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A light in a dark region

Israel has stronger rights to its land than the world is willing to acknowledge

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Here is why Israel should have a state of its own:

Because the United Nations voted them a state in 1947. So to those who say the question of Israel’s statehood should be settled by international law and not by the Bible, here is your international law.

Because the Jews have been so harassed from time immemorial as to be always in danger of extinction. Is this not why the League of Nations mandated a “national home” for the Jews in the first place?

Because the Jews have the oldest and most documented claim to the land of any people in the Middle East, and indeed of any people regarding any land of any time—the Torah.

Because there is no other group that comes close as a contender for the rights to that land. There is no Palestinian people. There was never a Palestinian nation. “Palestine” loosely designates a region, not an ethnic group. Gudrun Krämer, in her meticulously researched A History of Palestine, says “the Romans renamed the province of Judaea ‘Syria Palestina’ to erase any linguistic connection with the rebellious Jews.” Moreover, “Palestine … was indeed sparsely populated, and its demographic weight within the Ottoman Empire was small.” Later, “the British seized upon the term [Palestine] and, for the first time in centuries, employed it to denote a distinct political unit.”

Because the Jews who immigrated in three waves starting in the 1880s did not steal the land from anyone. Under the Ottomans there was no land ownership to speak of. It was only after the Tanzimat reforms of the 19th century that it was possible to procure legal titles to land hitherto uncultivated. Behold the deplorable condition in which Jewish physician Dr. Schwarz found the land upon arrival in 1881: “Here, hygiene is altogether unknown. … [There is a] lack of interest of oriental authorities in the cleanliness of the streets. … Entire regions are deforested, the high plateaus are stripped of their fertile soil. In vain does the weary eye seek for anything green.”

Because Jews moved into this fixer-upper of a place and made it a garden.

Because the “Palestinians” presently inhabiting Gaza and the West Bank are actually ethnic Egyptians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Syrians, and other Arabs, and are not an ethnically related people called “Palestinians.”

Because there are already 22 Arab nations in the neighborhood in which Arab peoples may live, and there is only one tiny Israel.

Because Israel is a pinhole of light in the dark sea of Islamic tyranny. It is a country with Arab citizens who enjoy the blessings of Israel’s freedom, civic participation, and prosperity side by side with Jews. Snuff out that last bit of light and the region is plunged into utter darkness.

Because there has been a continuous presence of Jews in the land as empires have come and gone—Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, Muslims, Crusaders, Egyptians, Ottomans, and the British.

Because Israel is not even insisting on the entire mandate that was bequeathed to her by the League of Nations, which included large areas east of the Jordan.

Because when the fledgling nation has been forced into wars with her unappeasable neighbors, and has won, she has even given back portions of her winnings in exchange for peace, such as the Sinai after the Six-Day War of 1967. What nation does that?

Here is why Israel will have a state of its own:

Because God made a promise to a Jew named Abraham regarding territory “from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates,” and it was a unilateral and unconditional promise, not dependent on Abraham’s descendants’ performance (Genesis 15:18). Because God stipulated that it should be “an everlasting possession” (Genesis 17:8).

“For the Lord has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place: ‘This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it’” (Psalm 132:13-14).

This is why.

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her columns have been compiled into three books including Won’t Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides near Philadelphia.


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