to the U. S. elections, the top story the last year (2000) in the American
media has been the ongoing saga of the so-called " peace process" between Israel
and the Arabs, popularly known as " Palestinians." This, of course, is not
surprising to those of us who take a literal view of Bible prophecy, since
Israel is at the center of imminent future events. However, I am constantly
annoyed by the steady stream of myths and propaganda that streams from the
global media, often misinforming the world about the modern land of Israel.
This month I want to demythologize a number of popular notions about the Land
of Israel, so that prophecy-loving believers may not be taken in by what they
hear and see in today' s media.
The Ancient Palestinians
the most maddening term that I hear today is related to the term " Palestinian."
Let me start by providing a history of that word. It was a term invented by
the Roman Emperor Hadrian in a.d.
135 after he had destroyed Jerusalem during a campaign to put down a Jewish
uprising known as the Bar Kokhba revolt. Hadrian was tired of the constant
revolts by the Jews in the land of Israel so he set out to " de-Judaize" Israel.
This he did by renaming Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina and he renamed the Land of
Israel Palestine from the word Philistine, a reference to the ancient
Canaanites. Palestine became the common term that many used to refer to the
biblical land of Israel. During the early 1900s and before 1948, a Palestinian
was always thought to be a Jew who lived in the land of Israel, of course,
popularly known as Palestine. When Israel became a nation in 1948, the Jews
took the biblical term Israel to refer to the reborn nation. Some time between
1948 and 1963, the Egyptian, Yasser Arafat took the term Palestine to refer to
the Arab claim of the land of Israel. Thus, it was only around 1963 that the
term Palestinian began to be used of Arabs. There is no such thing as the
ancient land of Palestine. It is the ancient land of Israel.
of the contemporary use of the term " Palestine," I think it is best that
Christians refrain from using it to refer to the land of Israel. This is how
Israel is usually referred to, even in biblical maps from the time of Christ
and before, when the term was not invented until 100 years after the time of
Christ. This is why in our newly produced Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible we insisted upon using the term " Israel" when
referencing the land of Israel. We did not call it Palestine. The only real
Palestine I know of is a town in East Texas with that name.
The Palestinian Right of Return
light of what I noted in the previous section, it follows that the so-called
Palestinian " right of return" is a key element in Arafat' s position in the Oslo
Peace Process. This is one of the few issues that current Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Barak has not caved in on, . . . at least not yet. Arafat claims
that there are about four million Arabs and their descendants who were
displaced by Israel in 1948. This is a most ridiculous claim. First of all,
only about 200,000 Arabs left their homes in the land of Israel. Few,
if any, of these Arabs " refugees" were forced out by the Israelis. Instead,
" The Arab refugees were not driven from Palestine by anyone," notes Samuel
Katz. " The vast majority left, whether of their own free will or at the orders
or exhortations of their leaders, always wit the same reassurance- that their
departure would help in the war against Israel." 
the 1948 war, Arab leaders refused to settle these refugees, even though
hundreds of thousands of Jews were expelled from Arab lands with only the shirt
on their backs. In fact, based upon conservative
estimates, at least two times more Jews were made refugees from the countries
in which they lived and have now been settled in the land of Israel without the
need for refugee camps that the Arabs are so famous for constructing for their
people. Lately, Arafat has been demanding four to five billion dollars as
reparations for the so-called " Palestinian refugees," while no one has brought
up the fact that the Jews left behind in their country of origin billions of
dollars worth of property. Where is the outcry for Jewish compensation?
of settling Arabs who left Israel in 1948 in other Arab countries, Arab leaders
have consistently insisted that they remain huddled together in the squalor of
refugee camps in various locations throughout the Middle East. Joan Peters
noted in 1984:
Over the last thirty-odd year, numerous projects
have been proposed, international funds provided, studies undertaken, all
indicating the benefits that could be derived by the Arab refugee from their
absorption into the brethren cultures of the Arab host countries.
Arab leaders always reject any solution that might serve to solve the problem.
Even though the Arab refugees number only in the hundreds of thousands, others
have successfully exchanged many times that number. Peters notes that, " The
exchange between India and Pakistan in the 1950s was overwhelming in magnitude:
8,500,000 Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan fled to India, and roughly 6,500,000
Muslims moved from India to Pakistan."  The fact that " from 1933 to 1945, a
total of 79,200,000 souls were displaced," is staggering. But all but the Arab
refugees from Israel have not been able to find a place of settlement. Why?
Because the long-term Arab goal is not peaceful co-existence with Israel, but a
total annihilation of every Jew and the modern nation of Israel. This reality
is why it is foolish for Israel to continue the Oslo Peace Process.
