ISRAEL AND JERUSALEM: Historical
Background And Perspective
is a misconception in the western world that there was a
country called Palestine before the 1948 war between
Israel and the Palestinians living there, helped by the
would like to correct this misconception. During the
Ottoman rule and through the 1900’s, when the British
mandated over the land of Israel, there were Palestinian
Arabs living in the land, certainly. But it was shared by
the Jews of the Old Testament and the Jews that came back
from the Babylonian and Persian captivities on one hand
and on the other a diversity of peoples and cultures who
lived in the land – the Christian sects, Turks,
Armenians, Russians, Coptics, Mesopotamians, Romans, etc.
(See Acts 2:5-11, below.)
In 1947 Britain decided to leave the land. Armed
disagreement between the Palestinian Moslems on the one
hand and the Jews and the British on the other had
erupted. The British had renamed the land
‘Palestine’, a name inherited from the old Roman
Empire, and inaccurately continued by the League of
Nations, currently the United Nations (which I call the
Britain the main colonial power, had tried to get a
settlement between the parties involved in the dispute
over the land, on who would control it. Later that year
the British were desperate to leave, and hastily imposed
a settlement to partition Palestine into a Jewish Section
and to a Palestinian Section.
British vacated the colony leaving behind a problem of
In 1948, Mr. David Ben Gurion, the leader of Israel, had
declared the establishment of the State Of Israel. The
United Nations, including some of the Arab States who
voted, recognized the state of Israel by a clear
majority. Israel became a full member. The Palestinians
rejected the idea of a Jewish state and started a war
with the Jews.
was born on the eastern slopes of Mount Harmon and I
remember the war raging over the hills and the mountains
close to the Lebanese borders.
Jews then were 650,000; they had no arms, no tanks, and
no planes. I remember seeing the Hagana (the arm wing of
the Jews) using an old TOMMY GUN to fight, while the
Palestinians and the neighboring Arab nations – Syria,
Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt – were in the millions,
well-armed and ready to destroy the Jews.
In 1948, all the neighboring Arab countries decided to
attack the Jews. When Israel became a nation, recognized
by the United Nations, the Arabs decided to attack. The
Lebanese fired some guns from the north, the Syrians from
the Golan Heights, the Egyptians from the west, even some
Iraqis came from the east of the desert. After almost six
months into the incursion towards the Israeli side,
orders came from the King of Iraq ordering the Iraqi
contingents to head back to Baghdad and not to engage.
The Lebanese did not have enough men, the Egyptians
crossed the Sinai desert and were so ever close to Gaza,
when King Farouk of Egypt ordered his commanders to head
back to their barracks for a simple reason – his
commanders were complaining of shortage of ammunitions.
When the Syrians felt the fronts were collapsing one
after the other, they did not pursue the attack alone.
Finally the Jews won the war after over a year with the
little arms they had. The leaders of the Palestinians had
ordered their population to leave the country, convincing
them of a rapid and easy return in no time at all. Most
of the affluent Palestinians sold their land to the Jews
long before this dispute erupted.
Mr. David Ben Gurion, the leader of Israel, had declared
the establishment of the State Of Israel. The United
Nations recognized the state of Israel by a clear
majority, including some of the Arab States who voted.
Israel became a full member.
At the end of the war, the land was split under United
Nations auspices; the borders with the Arab nations were
defined. Israel took the coast and half of Jerusalem; the
Palestinians lived on the west bank of the Jordan, and
Gaza, with a substantial number staying in the Jewish
controlled areas, such as Nazareth, Acco, Haifa, Jaffa,
Tiberius, etc. The rest were exiled voluntarily to the
neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and
some to Egypt, hoping that very soon after the war they
would return to their land and then try to take the rest
of the Israeli land.
Unfortunately, the Palestinian leaders had sold most of
their land to the Jews long before the 1948 war and the
promise of return was a false and deceiving one. In 1950,
some of those Arab leaders, being coconspirators, were
assassinated by Arabs. King Abdullah of Jordan was killed
in the west bank while in a mosque. The Prime Minister of
Lebanon, Mr. Riad El-Solh, was assassinated in 1951 on
the steps of his plane. Many other Palestinian leaders
fled with big caches of money and disappeared and thus
avoided assassination – they were considered
coconspirators in selling Arab land.
In 1922, the land on the east bank of the Jordan, where
the bulk of Palestinians lived, had been given by the
British to the Hashemite Abdullah to control. It became
the Kingdom of TransJordan. Abdullah was later
assassinated and King Hussein, his grandson, took over
from his father at age 17. He died in 1999. Similarly,
the Gaza strip was mandated to Egypt to administer. In
June 5, 1967, and on the first day of the 6 Day War,
Jordan lost this west bank strip to Israel, including the
city of Jerusalem as well as the Gaza strip and the Golan
Most of those self-exiled Palestinians, who were falsely
hoping for an imminent return to their land, lived in
camps and in extreme poverty, while their leaders live in
an abundance of wealth. The Wall Street Journal in 1979
estimated the wealth of the PLO leaders at $12 Billion
US. Most of it comes from the Arab Gulf States who are
rich in oil and give them money to avoid confrontation,
as most of those exiled Palestinians abused their
privileges with their host nations. In the 70’s, they
tried to destabilize Lebanon and Jordan, and threatened
their existence. These attempts failed.
Generation after generation has come and gone and the
hope of a return was false and misleading to the
Palestinians as their leaders played the tune of return.
Again and again, with no hope in sight. Most of the
Palestinians – those living inside the territories and
those exiled – lived and are still living in extreme
poverty. Very few have succeeded, comparatively speaking.
