Today is the fourth day of Chanukah. This is the fourth post of our series on the origins of the Middle East conflict. If you have not been following this series, it would be helpful to read the previous postings on this subject.
It is impossible to make any sense of what is happening in and around Israel without a biblical worldview. What we are watching is proof that God exists through the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Take a look at Isaiah 41:11. The entire chapter says a lot about current events. One verse explains that all of the powerful nations of the world will not stand against the will of God to re-establish the Jewish people on the land eternally promised to the physical “seed” of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
“He who has ears to hear” should listen up!
Following World War II, another big fight was brewing. This time it was in the Middle East and the whole world knew it was coming. War-weary, the countries of the United Nations took up the problems of “Palestine.” The Arabs, having powerful friends from England and France holding seats on the UN Security Council, had a strategic advantage. Great strategists themselves, the Jews put lots of pressure on the United States, at that time home to the world’s largest population of Jews.
One of the angles the Jews worked was American guilt. Guilt was an appropriate emotion. Prior to entering the World War II, America knew what was happening to the Jews in Nazi-controlled Europe. Not wanting to get involved, the United States did not enter the war after it was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbor. America’s ambivalence was indirectly responsible for the for the deaths of the six million Jews who lost their lives in Hitler’s showers and ovens. This amounted to 30% of all of the Jews in the world before the war broke out.
Jewish pressure from Israel and at home resulted in America committing to the side of Jewish people in their uphill battle at the United Nations to recognize and partition part of Palestine as a state for the Jewish people. At the last minute, more worried about its world standing than the Jewish situation, the United States almost withdrew its support for the partition of Palestine. In the first post of this series, it was explained how the name of this area came to be known as “Palestine” in the first place.
The land designated for the Jewish state had little continuity and was strategically indefensible. Ben Gurion, Meier, and Weizmann all recognized that what was being offered in the partition plan was not a good deal, but it was the best they were going to get. An agreement was drafted. A vote by the General Assembly was set for November 29, 1947.
Into The Sea
The Arabs of the newly created nations of the Middle East were furious. Although they would control over 95% of the Middle East’s landmass, that was not enough. They wanted it all. They vowed that if the resolution to create the State of Israel passed, they would amass their armies to “drive the Jews into the sea.” It is important to remember that the area in question had been largely uninhabited just fifty years earlier. The countries that were vowing to go to war did not even exist in the late 1800s. Yet, those adolescent nations headed by tribal sheiks who were now presidents and kings began to make war plans.
They convened a number of councils in Cairo. Characteristically, they were unable to agree on a unified command structure. Everyone wanted to be in charge. Instead of working out a common strategy, their meetings broke down along tribal lines with each leader deciding to go it alone along their own borders with the proposed Jewish state. The strongest and best trained of the Arab armies was that of King Abdullah of Jordan. Jordan also had the most to lose.
The motion to create of the Jewish state passed by a razor’s edge. Throwing off the name of “Palestine,” the name of the new nation was the one God had given it, Israel. The English made plans to leave. This period is well documented in a book I recommend you read, “O, Jerusalem” by Larry Collins. Prior to its departure from the region, England attempted to limit Jewish immigration to Israel by closing the borders and blocking ships loaded with refugees from Europe.
This also cut off the supply of guns and ammunition desperately needed to defend the new State of Israel. With their backs to the wall and attacking armies on all sides, the Jews set up underground munitions factories and smuggled small arms to fire the home-made bullets into the country. When war broke out, Israel’s air force consisted of five private passenger planes that were used for the surveillance.
What Would America Do?
In the case of Native Americans, most recognize the injustice of having their lands taken from them and told to live on reservations that could never provide for their people. Why is it that many refuse to recognize the same injustice in the case of Israel? The answer is simple. It is because today Israel is the most powerful nation in the Middle East. Better organized and better equipped than their Arab neighbors, Israel has been able to hold its enemies at bay through all of the wars that followed the war for independence.
But that was not the case in 1948. Israel was not more powerful in those days. They were more committed, recognizing that if they were to survive as a people, they had to hold on to their territorial island in a sea of Muslims. What was allotted to them was to large, connected, or productive. But it was all they were going to get. If they failed their hostile neighbors would finish the job Satan has always had in mind, the total annihilation of the Jewish people. Some things never change.
It is amazing that there so many people who view the Jews as the oppressors of the “Palestinians.” Much of the fault lies with our educational system. It perpetuates the myth of Jewish injustice. Americans don’t know much of our own history much less the history of the Middle East. Thus we are easy prey for politicians and educators driving an agenda that must revise and ignore the real facts. All that most people know about the violence in the Middle East is what they see on the news or read online. Their knowledge is limited to what somebody else wants them to know. In order to speak intelligently about anything, one must take personal responsibility for understanding the issues. Of course, everyone is entitled to an opinion. But without doing the work, frequently that opinion is uninformed.
At the entrance to the Children’s Memorial at Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial of the Holocaust, there is a sign that reads, “Forgetfulness leads to exile. Remembrance is the secret of redemption.”