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|Just the Facts
|Thursday, October 26, 2023
As the war drags on and the death toll goes up, the media is making a predictable turn. Their sympathy is shifting from Israel toward the Palestinians. Increasingly, we'll be shown tragic images of Palestinian children and women injured or killed. The not-so-subtle message will be, "If only those mean Israelis would stop attacking innocent people, stop occupying others' land, and start living in peace."
Every death, every tear, every life matters—on both sides. But what you will probably not see online or on television is a clear presentation of the facts. With the kind permission of Middle East expert Dr. Charlie Dyer, I offer his summary of the facts:
In 1947, the U.N. voted on a partition plan for the land. The Jewish people reluctantly accepted the proposal, but the Arabs did not (meaning they refused any plan that permitted a Jewish state). When the British Mandate ended in 1948, Israel declared itself a state. The Palestinians and the Arab countries on all sides immediately attacked it. When the conflict was over, Israel controlled more land than originally promised. However, no formal borders were determined--only "green lines" to mark where the different parties were when the armistice was announced.
The final borders were still to be determined, but no Arab countries would agree to make peace with Israel. Jordan had taken over the central part of the land and annexed it as their own. They called it the “West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,” which was popularly shortened to the “West Bank.” But it was never turned into a country of Palestine by the Jordanians.
In 1967, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan vowed to push the Jews into the Sea. In six days, Israel defeated all three and captured the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. Israel offered to negotiate the return of most (though not all) land in exchange for peace. The Arabs met in Khartoum and announced their three no’s: No peace with Israel. No negotiations with Israel. No recognition of Israel.
In the next few years, Israel began expanding into the areas it had captured. Most of the changes in the West Bank area were designed to help provide more defensible borders and additional housing for the country as its population expanded. About a half million Israelis are now living in the West Bank area. Most of those are in bedroom communities within 5 miles of the Knesset, Israel's capital in Jerusalem, though some are scattered throughout.
In the late 1990s, President Clinton tried to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn, but the process quickly stalled out. Israel never agreed to give back all the West Bank because they felt the 1967 borders were indefensible in light of modern weapons. (For example, terrorists would be able to smuggle shoulder-fired missiles to within six miles of Israel's international airport.) And Arafat rejected a proposal that would have given the Palestinians most of the land.
In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. Two years later, Hamas took control and began using the area as a launch pad for their attacks on Israel. Hamas's charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate that extends from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. That’s the basis for what’s happening now.
There you have it—a factual history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. But for the believer, knowing is just the beginning.
What we can’t do—is nothing.
P.S. Listen to Moody Radio's one-hour special, After the Attack on Israel, when you go to: https://www.moodyradio.org/specials
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