The Long Road to Peace in the Middle East
Turkish rule ended over Palestine in 1917 when England invaded from Egypt. They drove against the Turks protected on their flank by Arab horsemen led by the romantic figure of T. E. Lawrence of Arabia. Jerusalem fell to the British in December of that year.
The British and the French dismembered the Ottoman Empire annexing what they could. Palestine could not be annexed because of the Balfour Declaration. Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations handed over Palestine to the British to rule as a colony, which they did for three decades (1920-1948). The British discovered that the Arabs and the Jews were incompatible entities and so partitioned Palestine lopping off four-fifths of Palestine for the Arabs, which it named the Trans-Jordon (modern Jordan) in 1922. This did not satisfy the Arabs in the final fifth. The Arab uprising of 1929 was the result.
The second decade saw the rise of Hitler and the migration of great numbers of Jews fleeing Europe to Palestine. This alarmed the Arabs even more. In 1936 the British Peel Commission recommended partitioning the small remaining fifth again. The Arabs rejected the idea. In 1939 the British issued a White Paper, which would limit the immigration of Jews to Palestine to 15,000 per year in an attempt to freeze the Jews into a permanent minority among an Arab majority. The Jews rejected that idea.
The third decade was caught mostly holding its breath during WWII. The Arabs became Allies of the Axis powers and were the friends of Hitler, the Jews sided with the U.S. and the West. The Arabs switched sides for the last six months abandoning the Germans just in time to save themselves. In their hearts were they still Hitler’s friends? The answer might be chilling. As seen recently in Afghanistan, the losing side often simply changes the color of their turbans, not necessarily of their hearts. The Arab world sided with the U.S. as the Third Reich began to collapse.
Survivors of the Holocaust made their way to Palestine any way the could, many on leaking boats. The United Nations returned to the Peel Commissions idea of repartitioning the West Bank giving 45 percent to the Arabs and 55 percent to the Jews. Jerusalem was to be an international city. In November 1947 the United States, and Russia voted for this plan and England announced that they would withdraw her troops in May 1948. The Jews announced their intentions to declare their independence the moment the British left and create a modern Jewish state of Israel.
As that day approached five Arab armies positioned themselves around this tiny piece of real estate, poised at the borders, vowing the total destruction of this new Jewish nation. They said they would give no quarter to man, woman, or child. All would be driven into the sea or slaughtered. The rich Arabs fled to their villas on the Riviera. Palestinian politicians fled into the belly of beasts (the surrounding armies) and waited for the attack. Leaderless, the Palestinian population of 600,000 panicked and fled fearing they would be killed in the crossfire.
The Union Jack was lowered on Wednesday May 14, 1948 and Ben-Gurion declared the creation of the State of Israel. President Harry Truman immediately recognized the new State, as did almost every other nation. The Vatican refused. Eighty million Arabs surrounded 600,000 Israelis. Five mighty armies attacked. Again and again they were driven back by the Jews. Egypt and Jordan managed to take Jerusalem and the West Bank, and so a new nation was born, or reborn.
Egypt threatened to help their Arabic brothers regain what they had lost to Israel in both land and dignity. Egypt’s power was growing and reached an Apex when it nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956. The British and the French were infuriated. Egypt closed the canal and blocked the Gulf of Aqaba to Israel. Working with the British and French, Israel attacked Egypt in a pre-emptive strike. The United States was outraged and demanded that its two NATO allies withdraw. When war broke out, again Israel routed their enemies and seized the territories used as avenues of invasion: the Sinai, the Gaza, the Golan Heights, Jerusalem, and the West Bank. When it seemed that Israel was about to completely destroy their neighbors, the U.N. rushed in with white flags and arranged a truce. Israel accepted. Her enemies, thinking their loss was a fluke broke the treaty six times, but Israel burned their fingers each time.
In 1967 on the Holy Day of Atonement, the Arabs attacked again. Not giving up on their dream of destroying Israel. Even though she was caught off guard, again she struck back and routed her enemies. Thus Israel inherited her precarious position not without heroic efforts and help from heaven. Now in this remaining 1/5 of the original partition enemies are forced to live almost on top of each other. The ancestors of those who vowed to drive Israel into the sea want their own State. The question is where would Israel be if the Palestinians would be permitted to redraw the map according to what is really in their heart? The children of Hitler’s Germany today are the “supposed” friends of the Palestinian and cannot understand Israel’s unwillingness to meekly go to the “showers.” As for the French, it should be remembered that many collaborated with and were sympathetic to the ambitions of the Third Reich and Aryan pride. One would think that Germany and France would be Israel’s closest allies. They hardly are that.
Everyone is looking for the “Road Map” to a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem. Which road leads to peace? Don’t look for answers in Europe. The Huns and the Gauls, have long ago dismissed the Bible as being significant or relevant. The Arabs are the “blind following one blind.” Israel should follow Paul the former Pharisee down the Damascus Road. There perhaps some will see the light as did Saul who asked “Who art thou Lord?” The Arabs think they know who the Lord is. The Jew thinks they know who the Lord is. Saul was on his own Jihad until he met Jesus, the Prince of Peace. There can be no peace without Jesus.