Palestine Belongs to the Palestinians?

The story begins in 1897, when the Zionist organization, headed by Theodore Herzl, decided that they needed to create their own homeland, so that the Jews would be free from oppression and hatred by the Europeans. In 1916, Chaim Weizmann went to the Prime Minster of England, Lloyd George, and persuaded the PM to work toward giving the Zionists land in Palestine, to make a homeland for the Jews. The agreement reached by the British cabinet and the PM was known as the Balfour Declaration.

The British Mandate (1922-1948) in Palestine was being terrorized by the Jewish Haganah forces, devastating the security of 1.4 million Palestinians. The British were tired of the terrorist attacks by the Haganah, so they went to the United Nations (UN) for help, which lead to the creation of UN Resolution 191 in 1947. With a Jewish state in the middle of an Arab world, it was thought that Israel would become a powerful ally, and the West would have a foothold in the Middle East. The 1947 UN partition plan took away much of the Palestinian homeland and gave it to the Israelis, who before the plan owned roughly 7% of Palestine, because the Palestinians had allowed the European Jewish refugees to buy land in Palestinian territory. The plan gave Israel over one-half of the current Palestinian land, including some of the most arable farmland.

Right after the passing of the UN Resolution on May 15, 1948, Israel mobilized its forces to secure the Israeli designated area. However, instead of stopping there, they began to move into Palestinian controlled area.

Then, Israel tried to portray the 1948 invasion of five Arab nations (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine) as an attack on a poor, unprepared country. They spread rumors that Arab troops out-numbered Israeli troops, which is a myth, according to Israeli historian Simha Flapan, who states, “the Israelis were not out-numbered.”1 The best current estimate1 is that the Israeli army out-numbered the five Arab nations 2:1. In addition, Egypt’s spoiled arms deal with Britain may have shifted the balance in favor of the Israelis. The Israeli victory in 1948 created logistic problems for Egypt, Syria, and Jordan concerning what to do with more than 800,000 Palestinian refugees–men, women, children, elderly, and widowed.

In 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, taking control of the canal away from Britain and France. By doing this, they further denied Israel access to the Red Sea, because it was within the territorial water boundaries of Egypt, and they restricted the West from trading with the Middle East. Israel had been planning to attack Egypt since 1951, after Egypt blocked the Strait of Tiran2, but closing the Suez Canal further prompted Israel to attack the Sinai Peninsula. Colonial powers Britain and France collaborated with Israel to strategically further destabilize Egypt by taking control of the Suez Canal, but with resistance from the US, the USSR, and the UN, they were forced to move out of the area. In 1967, when Egypt and Syria placed their armies on their borders with Israel, with the intent only to keep an eye on their aggressive neighbor and protect the territorial waters of Egypt, Israel took this opportunity to make a sneak attack, claiming its existence was threatened. This led to the occupation of the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. Of the threat to its existence, Mordacai Bentov, an Israeli cabinet member, admitted in 1972 that, “the entire story, the danger of extermination, was invented of whole cloth and exaggerated after the fact to justify the annexation of new Arab territories.”1 Also, Menachem Begin, the Prime Minister of Israel, said that, “The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” (1)

Still, in direct violation of UN Resolution 242 and the United Nations Charter, Israel continues to control parts of Palestine occupied territory. Today, almost 5 million Palestinians are living as refugees, with no country or affiliation. And the West (U.S., Britain and Europe) continues to destabilize the Middle East, to protect Israel, to exploit the region’s natural resources, to keep Islamic ideology under control. Is it any wonder that Palestinians and most Arabs are angry with the West and Israel? You must look at all the facts, and the facts show that the Arabs and Palestinians have been victims of Israeli apartheid-like terrorism, supported by the hegemonic super powers. Arabs/Muslims and Jews have lived together in peace before – in Jerusalem under Salah-a-Deen and in Muslim Spain — so peace between them is possible again. To work, a peaceful solution must respect the rights of each other, especially Palestinian territorial rights.


[1] Findley, Paul, “Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts about the U.S.-Israeli Relationship”, Lawrence Hill Books, New York, NY, 1995.

[2] Microsoft Encarta 2000, Microsoft Corporation, 1993-1999.