Meanwhile Israel became a nation recognized by the UN,
and was of a good stature, building an army and an
economy that startled the world. Israel became an
exporter of food and electronics to India, Russia and
other nations of the world. While their economy was
mainly dependent on US aids and loans, yet their skilful
business managers controlled many economic sectors of the
world trade markets. On the other hand, the Palestinians
were and are drumming a different beat.
Leslie Stahl of CBS news 60 Minutes reported in early
November 2003 that the president of the PA has a personal
slush fund of over $1 billion for his own use and that
his wife who now lives in Paris gets $100,000 monthly.
He has his salary. He has personal investment in the Coke
Bottling company, the National Petroleum agency, and he
trades in various investment entities. All these related
funds come from the European Union and from Saudi Arabia,
the Arab Gulf States and from previous donations from the
Stahl also reported that he hands out funds to all those
families who have had their children blown up in suicide
attacks against the Israelis in the last few years.
The PA finance minister was hired from the World Bank to
come and stop the financial corruption in the PA
authority. While he was doing his job as Finance
Minister, he was subjected to various types of
intimidation and scare tactics from gunmen who entered
his office and threatened him. The reporter believes that
those gunmen came from the PA president. She reported
that this large fund was stolen from the PA Authority
She concluded that Yasser Arafat when contacting the
Saudi Royal family demands that their share of the money
donated to the Palestinians be given to HIM directly.
On the other hand, while those Palestinians are hoping
for a return, generation after generation has come and
gone and the hope of that return have almost vanished.
These refugees have become a burden on all. Their socio
economical structure was and is a concern. The UNRWA, a
United Nations relief body, has handed them food and
other provisions since 1948 up until now. Recently, in
February 2003, the UN said that they do not have the
funds to provide food for them much longer.
Palestinian leaders have in their coffers billions of
dollars to spend. The European Union as recently as 2002
gave them 5 Billion Euros for a period of 5 years. In
1979 the Wall Street Journal reported in one of its
issues that the wealth of the PLO then was around $12
So, why are these people still poor and deprived? If you
know the recent history, you understand why.
Now, back to our story. There was no recognizable country
called Palestine. Palestinians were inhabitants, who
lived in the land of Israel as the Bible tells us, as did
many other groups of peoples and cultures.
The Bible Acts 2:5-11:
5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men,
out of every nation under heaven.
6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came
together, and were confounded, because that every man
heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to
another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in
Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of
Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our
tongues the wonderful works of God.
Note: Arabians were mentioned last because of their
presence among other nations and not as the dominant
Now, about Jerusalem. This is the holy city of the
Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David. It belongs
to the Jews. It is true that crusaders and other invaders
took the city time and again, but ultimately it went back
into the hands of the original custodians, the Jews. Most
of the buildings were constructed by the Jews, the Jews
who originated the worship in the Temple, the Jews who
Mohammed never came to Jerusalem. He thought he had a
dream that he came to Jerusalem, but in reality he never
did come. He died in the desert at age 62.
The only time Mohammed traveled is when a war erupted
between his Tribe, the tribe of Qureish, and other of his
tribe. He migrated from Mecca to settle in Medina to
avoid tribal confrontation.
Like others of his tribe, Mohammed was not educated, but
he was intelligent and capable of leading his tribe and
being at the helm. He learned a great deal from the Jews
who were dispersed in the desert as a result of the
brutal Roman oppression and also from the Jews who lived
in the city of Mecca long before Mohammed was even born.
He later oppressed their males and made concubines of
By the same token he learned a great deal of the Jews’
worship habits and customs, such as wearing a garb, a
miter, growing a beard, praying and facing certain
location (the Jews face toward Jerusalem), washing their
parts of the body before prayers, using a laver, fasting,
and offering a clean animal as a sacrifice on special
days of the year. He observed Jewish habits and
traditions. In his hands this became the faith and
practices of a dogmatic religion, which has no basic
Godly foundation. It is a paradox of faith that religion,
the sword and conquest became the order of his daily
He also gained much knowledge from another person, the
monk Buhaira – a renegade monk – who had split
off from the main stream Christian group and
wandered in the desert of Arabia. He came to meet
Mohammed and became to him a wrongful spiritual mentor
He translated and exposed to him vague and wrong
fragments of the Old Testament and the New Testament,
Scriptures from the odd scrolls he read during his travel
in the desert of Arabia. No doubt he told him about the
true writings of the holy men of God, about the Lord
Jesus, His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection,
and His coming again to earth, the only human being to do
so ever in the history of mankind. This was literally
mentioned in the Qur’an.
“PEACE BE upon him the day he was born, the day he
dies, and the day he is resurrected back to life.”
[19:33] “And PEACE BE upon me the day I was born, the
day I die, and the day I get resurrected.”
these facts were copied by Mohammed. He transformed them
into a pact of faith, religion and observance, which he
and his followers added into his written book.]
And the facts must be corrected once and for all.
The land of Israel and Jerusalem do not belong to the
Palestinians or Moslems. They belong to the real
indigenous people of Israel and God has the final word.
IS what Winston Churchill had written in 1899:
dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its
Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a
man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful
fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many
countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of
agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity
of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet
rule or live. A degraded sensualist deprives this life of
its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and
sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman
must belong to some man as his absolute property, either
as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final
extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased
to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may
show splendid qualities, but the influence of the
religion paralyses the social development of those who
follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the
world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a
militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread
throughout Central Africa , raising fearless warriors at
every step; and were it not that Christianity is
sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science
against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization
of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of
ancient Rome .”
Winston Churchill; (The River War, first edition, Vol.
II, pages 248-50 London )