For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
If a Martian were suddenly to land on earth and start listening to and reading the mainstream media, he would form the impression that the entire Middle East conflict were due to Israel building some settlements in land that much of the world thinks should become a Palestinian state. A near-consensus exists among the governments of the world and among media writers that peace has yet to break out in the Middle Eastbecause of three principle reasons. The first is that the Jews and the Arabs have been unable to agree about whether there should be a Palestinian state. The second is because Israel has obstinately refused to withdraw its troops from (so-called) “occupied Arab” lands. The third is because Israel behaves cruelly towards the Palestinians.
The Martian could easily carry these beliefs back to its home planet, as long as it did not bother to learn the background and the history of the Middle East conflict. Those three reasons cannot survive an antibiotic of familiarity with Middle East history.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seem to think the idea of Palestinian statehood is the most wonderful idea to come along since the Thirteenth Amendment. And almost all world politicians, along with the Israeli Left, insist that all Israeli settlements must be removed from the West Bank because they serve as the main obstacle to peace. The reality is that the Middle East conflict has very little to do with debate over Palestinian statehood and even less to do with Israeli “settlements.” In factIsrael has agreed in principle, somewhat foolishly, to the erection of such a Palestinian state, at least subject to some security conditions and other concessions from the Palestinians -- like recognizing Israel’s right to exist. As it turns out, even so-called “moderate” Palestinians reject any such idea.
Meanwhile debate about the Middle East conflict is based on an incredible absence of historic information and on a series of stylish misconceptions about Middle East history. The anti-Israel Lobby, which grows by the day in its maliciousness and anti-Semitism, counts on the ignorance of much of the public concerning how the Middle East got to where it is.
Here are just a handful of popular misconceptions and their antidotes:
1. Falsehood: Israel was erected on land that belonged to Palestinian Arabs.
Truth: Before Israel was created its territory never belonged to Palestinian Arabs and had not been ruled by any Arabs at all since the Middle Ages. It had been a Turkish province for centuries until it was captured byBritain during World War I. The League of Nations awarded governance of “Palestine” to Britain at the end of the war in exchange for its commitment to turn the area into a Jewish homeland. The lands on which Jewish immigrants settled before Israel was created were purchased by Jews at above-market prices and in most cases had no Arabs living on them. Virtually no Arabs were evicted.
2. Falsehood: The Jews came to Palestine as foreigners and aliens whereas the Palestinians were the indigenous people of the territory.
Truth: Jews lived in “Palestine,” which is the Land of Israel or "Eretz Yisroel," continuously from the time of the Bible. Most families of “Palestinians” migrated into “Palestine,” during the same period as the Zionist waves of immigration, starting in the second half of the 19th century. The largest ethnic group in the country at the time was the Turks. The “Palestinian Arabs” in 1948 were primarily families of migrants from Lebanon and Syria. Ironically, they were motivated to become “Palestinians” in the first place thanks to the Zionist movement, which brought capital and labor into “Palestine” and improved living conditions there. Huge numbers of the names of “Palestinian” Arab villages and towns are slightly-modified Hebrew names. It is difficult to dig in the ground of “Palestine” without uncovering Jewish artifacts, some thousands of years old. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Mandatory Palestine’s territory had been sliced off in the 1920s and used to set up Jordan, an Arab Palestinian state much larger than Israel. The remaining territory,Western Palestine, was to become the Jewish homeland. That was the original “two-state solution,” the same "innovation" now being promoted for the Western third of the remaining part of Palestine.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"