The Conflict — Part 11
THE JEWS PURCHASED TRACTS of land from those few Arabs who actually owned land, and only “three percent” of Palestine was owned by Arabs in 1948¯nine percent was owned by Jews, 17 percent was abandoned land, and the remaining 71 percent was empty Crown or State Land vested in the British Mandatory government. Often the Jews paid exorbitant sums of money for what was considered useless land¯malaria infested swamps, for example. The tenacity of the Jewish settlers overcame every obstacle, and once more sank their roots deep into their ancient home. The dramatic change brought to the face of Palestine by the Jews induced the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, a distinguished Biblical encyclopedia, under the entry “Palestine,” to applaud them:
“Altogether, these determined settlers have produced the most marked advance of cultivation over waste that has occurred since Roman times, bridging centuries of misuse and neglect.”
The Jewish development of agriculture, together with the influx of Jewish industry and commerce, brought a giant leap to Arab incomes that was unparalleled in any neighboring Arab country. In The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land Settlement and the Arabs, 1878 1948 it is stated that the wages of an Arab worker in Haifa, for example, “were twice what his counterpart was receiving in Nablus, where there was no Jewish presence.” And, we might add, the same is true of today. On September 21, 2014, the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida said that “whenever Palestinian workers have the opportunity to work for Israeli employers, they are quick to quit their jobs with their Palestinian employers—for reasons having to do with salaries and other rights.” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida interviewed a group of Palestinian workers for the piece, and found that those with Israeli bosses earned much more than those working for Palestinians. So, yet another Arab myth, that Israelis take advantage of Palestinians, bites the dust.
From the immense inrush of Arabs from Western Palestine—Syria, Egypt and Libya—where there was no Jewish settlement, came the refugees that left again in 1948. The great majority of the refugees were, in fact, newcomers, taking advantage of the prosperity the Jews had brought to Palestine. For this reason, the United Nations had to redefine the definition of an Arab refugee to that of any person having been in the land for two years or more.
Jewish employment of Arabs continues until today despite the fact that numbers of Arabs attack, murder or maim either those that employ them or some other innocent, defenseless person. The Israeli government allows tens of thousands of Arabs to enter the Jewish state each day for employment, and on July 17, 1994, 10,000 Arabs rioted at Israel’s Erez checkpoint near the Gaza Strip.
Israeli authorities had warned the new “Palestinian policemen” that they were taking too long in checking Arab identity papers and work permits before allowing them to enter Israel for their day’s work. Arabs, frustrated at the delays, threw rocks at the Israelis manning the Israeli side of the checkpoint, injuring 18 border policemen, one critically.
They then stormed through the checkpoint, looted and set a gas station afire and destroyed 152 new buses, parked at a bus parking lot, causing millions of dollars in damages.
The following day found the checkpoint closed to all Arab workers for an undetermined period due to the riots. The Arabs grumbled because they were now forced to find work among their Arab brothers¯in Israel the Arabs worked less hours and earned double the wage.
Article 20 of the PLO’s charter, the PNC (Palestine National Covenant), denies that Jews have ever had an historical or religious tie to Palestine. And even many Palestinian Christian-Arabs would have us to understand that Christians who believe Jews have a Biblical, historical or religious right to possess their ancient land are infidels¯unbelievers, heretics—“who deny- God and Christ.”
It might come as a shock to many readers to find that the Jews not only have roots that precede the Arabs by thousands of years in Palestine, but they have roots even in Arabia, in Medina¯the second holiest city of Islam¯that precede the Arabs! Arabs boast of their “pure Arab lands,” but the facts of the matter are that “Jews originally settled the city of Medina, or as it was known before Islam, Yathrib.” Mohammed’s invasion of Medina, situated some 280 miles (450 kilometers.) north of Mecca, was the beginning of the seventh century “Arab conquest of Arabia”¯the Jews were completely overrun and eliminated.
For Arabs to claim that Jews have no historical or religious ties to Palestine is almost too ridiculous for words. If more people—including evangelical Christians—were to read more of the Bible, less of the populace would be misinformed. Nearly 4,000 years ago Abraham purchased the Cave of Machpelah in Kiryat Arba¯Hebron (Genesis 23:2) for 400 shekels of silver (Genesis 23:15-16). He bought the cave as a burial site, and in it he buried his wife Sarah. Abraham was later buried there also, as were Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah¯all of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
At the time- of the conquest of Canaan, Caleb, one of the two faithful spies, was given the entire area of Kiryat Arba because he was loyal to God (Joshua 14:14). The city was later renamed Hebron after the great, great grandchild of Caleb. And Hebron was from where King David ruled the kingdom of Judah for “seven years and six months” (2 Samuel 5:5). Around 1,000 BC David captured the fortress of Zion (the City of David, 2 Samuel 5:7) in Jerusalem, and from there he ruled all of Israel for 33 years (2 Samuel 5:5). Jerusalem remained the capital of Israel until the Jews were expelled in 135 AD¯over 1,100 years of sovereign rule. But Arab revised history would have the world believe that Jerusalem has remained under Arab control “from the time of its establishment until today.”
Hebron has always been an especially holy place for Jews because it contains the Tomb of the Patriarchs¯the Machpelah Cave. For 700 years the Muslims would not allow Jews to approach beyond the seventh step leading to the cave. Not until Israel captured Hebron in the 1967 war were Jews able to enter the cave again and pray as before.
The Muslims make much of Hebron and Jerusalem being part of the “cradle of Islam.” But neither Hebron or Jerusalem were ever capitals of any Arab entity, and Mohammed
attached no Islamic importance to the cities, as neither city was deemed worthy of even a single mention in the Qu’ran (Koran).
Hanan Ashrawi, one of the leaders of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) has told the world that Bethlehem is a Palestinian Arab town. However, Bethlehem was Caleb’s grandson who was born to Ephrathah (1 Chronicles 4:4). From this combination we get Micah’s prophecy:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
It was Bethlehem who founded the town that still bears his name today. We could go on and on, but all one needs do to dissolve a multitude of other Arab myths is read the Bible.
To be continued
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