and in the Galilee. In effect, the proposal called for Jewish and Palestinian states west of the Jordan River.

Palestine_the_UN_Partition_Plan_of_1947_1_-258x480_1_

Palestine, the UN Partition Plan of 1947
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Jews, betrayed, beleaguered, oppressed and almost annihilated by the Holocaust, agreed to the partition plan. However, the Arabs vehemently opposed it, since they wanted the whole land. The plan was nevertheless approved by the UN on November 29, 1947, thus clearing the way for the establishment of the State of Israel.

In the days and weeks following the partition, there were riots and murders throughout the land. By the spring, the Arabs cut the road to Jerusalem, isolating and almost starving the city. The fighting continued between Arabs and Jewish defense groups resulting in an increasing toll of human life.

After the British finally evacuated the land, the Jews moved to declare their independence. On May 14, 1948 the nation of Israel was born. Immediately on May 15, the newborn nation was attacked by the six Arab armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

(Wikimedia Commons)

The Jews had few weapons, because weapons had been denied them by their British guardians. Even with their many limitations they defended themselves and then advanced to gain the coastal areas, the Upper Galilee, and the Negev. In the process, however, they suffered a tragic blow. The army of Transjordan, which had been trained and generously equipped by the British, occupied what is today’s West Bank (biblical Israel) with its Old City of Jerusalem and Temple Mount.

The Jordanians, in their attempt to obliterate the ancient Jewish presence, exiled the Jews and then destroyed the Jewish quarter, including 58 synagogues. 31 The ancient and hallowed Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives did not escape their wrath. Some 75 percent of its tombstones were removed in the building of a hotel and to pave the paths to army latrines. 32 From 1948 until 1967, no Jew could enter the Old City or pray at the Western Wall.

What an irony we see in the actions of the Jordanians. Their very existence had resulted from the outright misappropriation of three fourths of the original Jewish area of settlement. This area was originally awarded to the Jews, not only by God, but by the nations of the world in the San Remo Conference of 1920. Now it had been given by the British to found Transjordan. It was almost a first act of their administration. Now the Jordanians blatantly stole the area of the West Bank. We can safely say they stole it because not even the Arab nations recognized this occupation. The only nations recognizing it were Britain and Pakistan. 33

At the same time, the Egyptians took control of the Gaza Strip. With the carving out of these two areas the stage was set for much of the political wrangling and military conflict that would ensue for the coming half century.

Although tiny Israel had defended itself against the combined might of six well-equipped Arab armies, there was more to come. In 1956 the Egyptians sealed off the Israeli port of Eilat by blockading the Strait of Tiran. In addition, numerous terrorist attacks were launched from the Egyptian territory of Gaza and the Sinai. Israel responded in what is known as the Sinai Campaign of October-November, 1956.

The British and French, who were angered by Egypt’s closing of the Suez Canal, were also involved in this campaign. In this action Israel took the whole Sinai, but due to UN and US pressure was forced to withdraw.

The problem with the Sinai and Egypt was not solved. Although UN forces were stationed in the Sinai, they did not prevent Egypt from returning, setting the stage and repeating the blockade of the Strait of Tiran in 1967.

In addition to Egypt’s belligerence, the nations of Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia moved their troops menacingly toward Israel’s borders. There were united cries of “jihad” (holy war) from the surrounding Arab countries. Israel pre-empted the attack and the miraculous Six Day War of 1967 ensued. Israel again defeated combined Arab armies, gaining the whole Sinai, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank, including the Old City and Temple Mount.

Arab nations, slow to learn, would attack Israel again on her holiest day, Yom Kippur, 1973. Then followed endless terrorist attacks launched from all surrounding nations.


Present day map of Israel and administered areas
(Wikimedia Commons)

RISE OF THE PLO

With the terrible defeat in 1967 and the dreadful loss of Arab prestige, the Arab campaign to obliterate Israel took a new turn. After their humiliation, the Arab nations realized their chances of defeating Israel on the battlefield were slim. The new campaign would seek to wear Israel down with terror attacks while at the same time defeating her in the political realm.

A ready tool of this new campaign was the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The organization, which was actually formed in Egypt in 1964, was ultimately headed by one who has become infamous to many Jews, Rahman Abdul Rauf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, alias Yasser Arafat.

Arafat’s grandparents on his mother’s side were Husseinis from Palestine and were thus connected by blood to the Mufti of Jerusalem, also a Husseini. 34 The Husseini family over the decades has produced several notable adversaries of Israel.

Arafat was most likely born in Cairo and not in Jerusalem. 35 As a youth he did spend some time in Jerusalem, as a member of an Arab gang. He attacked unarmed Jews, smashed and looted Jewish shops and was involved in other such activities.

