It was the end of Shabbat and I had just finished praying at the Kotel, the ancient wall of the Jerusalem Temple site, as our family has done each week for the past quarter century. I had read the names of over seven hundred people who had contacted us from around the world in recent days, many with urgent needs for family or friends.
This place, where prayers had ascended Heavenward for millennia, bringing miracles and blessings, where prophets and apostles had spoken, where so much of Bible history had taken place, where Jesus walked, was tranquil and holy.
Yet, I looked around me and had to think, this holy place wasn’t mine. I, a Jew living in Jerusalem as an Israeli citizen, didn’t belong here.
This place now belonged to a people created out of thin air in 1920, carved out of Greater Syria, a people with no unique identity, no history, no definable borders, no ancient government, no legal system, no literature, no coinage. Crazy, but true.
UN Security Council Resolution 2334 (December 23, 2016), initiated by US President Obama, strips the Holy Temple, the Temple Wall (Western Wall), the Jewish Quarter, indeed all the Old City of Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria, from the Jews and gifts them to the Palestinians. So there it is. Merry Christmas and Juden raus!
Meanwhile, the genocidal extermination of Christians, Muslims and Yazidis in Iraq and in Syria, Russian and Syrian bombs striking hospitals, schools and water supplies merit no action by the world. Half a million deaths yield a yawn.
America’s best-known rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, remarked: “A genocide has unfolded before our eyes, but rather than focusing its efforts on stopping the brutality in Aleppo, [Syria,] the …president and his cohorts…decided that Jews building nurseries in Beit El [in Judea] was a greater danger than mustard and sarin gas attacks against Arab children in Damascus.” (The Jerusalem Post, January 10, 2017)
The Muslim, Communist and Western nations voted for the resolution, which passed 14 to 0. Only the United States abstained, cleverly, knowing it could do so and the resolution would still pass. Germany, Norway, Sweden and other nations rushed to praise the decision. And these are called Israel’s friends?
Then, in Paris on January 15, at a hastily convened meeting of representatives of 72 nations, the assembly underscored its determination to divide Jerusalem, rejecting Israel’s 3,000-year-old right to ancient biblical land, and endorsing the Palestinian claim instead.
For years, we have been writing that the nations are turning against Israel. Is there any doubt?
There were quick explanations that negotiations were still the best path to peace, of course. But it is clear that, in any future discussions, the Palestinian Authority (PA) will use these decisions as their new minimum demand in any negotiations.
Israel has rights
There are incontrovertible reasons, however, why Israel includes Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
First, the Arabs launched wars against the Jews (1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982), and wars have consequences for the loser.
Second, existing international law makes an irrefutable case for the land belonging to Israel.
International law is on the side of Israel
The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, gave the British government’s endorsement for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine*.
In the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920, the four Principal Allied Powers of WWI adopted the Balfour Declaration.
On July 24, 1922, the Palestine Mandate by the League of Nations called on Great Britain, as the Mandate authority in the region, to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine. The Mandate granted Jews the irrevocable right to settle anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea in the area of Palestine.
And the clincher is the United Nations Charter, Article 80, known as the Jewish People’s clause, which preserves all the rights granted to Jews under the Palestine Mandate.
In fact, all of western Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean (including the “West Bank” and Gaza!) is free for Jewish settlement under international law until changed by a legally binding document between the relevant affected parties.
And these legal declarations have not been abrogated to this day.
*Historically, the terms “Palestinian” and “Palestine” referred to Jews and their ancient homeland. Arabs rejected the terms as a “Zionist” contrivance and preferred the term “Syrian.” It was only in the mid-1960s, in a political maneuver to undercut Israel’s right to exist, that Arabs usurped the term.
There’s a third reason for Israel’s right to the land. It’s the Bible. The Temple in Jerusalem was built 2,000 years before a single Muslim appeared on this earth. Jesus went into that Temple, as did Paul.
The biblical case for Israel
- 170 times the Bible states the land is given to the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- 55 times an oath confirms the unconditional covenant.
- 12 times the covenant is called everlasting.
Among them are: Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 15:7, 18; 17:8; 26:2-5; 50:24; Ex. 6:8; Lev. 20:24; Num. 14:8; 33:53; Deut. 1:8, 21; 6:10; Judg. 2:1; also Acts 7:5; 13:19.
As to the nations that rebuke Israel, that try to divide and conquer the land, God warned through the Prophet Zechariah, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem” (12:9).
Even the Prophet Joel said: “I will gather all of the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat and I will contend with them there concerning My people and My possession, Israel, that they scattered among the nations, and they divided up My land” (3:2 [4:2]). God’s promises and His truth remain forever.
Fable prevails over fact
But the world today has chosen Palestinian myth, bowing to the demands of a tyrannical regime in the disguise of a peaceful national movement. The Palestinian Authority will not abide a Jewish state. It is a regime where corruption is routine; the news media are controlled; women have less rights than men and honor killings are common; children are nurtured on Jew-hatred from kindergarten through adulthood; and, if statehood is achieved, no Jew will be allowed to live–ethnically cleansed, judenrein.
Ironically, a topsy-turvy world where fact and fable are interchangeable has a new defining word: The Oxford Dictionaries have declared “post-truth” as the Word of the Year of 2016, a year in which “fake news” became the vogue.
Israel is fearless
Israel should not fear, says the distinguished historian Victor Davis Hanson (Hoover Institution, Stanford University): “The Middle East surrounding democratic Israel is a nightmare….Yet in all this mess, somehow Israel is in its best geostrategic position in decades” (National Review Online, December 29, 2016). “A far stronger Israel…has more opportunities than at any other time in its history.” Israel is about to become a net exporter of gas and oil. Many Arab nations now see Israel as a powerful ally against Iran. The new American president is expected to be more pro-Israel than any recent president.
Finally, reassuringly, the Prophet Jeremiah predicted a day when nations “shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart” (3:17).