David and Goliath
the so-called " Temple Mount Intifada" we have seen a blatant example of Arab
manipulation of the media in the incident of the death of the twelve-year old
Arab boy named Mohammed. The world' s media captured the sad death of Mohammed
in a crossfire between Arabs and Israelis. The video footage revealed the boy
being shot and dying in his father' s arms. The immediate outcry from the global
media was how the evil Israelis (the bully Goliath) were picking on the poor
defenseless Arabs (David). The media assumed and then reported that Mohammed
was shot by the Israeli army. Few asked what the boy was doing there in the
first place. Few noted that Mohammed' s father had come to get him because he had
gone to throw rocks at the Israeli army. But, most significantly, it was
reported in the alternative media that there were questions about whether the
Israelis were even in position to have shot the boy. A later investigation has
proved that it was impossible for the Israeli soldiers to have shot him since
they could not have hit him since they were not in position to have the right
angle to get to him. It is now clear that the Arabs shot one of their own,
apparently for propaganda purposes. They cared more about sending out to the
global media a certain image than they did about the life of that twelve-year
kind of thing is all too common in the battle for truth in the propaganda wars
coming out of Israel in our day. In fact, established reports have revealed
that the Saudi Arabian government is paying $2,000.00 to the family members of
each Arab killed in the current Intifada and $300.00 for each non-fatal wound.
This is most revealing when one realizes that Muslims believe that they are
guaranteed to go to heaven if they die during the current conflict. Boy are
they in for an immediate surprise. This is probably the most blatant
propaganda piece of the entire conflict.
The Temple Mount
classic instance of Arab lying that has come out in the media recently is their
widely held belief that there has never been a Jewish Temple upon the Temple
Mount (Arabs call it Al-Qods-Al-Sharif) in Jerusalem. Randall Price and I noted
this in our book, Ready To Rebuild,
in the early 1990s. This belief, coupled with the equally errant lie, that the
place of Mohammed' s supposed ascent into heaven occurred on the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem. This was a later myth added to the lore of Islam as time went on
and they became engaged in a rivalry with Christianity and Judaism, both of
whom had a rich history of events that transpired in Jerusalem. Islam had
question arises that if there never was a Jewish Temple upon the Temple Mount,
then where did Jesus walk in New Testament times? What a crook! There is more
historical and archaeological evidence supporting the historicity of the
Bible' s report that there were two Jewish Temples upon the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem than is needed to accept any fact of antiquity. Yet, this does not
seem to phase the Muslim faithful. If there was no Temple upon the Temple
Mount then what did Josephus write about when he records the destruction of the
Jewish Temple in a.d. 70. This
kind of outright lying is revealing about the whole Islamic religion: It does
not care about the truth, only propaganda. Thus, we should not be surprised, I
am not, at the lengths to which too many Arabs will go in our own day as they
spin Middle Eastern events to the global media. But, as lovers of the truth,
Christians should not fall for these Arab distortions.
believers in God and His Word, we should not be surprised that Satan and the
world system is anti-Israel. We should also not be surprised that in spite of
the justness of Israel' s cause that the international media echoes Satan' s
voice, instead of God' s. Israel is God' s elect nation and He works out a major
aspect of His plan for history through them. Therefore, the least that
believers should do is not be taken in by the myths and propaganda from the
world' s media. To help towards this end I want to recommend some excellent
books that will provide an interested person with factual information.
are a number of good works out there that can provide accurate information
about the history of this situation. First, I want to recommend a good
internet site or two that specializes in setting the record straight. One is
called HonestReporting at http://www.honestreporting.com/. Another site is
CAMERA at http://world.std.com/~camera/.
I would recommend Zola Levitt' s monthly publication, Levitt Letter, as a good way to keep up on Israel. They can
be reached at P. O. Box 12268, Dallas, TX 75225-0268; www.levitt.com. Three excellent books on
these issues are: Benjamin Netanyahu, A Place Among The Nations: Israel and
The World (New York: Bantam
Books, 1993); Samuel Katz, Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine, 4th edition (New York: Steimatzky
and Shaplolsky, 1985); Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial: The Origins of
the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine (New York: J. KAP Publishing, 1984). If I could read just one, I
would recommend the Joan Peters book.
spite of all the current bias against Israel we know what the end of the matter
will be. Yes, Israel will exist for all eternity, while he enemies will be
judged at Armageddon. It helps in the present time to know the God who has
told us the end from the beginning. Maranatha!