WHOSE LAND IS IT ANYWAY?
By Frank Lanza, M.D.Many Christians who believe that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews on the basis of God’s promise to Abraham, in Genesis 12:7 “And the Lord appeared unto Abraham and said, “unto thy seed will I give this land.”
Unfortunately, a great majority of the world’s population is either not Christian or Christians who do not believe the Bible. Many of them are progressive liberals who are actively pursuing a course of action to force Israel to give the territory they currently “occupy” to a group of Arabs who call themselves “Palestinians”. Therefore, in order to answer the arguments put forward by these people, it has become necessary to look for non-Biblical facts to support the Jewish claim to Judea and Samaria, the heartland of Israel.
First of all, it should be noted that it was the United Nations who established the state of Israel in 1948, when it partitioned Palestine in two states, Arab and Jewish. This partition was accepted by the Jews, but immediately rejected by the Arabs. The amount of land allotted to the Jews was far less than that given to them as a homeland by the Balfour declaration and successive “White Papers” issued by British. Nevertheless, the infant state of Israel was attacked by armies of five Arab nations. After a bitter struggle, Israel prevailed and with borders set at the Armistice lines actually wound up with more territory than it was originally given by the United Nations. Subsequent wars in 1967 and 1973 were also won by the Israelis’ who enlarged their state by capturing the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and Sinai. Israel later withdrew from the Sinai and Gaza and gave Palestinians in the West Bank civil autonomy. These are not the actions of conquerors or occupiers.
Palestinians claim that they are the descendants of the original inhabitants of ancient Palestine and there was no real Jewish presence in the land at that time. This is absurd. There is enormous archaeological evidence to the contrary, despite the attempts of Arab Palestinians to destroy or obliterate it. Contemporary historians, such as Josephus, Tacitus, and Eusubius all documented the presence of Jews in Palestine hundreds of years before Muhammad established the Muslim faith. Finally, even the word Palestinian is a misnomer. The Roman Emperor, Hadrian, after the second Jewish rebellion in 130 A.D., renamed Judea, Palestine, possibly referring to the Philistines, a tribe inhabiting the Mediterranean Coast during early biblical times near Gaza today. In fact, the British called the Jews Palestinians during their mandate and that term was only transferred to the Arabs after the establishment of the state of Israel. The people who call themselves Palestinians today are really descendants of those Arabs who migrated to Palestine in the late 19th and 20th centuries to obtain work provided mostly by Jewish immigrants.
Finally, is it reasonable to return land to former and probably current enemies so as to leave oneself indefensible? Should Italy return the South Tyrol to Austria? How about the United States giving back New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California to Mexico? Or, how about China withdrawing from Tibet? Not a chance. And, in all of these cases, there are no threats from the proposed returned territories to the donors. In fact, almost everywhere in the world, at sometime or other, has been occupied by someone else and never restored or returned.
Who then has the greater right to the land of Israel? Both biblically and historically, it has to be the Jews.