Our roots here traced back to 13th Century BC, 3,350 years before PLO’s creation.
by Yoram Ettinger
Since Oslo, 1993, the case of the Jewish State has highlighted Israel's pursuit of peace and security, while downplaying the right/deed of the Jewish People to its historical homeland. A resounding rebuke of David Ben Gurion, the Laborite Founding Father of the Jewish State and its first prime minister, who stated: "He who abandons his past forfeits his future.”
The claim of national sovereignty and the level of steadfastness in face of adversity are derivatives of the attachment to the territorial cradle of history and national security requirements.
Nations which highlight their non-conditional attachment to their territorial cradle of history (irrespective of diplomatic, security and economic considerations) enhance steadfastness and gain strategic respect. On the other hand, nations which consider their cradle of history a negotiable-real-estate may gain short-lived popularity, but undermine their attachment to the land, lose long-term strategic respect and erode their own posture of deterrence.
A nation which negotiates away its cradle of history is giving away its future.
Prof. (emeritus) Menasheh Har-El, a leading expert on the history and geography of the Land of Israel, a recipient of the Israel Prize and author of 13 books, documents national Jewish roots in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem as early as the 13th century BC: 2,000 years before the appearance of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, 3,200 years before Arabs from Egypt, Syria and Lebanon migrated to the Land of Israel and 3,350 years before the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
According to Professor Har-El's 55 years of research, the Jews were the first to coalesce the various regions of Canaan into a unified country. They settled in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria rather than along the coastal plain, introducing agricultural innovations into barren, rugged mountains, developing irrigation systems, establishing stone and metal shops, ushering advanced architecture and construction, building roads from the Mediterranean to Jerusalem, which became the crown jewel of the Jewish people.
Jerusalem neglected by Arabs
On the other hand, Har-El notes, Jerusalem was severely neglected during the Islamic rule of the area, overshadowed by the town of Ramlah (half way between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem), which was the provincial Muslim capital. The Muslim attitude toward Jerusalem - the capital of the Jewish people since 1,000BC - reflected the negligible priority accorded by Islam toward the Land of Israel, which was devastated by Muslim rule.
In 1867, Mark Twain attested to the state of the area in Innocents Abroad: "…Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, Palestine must be the prince…It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land…Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes…Palestine is desolate and unlovely…."
The 1949-1967 Jordanian occupation of east Jerusalem sustained the Muslim attitude toward Jerusalem. Jordan oppressed Jerusalem's Christian community, which was reduced from 25,000 in 1949 to 10,000 in 1967. The Hashemites coerced Jerusalem's church schools to teach the Koran and prevented Christian expansion. Jordan defiled and vandalized over 50 Jewish synagogues, using some as cowsheds, stables or public latrines. Over 75% of the tombstones at the holiest Jewish cemetery, on Mount Olive, were ripped out and used for pavements and public urinals.
Jerusalem was never a capital of any Arab entity. It was not mentioned in the 1964 PLO's Covenant. However, Jerusalem is highlighted in each synagogue, each Jewish prayer and holiday and during every Jewish wedding and other Jewish rituals. Jerusalem is a pillar of Judaism, but it is not included among the five pillars of Islam. Jerusalem – and its synonym, Zion - are mentioned 821 times in the Bible ("Old Testament"), but not even once in the Koran.
Muhammad never set foot in Jerusalem or in the Land of Israel. In contrast to Jews, Muslims pray toward Mecca and Medina and not toward Jerusalem and there is no Muslim pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but to Mecca.
The territorial cradle of history constitutes the foundation of national moral high-ground. As essential as is the topographic high-ground (e.g., the over-towering mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) to national security, the moral high-ground is significantly more critical to national survival. The devotion to the Land of Israel in general – and Jerusalem in particular - has played a critical role in preserving the Jewish people!
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -