There is one phrase that every media network in the world knows and uses—“occupied territory.” This phrase shapes the orientation and perspective of literally the entire world.
In its truest definition/meaning/understanding, occupied Palestinian territory means Israel is illegally occupying land belonging to someone else.
In other words Israel is flouting international law.
Israel has no legitimate right to the land which she is occupying. And even “Israel proper” is questionable.
There is no peace because Israel is building apartments and creating towns (derisively called “settlements”) in “occupied territory.”
If Israel would just give up her claims to the “occupied Palestinian territory” then Arabs would make peace and the earth would be relieved of most of the turmoil generated in the Middle East.
It is astounding to see how little journalists and politicians know about Israel’s roots. They often act as if Israel appeared one day, confiscated Arab land and seized the capital city of the Palestinian nation.
Every follower of Yeshua needs to know the facts of how the modern state of Israel came to be.
More than 3,500 years ago, a man from Ur of the Chaldees (today Iraq) and his family travelled to what was then called Canaan, where he was told by God that the land there would be an inheritance to him and his descendants forever.
Of course, what journalist in this modern world would accept such a fanciful “legal document” from God?
But fortunately for them, there are other legal treaties and documents that though conveniently ignored by pundits and leaders, do exist and give international legitimacy and justice to Israel’s existence—no matter what nations declare today.
It was just after World War I and the English and French had defeated Germany and the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Now there was nothing left to do but divide up the booty. That’s what victorious armies do, do they not?
So even before the war officially ended, Sir Mark Sykes representing Britain and Charles Picot of France negotiated the Sykes-Picot Agreement which carved up the Ottoman Empire between Britain and France (with a bit left for Russia).
Britain took the southern part of the Middle East including the so-called Palestine area (the name given to the land of Israel by the Romans) while France took Greater Syria. Britain also decided to give a bit of Palestine—the Golan Heights which belonged to the Jewish tribe of Manasseh and was part of Britain’s Mandate—to France and France later gave it to Syria—you could call it a sort of happenstance administrative model.
Occupied Palestine Territory?
- There has never been a Palestinian state.
- There has never been a Palestinian people until Yasser Arafat and other Arab nations created them in 1964.
- The “Palestinian people” have no holidays celebrating national events—only protest days against Israel.
- No nation has ever claimed Jerusalem as their capital in the centuries after the Jewish people were expelled by the Romans in 70 AD. That is, no one until Israel made the new Jerusalem her capital—and then recaptured the ancient city in 1967.
The Balfour Declaration
The two colonial powers, Britain and France, began divvying up the former Ottoman Empire according to the pressures and considerations at the moment. Fortunately for the Jewish people, during World War I a prominent scientist, Dr. Chaim Weizman, discovered a new process to produce acetone used in the manufacture of explosives—a discovery that greatly helped Britain’s war effort. This innovation encouraged Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to issue the Balfour Declaration of 1917 - the modern foundational basis for Israel’s legitimate rights to Palestine as her Jewish homeland. (See second article.)
There followed a number of treaties and covenants that affirmed the Balfour Declaration—by the world body of the League of Nations, the San Remo conference, and finally the United Nations which voted to accept Israel as a member nation of the UN.
During the years after WWI through WWII when millions of Jews were dying in gas chambers, the Arab peoples of the Middle East fought with all their might to keep Jews out of their Jewish homeland. Britain, understanding that there were many more Arabs than Jews, and needing them to fight along side them against the Ottoman Turks, mostly caved in to Arab violence, riots and political demands.
Three White Papers
Early on, in 1922, Winston Churchill came up with a plan that he thought might work. When the Arabs demanded that he rescind the Balfour Declaration, he replied in his 1922 White Paper, that he could not do that. The Balfour Declaration stands. However, to appease the Arabs, he arbitrarily took the land under the British Mandate east of the Jordan River—76 percent of what had been promised as a homeland to the Jews - and ordered that Jews could no longer settle or live there. This was a betrayal of the full promise of the Balfour Declaration, but Churchill thought it worthwhile in that Britain could then reserve for the Jews the remaining 24 percent of Palestine, which was west of the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Churchill was seen as a friend to the Jewish people.
