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Friday, June 8, 2012

Why We Look At History: Israel and the Palestinians-Past, Present and Future

Nadene Goldfoot
Between 1514 CE and about to 1850, the Arab population of Palestine which was in the control of the Turkish Ottoman Empire remained to be about 340,000.  It suddenly increased around 1855 and by 1947  stood at about 1,300,000, multiplying 4 times over in less than 100 years.  Why?  What happened?

We look at our history because we did not get to the present without its past.  As Einstein has said, it's all connected as one, anyway.  His theory of relativity and thinking that there are 4 dimensions to deal with, the quantum theory and now even a string theory emphasizes the connections involved in time, so we will start looking at the validity of the past.  Maybe it has some bearing on our present and indeed, our future.  Just what are the residual effects from our past?

We have a refugee problem where Arabs want to be able to allow the return of millions of their descendants.  Israel is only a neighborhood in size and is set up to be the homeland of the Jews since they have faced discrimination for 2,000 years in this world.  It would become swamped with Muslims and therefore would become like the many countries that would be intolerant of our presence.  We feel they can go to the 48 Muslim  majority states already established instead of turning the one Jewish state into another Muslim majority.

The other issue of prominence is that we are said to be  occupying Arab lands and have Jewish settlements in the "West Bank" (Judea and Samaria) and of course all occupiers are bad people.  Arabs were hostile to Jews before Israel's birth of May 14, 1948, and became even more so afterwards.  Since 1967 and the Six Day War, we find ourselves with Judea and Samaria because of being victors in the battle, and always, to the victors go the spoils.  In this case the spoils turns out to be the ancient homeland of Jews which was a part of the original Jewish Homeland in the first plan.  If Arabs wanted to keep this property, they shouldn't have attacked Israel in the first place.  Being who they were, the Jews tried their utmost to make life for the Arabs as normal and happy as they could.  What they were running into were the leaders who instigated the people into having a huge attitude problem and turned many of them into terrorists, suicide bombers, killers.

The 1850's CE found Jewish pioneers who had come to "Palestine" and joined up with local Jewish communities from the time of King David to rebuild in what was then the Turkish Empire.  They bought land from the Turkish Crown and Arab landowners.  It was done very peacefully.  Arabs living in the region had been Turkish subjects for the past 400 years.

By 1892 a group of Arab landowners (effendi) sent a letter to the Sultan asking that he make it illegal to sell land to the Jews because so many had bought so much.  More did the same thing in 1915.  At this point it had become offensive to some to have Jews in the land.  However, no Arabs were driven from their homes, the sales were all legal.  It was like whites having to become accustomed to Blacks moving into the neighborhood, and we Americans know how that went.  People have to get used to changes.

A demographic study published by Columbia U shows that the Arabs benefited and grew quickly during this time because of the economic growth that the Jews generated.  With the Jews' presence, though a shock to the existing Arabs, the economy entered the modern day and serfdom came to an end which had been the case that they lived under.  An Arab was now working in a factory or farming community and could earn in one month what his father earned in a year using medieval technology.  Infant mortality dropped and longevity increased.  Knowledge was shared with the Arabs.

What kind of land did the Jews buy?  We wouldn't have considered such poor land.  It was desert or swamp.  It was deserted and uninhabitable even by the Arabs.  Jews fought off either heat or mosquitoes, reclaimed this land and turned it into prime real estate with wonderful farms, growing communities with modern technology and a healthy market economy.  Would you expect anything less?

Now the other Arab migrants came flocking from the surrounding states.  They too wanted a better life and opportunity.  It was like having the USA right next door.  Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi himself, the head religious leader of Qatar, speaker to millions in Egypt, known international Arab terrorist and lieutenant to Osama bin Laden, spoke on TV in May 2005 and chided his followers saying:  "Unfortunately, we Arabs do not excel in either military or civil industries.  We import everything from needles to missiles....How come the Zionist gang has managed to be superior to us, despite being so few?  It has become superior through knowledge, through technology, and through strength.  It has become superior to us through work.  We had the desert before our eyes but we didn't do anything with it.  When they took over, they turned it into a green oasis.  How can a nation that does not work progress?  How can it grow?"  

From 1919 to 1936 Arab violence grew with the British doing almost nothing to stop it and even sometimes helped it along. In 1922 Britain ceded all of the Palestine Mandate east of the Jordan River to the Emir Abdullah which became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and by their law, no Jews was permitted to enter.   Lord Earl Peel led a commission of inquiry in 1936 to find a way to stop it.   He came up with a partition plan of letting Jews have their state on 15% of the lands they had bought and redeemed.  Let the Arabs have the other 85%.  Partition came about as an appeasement to the Arabs.  The Arabs, instead of taking their 85%, chose war and terrorism  in 1937.  This was called the "Great Arab Revolt" of 1937-1939.  World War II was starting.

Even so, Zionists continued to buy more land from the British.  According to international law, what had been crown land under the Turkish Empire was now legally crown land under the British Mandate.  The purchases were made legally.  Then WWII was over and by that time Zionist organizations owned about 28% of what is today Israel, and private Arab land ownership or British crown land accounted for the rest.   The Arab leaders promoted violence and terrorism against Jewish settlements and the British there.  Jews were preaching restraint and tried to find political solutions through the U.N.  A minority was involved with "terrorism" against the British and reprisals against the Arabs.  Their idea of terrorism was not exactly like the terrorism practiced by the Arabs, however.  When the King David Hotel was bombed, the hotel was informed of the plan so that the occupants could get out safely.  Lives were not wanted, only a statement.

Now the British decided to give the "Palestine Question" back to the new UN and they came to agree with Lord Peel.  November 29, 1947 the declared 2 states: the Arabs got 45% of the land and Israel would get about 55%.  The division sounded good but the Jews' part was that 60% of their 45% was on the Negev desert.  It was crown land, unpopulated and worthless, supposedly.  Arab states were members of the UN and you'd think they'd abide by the decision, but they didn't.  Instead they started a war of aggression which as they said, was to be the war of annihilation.  They were out to destroy the new State of Israel and get rid of the 605,000 Jews living there.  Arabs were biting the hand that had brought them out of poverty and into the 20th century.

Back to the past.  Moses had led his 600,000 minion of Jews to Canaan out of slavery from Egypt.  Could that be a coincidence in numbers?  That brings us to the day of creation of Israel once more and how we got into this muddle in the first place.

David Meir-Levi, Publication of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, 2005-2006, Los Angeles, CA

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