Monday, June 7, 2010

Myth: Jews have no claim to Palestine

There are several good reasons why the Jews have a claim to the Land of Israel:

1. The Jewish people settled and developed the land.
2. The Jewish people have maintained ties to Palestine for more than 3,700 years.
3. The international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people.

The ancient Hebrews entered the Land of Israel about 1300 B.C.E. They lived under a tribal confederation, until being united under the first monarch, King Saul. The second king, David, established Jerusalem as the capital around 1000 B.C.E. The nation was divided under Solomon’s son, with the northern kingdom lasting until 722 B.C.E., when the Assyrians destroyed it, and the southern kingdom surviving until the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.E. Most Jews were driven from their homeland in 135 C.E. If not for foreign conquerors, Israel would be more than 3,000 years old today.

Palestine has never been an Arab or Muslim state. Muslim Palestinians can only claim an historic connection to Palestine of circa 1000 years, dating back to the Muslim conquest in the 7th century.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, the British got mandate over the area, and in 1917, they issued a declaration that promised the land to the Jewish people:

His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

In 1947, the UN established a Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP) to devise a solution to the partition of Palestine. Delegates of seven nations recommended the establishment of two separate states, one Jewish and one Arab, with Jerusalem as an internationalized enclave. The Jews accepted the offer, the Arabs rejected it.

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