One of his classmates described him as “a fat moody boy who managed to frighten everyone a little…His eyes were hypnotic, and they could stop you cold.” 36  One acquaintance of the youthful Arafat described him as “particularly brutal” and one who “grew crazed at the sight of our blood.” 37 One of his Egyptian acquaintances described him in this way: “He had a certain charm which he could use to great advantage. But he also had a dark streak, a sort of permanent irrational anger that was always simmering below the surface.” 38

In 1949-50, Arafat became a member of the Mufti’s youth gang in Gaza. In time he organized several other gangs and became their leader. Finally he became an engineering student at Cairo University. There he joined the extremist Muslim Brotherhood.

He had a lackluster stint in the Egyptian Army and finally was expelled from Egypt when the radical Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed. His name was actually carried on Egypt’s official blacklist until 1968. After his expulsion he worked as an engineer in Kuwait, doing mostly plumbing jobs.

It was while in Kuwait that the concept of Fatah was born. The name was a reversed acronym for Harakat at-Tahrir al-Filastin, meaning the Movement for the Liberation of Palestine. It was not necessarily the idea of Arafat, but due to his financial genius and industry he soon rose to the top of the organization. Arafat also was the publisher of the newspaper Our Palestine, which promoted the viewpoint of Fatah. In time, Fatah became a major component of the PLO and ultimately Arafat became Chairman of the whole
PLO organization.

Later, as leader of the PLO, Arafat became directly responsible for some of the bloodiest terror attacks in Israel’s history. The most notable of these are the hijacking and subsequent destruction of three commercial airliners in Jordan in 1970; the murder of 11 members of the Israeli delegation at the Munich Olympics in 1972; the killing of 24 and wounding of 64 Israelis at the Ma’alot school in 1974; The Coastal Road Massacre, killing 21 Israelis in 1978. 39

THE PLO PATH OF DESTRUCTION

The PLO became an umbrella organization for the many other terrorist groups that began in the 1960s and 1970s. Most of these groups arose due to splits and wrangling between various PLO officials. Arafat’s Fatah would continue to form the backbone and dominant component of the whole structure.

An incomplete list of other organizations would include the Palestinian Liberation Army (PLA); Saika; The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) directed by George Habash; The Popular Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PDFLP) directed by Neyef Hawatmeh; the PFLP- General Command headed by Ahmed Jebril; The Palestine Liberation Front (PFL); The Arab Liberation Front (AFL); and Black
September. 40

Although there has been deep rivalry between these groups there is one thing they always have in common – their absolute hatred for Israel. They vow to root Israel out of every square foot of the Holy Land, and not just the “West Bank.” This fact has been made abundantly clear by the symbols of all these groups. Their emblems picture the whole land of Israel as the object of Palestinian conquest.

The PLO and its affiliated groups have always relied upon terror to accomplish their end goal. Its former leader, Yasser Arafat, was the first and only speaker to ever address the UN General Assembly while wearing a pistol. He held out an olive branch and gave the world the choice of the olive branch or his gun. Although this was a veiled threat, the whole assembly still broke into wild acclamation. 41

Such violence has been expressed by the PLO, that few of their Arab brother nations are willing to give them succor. In 1970, Jordan waged an all out war against the PLO following that organization’s violent bid to take over the country. Afterward the PLO took up lodging in Lebanon, and quickly turned that beautiful country into a war zone. Bashir Jemayel Lebanon’s president-elect stated in 1982:

In eight years of fighting we have, out of a population of three million inhabitants, more than 100,000 killed, more than 300,000 wounded and almost half of the population uprooted from its homes…42

Jemayel himself was latter assassinated.

Jemayel’s remarks did not mention the rapes, even of young girls, thefts, and many other abuses the people suffered. They did not tell of the churches turned into ammunition dumps, of small children taken by force and trained by the PLO to be killers, of houses confiscated, etc. The PLO made Lebanon a giant training camp for terrorists. Groups like the Italian Red Brigade, the Irish Republican Army, and the Baader Meinhof gang all received training from the PLO in Lebanon. 43

One can understand why the Israelis were greeted with joy when they responded to this PLO challenge and invaded southern Lebanon in 1982. The Israelis completely destroyed the PLO infrastructure in Lebanon and would have probably put an end to Arafat and his murderers. Unfortunately, the PLO was rescued because of world pressures and particularly by the intervention of the United States.

When they were pushed out of Lebanon, the PLO relocated in Tunisia. After their short-sighted backing of Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War, much of the support from rich Arab nations was lost and the whole organization fell on hard times. Yet, somehow the PLO and its related terror organizations seem to be needed by anti-Semitic and oil hungry nations. Beginning with the Madrid Conference of 1991 a rescue program was begun for Arafat. The rescue operation eventually resulted in the Oslo Peace Accords and what has come to be known as the “peace process.”

