“The more things change, the more they stay the same”.
This is a famous quote that perfectly sums up our world right now but also the Middle East. Our world changed this week when President Trump announced a wonderful decision to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which is the real capital of Israel.
Naturally, world leaders, the U.N., the media and even the Pope condemned this move. Muslims around the world including Hamas are calling for a day of rage and the media will continue its propaganda and blame Israel for EVERYTHING that happens.
Sadly we also have a growing part of the population who are anti-Semitic on BOTH sides of politics, who not only HATE Israel but will actively spread lies about Israel being evil and Palestine being good. To help counter this narrative, I wanted to share a brief history of Israel that goes back over 4000 years.
(NOTE: This article is NOT MY OPINION on Israel. IT IS FACTS and FIGURES which you can research for yourself. Words in BOLD are key issues to this day and are highlighted to show how much history surrounds them.
C. 2000 BC: The first Jewish Tribes and Kingdoms settle in Israel.
C. 1000 BC: King David unites all the Jewish tribes in a single Kingdom of Israel with Jerusalem as the Capital. Around this time King Solomon builds the first temple on the TEMPLE MOUNT
C. 930BC: Israel splits into two kingdoms called Israel (North) and Judah (South).
C. 586BC: The Babylonian Empire conquers Judah, destroys the First Temple and most Jews are expelled to Babylon for 70 years (Babylon is modern-day Iraq)
C. 515BC: Jews return from exile and seek to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem which is called the Second Temple.
C. 330BC: Alexander the Great (Greek Empire) attacks and conquers Judah. For the next 200 years Greek and Syrian Kings rule Judah.
C. 140BC: The Jews fight back and finally win independence. They form the Kingdom of Judea which is ruled by the Maccabean Kings.
C. 62BC: The Roman Empire attacks Judea and it loses its independence to the Romans.
0: A famous Jew named Jesus Christ is born in Bethlehem. He is eventually arrested, condemned to death and crucified by the Romans.
66AD: Israel fights for independence.
70AD: Romans invade Jerusalem and destroy the second Temple.
73AD: Jewish resistance starts in Masada and they succeed for a period, however, it is captured by the Romans after three years.
132AD: This is the start of the second war of Independence but is also known as the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Initially, they are successful and have several victories and leads to an independent Jewish State. It only lasts a couple of years as the Romans return and destroy the Independence. The result of this defeat is many Jews are spread all over Europe and Africa which creates the Jewish Diaspora.
Hadrian, who was the Roman Emperor changes the name of Israel to PALESTINA which is the named after the Philistines who are the enemies of the Jewish People.
310AD: The Byzantine Christian Empire begins to rule over Palestina. Christians start to refer to this area as the HOLY LAND.
600AD: Around this time period, very few / no Arabs live in Palestina.
620AD: Mohammed, an Arab tribal leader is the founder of the religion of Islam in Saudi Arabia.
638AD: Muslim armies invade and capture Jerusalem and all of Palestina. They rule for roughly the next 330 years. During this period they build the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
1100AD: Muslims rob and kill Christian pilgrims in Palestina. Christian launch the first of four Christian Crusades with the aim of freeing the Holy Land. When they arrive in Jerusalem they kill all the Muslim and Jewish inhabitants and rule for around 200 years.
1300AD: Muslim Mameluks come from Egypt to Palestina and defeat the Crusade. After the defeat, most of the area we know as Palestina and Israel becomes depopulated and abandoned. There are small pockets of clans in some areas but nothing compared to the past history.
1514AD: The Ottoman Empire (Turkey Today) invades and conquers Palestina and rule for roughly 400 years. There are pockets of Jewish settlements in some areas and they live in relative peace. They are allowed to live, follow their Jewish faith and customs, but they are second-class subjects under Islamic Law. Over the next 250 years, Jews start to return to Palestina in small numbers and they mainly return to Jerusalem, Safed, Hebron and Tiberias.
1864: A British Embassy Census shows over 50% of the population in Jerusalem was Jewish.
1916: An Agreement which would later play a larger role in the issues within the Middle East and would be opposed by groups like ISIS is agreed between England and France. This agreement is called the SYKES-PICOT AGREEMENT. This agreement is responsible for the boundary lines in the Middle East that we are familiar with today.
1917: The BALFOUR DECLARATION is a declaration from Britain to establish a Jewish home in Palestine when the Turks are defeated.
1918: Britain assumes control of Palestine. You may have heard it called British Mandated Palestine in the past.
1920: In April 1920 at the San Remo Conference, both Britain and France confirm the Balfour Declaration.
