Top-Rated Free Essay

Who Owns the Land of Israel

Topics: Israel, Jordan / Pages: 13 (3074 words) / Published: Mar 1st, 2007
"Oct. 5 — A bomber charged into a crowded seaside restaurant in this northern Israeli city on Saturday afternoon and detonated explosives that killed at least 19 people, besides herself. At least three of the dead were children" (NYTimes). This is just one of the few terrorist attacks that have come upon Israel in recent years. The land of Israel has been fought over more than any other land in history. Everybody who has been anybody in history has made their pass, or mark, in Israel. The question I will try to answer in this paper is; who are the rightful owners to the land known as Israel? To answer this controversial question I will present both sides of the argument with as much factual information that I can to justify why each side deems that they own the land. I will start my paper with a brief history on both Israel and the Palestine. Then I will get into the main purpose of my paper. I will start off with why the Palestinians believe the land known as Israel belongs to them. I will first start of with why the Palestinians believe the Bible justifies that the land of Israel (Palestine) belongs to them. The next claim to the land brought fourth by the Palestinians is that "their ancestors have lived in the land of Palestine from as far back as any of them can record" (jesusseminar). Lastly, I will present why the Palestinians believe the land belongs to them because before the Belfour Declaration was ever started the British had promised them independence after WWI. After I have discussed Palestine 's claim to the land I will discuss Israel 's claim. I will start their argument the same way I did with Palestine; the Israeli 's believe that the Bible also states that the land belongs to the Jews. After that, I will ask the question; why won 't the other Arab states allow the Palestinians to take control and occupy some of their land? And for my last argument for the Israeli 's I will discuss that Israel deserves the land just through its war claims. The history of Palestine begins before the 3rd millennium BC when during that time it was inhabited and urbanized by a group of people called Canaanites. These people lived in city states, one of which was Jericho. Because of its location, Palestine was "the center of routes linking three continents-made it a meeting place for religions and cultural influences from Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Asia Minor" (Palestine). What these influential people started had a huge impact on the alphabet and most importantly their significant role in bringing their beliefs and practices into the Jewish religion, which then went on to influence both the Christian and Islamic religions. (Palestine) Israel 's history is dated back to the Old Testament when God gave his people (Jews) the land of Israel. But the first Hebrew State was established in the 11th Century B.C. when King Saul founded the Kingdom of Israel. From then on, the question of who owns the land of Israel will come up to every ruler and conqueror who proclaims the land as their own. But the group of people who have fought and argued the most that the land of Israel belongs to them are the Palestinians. It was up until 1948, when Israel became a universally recognized state that the question of who owns the land was finally answered for all but those who believe that the land should belong to the Palestinians. The land that is now known as Israel has two names depending on who you believe owns the land. It is either called Israel or Palestine. The history of the region of Palestine began when "Hebrew tribes entered Palestine (or Canaan) at the end of the late Bronze Age, and were established by the twelfth century BCE" (McDowall 3). The Old Testament is one of the most credible sources, especially when talking about the land now known as Israel. In Dr. Fayez Al Sayegh 's article "Do Jews Have a Devine Right to Palestine" he quotes Professor Guillaume when he sums up the promises made up by God to the Jew 's. Professor Guillaume states:
The first explicit promise of Palestine to the descendants of Abraham was at Schechem (now Nablus) in Genesis ‘Unto thy Seed will I give this land. '… When Abraham made a covenant with God through commission (xvii. 8) all the land of Canaan was promised as ‘an everlasting possession. '(Sayegh)
In between the last two quotes the same was said to both Isaac and Jacob. And it is from this that those who believe the land of Israel does not belong to the Jews get most of their backing. When God stated that the land was promised to Abraham and his "seeds" he makes the same promise when He is speaking with Isaac and Jacob. Which means the only way that the land belongs to the Jews alone is if they were the only descendants from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and since they weren 't they have no right to be the only inheritors of the land. To put the nail in the coffin, Abraham wife, Sarah, wanted to have a child so very much, but unfortunately she was sterile. So she offered Abraham her servant Hajar in marriage. Soon after Hajar bared a child, his name was Ishmael. After Hajar and Ishmael were banished from Abrahams concubine, Ishmael went on to become the "father of twelve princes who settled vast territories and founded cities. He lived in defiance of his relatives, refusing to be put down, despite his inauspicious beginnings" (pbc). The history of Islam then tells us that "Muhammad taught the Arab people to regard themselves as the descendants of Abraham through his son Ishmael, just as Jews have long seen themselves as the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac" (jesusseminar). To summarize the last paragraph, the ideas behind the Zionist movement was that the Divine promise made in the Old Testament to all and only Jews for the land of "Palestine" is falsified by two very important facts. There are many non-Jews who are descendants of Abraham as well as many Jews who are not descendents of Abraham. So the question remains, how could the land really be strictly for the Jews? The next claim that the Palestinians bring forth is that fact that throughout history, the only location they have ever lived was in Palestine. Lloyd Geering, a renowned author and lecturer states it best; "the Palestinians do not have a common ethnic origin or a common religion. What joins them together is simply the fact that they and their ancestors have lived in the land of Palestine from as far back as any of them can record" (jesusseminar). The Palestinians have never inhabited any other land besides Israel, but this does not mean that they were not taken over and had their land inhabited by outsiders. Palestine was first taken over by the Romans in 70 ce, when they destroyed the city of Jerusalem. After the Romans demise in 410 there came the Byzantines. Then during the first 40 or so years of the seventh century Jerusalem was in a tug-o-war match with three prominent groups of people. In the end it was the Muslim Arabs that the city of Jerusalem fell to. Then a couple hundred years later the Crusaders came into Jerusalem and took the land. Jerusalem finally saw some peace after 1516, when the Turks and the Ottoman Empire took the land over and gave the city its beautiful buildings that are still around today (jesusseminar). No where in here do you see anything about the Jews having the land. During this whole time the Palestinians where trying to establish a homeland for themselves, this which comes much before the concept of a Jewish homeland. "The modern concept of a Jewish homeland in Palestine began in the late 19th century, when the region was part of the Ottoman Empire" (Palestine). The last claim behind the Palestinians reasoning behind their ownership of the land is also one of the most controversial one. The biggest reason why WWI broke out was because the Ottoman Empire (including the region of Palestine) had fallen, and there was oil rich land out there for the taking. Because the land was so rich in oil, it caused many disagreements between the allies, so the British, being the good people they are, made several promises and signed a number of agreements that largely contradicted each other. The Arabs who were under the control of the Ottoman Empire in the region of Palestine, "revolted