31 October 2010

The Goose and the Gander

The New York Times has brought to our attention the question of Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state.
Many Jews in Israel and beyond consider it essential that they are recognized not just as members of a religion but also as a people with historic rights to a sovereign state in the Holy Land. The issue, they say, goes to the core of the conflict and will serve as a litmus test for Palestinian intentions.

"Only when our peace partners are willing to recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish state," Mr. Netanyahu said... "will they truly be prepared to end the conflict and make a lasting peace with Israel."

But given the opposition to this demand by the Palestinians and many of Israel's own Arab citizens, some are questioning how vital it is.

By removing the "Jewish" from the Jewish-democratic identity of the State of Israel, serious questions arise - does this negate the historical claim the Jews have to the Land? Does this create the impression that the only reason Israel exists is because the United Nations gave it status in 1948?

To answer both questions - yes, and yes again. It removes the 3000 year connection the Jewish People have with the Land and relegates it to the status of any other country established by the United Nations.

The modern State of Israel was established as the Jewish homeland. Israel's Declaration of Independence begins:
Eretz-Israel [Land of Israel] was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.

After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.

Impelled by this historic and traditional attachment, Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland...

This brings us to question in a quid pro quo - in other words, what's good for the goose is good for the gander - If we are allowed to question the Jewish identity and claim to the Land in the name of "peace" than surely we can question the "Palestinian" identity and claim to the Land as well.

The Arabs claim an "historic Arab Palestine", while at the same time are unable to recognize an ancient Jewish empire. Let us deal with this claim first. When did the "historic Arab Palestine" exist? Where were its borders? Who were its leaders? What kind of culture did those 'ancient' Palestinians have? What kind of political system did they have? This "historic Arab Palestine" never existed.

The beginning of the Palestinian issue begins way back during ancient Roman times. When the Romans conquered the Jews in 70 CE (Common Era/AD) and destroyed the Temple, the Romans still had problems with the Jewish People. The Jewish People were not willing to give up their Land without a fight. So finally in 135 CE, the Romans had enough. They wiped out the stronghold of Masada, and gave the Holy Land the new name of "Palestine", named after the Greek Philistines of Bible fame, and scattered the Jews across the world. The new "slave name" was created to break the connection that the Jews had with their homeland and destroy the Jews as a People. As 2000 years has shown us, Rome is gone and Israel is back. However, the "slave name" stuck.

After WWI, the "Palestine" Mandate was given to the British to administer. It consisted of the current countries of both Israel and Jordan, and both Arabs and Jews had the "Palestinian" identity stamped into their passports from 1917-1948.

In 1922, Arab-"Palestine" was split off from the Mandate and re-named Trans-Jordan and the only "Palestine" left on the map referred to area of Israel. The "Palestinians" of Jordan became Jordanians.

In 1948, Israel declared independence and the Jewish and Arab "Palestinians" became Israelis. That would make sense of course, but this is the Middle East. Not all the Arabs of Jewish-"Palestine" decided to take Israel's offer to become Israelis, instead they created a new "nation" - the "Palestinian People", whose land was usurped by the Jews.

The point of all this is to prove two points:
* First, there is no "Palestinian People" who have a claim on the Land of Israel.
* Second, the attempt to break the connection between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel is not a new one. It's been tried before - by the Romans.

This connection defies time. If Israel were not important to the Jewish People - we could have turned our backs years ago and said it wasn't worth the blood that we have shed over the millennium. We haven't.

Why is Israel being pressured to stop building on Jewish Land? Why do we hope that the "Palestinians" recognize us as a Jewish State? Why do we care about a people who are unwilling to make peace for the sake of peace without conditions attached?

It is unfathomable to be in "negotiations" with anyone holding a proverbial gun to our heads. We don't have to recognize them as a "People" with any legitimate claim to the Land - they don't have one. The Jewish connection is the one that exists. It's time for these "Palestinians" to find somewhere else to live. It's as simple as that.

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