The Arabs gladly took the land on the east bank, but continued to launch terrorist attacks against the Jews over the remaining 24 percent meant for a Jewish homeland.
In response to the continuous violence, another White Paper in 1930 was written by the British government. It stated that it now seemed necessary to limit the number of Jews immigrating to anyplace in the Holy Land because they were taking jobs away from the Arab population. It is a well-known fact that everywhere the Jews lived, they built up the economy and actually gave Arabs new jobs. The truth is, where Jews lived, Arabs were also attracted to move in. But the British wanted to stop the Arab violence at all costs.
In 1939, at the beginning of the destruction of 6,000,000 Jews in Europe, the British sent out a third White Paper allowing only 10,000 Jews a year into Palestine for the next five years! After that, the Arabs would decide on whether more Jews would be allowed into Palestine. Thus, during WWII, the Jews were denied a safe haven from the Nazi butchers. The British sense of justice collapsed under the weight of Arab terrorism and obstinacy.
Jewish People Still Without a Home
Meanwhile, France gave Lebanon her independence in 1943 and Syria in 1946 while Britain gave Iraq her independence in 1932 and Jordan in 1946.
Still Israel was given no country of her own because of the constant violence of the Arabs who were determined that no Jews would create a state in the midst of “Arab territory.”
Finally Britain had had enough and threw up her hands, handed the mess over to the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations.
UN Welcomes Israel as a Member State
The League and, after that, the UN upheld the Balfour concept, but divided what was left of the British Mandate into a small section for Israel, leaving room for another Arab state in the hill country west of the Jordan River (Judea and Samaria.)
Israel agreed to receive this tiny piece of land for her new state and Israel was granted her entry to the UN as an independent Jewish state in 1948. More than mystifying is the fact that after 6,000,000 Jews had been murdered in that very decade, Britain could not bring herself to cast her UN vote in favor of Israel. She was the only European state that abstained. Even Russia voted for Israel!
But every single Muslim nation in the UN in 1947 voted against Israel’s statehood. It was destiny that at that time the Muslim countries and their close allies did not yet have the majority vote in the UN General Assembly as they do today.
Israel accepted UN Resolution 181 and 273 (see second article.) and Founding Father David Ben Gurion declared Israel a free and independent state on May 14, 1948.
Five Arab Nations Invade Israel
The Arabs completely rejected the UN resolution and five Arab nations invaded Israel the next day, vowing to destroy the nascent state.
When the smoke cleared, the Jordanians had seized the West Bank area of Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem for themselves and Egypt appropriated Gaza for themselves. They were able to do this because there was no “Palestinian people” or “Palestinian state.” The only rulers over Palestine for the last 500 years were the Ottoman Turks and the British.
A total of 4,000 Jews lost their lives in that war for independence, but Israel actually gained about 60 percent of what the UN had offered the Arabs for their state! The CIA did not believe Israel could possibly win. Israel only had some 20,000 to 30,000 irregulars for most of the war. Many of them were new immigrants and couldn’t even understand their commanders in Hebrew, while the Arabs had large regular armies. It was an absolute miracle.
1967 Six-Day War
More than 19 years later, the Arabs again threatened to throw Israel into the sea and in an act of war blockaded Israel’s entrance to the Red Sea. Israel struck back, chasing the Egyptians out of Gaza, the Jordanians out of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and ancient Jerusalem. Israel conquered the Sinai Desert, Gaza, and took over their ancient homeland of Judea and Samaria. Moreover, they captured the Golan Heights from the Syrians, ending the constant terrorist attacks for decades from the Heights down on Jewish villages and kibbutzim in Galilee, all in six days, an incredible miracle.
The Arab nations then had no choice but to sign cease-fire agreements with Israel. But they emphasized that they were not recognizing any borders of any kind with Israel since they did not accept the existence of a Jewish state. No Israel. No borders.