1922: The LEAGUE OF NATIONS (Body prior to the U.N) including 51 countries vote to confirm British rule in Palestine and for them to take steps to set up a Jewish home there to encourage and facilitate Jewish immigration. That September, Britain allocates over 75% of the land an Arab state called Transjordan (Modern day Jordan) with no Jewish settlement allowed. The remaining 20%+ of the land west of the River Jordan is given to Israel. That land is made up of Israel and Judea / Samaria or as you may know it today the WEST BANK.
1920’s: After this declaration many Arabs sought to live in peace with the Jews. Although some groups were not happy, and they became militant, attacked Jewish settlements and murdered several hundred people.
1920’s & 1930’s: Europe see a rise in anti-Semitic behaviour in places like Russia and Ukraine. The result of this is many thousands of European Jews escape and arrive in Palestine.
1933: Hitler takes power in Germany.
1937: Around 1937, Jews are roughly one third of the population in Palestine.
1941 – 1945: Over 6 million Jews are murdered in the Holocaust by Nazi Germany. During this period, one “World leader” met with Hitler to not only express support but planned on bring the Holocaust to Palestine to further exterminate the Jews – that leader was Haj Amin al-Husseini who was the Palestinian Arab Leader.
1948: On May 1948, Israel is declared an independent Democratic Jewish State. The very next day It is attacked by armies of 5 Arab nations. Despite the long odds (only formed, small army with very arms) the IDF wins.
1964: The Arab League summit is in Cairo and witnesses the creation of the PALESTINIAN LIBERATION ORGANIZATION (PLO) with the stated goals of liberating Palestine and wiping out Israel thru armed struggle.
That May, Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran as Egypt, Jordan, and Syria plan an attack on Israel for the start of June. Israel decides to make a pre-emptive strike and wins in what we call the SIX DAY WAR. After this win, Israel takes control of the Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and Judea / Samaria (West Bank).
In September, Israel makes history by offering its first (of many) “LAND FOR PEACE” deals where Israel would return the lands it won in the Six Day War in return for a promise of peace. At the conference, Arab leaders unite and not only refuse the deal, but they say NO to peace, won’t have any negotiations with them and won’t even recognize them.
1973: If you know anything about the Jewish Faith, you know Yom Kippur is a very sacred day. On this holy day in 1973, both Egypt and Syria launch a surprise attack on Israel. Over 18 days of fighting and thousands of innocent casualties, Israel defeats Egypt and Syria.
1977: The Egyptian President Anwar Sadat gives a speech to the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) in Jerusalem.
1979: HISTORY is made as Egypt signs a peace treaty with Israel. The terms of the treaty are Israel returns the Sinai Peninsula (Won in the Six Day War), dismantles its settlements and hands over both oil rights and tourist resorts. Egypt agrees not to attack Israel again.
1987: The FIRST INTIFADA is an uprising by Palestinian groups against Israel controlled lands.
1988: HAMAS which is an Islamic Terrorist Organization is founded. In its charter, it states “that Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors”.
1994: HISTORY is made for a second time as Jordan signs a peace treaty with Israel.
1995: Israel tries to negotiate another “land for peace” deal, this time with the PLO. Sadly Hamas continues its terrorism and suicide bombings in the area killing many Israeli’s.
2000: Israel offers yet another land for peace deal to the Palestinian leadership. Not only is this offer rejected, but terrorism goes to new lows and a SECOND INTIFADA starts.
2005: In a move seeking peace in the area, Israel agrees to remove all its troops from Gaza. Instead of peace, HAMAS takes over the area and uses it as a base to launch rocket attacks against innocent civilians. To date over 12,000 rockets have been fired.
2007: President George W Bush is joined by both President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Yet another land for peace deal is rejected by the Palestinians.
2010: Israel offers to renew the moratorium of ceasing to build in settlement area in exchange for a Palestinian Authority recognition of Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people. This was also rejected by the Palestinians.
In closing I would ask you to consider several questions:
- If Israel is the evil terrorist nation in the Middle East, why is it they have witnessed decades of peace with both Jordan and Egypt after signing peace treaties?
- If Israel and the Jews are greedy power hungry people why did they return land they got thru war in return for nothing more than a promise of peace?
- Look at the history of concessions made by Israel to its Arab neighbors, can you list the concessions made by other nations? Would you make as many concessions when a % of those neighbors, not only don’t recognize you but actively seek to kill you?
- Today members of media and politicians love to defend minorities and gay people – have you considered the difference in how they would be treated in Israel and other Muslim countries?
Lastly, consider the outcome of two scenarios – One is you wake up tomorrow to the news Israel has decided to give up and put down all of their weapons – what would happen? The other is you wake up tomorrow and the Arab world has decided to give up and put down all of their weapons – what would happen?