Paris Peace Conference? On Sunday, January 15, representatives from seventy countries of the world will meet in Paris to discuss how to get Israel and the Palestinians together to negotiate a peace agreement. And, this comes after passing UN Resolution 2334 which says the Jews must stop all building in the occupied territories. The resolution also forbids Jewish and Christian worshippers from praying at the Western Wall. In examining the issue, I discovered two critical and fundamental truths being ignored re: Israeli settlements.
These two glaring omissions stand like beacons in the darkness of deception. The foundational questions to the rights regarding Israeli settlements and praying at the Western Wall are the origin of Palestine, and who, exactly, are the Palestinian Muslims?
An earlier post dealt with the UNESCO resolution rejecting any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and praying at the Western Wall. UN Resolution 2334 includes East Jerusalem and the Western Wall, but this post will focus on land rights and people groups.
ONE: Origin of Palestine
History of the disputed territories
A familiar part of the Christmas story is that the Roman Empire controlled the Jewish territory at the time of Jesus’ birth. In truth, the Romans held power over the land long before the time of Mary and Joseph.
Those growing up in the modern age of technology might not realize that effective communication existed prior to the advent of electricity. Clearly, the Romans knew all about the exodus of the millions of Jews from their Egyptian oppressors thousands of years earlier.
When the Romans took over the Kingdom of Judah in 63 B.C., they changed the name to the Province of Judea. Both labels mean homeland of the Jews.
What about the Palestinian Muslims in the land? First, remember that Islam didn’t begin until seven centuries later. Let’s deal with the name change from the Province of Judea to Palestine.
Origin of the name, Palestine
The Romans witness the growing proliferation of the Jewish people as time passed. Realizing the power their numbers would wield if the Jews decided to launch a rebellion, the Romans took action.
In two massive attacks on the Jewish people, the Roman genocide killed even more Jews than Hitler’s holocaust. Many Jews escaped, but a remnant remained in spite of the murderous threats.
By the Second Century A.D., with the genocide concluded, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. They renamed the area, Syria Palestina.
Palestine means homeland of the Philistines. Since the Philistines had only occupied a tiny sliver of land along the eastern Mediterranean Coast and had been extinct for centuries, it is believed the Romans chose the name of the Jews’ ancient enemy to taunt them.
The Romans needed people to settle the new Palestinian capital, so the Emperor brought in thousands of Greeks. Jews were forbidden to enter under penalty of death.
Informally, the Romans still referred to the area as Judea. Jews who had fled began returning to join the remnant.
The name Palestine faded as the centuries passed. In fact, when the Turkish Ottoman Empire had charge of the area from the Sixteenth Century, no political or administrative entity known as Palestine existed.
Four hundred years later, the Turks lost the Middle East to the British after World War I. The British revived the name, Palestine, though the borders outlined in 1922 included only one-quarter of the land they’d initially called Palestine in 1920.
In 1946, When testifying before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, one noted Arab historian declared that there was no such thing as Palestine in their history.
Origin of today’s Palestinian territory
If Palestine is a creation of the Romans and Brits, then when did the Muslims start claiming the land is the ancient homeland of the Palestinian Arabs?
The answer can be found in the history of the first voice of the Palestinians, the PLO. The 1964 charter of the Palestinian Liberation Organization excluded Judea, Samaria, and Gaza from being Palestinian land.
Article 24: This organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank, Judea, and Samaria, in the Hassamite Kingdom of Jordan or on the Gaza Strip.
At that time, Egypt illegally occupied Gaza, and Jordan illegally occupied Judea and Samaria—the West Bank. The PLO claimed no part of these lands.
Everything changed in 1967. The Arab States attacked Israel, the Six-Day War. Israel gained Gaza and the West Bank, among other parcels of land.
In 1968 the PLO Charter changed to include Gaza and the West Bank as Palestinian land. Clearly, the Palestinians expected they could count on their Arab brothers to back them in any fight against Israel.
TWO: Origin of Palestinian Muslims
In 1878, the Ottoman Sultan initiated a resettlement policy to bring in foreign Muslims. Thousands of Arab Muslims immigrated to the area in hopes of cashing in on the new prosperity.
Two years later, Jewish nationalism brought many Jews back to join the remnant in the Holy Land. All found a land in great need.
