Recently my wife, a geography teacher, currently teaching Religious Education stated that she had taught her children the realities and causes of the Palestinian /Jewish issue stating , “It’s because the Jews have been persecuting the Palestinians in their land for thousands of years, isn’t it?”
She looked at me and all I could do was shake my head in shock and bemusement saying, “No…No, it’s not that at all?”
She then looked at me saying “Really? Because that’s what I’ve taught all my GCSE RE groups at school. Oh no, am I wrong?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and then attempted to explain before she cut me off and said this was a discussion for another time since we were… “on our way out.”
For Christians this is a crucial point. One of the reasons anti-Semitism is so rampant in the church right now is because this belief is so prevalent and is left unchecked. People in society and the church have bought wholesale into the belief that the Palestinians are a people wronged by the Jewish state, a people who continue to be wronged and that this situation has been going on for a long, long time.
A colleague at work, a math teacher who is a Muslim man explained it to me this way one morning when I enquired from him innocently, what he thought the cause of the Palestinian / Jewish issue was.
His reply, “Matt, if you lived in a big house with all your family and the Jews had come and kicked you out of most of your house and told you that now you can live with all of your family in just the tiny front room, you would act like the Palestinians too.”
It’s the same argument. The same lie. That at some point in the past the Palestinian people, a separate group of people lived in the land we now know as Israel/Palestine and that the Jews came and subjugated them, placing them into the Gaza Strip, oppressing them and suppressing them to this very day.
Nearly the entire world has bought into this lie. And it is straight from the pit of hell.
The truth is somewhat different.
The truth is that the Jews have been in diaspora for nearly two thousand years, thrown to the four corners of the earth, stateless wonderers until 1948 when they regained their homeland. How can they possibly have persecuted the Palestinians when they were not in their own land but scattered throughout the world?
How can they possibly have persecuted the Palestinians when the Palestinians themselves were not in Palestine until 1948! If you or anybody had gone to Israel, Palestine or Jerusalem in 1900 what would you have seen? An Arab people living peacefully, eking out an existence. Or a desolate, empty landscape devoid of inhabitants. A barren wasteland. Ruinous and forgotten?
The Real History of the Region
In 70 AD the full might of the Roman Empire came against that region. The Jews living then in Israel, just a short time after the death of Jesus in circa 33AD had rebelled and the Emperor Vespasian sent his son, General Titus with his Tenth Legion to crush the revolt. And crush it they did. Millions of Jews died in the siege of Jerusalem with the Jewish inhabitants so oppressed that they were reduced to cannibalising their own children to survive.
When the end came it was carnage. Those not slaughtered by the Roman hoard where reduced to slavery and marched off to the Roman Empire with the rest scattered to the winds of the earth. So hated were the Jews by the Romans that they then renamed Israel Palestine as a deep insult to the Jews. They renamed Israel after the Jewish peoples oldest and most hated of enemies, the Philistines, long since extinct.
This is where the name “Palestine” comes from. From the Romans. Today’s Palestinians take their name from the land, the land is not named after the Palestinians.
But the Romans weren’t finished. So hated were the Jews by the Romans that they then sowed salt into the earth, so that nothing would grow there. And nothing did grow there for two thousand years.
If you or I could have visited Israel, Jerusalem or Palestine in 1900 we would have found a barren land, devoid of inhabitants with the exception of small nomadic groups wandering here and there. There were no Palestinians there, there were no Jews there.
A Modern “Unpleasant” Truth
What then is the reality of this land, amidst all the lies and propaganda? It is this.
The Palestinians, who in reality are Jordanians, have been in the land exactly the same amount of time as the Jews, since 1948. The UN Mandate that granted a homeland to the Jews in 1948 was the time the currently known as Palestinian People were placed into the current Gaza Strip and it was the Emir of Jordan that made the decision to annex them in Gaza, not the Jews or the UN. It was Arabs that began the persecution of this people, not the Jews.
Furthermore the original UN mandate for a Jewish homeland, also, in the same charter granted the Palestinians their own homeland beside Israel – but they said no! The reason they said no is the same reason they have declined a homeland on each occasion so far…because it’s not about getting a homeland, it’s about getting rid of the Jews from Palestine.
As Christians we should be under no illusion. On this issue there is no middle ground. Biblically that land belongs to the Jews and all of the land too, not just the small portion currently defined as Israel.
We are seeing prophecies come to pass in our own time about this nation and need to beware as God clearly says, “…for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8.)
“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people” (Zechariah 12:3).
Jerusalem is a burdensome stone right now, today. Of Jerusalem God himself says:
“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (Isaiah 49:16) .
God loves Jerusalem and Israel and He loves the Jewish people though He has been dealing with the Gentiles for a season during this Church Age, but He has not forgotten about the sons of Abraham,
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15).
The land belongs to Israel. God has not yet finished with the Jewish people. Be on the right side of history.