Who Lived In the Holy Land First?
By Shira Sorko-Ram
An extremely rare 2000-year-old wool fabric from a tassel, dyed a mysterious blue from a source that had been lost in antiquity. Only in the last few days has the source been rediscovered. The Bible commanded Jews to wear tassels with one chord colored blue. (Photo APIMAGES)
Last December Muslim leader Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority sent warm Christmas greetings to the world. He wrote, “In Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born, a Palestinian messenger who would become the guiding light for millions around the world.”
He continued, “Our prayers are with the churches and mosques of Jerusalem which remind the world of the Arab identity of our occupied capital…We are committed to bring a just peace to the region, including ending the occupation of the Holy Land with the establishment of a fully independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 “border” [actually cease fire lines], with East Jerusalem as its capital.” (upi.com, 24Dec2013)
It is interesting how riled up Israelis get when Palestinians start claiming Yeshua as one of their own.
“He should have read the Gospel before uttering such offensive nonsense, but we will forgive him because he doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told the Times of Israel. Abbas’s statement is an “outrageous rewriting of Christian history,” according to Palmor.
Abbas continued his tirade against Israel, proclaiming that since 1948 when the UN voted for Israel to become a nation, Christians and Muslims have suffered the vicissitudes of a forced exile.
Now for the truth. The exodus of Christians from Bethlehem began to accelerate the moment the PA took control in 1995, and then turned into a flood during the Second Intifada that PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat initiated in the year 2000. Tourists simply stopped coming to Israel during the Intifada, and the Christians, mostly small shop owners whose livelihood came from tourism, closed shop and immigrated to America, South America and Europe.
Before the Intifada, I used to take my visiting friends to Bethlehem often, and knew wonderful Christian shop owners. I watched their revenue dry up, not because of Israel’s “occupation,” but because tourists were afraid to come to Israel as a result of the unimaginable violence of Palestinian suicide bombers.
But that is not the whole story. Living among an Islamic majority is never easy for Christians or Jews, anywhere in the world at any time. So if a naïve journalist travels to Bethlehem and asks the Christians – who are mainly Catholic, Orthodox, Armenian with a few Protestants – why their numbers are decreasing, they will never say it is because of Muslim persecution. That kind of answer can get them a jail sentence – or more. So yes, they will tell the reporter, it’s because of “the Israeli occupation.” What else can they say?
The fact is, the only place in the Middle East that the number of Arab Christians is growing, is in Israel. (Wikipedia, Christianity in Israel)
THE LATEST TWIST
Arab leaders have recently come up with a new idea. They want Israel to recognize Palestinians as an “indigenous minority.” This suggests that Israeli Arabs are the oldest population in Israel, like the Native American Indians are on the North American continent.
It is only one of a multitude of ways the Palestinians are working to reach their goal to 1) Erase the Jewish nation’s 3,000-year history in the Land of Israel; and 2) Invent an ancient Palestinian people.
At a conference of Palestinian historians in 1998, its speakers called on all universities and colleges to “write” and “guard” the history of Palestine and not enable the enemies to distort it or legitimize the existence of the Jews in this land. They claimed that there is no connection between the ancient generation of Jews and the Jews who now occupy their land. (Al-Ayyam, 4Dec1998)
Muslim columnists and writers have summarily erased Jewish history and filled the void by fabricating ancient histories of Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. They claim that Palestinians populated the Land of Israel in Biblical times and even earlier. These fictions are all historically impossible, as the name ‘Palestine’ as a replacement for the Land of Judea and Israel was coined by Rome only in 135 A.D. by the Roman Emperor Hadrian who, incidentally, had the same desire as the Palestinians – to blot out the Jewish people and their claim to the Land of Israel.
Secondly, Islam was established only in 610 A.D., and the first Arabs arrived in Israel with the Muslim invasion in 637. Media watch organizations like www.palwatch.org explains, “Inventing thousands of years of history when none existed is accomplished through numerous distortions and lies, including changing the Biblical Canaanites into Arabs, changing Biblical Israelis, Judeans and Hebrews into Arabs and Muslims, changing the religion preached by Moses from Judaism into Islam, and changing Jesus into a Palestinian who preached Islam and not Christianity.”
A sympathetic portrait in the New York Times of a Palestinian woman whose son murdered a soldier on a bus. No picture of the parents of the slain soldier appeared. (Photo APIMAGES)
As just one example, the PA TV has for several years, been broadcasting a “documentary” with their new history. According to them, “the ‘Arab’ Canaanites established ports on the coast of Canaan, known today as Palestine. Palestine was attacked by invaders, but its Arab Canaanite features withstood attempts to change them. Jaffa [today Jaffa-Tel Aviv] was one of the cities,” says the PA, “whose Canaanite origins the invaders failed to erase.”
A typical article in the official PA daily Adel Abd Al-Rahman writes about the “historical places and sites in Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea, in which every plot of land holds the Palestinian-Arab past, [ever] since the first Canaanite stepped on Palestinian soil thousands of years ago.” (palwatch.org)
It is difficult, if not impossible, for most westerners to grasp the atmosphere of hatred in the Palestinian areas. Using every possible vehicle at their disposal, the PA is promoting inside the West Bank and around the world demonization and religious and ethnic hatred of the Jewish people. We all know that this campaign has been so successful that any means of terror against Israelis and Jews is seen by the majority of Palestinian Muslims as justified self-defense and as Allah’s will.
The Palestinians have been taught from birth that Jews are treacherous, corrupt, deceitful and unfaithful by nature. They boldly insist that Jews plan and execute heinous crimes, including burning Palestinians in ovens, murder, using prisoners for Nazi-like experiments, and more.
