Do the Jews have a â€œrightâ€ to the land of Israel/Palestine?
An interesting topic that is debated every day in the Arab lands. Letâ€™s look at history to see if we can find an illusive â€œright.â€
Whatever your religious beliefs, most agree that written history is only around 6,000 years old. That is roughly 4,000 years BC to 2,000 AD. If you believe that the first Hebrew was Abraham, you would most likely agree that the first Hebrew/Jew/Israelite moved to Canaan in the 2,000 BC timeframe. Obviously you had prior inhabitants living in Canaan; we could call them â€œNative-Canaanites,â€ and as Abraham and his family were fairly small in number, and had emigrated from Iraq, you could not argue that Abraham could make much of a historical claim at that time.
Fast-forward a couple of generations and you have Joseph taking an all expenses paid vacation to Egypt; courtesy of his brothers. The other 11 brothers eventually relocate to Egypt, several hundred years pass, and you have a very large number of guest workers discontent in their working arrangement with the native Egyptians. A rabble-rouser named Moses returns from exile; organizes the Hebrews, and leaves Egypt for the â€œPromised Land.â€ Most people believe this occurred somewhere between 1600-1800 BC. For sake of argument letâ€™s use 1,800 BC. We know that David was king around 1060 BC. So, from around 1,800 BC to King David you had a relatively small group of Hebrews gradually taking the land by conquest. In Davidâ€™s time and certainly in Solomonâ€™s time you could say that the land of Israel was definitely Hebrew.
The Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 BC and the people were deported. The Assyrians, moved outsiders in to settle northern Israel.s The southern kingdom of Judah survived until 70-130 AD, when the Diaspora was ushered in by the Romans.
The Romans and then the Christians (300 AD) ruled much of Israel from 130 AD to the mid 600â€™s AD when the Moslems rudely kicked the Christians out. Israel/Palestine was ruled by the Moslems until 1948, and has been ruled by the Jews from that time forth.
So, letâ€™s put our thinking caps on. Native Canaanites probably 2200 years. Hebrews, roughly 1000-1300 years, Moslems 1400 years, Christians 300 years. I donâ€™t give the Romans any claim, as they were foreign rulers, while the Christians and Moslems and Hebrews were made up of the existing people in their time. By the above quasi-analysis I would have to say that the Jews do NOT have a historical claim to the land of Canaan/Israel/Palestine. They did conquer the land, as did the Moslems and Christians for the most part. So, the only historical claim I can see is that of a conqueror.
How about a United Nations claim? After WW2 the Gentile nations of the world, feeling a bit guilty, â€œgaveâ€ the Jews a certain portion of the land of Israel/Palestine/Canaan. The native inhabitants were a bit put off to put it mildly, as their ancestors had conquered Palestine fair and square. They were especially ticked off that a bunch of Crusaders (bad) gave away their land to a bunch of Jews (worse). Although many of these Arabs would argue that they were â€œnative Canaanites,â€ and they probably had a clearer title than did the European Jews who moved there in the 1920â€™s onward; things are still a bit fuzzy as far as â€œrightsâ€ go. As most countries would not accept the United Nations taking pieces of their land away, I would say that the Jews do NOT have a â€œrightâ€ to Palestine by virtue of any UN decree, especially as most Jews came from the outside to settle this piece of land. The UN is not God despite what many believe and does not have a right to distribute land that belongs to others.
Speaking of God. Is there a religious â€œrightâ€ of the Jews for the land of Israel/Palestine/Canaan? Ah yes; now we are talking. In fact, the God of Abraham did promise the land of Canaan to the Hebrews in approximately 2000 BC. Later, he also re-promised that land to Moses and Joshua. Now, as God is even greater than the UN, and as God created the Earth; I would say that he has a right to give the land to the Hebrews.
Soâ€¦what do we have? The Jews have no historical right above that of others; they have no UN right, as the UN does not have the moral authority to take peopleâ€™s land away from them; but they DO have a right given them by God. The God I believe in (and thatâ€™s all I can go on) said the land belongs to the Hebrews, not the Moslems, not the Romans, not the Greeks; and not even the Christians.
Letâ€™s talk about the Jews in Israel today. What percentage of the Jews in Israel believe in God? What percentage could call themselves â€œHebrew?â€ 50%? Letâ€™s be generous. Letâ€™s say that 50% are religious to a degree and believe all that hocus pocus about God having promised the land of Israel to Abraham. To these people I would say that you have a right to the land of Israel. To the other half I would say that you have a right by virtue of conquest, and that the conquerors can always be conquered.
If you accept that there is a God, and that Israel is yours by virtue of it having been given to you by Godâ€¦ then you probably realize that there will be no peace until a majority of the inhabitants of Israel believe in God and do what he asks. If the great Hebrew prophets were here today, they probably would agree with that statement.
If you do not accept that there is a God, then you are either in Israel by virtue of conquest or by virtue of some world body stealing the land from its inhabitants. You cannot complain too loudly when the previous owners try to take it back.
I hope that helps, and I am awaiting my Nobel Peace Prize.