against the Ottomans because the British had promised them, in correspondence (1915-1916) with Husein ibn Ali of Mecca, the independence of their countries after the war" (Palestine). For the last statement to be called anything short of a lie would be an injustice. So to cover the allies preverbal asses, an agreement was made between the Russians and the French in what is known as the Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916. This agreement the allies would divide the region equally. But then even this agreement went down the drain. And so it was in 1917 when the Balfour Declaration was signed that the British "promised the Jews, whose help it needed in the war effort, a Jewish "national home" in Palestine" (Israel). It could be said that it was the Britain 's fault that the Palestinian people never got their land. Just think about it, if the British kept their promise to the Palestinians, there would not be an Israel, instead the British faulted and in some way were a cause behind the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that is going on today. The Palestinians in all have a very good argument against the Jew 's and Israeli 's on why they believe the land should belong to them. There are many facts that are given by very credible resources, the most credible being the Bible. With that being said, I will now bring to light the other side of the debate. Israelites have been fighting for a place to call their own throughout history. To start off the debate on behalf of the Israelites I will discuss how they feel the Bible justifies their rightful ownership to the Land of Israel. After that I will ask the question; why won 't the other Arab states allow the Palestinians to take control and occupy some of their land? And for my last argument for the Israeli 's I will discuss that Israel deserves the land just through its war claims In response to the Palestinians argument that the Bible justifies their ownership of Israel the Jews have their own reason for believing that the land of Israel belongs to them. The facts stated above make a very good point if the Palestinians and the Muslims believed in the Bible. A trademark of the Christian religion is to be compassionate, and to sympathize with all. Those Christians who support Israel are the same way. But how can a Christian who supports Israel not be compassionate and sympathetic towards the Palestinians? The answer very simple, the Palestinians do not "acknowledge the authority of the Bible. According to that Book, the land in dispute, upon which the Palestinians whish to form a state, was granted to Israel." (Westbrook) Besides, Jerusalem isn 't even the Muslims most holy city, its not even there second most holy city. Jerusalem is there third most holy city. The Muslims most holy city is Mecca, how could they conceive the idea of inhabiting or even sharing the city. If the Jews wanted to share Mecca, it would be seen as an outrage. Israel is the smallest country in the Middle East, why can 't the Palestinians live in a country that has much more land to give up than Israel. Including Israel "the Arab world today includes 21 independent countries totaling 5.7 million square miles" (hux.csudh). The Palestinians also state that the Israeli 's stole the land that is rightfully theirs. Well then if you believe that to be true listen to this "The Arab countries occupy 640 times the land mass as does Israel and outnumber the Jews of Israel by nearly fifty to one (masada2000). To top it all off:
Palestinians are Arabs, as are Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. Therefore, to use the word to distinguish a group of Arabs, who want to be known, as the rightful heirs to the land is outrageous. It is interesting that when Mark Twain visited Israel in 1860 he noted that the land was desolate and with only a few shepherds living there. The Jews began to return to Israel in 1881; the Jews made the deserts bloom again. Arabs began to come to the area to get jobs. Only in 1967 did Arabs begin to claim they were the true Palestinians and that the land of Israel had always belonged to them. World media eagerly promotes that lie…. Arabs control over 5,000,000 square miles yet there is only one Jewish state consisting of only 8,000 square miles—Israel. Why haven 't Jordan, Syria, or Egypt offered to given the "Palestinians" a homeland? These Arabs who call themselves "Palestinian" deserve a home. They may remain in Israel and abide by their laws, living in peace with their neighbors; if they cannot live in peace in Israel they can move to an Arab country. (detailshere)
After this piece of very important I don 't know what to say, but I can understand where the Israeli 's are coming from. The last argument that the Jews have that the land is theirs is through war claims. As I said earlier, not other region in the world has had as many wars, and battles fought on their land as Israel has. It would be almost impossible to discuss even shortly about ever battle that has taken place in the land of Israel. So I will try to pick out what I believe to be the most important and most influential battles that have been fought in this region. The first war I will discuss that has some significance does not even have a name, but because of the reasons behind it, it could be called the Independence Day War. Israel was granted statehood on May 15, 1948, the day the British Mandate on Palestine ended. As soon as this happened Syria, Lebanon Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq declared war on Israel. When the war ended, all of the countries that had initiated war with Israel signed a peace agreement. Israel had come out of the war victorious and owning more land than when the war had started. The next war I will discuss is the Six Day War which took place in June 1967 between Israel and the rest of the Arab States. Even though it took place in 1967, the causes behind the war started many years before hand. One of the important reasons behind this war was because the Arab world continued to refuse to acknowledge Israel as a state. But the event that was closest to the actual start date of the war was in April 1967, when Syria unloaded heavy artillery shells on Israeli villages in the Golan Heights. At the end of this war, Israel was once again victories against major odds against them. Not only did they win but this is also where Israel obtained what is knows as the Occupied Territories. These territories include the West Bank, Golan Heights, Sinai Peninsula, and the Gaza Strip. The past two wars the I have discussed where wars that Israel knew about, the next war that I am going to discuss came on a day that no one ever expected.
On October 6, 1973 — Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar — Egypt and Syria opened a coordinated surprise attack against Israel. The equivalent of the total forces of NATO in Europe were mobilized on Israel 's borders. On the Golan Heights, approximately 180 Israeli tanks faced an onslaught of 1,400 Syrian tanks. Along the Suez Canal, fewer than 500 Israeli defenders were attacked by 80,000 Egyptians. At least nine Arab states, including four non-Middle Eastern nations, actively aided the Egyptian-Syrian war effort. (us-israel)
Unlike the other wars I discussed, Israel did not take over any new land, in fact, even though the Arab states surprised Israel with this attack, they didn 't even gain any land. The effects of this war would not affect the immediate future as much as it would effect the years to come. Just as I said with the Palestinians argument, I feel that the Israeli 's present a good if not somewhat better argument. I feel that all three of the arguments that I brought forth are extremely important to why the Israeli 's believe the land of Israel belongs to them. The purpose of this paper was to answer my thesis statement which was to try to present enough factual information on the issue of who owns Israel so that the reader could decide by him/herself which side they feel to be right. Now that I have concluded with what I believe to be enough factual information for one to decide which side "owns the land of Israel" I hope that it is possible to make a decision. I have given each side three arguments to present why they feel their claim to the land of Israel is of more important than the other. It is now up to you to decide which side is right.