The PA assigns responsibility to the Jews for all the problems in the world. Really! Wars, conflicts and civil wars are all said to be triggered by Jews. In fact, Palestinian leaders teach that the Europeans allowed the State of Israel to be created in order to get rid of the evil Jewish presence in their countries. (Ibid.)
Day after day, the filth spews forth: “The Zionist enemy has continued, with its corruption and tyranny, to devote its efforts to killing, expelling, and violating everything that is holy to Muslims and Christians.” (Ashraf Dabbour, the PA’s ambassador to Lebanon.) (Note: No pro-Israel point of view is tolerated.)
Absurd? The problem is that one and a half billion Muslims believe these lies. And this hatred of the Jewish people bleeds into the third world countries – and thus the UN has become a robust tool for Islam with the goal to wipe out Israel.
CORE HINDERANCE TO PEACE
Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace proposal to demand that Israel remove all its security presence on the ground in the West Bank in exchange for an array of remote surveillance capabilities.
The Defense Minister responded, “When I’m told about the security answer in Judea and Samaria, and when they talk about satellites, drones and technologies, I say, ‘Guys, you’re wrong.’ The principal problem is education. If in Nablus and Jenin they continue to educate the young generation as it is being educated today, to idolize terrorism and jihad, and that the Jewish people have no right to this land – if this is how they’re educated, then technology stops nothing.”
|A typical anti-Semitic cartoon representing Netanyahu
as burying Palestinians as he builds the security wall.
If the education does not change, then creating a Palestinian state will be creating a Hamastan in Judea and Samaria, like in Gaza. (Jerusalem Post, 31Dec2014)
Ya’alon’s message was clear. No amount of drones or satellites can replace boots on the ground when it comes to containing Palestinian terrorism.
So long as jihad and warfare remain principal messages in Palestinian media and schools, Israel will feel the need to keep “the lid on the pan,” explained Ya’alon. Only a visible, permanent Palestinian discontinuation of systematic incitement to violence will stop the war the Palestinians have declared on Israel. (Ibid.)
HATRED OF ZION HAS SPREAD AROUND THE WORLD
But it is not only third world countries. British papers repeat many of the falsehoods as if truth, and carry in their pages anti-Zionist cartoons equalling those the Nazis published.
For example, Britain’s former foreign secretary, Jack Straw, claims that Jewish money controls the American government and Congress, a classic anti-Semitic remark sprouting from the ideology that the Jews secretly rule the world.
But the media in the U.S. is also culpable. One could give a thousand examples. The New York Times regularly slants or distorts what is happening in Israel. It can be blatant or it can be subtle. For example, an unsuspecting young Israeli soldier on a public bus was murdered in cold blood by a Palestinian. How did the NYT present the story? With a stunningly sympathetic picture of the mother being comforted by friends over her 16-year-old son who will now spend years in jail.
Organizations such as https://honestreporting.com and https://palwatch.org are among those websites that try to expose the anti-Semitic slants of western media, encouraging readers to complain to the guilty media outlets.
Homepage of Palestinian Media Watch, one of the watchdog organizations that continually follows the Palestinian Media. PMW gets much material not normally seen because it translates anti-Semitic Arabic media into English. (PMW WEBSITE)
THE LAST WORD ON THE MIDDLE EAST
Here is the irony of the whole issue. Historically, no Arab entity has ever established a national state in the Land of Israel. No Arab people have ever named Jerusalem as their capital. The land of Israel was conquered in 640 A.D. and occupied by Muslim-Arabs for 431 years. These tribal nomads, constantly quarrelling among themselves, ruled from other locations such as Egypt or Syria. But never did they set up a capital in the Holy Land. Yes, Muslims from different races ruled at other times the Land of Israel, but not Arabs.
Besides the Arabs, there were Canaanites, Israelites, Babylonians, Persians, Hellenists, Jewish Hasmoneans, Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Kurds, Mamluks who were Turks and Circassians, Ottoman Turks and the British who conquered the Holy Land over the last 3500 years. The Jews themselves ruled over the Land from about 1250 to 587B.C., and again from 142-63B.C.
It was the Romans, starting in 70 A.D., who utterly destroyed Jerusalem – slaughtering, enslaving and scattering the Jews. In 135 Emperor Hadrian renamed the Land of Israel as Syria Palaestina and renamed the city of Jerusalem as “Aelia Capitolina.” He thought he had destroyed the Jews.
In spite of all the hostile nations that conquered Israel’s land, God watched over His people to make sure there were always Jews living in their Promised Land. Sometimes there were more, sometimes less. They were persecuted, massacred, exiled, banned from Jerusalem, but they clung to the promises that God had given to the Jewish people: “To your descendants I will give this land.” (Genesis 12:7) How can any Bible-believing person miss these promises? God repeated these promises over and over in His Word:
He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, ‘To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion of your inheritance.” (Psalm 105:8-11)
The Battle of the Ages continues and centers over the Land and People of Israel.
Before we think too harshly about the Muslim populations who have no relationship or knowledge of the Bible, let us ponder the fact that the Byzantine Empire which ruled the Holy Land for over 300 years, (313-636), and whose rulers claimed to be Christians, did nothing to help restore the Jewish people to their homeland. Nor did the British Empire, which controlled the Holy Land for a critical thirty years (1918-1948), but worked against the Jews recreating their long lost state from the ashes of the Holocaust. And the Byzantine rulers knew what was written in the Bible.
In fact, we can ponder the fact that the leaders of North and South America and Europe today, who have some familiarity with the Bible, are doing very little – can we say, almost nothing – to help the struggling nation survive.
Thank God, born-again Christians and Messianic Jews who love God and His Word are praying and fighting for the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state – just as God promised. And Christians understand what the renowned Jewish pundit Charles Krauthammer wrote about his ancient fatherland:
Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.” (The Weekly Standard, May 11, 1998)