Its another cockatoo rant…
The Israeli-Palestinian wars have their beginnings in the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests of Cannan around 700 BC. Written around that time Deuteronomy has YHWH promising the return of all Jews exiled to Israel wherever they end up and on top of that, Israel’s eventual rise as the greatest nation in the world. Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezra, and others all promoted the idea which became an entrenched part of Jewish lore. There is a prayer devoted to the rise of the state of Israel, a particularly attractive idea that was eventually politicised by the Zionist Movement which formally began in the late 1800s.
Along the way, the Christians interpreted the restoration of Israel as an absolute imperative for the return of Jesus and the Judgement Day. Such sentiments drew medieval Europe into the costly wars of the Crusades. It was for this prophetic vision that Cromwell lifted the ban on Jews in England set by Edward I some three hundred years before in 1290, to ensure the Jews did get to “the four corners of the world”, as biblically prophesied before being encouraged to go back to Israel, to be converted to Christianity in time for when Jesus would then put an end to the material world and everyone could get their final celestial rewards.
Nothing, as it transpired, happened.
The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was the first legal government policy regarding the establishment of the state of Israel. It had support of the Zionist movement and Christians generally but the unspoken agenda was that it was formulated as an enticement for the Russian Jews of the Bolsheviks to bring Russia back into the First World War. It didn’t work; someone overestimated the piousness of the secular communist Jews, but England was now committed to the state of a Jewish Israel.
The resettlement of European Jews didn’t really take off until after WW2 and the horror of the Holocaust, which cast them as the victims and deserving inheritors of Canaan. There were lots of negotiations and endless talks but some sort of uneasy treaty was hammered into place under the power of the existing British Mandate allowing the refugees land grants and with the assistance of wealthy supporters, limited purchases of land from the resident and mostly impoverished Palestinians. The following decades witnessed an escalating bloody struggle over land and power in which the Palestinians suffered increasing losses in living space and of fundamental rights that has equivalents in other uneven territorial struggles, such as the North American Indians against the white man.
The continuing sad and tawdry events has indeed seen Israel emerge as a nation above all others, confident in its influence over the US in supporting its fight in a bitter and savage war of survival against its Arab religious, cultural and poltical enemies.The once pitied survivors of concentration camps and gas chambers have emerged as intolerable as any of the regimes who had ever persecuted them.
In comparison very little consideration of the Palestinians usually hyped as terrorists or murderous zealots in western media, who had been possessors of the land for nearly two thousand years after the Romans forcibly dispersed the Jews. I have often heard Israel has the right to survive as a nation, but what of the Palestinians? Do they deserve their own cruel Diaspora? There is no mention in the Bible of their place in the future of the promised land but this does not justify the treatment metered out to them by the now empowered Jews with openly unfair discriminations and exclusive distributions of favourable districts.
I don’t support one side over the other in this endless conflict. It’s a profound and sorry mess, deplorable for its savagery and hypocrisy. It remains the epitome of the political inhumane insanity that only the three supposed Religions of Peace could produce.
It really is just dirty dirt. Its the purchased burial grounds of Abraham’s Sarah; Genesis 23 is the symbolic title deed. Paid for in full, despite offers of it as a gift.
But it’s also the ancestral territory of generations of Palestinian who lived there for centuries and whose children and old folk have been destroyed along with those of the Jews within that stupid ancient and seemingly endless conflict. It might only be the figurative Promised Land but it is most certainly the arse End of the World.