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Historical and Political Background

The People of Israel came into being in the Land of Israel some 3800 years ago.  Our Patriarchs wandering through the Land of Canaan, especially in the Negev area, and journeying along the Judaean mountain range, lying to the west of the Jordan River. When the Land of Canaan was conquered by Joshua, the tribes of Israel were allotted their lands, at which time the areas lying east of the Jordan River were conquered as well.

In the period of King David and King Solomon, the borders of the Kingdom of Israel stretched almost as far as the borders of the Promised Land mentioned in Genesis.  1900 years ago, following the destruction of the Second Temple and the Bar-Kohba revolt, which was ultimately crushed, the Jewish People were exiled from the Land of Israel. 

The land was conquered by a great many over the years, passing from hand to hand: Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Mamluks, Crusaders, Turks and ultimately the British.  Only a small number of empires inhabited the land and turned it into a real colony.  Throughout this period, the Land of Israel was annexed to one of the larger empires, never becoming an independent state, nor the place of residence of any one particular nation with a distinct national identity.  Moreover, the Arabs who resided in the Land of Israel over the centuries, never regarded themselves as a "nation" – this only happened in recent decades - nor were they recognized as such by any international body. 

Jewish existence in the Land of Israel never eased completely at any point in time, although it was scarce at times.  When the "Return to Zion" began in modern times, the Land of Israel was nothing more than a remote neighborhood of the Ottoman Empire.  Jewish immigration and the ensuing development of the Land led to waves of Arab immigration from neighboring Arab states. 

Life in the Land of Israel in the last one hundred years has mainly been characterized by Jewish-Arab clashes.  The Balfour Declaration, which took place towards the end of the First World War called for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.  After the war ended, the League of Nations issued Britain with the Mandate for Palestine, which included the territory both east and west of the Jordan River, for the purpose of establishing a national home for the Jewish People.  However, in wake of violent Arab resistance, and international political pressure, in addition to pledges made by members of the British Royal Family to noble Bedouin tribes during the course of World War I – Britain ultimately published Churchill's White Paper (1922) that cut off the entire east bank of the Jordan River from the intended Jewish homeland, and brought about the inception of the Kingdom of Transjordan.   Nevertheless, this division of territory did not appease the Arabs, and the latter instigated bloody riots in the years 1929 and 1936-39.  Every such murderous wave of violence led to yet another partition plan for the Land of Israel west of the Jordan River, with new plans for further land transfer to the Arabs (the Peel Commission; the Woodhead Commission; the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry on Jewish Problems in Palestine and Europe; the Morrison-Grady plan and more).  On the 29th of November, 1947, the United Nations, in accordance with the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP), approved the Partition Plan, calling for the division of the Land of Israel lying west of the Jordan River, into two separate states – a Jewish one and an Arab one.  It must be noted that the "Jewish state", comprised of a mere 550,000 Jews, was compelled by the committee to take in an additional 450,000 Arabs who would be allowed to reside in the "Jewish state" but would, concurrently, be citizens of the future Palestinian state.  The War of Independence broke out a day after the UN Assembly took its resolution because the Arabs rejected the resolution unanimously.  Immediately following the Declaration of Independence by Israel, on the 5th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, 1948, the neighboring Arab countries invaded Israel with the aim of conquering it.  During the course of the War of Independence, an estimated 500,000 Arabs left their homes.  At the same time, the State of Israel took in hundreds of thousands of Jews who had been expelled from their homes or had fled from numerous Arab countries.  At the end of the war, Egypt had control of the Gaza Strip and its refugee camps.  The Kingdom of Transjordan, on the other hand, took control over Judea & Samaria ("the West Bank") as well as over the refugee camps located in this area.  Additional refugee camps sprung up in Lebanon and Syria.  Many of the refugees who were able to emigrated to other Arab countries, and some even moved overseas ("The Palestinian Diaspora").  Those who did remain in the refugee camps lived on aid provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and refused to settle down permanently, even when offered alternative housing solutions by international bodies.  In fact, they became the only refugee population in the world to perpetuate their refugee status by turning down any attempt to settle down in a permanent locality.  It is in these refugee camps all over the Middle East that numerous terror organizations were incepted, and it is they that have been terrorizing Israel for the past sixty years.  Over the last three generations, the Palestinian education system in these refugee camps has been endorsing the notion of "return" – returning to all the territories and demolishing the State of Israel and all its Jewish residents.   The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was established in 1964 (!) – three years prior to the liberation of Sinai and Judea & Samaria by Israel.  The PLO'S covenant calls for the destruction of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.  The organization's official maps show one state only: the State of Palestine, with borders that stretch from the desert to the Mediterranean.  All those who claim that the Arabs' sole purpose is "to put an end to the 1967 occupation", is ignoring the facts on the ground.  Many are those who misdiagnose the root of the conflict, ignorant of the fact (or, perhaps, choose to ignore it) that for Muslims the entire Land of Israel is waqf territory – i.e., sacred land that can never be ruled by non-believers or acknowledged as such.  It follows then that any war waged against Israel by Arabs, in any shape or form, is, in essence, a war of religion which cannot be solved by simply dividing up the territory or outlining new borders between the Jewish state and the Palestinian one.  The remedy called "partitioning the land", which seems to be the default recommendation for ending the conflict, is construed upon a misdiagnosis and, as such, cannot resolve the conflict or lead to sustainable peace.  In much the same way, any proposed "solution" to the Jewish-Arab conflict in the Middle East which does not also incorporate a solution to the refugee problem – is offering a solution which is very partial or very temporary.  The reason being that such a solution would be turning a blind eye to the major driving force which fuels the Arabs to persevere in their continued war against us while enjoying international support. 

דגל ישראל
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