Sheer Sophistry

It is sheer sophistry for American "elites" to maintain that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are a genuine obstacle to peace in the Middle East. To even assert such nonsense is to ignore three thousand five hundred years of history. Neither is "Palestinian pathos" the explanation for the contemporary blood libel that attempts to legitimize Arab claims to the West Bank at the expense of Jewish settlements.

For many, it is naked anti-Semitism that feeds the flames of the Palestinian narrative, and the fuel for that fire is Arab oil money. Without it, the "elites" who propagate the myth of Arab sovereignty over parts of the Jewish homeland would be powerless to weave the web of delusion in which so many Westerners are now ensnared. But for Westerners who honor truth rather than prejudice, a few historical facts may suffice to put out the fire of that Arab fiction.

The ancient Holy Land of the Jews included the West Bank that the Arabs now claim. The Arab claim is asserted on behalf of "Palestinian" Arabs. But the word "Palestinian" doesn't even refer to Arabs. It derives from the Romanized version of "Philistine," which refers to a seafaring people from Mycenean Greece who conquered a part of the southern coastal plane of the Holy Land then known as Canaan, and were later conquered by the ancient Hebrews. The Mycenean sea people were neither Arabs nor Semites. They were Indo-Europeans. Thus, even the "Palestinian" name under which the Arabs now claim sovereign rights over the West Bank is an historical deception.

Before the word "Palestine" was ever applied to the Holy Land, the land was known as Judaea. After the massacre and deportation of hundreds of thousands of Jews by Nero's legions in 66-70 A.D., the Holy Land became a backwater of the Roman Empire. But the memory of national independence and territorial sovereignty burned fiercely in the Jews who remained in Judaea, and on two later occasions they rebelled unsuccessfully against Roman imperialism. The second rebellion is known as Bar Kokhba's revolt, which took place in 132-135 A.D., after which the Emperor Hadrian changed the name of the Holy Land to "Syria Palaestina" in order to humiliate the Jewish people by attempting to erase even from memory their historical ties to the Holy Land.

The modern word "Palestinian" thus derives from a massive land theft by the Romans, and an act of existential malice perpetrated in classical times against Jewish patriots and freedom fighters by Indo-European imperialists. That the Arabs seek to perpetuate the land theft today in the name of "Palestinian" rights would be laughable if it weren't so tragic for everyone concerned. But even that is not the heart of the problem, for it is the Arabs' existential malice against all non-Muslims that must first be overcome if peace is to reign in the Holy Land. To understand this, it is necessary to take a little trip through post-Classical history.

Although a majority of Jews were killed, or enslaved and deported, by the Romans, a significant remnant remained in the Holy Land. Those Jews were ruled by Roman administrators and Greek colonists. After the fall of the Roman Empire in the Fifth century A.D., and the collapse of Rome's bureaucratic civil administration in the Holy Land, a more atavistic way of life settled over the entire area. Many nomads from the deserts of Arabia wandered into the Holy Land and squatted on land that had been stolen from the Jews at the height of the Roman Empire. For more than two hundred years, the Arab squatters and the Jewish inhabitants of the Holy Land were able to peacefully coexist with one another, but in the Seventh century A.D. all of that began to change.

In 638 A.D., Muhammad's army conquered the Holy Land. Islam was on the rise at the time, and was being spread by blood and sword in vast swaths across the Middle East and North Africa. This began the rule over the Holy Land by the Muslim Caliphs and the religion of Islam. Jerusalem still remained a backwater; potentates who lived far away in Mecca and Medina ruled the Holy Land. Arabs living in the Holy Land did not form a "nation," nor was it ever part of the Islamic Caliphate ideology that they should do so.

The control of the Arab Caliphate over the Holy Land was supplanted after 432 years by the Seljuk Turks (another Islamic conqueror) in the year 1072.  Twenty-four years later, in the year 1096, the Holy Land was wrested from the Seljuks by the Crusaders. The Crusaders retained control over the Holy Land for 195 years, until the Mameluke Turks conquered the land in 1291. The Mameluke Turks ruled the Holy Land as a province of their Islamic Turkish Empire for 225 years, until 1516, at which time the Ottoman Turks conquered the land for Islam. The Ottoman Turks ruled the Holy Land as a province of their empire for 402 years, until the defeat of Turkey by the Allied powers of Europe and America in World War I.

During none of the periods of Islamic rule was there a nation of Palestine, or an Arab nation by any name whatsoever in the Holy Land. During all of those periods, Jews continued to live in their ancient homeland, albeit as oppressed peasants, menial servants and second-class citizens subject to onerous tax burdens, social humiliation, political disenfranchisement, and invidious discrimination under Islamic law. Despite their degraded status, the Jews clung tenaciously to the Holy Land as their home, and nobody ever claimed the land in the name of "Palestinian" Arabs.

Following World War I, the British were given a mandate to administer the Holy Land by the League of Nations. The 1922 mandate declared that, as a matter of international law, the Jews were entitled to re-establish their own nation state in their ancestral homeland. Maps showing the international boundaries of that day reveal that the land to be included in the Jewish state consisted of modern day Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, when the United Nations declared the existence of the State of Israel in 1948, it muddied the legal status of the West Bank, and gave the Arabs the excuse they have been using ever since to try to legitimate their opposition to the State of Israel.

But the Arab opposition to the Jewish state has nothing to do with the West Bank. And it has nothing to do with the fact that Israel isn't an Arab state. It is about Israel being Jewish instead of Muslim. It was the non-Muslim character of the state authorized by the League of Nations that led the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to declare jihad on the Jews of British mandatory Palestine in 1922. The Grand Mufti's call to arms resulted in years of local riots and the murder of many Jews. But when the United Nations declared the existence of the State of Israel in 1948, the entire Arab world rose up in arms and commenced an all-out war of extermination against the Jews of the Middle East. Since that time, the Arabs have instigated two more unlimited wars against Israel, two limited wars, two bloody intifadas, and a continuous reign of terror and carnage.

This unremitting hostility of the Arabs to the Jews of Israel has nothing to do with an "Arab-Israeli" dispute, nor does it have anything to do with Israeli settlements or territorial concessions. It is about the implacable hostility of Islam to any other belief system. The Islamic Arabs never revolted against the Islamic Turks, even though the Turks are not Arab and were in the habit of treating the Arabs like dirt. And the Islamic Arabs never waged a war of extermination against the Islamic Iranians, even though the Iranians are not Arab and are actively trying to dominate the Arab Middle East. Yet, for ninety years, the Arabs have been waging a genocidal war against the Jews, and that war started a quarter of a century before the modern State of Israel was even born.

So, the problem is not between Israelis and the Palestinian Arabs, as today's "elites" would have the world believe. Anyone who believes that is a deluded fool, and anyone who proclaims it is a perfidious knave if they know anything about history. The real problem is between imperial Islam on the one hand, and the freedom loving peoples of the world on the other. Given their history -- which includes two lengthy periods of slavery in Egypt and Babylon -- the Jews of Israel stand on the side of freedom. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for the Arabs of the Middle East, and anyone who says otherwise is guilty of sheer sophistry.