Editorial - Who Is Occupying Whose Land?

by Joseph Hunting

Legitimate possession of either land or material wealth has ever posed problems that require the wisdom of Solomon for a just solution.

Three thousand years ago two women sought the king's judgement over the ownership of a new-born child. Both vehemently claimed to be its parent. It was only after Solomon was about to divide the child with a sword and give a portion to each claimant that the true mother was revealed.

A similar problem has arisen over the West Bank. Both Israel and the Arabs lay claim to legitimate ownership. Both parties are equally vehement and unyielding in their claims. But today there is no Solomon to solve the dispute; so "who IS occupying whose land?"


Prior to 1948 when the State of Israel was reborn the occupants of all Palestine were called Palestinians. Up until 1946 this area included Israel, the West Bank and all the Transjordan.

Both Jews and Arabs have lived in the area for centuries during which time the Crusaders, Turks, French and British were the foreign overlords. On the other hand there has been a continuous Jewish or Hebrew presence in the land for 3,300 years during which time Jerusalem was the nation's capital for a thousand years.

Even though there is no Solomon to adjudicate, the indisputable title deeds to the land in question were given by a greater than Solomon, the Eternal, to Abraham and to his seed for an everlasting possession.

The Divine title is worded as follows: "And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now your eyes, and look from the place where you are northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land that you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed for ever ... Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto you." (Genesis 13:14-17).

It may be argued that the Arabs have a rightful claim to be included in the inheritance as Abram's seed. This would be valid if the promise included Ishmael and Isaac, and Esau with Jacob. However, this was not the case, as both Ishmael and Esau were excluded when God confirmed the title deeds to the land to Isaac and Jacob.

The territorial boundaries west of the Jordan occupied by Israel under Joshua when he possessed the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are almost identical with that of the present-day state of Israel.

But what of a Palestinian State for the Arabs? The Lord also promised them their inheritance which is occupied by present-day Jordan. This was, and still is, a Palestinian State.

So just as Solomon's judgment was fair and righteous, so is the final word from the Eternal as to "who is occupying whose land".