THE “PEACE” PROCESS

Since the Madrid conference in 1991, and the Oslo Accords in 1993, the “peace process” is the one sure thing that Israelis hear on the radio and TV each day. After almost fifteen years of the “process” the Israeli papers are still saturated with it as if it were some special godsend. It seems that few people have stopped to consider the toll that this “peace” has exacted. By September, 1998, the fifth anniversary of the Oslo Accords, 279 Israelis had been killed in terrorist attacks. This figure was just over the number of Israelis killed in the 15 years before the Oslo Peace Accords began. 44

Israel is now in the process of committing a slow suicide by giving away to the Palestinians her precious and sacred heritage of land. Already, the cities of Jericho, Shechem (Nablus), Bethlehem, Hebron and several other urban areas have been surrendered to the PLO. In addition, large tracts of open land have been surrendered. We must remember that this area called the “West Bank” is the land that made up biblical Israel.

The PLO and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, have always maintained they will push Israel into the sea and take the whole land. This is clearly affirmed in the 1964 Palestine National Covenant, also known as the Palestine Charter. Since June, 1974, the PLO has operated under what is called the Phased Plan. This plan has two points. First, the PLO will create a Palestinian state on whatever area they can get from Israel. Second, they will then mobilize an assault to destroy whatever remains of Israel. 45  The Peace Process fits nicely with these publicly stated PLO goals.

THE BIG LIE

The PLO has had considerable success in terrorizing Israel and the nations. However, their greatest success has been in the area of propaganda. The PLO has the “Goebbels touch.” In fact, they were influenced by some famous Nazi propaganda experts, such as Von Lehrs, who escaped to Cairo after World War II. 46  The former PLO leader, Yasser Arafat, was an expert not only at telling the big lie, but at telling it continually until the whole world believed it.

An example of this propaganda was seen in the 1982 Israel/ PLO war in Lebanon. As Israel was driving the PLO out of Lebanon the world was told that there were 10,000 Lebanese and Palestinians dead, 40,000 wounded, and 600,000 homeless because of Israel’s bombardment. Apparently no one bothered to check the source of this information. Later it was revealed that it came from Arafat’s brother who was head of the PLO-affiliated Red Crescent. The exaggerations were anywhere from 2000 to
3000 percent.47

Also, as the Israeli army was about to mop up the last stronghold of the PLO in Beirut, US President Ronald Reagan was shown the picture of an armless Palestinian girl who had reportedly lost her arms in an Israeli bombardment. The US president called Israel’s Prime Minister and angrily demanded an end to the bombardment. Israel immediately complied.

It was not until later that the girl was located and the truth was revealed that she was in fact injured by an earlier Arab attack. It was too late. The damage was already done by the big lie, and Israel was once more the villain in international eyes. 48

The big lie tactics are used most expertly in the PLOs many attempts to re-write history. In recent times Hanan Ashrawi, frequent spokeswoman for the Palestinians, has boldly stated for the worldwide TV audience that she is a true descendant of the first Christians, and that they were Palestinians.

Of course, this statement does not contain a shred of truth, since her Arab people did not inhabit the land of Israel until some six hundred years after the New Testament era. We seldom stop to evaluate the absurdity of such statements. If Ashwari really were a descendant of the first Christians, then her ancestry would actually be Jewish.

There is a constant attempt by the PLO and by rich Arab nations to influence world-wide news reporting. Perhaps the most alarming attempt though is that of influencing publishers of reference materials. These materials have a very long shelf life and are read by millions of people, particularly by young, impressionable children.

The Bible warns us in John 10:10 with these words: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” We can clearly see this pattern in the PLO, Hamas and other groups sworn to the destruction of Israel. They have killed and destroyed by terrorism and finally they have sought to steal Israel’s heritage and history. The researcher Bat Ye’or remarks
about this:

The masquerade of Arabs (or “Palestinians”) posing as “Jews” transfers to them Israel’s historical rights and the merits or sympathy earned after 4,000 years of existence and hardships. By robbing the Jews of their past (i.e., the stratagem of substitution), the PLO reduces them to a rootless shadowy group, worthy only of Arab toleration. 49

Jacques Maritain also remarks:

It is a strange paradox to behold Israel being denied the only territory of which—considering the whole course of human history–it is absolutely, divinely certain that people had a title to it. 50

PALESTINE, A MODERN MYTH

Arab activist, Musa Alami, once summarized the situation so far as Arab nationalism is concerned. He said, “how can people struggle for their nation, when most of them do not know the meaning of the word?…The people are in great need of a ‘myth’ to fill their consciousness and imagination….” 51 The people got their myth. It is called “Palestine.” Someday, “Palestine” might be known as the biggest myth of the twentieth century.

For decades people and nations, even impressive world bodies, have played their part in supporting and perpetuating this myth. In a sense, they have acted out Anderson’s famous fable – The Emperor’s New Clothes. In that fable, while everyone pretended and swooned over his new clothes, the stark truth was recognized and blurted out by a little child. The emperor was naked!