1973 Yom Kippur War
Again Arab nations invaded Israel with a surprise attack on Israel’s holiest day. Again, miraculously, Israel pushed the Arabs back, and actually could have marched on to Cairo in the south and Damascus in the north. But by this time the UN powers that be almost hysterically demanded that Israel stop. Another cease-fire was arranged—but again no borders were designated because (remember?) the Arabs refused to recognize the Jewish state, and therefore would of course not give her borders. Until today, no borders for Israel have been assigned in written form by anyone, only cease-fire lines.
Eastern Border—The Second Intifada (2000-2004)
Muslim violence raged on. In the Second Intifada which began in the year 2000 in the West Bank, there was every kind of terror you could possibly imagine: late night commando raids, bus bombings, bar mitzvah shootings, random stabbings, street riots, town sieges, bicycle bombers, clashes at holy sites, car bombs, sniper fire fights, human shields, mortar attacks on settlements and farms.
Experts told Israel that it is impossible to win against guerrilla warfare - which is what the Intifada was. However, Israel had no choice if she were to survive. After 5800 Arabs were killed, the Intifada was over.
Yes, 1,053 Israelis were also killed according to the B’Tselem NGO, and 2,267 Israelis injured. One hundred twenty Arab suicide bombers made themselves martyrs. But what did the Arabs in Judea and Samaria gain? For a start, the loss of their fast-growing economy, and the hardships of many new Israeli checkpoints and a protective wall (which the world said was illegal) keeping the suicide bombers out of Israel proper.
Israel has had numerous wars—too many to write about in this article. Suffice it to speak of one: When Hezbollah terrorists continually attacked Israel’s northern border towns, Israel drove them out and created a buffer zone in southern Lebanon, fighting the terrorists together with Lebanese Christians who were Israel’s allies. Under international pressure, Israel pulled out in the year 2000, only to have Hezbollah grow into a powerful guerrilla army equipped by Syria and Iran. Just one short war of 33 days with Hezbollah in 2006: 121 Israeli soldiers killed, 1244 wounded, 43 civilians killed—including 18 Israeli Arabs—and 1384 Israeli civilians wounded, mostly from 4000 rockets.
In an effort to end the hostilities, on 11 August 2006, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved UN Resolution 1701.
Now here’s the joke: The resolution called for Israel to withdraw and for Hezbollah to disarm with United Nations forces (UNIFIL) making sure it happened. Israel did pull out but Hezbollah rearmed. Today, Hezbollah has some 40,000 rockets according to the IDF’s intelligence. It is estimated the terrorist organization, which is an arm of Iran and Syria, can shoot 500 to 600 rockets a day into northern Israel if war breaks out again.
Hezbollah stashes its arms next to schools, hospitals and civilian homes - so that if Israel targets the caches of weapons and it blows up civilians—especially children—Hezbollah wins the political and media war - isolating Israel even more and preventing her from having the means to defend herself.
Israel unilaterally pulled out of Gaza in 2005, only to see it completely taken over by the terrorist organization Hamas. Over the last 12 years, Hamas has hit Israel’s southern population with more than 15,000 rockets. In Sderot, one town alone, an estimated 15,000 people suffer from PTSD and 1,000 are undergoing treatment.
The last conflict with Gaza in November 2012 called the Pillar of Cloud in Hebrew, gives Israel a short breathing time until Hamas begins their rocket attacks again. Psychologists suggest that up to 70 percent of Israeli children living under these constant rocket attacks suffer from trauma and are permanently emotionally damaged.
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal who arrived in the Gaza Strip for the first time (his home in Syria is no longer safe) told it like it is: “Palestine from the river to the sea, from the north to the south, is our land and we will never give up one inch or any part of it.”
As the years have gone by and the U.N. is now dominated by Islamic states, Muslims have discovered many new weapons of war— political war—against Israel. The plan is to so isolate and delegitimize Israel that the world will finally just say, “Away with her!”
Now that the Palestinian Authority has been voted in by the U.N. General Assembly as a non-member state, the PA has a whole new set of weapons against Israel. But that’s for another story.
The Bible’s prophetic words are fast coming to pass: “And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.” (Zech. 12:3)
But prophecies foretelling the day Israel shall be saved and be a light to the nations will also be fulfilled. In that day, the Lord says, “Israel will not bear the shame of the nations anymore.” (Eze. 34:29)