Works Cited
The Israel - Palestine Situation in brief

"Israel." Microsoft Encarta. 2003. 15 Sept. 2003.

Isseroff, Ami. "A Brief History of Israel and Palestine and the Conflict." MidEast Web. 2003. 14 Sept. 2003.

McDowall, David. The Palestinians: The Road to Nationhood

"Palestine." Microsoft Encarta. 2003. 15 Sept. 2003.

Sayegh, Fayez Al. "Do Jews Have a Divine Right to Palestine?" Arab American Roman Catholic Community. 4 Sept. 2003.

Westbrook, Bob. "Taking the Land." Israel My Beloved: Gods Banner to the Nations. 2001. 4 Sept. 2003.

Cited: The Israel - Palestine Situation in brief "Israel." Microsoft Encarta. 2003. 15 Sept. 2003. Isseroff, Ami. "A Brief History of Israel and Palestine and the Conflict." MidEast Web. 2003. 14 Sept. 2003. McDowall, David. The Palestinians: The Road to Nationhood "Palestine." Microsoft Encarta. 2003. 15 Sept. 2003. Sayegh, Fayez Al. "Do Jews Have a Divine Right to Palestine?" Arab American Roman Catholic Community. 4 Sept. 2003. Westbrook, Bob. "Taking the Land." Israel My Beloved: Gods Banner to the Nations. 2001. 4 Sept. 2003.

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