The stark truth today is that there was never a Palestinian state in all the annals of human history. There was never a distinct Arab-Palestinian people. The majority are a mixture of Arab peoples who migrated into Israel to seek jobs. These jobs were provided by Jewish development in the area after 1881. The Arab-Palestinian identity as it is presented by the PLO and related groups thus far seems to be flawed and even fraudulent. We might ask, “Is it all a political ruse to steal away the heritage of Israel?”

STUDY QUESTIONS:

Why would the expression “Palestine in Jesus’ time” be considered an anachronism?

Why would the name “Palestine” not be particularly appealing to the Jews from the standpoint of ancient history?

According to Nehemiah 2:20, should the restoration of Jerusalem be assigned to the Arab peoples?

What are some of the reasons that caused the British failure in their attempt to establish the Jewish homeland?

Why was the capture of the “West Bank” by Jordan in 1948 a double insult to Israel?

Do the present terrorist occupations in southern Lebanon and the radical Hamas takeover in the Gaza Strip give us any indication as to how life in the Palestinian Authority will eventually turn out? If so, what conclusions can be drawn?


NOTES

1. Eliyahu Tal, Whose Jerusalem (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel: The International Forum for a United Jerusalem, 1994) pp. 95-96.
2. Tal, Whose Jerusalem, p. 93.
3. Tal, Whose Jerusalem, p. 93.
4. Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial, The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1984) pp. 139-140.
5. Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, Jews and Christians Under Islam (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, English edition 1985) p. 145.
6. Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 141.
7. Charles F. Deloach, Seeds of Conflict (Palinfield, N.J: Logos International, 1974) p. 38 -43
8. Walter Clay Lowdermilk, Palestine Land of Promise (London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1944) p. 58.
9. Quoted in, Benjamin Netanyahu, A Place Among the Nations, Israel and the World (New York: Bantam Books, 1993) p. 37.
10. Quoted in, Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 158.
11. Quoted in, Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 158.
12. Samuel Katz, Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine (New York: Bantam Books, 2nd printing, 1973) p. 108.
13. Quoted in, Katz, Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, p. 107.
14. Quoted in, Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 159.
15. Katz, , Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, p. 108.
16. Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad (New York: Hippocrene Books Inc., originally released by American Publishing Co., Hartford, CT, 1869) pp. 486-487.
17. Twain, The Innocents Abroad, p. 520.
18. Twain, The Innocents Abroad, pp. 606-608.
19. Martin Gilbert, The Arab-Israeli Conflict, Its History in Maps (London: Widenfeld and Nicholson, 1974, 76, 79 Third Edition 1979) p. 10.
20. Katz, Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine Battleground, p. 46.
21. John Loftus and Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews, How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People (New York: St. Martin Press, 1994) p. 40.
22. Katz, Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine Battleground, p. 56.
23. Katz, Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine Battleground, p. 59.
24. Katz, Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in Palestine Battleground, pp. 62-63.
25. Netanyahu, A Place Among the Nations, p. 57.
26. Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 244.
27. Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 246.
28. Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 295.
29. Katz, Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in PalestineBattleground, p. 69.
30. Katz, Battleground, Fact and Fantasy in PalestineBattleground, p. 71.
31. Tal, Whose Jerusalem, p.160.
32. Tal, Whose Jerusalem, p. 157.
33. Gilbert, The Arab-Israeli Conflict, Its History in Maps, p. 52.
34. Thomas Kiernan, Yasir Arafat (London: Sphere Books, Ltd., London, 1975) p. 17.
35. Kiernan, Yasir Arafat, p. 25.
36. Kiernan, Yasir Arafat, p. 55.
37. Kiernan, Yasir Arafat, p. 134.
38. Kiernan, Yasir Arafat, p. 147.
39. Clarence H. Wagner, Jr., ed. Dispatch From Jerusalem, January/February 1994, p.2.
40. Eliyahu Tal, ed., PLO (Jerusalem: Department of Information, WZO, 1982) pp. 8-9.
41. Tal, PLO p. 3.
42. Quoted in, Tal, PLO, p. 37.
43. Tal, PLO, pp. 38-56.
44. See, The Jerusalem Post, 13 September, 1998.
45. Netanyahu, A Place Among the Nations, p. 220.
46. Tal, PLO, p. 76.
47. Tal, PLO, p. 77.
48. Netanyahu, A Place Among the Nations, pp. 355-356.
49. Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi, Jews and Christians Under Islam, p. 145.
50. Quoted in, Marvin R.Wilson, Our Father Abraham, Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, and Center for Judaic-Christian Studies, Dayton, OH, 1989), p. 265.
51. Quoted in, Peters, From Time Immemorial, p. 13.