From the time, Islam and the Muslim Arab Conquest began in the Seventh Century A.D. until the time Jews started returning in the 1880s, the land suffered greatly. For centuries, the Turks of the Ottoman Empire had encouraged the destruction of cities, palaces, and defoliation of the land, until even the topsoil had been stripped from the once-fertile land of the Bible.
Only barrenness and disease greeted the returning Jews and immigrating Muslims.
While Muslims constituted the majority of the inhabitants at this time, there existed strong differences between groups. None of the people were Palestinian Muslims.
Small communities of Jewish people lived in the large settlements in the towns of Judea. Greater populations of Jewish people lived in the larger cities.
Even before the Zionist return, the Jewish population in Jerusalem outnumbered the Muslims. In 1859, the British Consulate recorded the following: The Muslims of Jerusalem do not exceed a fourth of the entire population.
Since today’s Palestinian Muslims have their roots in that migration of 1878 and beyond, history proves their ancient roots in the Holy Land fall far short of their claim to a thousand-year history.
In fact, the UN defines a Palestinian refugee as any non-Jew who left the land during the war of 1948, and whose family had been residing in the area two years before that. Without this UN definition, the numbers of Palestinian Muslims would shrivel to nearly zero.
While no one disputes the Jews settled on barren land no one was using, a lie has circulated that the Jews took that land by force. They stole it from the Palestinians.
An interview with the father of the Palestinian Movement set the record right. He explained the Muslim feudal landlords had warned the owners of small parcels not to sell any land to the Jews, under penalty of death. Then, they forcibly purchased the parcels from the Muslim owners at extremely low rates. In turn, the feudal landlords sold the larger, combined parcels of land to the Jews at highly inflated rates.
Unfortunately, the hard work and perseverance of the Jewish people to make the barren land flourish led to even more Muslims pouring into the Holy Land, claiming ancestral ownership.
Palestinians: New Tool for the Arabs
The Arab maps of the Middle East do not include even the tiny strip that makes up today’s State of Israel. The Palestinians have always rejected a two-State solution—even when the Jews began offering one back in 1947. To the Arabs, Israel must be removed from the map, not wrapped around a Palestinian State in the West Bank.
Middle East experts suggest that the Arabs discovered a unique tool in the Palestinians to rid the region of the Jews. Their armies had failed in every war against the tiny nation, watched over by Almighty God. Obviously, weapons and war weren’t the answer.
Instead, the powerful weapon of diplomacy was launched. Take up the cause of the oppressed Palestinian people, suffering under the hand of the Jews. Get the world to believe that Jews had stolen the land from the poor Palestinians and they’d give it to the Arabs on a platter.
The conquest is much slower than bullets and missiles, but the nations of the world are siding with the Palestinian cause. They’re chipping away at the nation of Israel.
If you’ve any doubt that the Paris Peace Conference has nothing at all to do with peace, look closely at UN Resolution 2334. The Jews not only lost the right to build apartment buildings to house the tens of thousands of Jews returning to Israel each year but the Temple Mount and even the Jewish Quarter of the old City of Jerusalem. It’s not just Gaza and the West Bank. Is there really any ground left on which to talk peace?
The following facts of history can’t be ignored
- Ancestral land rights. The Palestinian Muslims haven’t been living on the land for a thousand years since they’re a relatively new people group among the Arab Muslims.
- Jews stole Muslim land. the Jews didn’t steal the land from anyone, originally purchasing it from Muslim landlords at highly inflated rates.
- Name of Palestine. The Turks and Brits changed the name Judea—home of the Jews—to Palestine—home of the Philistines—long after the Philistines had died off. There was never a nation named Palestine with its unique flag, culture, and language.
Whatever the issues over ownership of the land related to acquisition by war victories, the only ancestral rights to the disputed land are Jewish.
One might question which nations of the world have fought to defend their land against aggressors, only to have the United Nations tell them to give it back? Is this really negotiating peace?
In truth, piece by piece, the Arab-heavy United Nations is working to dismantle the State of Israel and steal her God-given land. We must not be deceived by their rhetoric. Study the two Critical and fundamental truths being ignored re: Israeli settlements to understand the real issue on the Paris Peace Conference agenda.
Remember the Biblical admonition regarding Israel in Genesis 12: I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. Almighty God continues to stand with Israel and the Jewish people. Choose to stand with them. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and for wisdom and strength for the leaders who must deal with these crucial issues.
We’re standing with you, Israel, on Sunday, January 15!