Palestine And The Palestinians

by Joseph Hunting

I have often been intrigued with the advice, "When all else fails read the maker's handbook". The Palestinian problem seems unsolvable, and every effort to solve the problem of Palestinian land meets with failure. As God has a particular interest in the real estate in question I suggest we refer to the Maker's Handbook, the Bible, for the solution.

The time has come for some clear thinking regarding the P.L.O. claim for a Palestinian State on the soil of Israel's ancient homeland, Judea, Samaria, and the area known as the Gaza Strip.

Firstly, and most importantly, the territory in question was deeded to Abraham and his descendants by God. One only has to pick up a Bible and read from many passages in the Old Testament to realize that all the area that is currently being claimed by the P.L.O. as a Palestinian state is 100% Jewish. Not only did God deed this territory to Abraham and his descendants but He also forbad the Jews to occupy the territory He deeded to the forefathers of modern-day Arabs.

God instructed Moses, "You are to pass through the border of your brethren, the children of Esau, that dwell in Seir ... I WILL NOT GIVE YOU OF THEIR LAND, NO, NOT SO MUCH AS FOR THE SOLE OF THE FOOT TO TREAD ON, because I have given Mt. Seir unto Esau for a possession ... And when you come over against the children of Ammon, harass them not, nor contend with them, FOR I WILL NOT GIVE YOU OF THE LAND OF THE CHILDREN OF LOT FOR A POSSESSION" (Deuteronomy 2:4-5;19).

Secondly, Jews have never abandoned their God-given heritage. Admittedly, the Romans dispersed the Jews from their homeland and in an effort to obliterate every trace of a Jewish presence in the Holy Land they changed the name of Judea (by which it was then known) to Palestine after the name of Philistia, the land of the Philistines. Yet Jews clung tenaciously to the land of their forefathers.

Thirdly, the area known as the Palestine Mandate granted to Britain at the San Remo Conference on 1920 and approved by the League of Nations as the Jewish National Homeland in 1922 was an area that included present-day Israel (Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip included) plus present-day Jordan.

In 1922 Britain carved a huge slice from the proposed Jewish homeland and called it Transjordan. During Israel's War of Independence Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria and called it the West Bank. This territory was recaptured by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967. Israel was not the aggressor in that war with Jordan, and as the area in question had belonged to Israel from time immemorial it can hardly "be up for grabs" by the P.L.O. for a Palestinian state.

One must be evenhanded regarding the plight of the so-called "Palestinians". Jews born in Palestine prior to the formation of the state of Israel are just as much Palestinians as Arabs born there during the same period. There was also a vast influx of illegal Arab immigrants during the mandate period, whilst Jewish immigration was strictly limited.

It is important to bear in mind that God set the eastern border for the Israelites which included the West Bank. "And you shall point out from your east border from Hazar-enan to Shepham ... and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth (Galilee) eastward: and the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea (the Dead Sea): this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about" (Numbers 34:10-12). Therefore the territory west of the Jordan is Israel's, and that which is east and south of the Jordan belongs to the Arabs.

The state of Jordan was primarily Palestine and 70% of its inhabitants are Palestinians; also the population is predominantly Arab. However, this raises the problem that the P.L.O. were expelled from Jordan in 1970, therefore a Palestinian--P.L.O. state would hardly be welcome in Jordan.

In the meantime, the intifada has reversed the role of David versus Goliath. Largely due to biased media reporting countries that were once sympathetic to Israel have now reversed their stance. Within Israel there is division. This country that has fought for survival for forty-one years would dearly love peace but it knows that the ultimate Arab aim is for the total destruction of the Jewish state. Even if there should be an internationally sponsored peace conference Israel is in a no-win situation.

Finally, when all else fails the solution is to be found in the Maker's Handbook. Palestinian Arabs who do not wish to live peacefully under Israeli jurisdiction in Judea, Samaria and Gaza should be free to take up residence in a land of their choice that provides their own ethnic and cultural background where God originally intended them to be.