What claim does Israel have on Palestine?
Except for “it is the Promised Land given to us by God,” one of the most used reasons about why the land belongs to Israel is that: “The land was empty, neglected, abandoned, desolate, fallen into ruins.” (1) This was nothing but propaganda to justify and encourage European Jews to resettle in Palestine.
"Until World War I, Israel Zangwill's slogan 'A land without a people for a people without a land' typified Zionist propaganda on Palestine. The influential Zionist publicist Moshe Smilansky recalled in 1914 that, 'From the first moment of the Zionist idea, Zionist propaganda described the land to which we were headed as desolate and forsaken, impatiently waiting for its redeemers'; a ' feeling of certainty' was created 'that Palestine was a virgin country'." (p. 95) (2)
Argument given by the Zionists: Palestine was desolate, uninhabited, and uncultivated till the European Jews settled and developed the land.
1. Watch this footage of Palestine before 1948:
2. Real History By Israeli Historians Living Outside Of The Zionist Bubble
“Zionism is based on the arrogant notion that people whose ancestors had not lived in the Middle East for centuries (if ever) somehow have a greater right to Palestine than the native people whose forefathers had been living there without interruption for centuries. On the face of it, this view is morally bankrupt.” (3)
What claim does Israel have on Palestine except that they stole the land by immigrating illegally, committing acts of terrorism, and ethnic cleansing?
None that I have found.
Even Shlomo Ben-Ami, who was Israel's Foreign Minister and key Israeli negotiator at the Camp David and Taba meetings in 2000-1, can’t hide the truth in his book: Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy (Oxford: 2006). He covers many points in the conflict and his book closely mirrors much of Norman Finkelstein’s, book, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (Verso: 2003). While Ben-Ami is pro-Zionism, Finkelstein is an American Jew whose parents were survivors of the Nazi death camps and who is a scholar known as one of the world’s foremost critics of Israeli policy, so how can the books writings be similar? Because they are both writing the truth.
To see the actual comparisons go to: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/docs/ben-ami_finkelstein.html
Also watch a video of an atypical debate between Finkelstein and Ben-Ami about the actions and inactions that have led the Palestinian/Israeli to where it is today: http://www.democracynow.org/2006/2/14/fmr_israeli_foreign_minister_shlomo_ben
Answer to a Yahoo Question about who has the right to Palestine:
Nice Synopsis by Gordon Robison who is a journalist with 17 years of experience working in and writing about the Middle East. He has lived in Amman, Jordan, Cairo, Egypt and Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia. USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School.
After living for 17 years in the Middle East, I feel that the Palestinians have, by far, a superior claim to the land. To support this, allow me to analyze the following arguments used (by both sides).
While the fight is about land, no one can deny that religion is a part of it. Many Jews claim that they have a historical/biblical right to the land, as well as the city of Jerusalem. Ironically, only a slim percentage of professing Jews claim to be religious, and the majority of that percentage is made up of converts, and the majority of those don't even live in Palestine. The Palestinians, however, are practicing Muslims and Christians, with claims to such sights as the Dome of the Rock and Church of the Nativity (in addition to other Christian holy sights in Jerusalem such as the Holy Sepulcher). If the land were to be awarded on a religious basis, then the Palestinians would win easily.
Some would claim that the Israelies have a claim to the land due to their Semitism. This argument is seriously flawed. The vast majority of Israelies are immigrants who have been living in Europe for the past two millennia. Over time, intermarriage would've weakened the Semitic genes to the point where European Jews are, genetically, more European than Semitic. On the other hand, the Palestinians are completely Semitic.
The historical claim is a tie, at best. The Israelies, who are largely immigrants from Europe have as many ties to Europe as they do Palestine. The same is true about the Palestinians who have been living in the area for millennias. History isn't the best way to fairly decide who has a better claim. Even if the historical claim were to be used, the historical kingdom of Israel-Judah encompassed nowhere near as much land as the current Israel does.
Many claim that Israelies have a claim to Palestine because it was created for them by the British. Again, this is a flawed argument, since the Palestinians were never consulted. While it is true that some (and only some) Palestinians sold land to immigrating Jews, the majority of Palestinian land has been forcefully seized by Israel (take the Daer Yassin ethnic cleansing for example). Legally, Palestinians have a much stronger claim to Palestine.
There are also some who claim that Israelies deserve Palestine by right of conquest, but if this were true, then one could effectively claim that the majority of Western Europe belongs to Germany, which conquered it in WWII. Additionally, it could be claimed that China deserves Tibet, despite Tibet's insistence that they deserve independence. Let's face it- might does not make right, and on this basis, the land should go to Palestinians.
Some claim that before the Israelies came, Palestine was rugged, unused, and undeveloped, and that the Israelies, who did develop the land, deserve it more than the indolent Palestinians. This is again, a flawed argument. While it is true that Palestine was largely undeveloped, this was not the fault of the Palestinians. The Ottoman Turks, having forced a Feudal System (the “Ottoman Land Code”) on the Arabs, prevented them from ever having access to modern tools or having the ability to work large pieces of land. The British were more concerned with controlling Palestine than developing it and because of these factors, Palestinians simply could not develop their land. Since it logically follows that, if the Palestinians had a choice between developing their land or leaving it fallow, would've chosen to develop it, then it is the Palestinians, not the Israelies, who have a better claim.
Perhaps the most often used argument is that Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East. However, the definition of "Democracy" is a government by the majority of the people. Since the majority of people living in Palestine are Palestinians (outnumbering the Israelies nearly 10 to 1), it would seem that there would be a Palestinian government- not an Israeli one. By the very definition, Israel is not a Democracy, since the majority does not have a say in the government. Some would argue that Israel has welcomed Palestinians to become Israelies, but again, this argument is flawed. Israel is aware that due to the Palestinian perception of honor, Palestinians will generally refuse to become Israelies. Israel's encouragement is purely for the sake of appearing Democratic. If the Palestinians actually did all become Israelies, they could literally vote the government away from the Jewish-Israeli minority.
Furthermore, Israel, despite its constant denials, orders actions and legislates laws that are highly Un-Democratic. Israel uses an agency called the Shin Bet as strikebreakers, torturers, and intimidators. It is also against Israeli law to own, use, or wear a Palestinian flag or any reproduction of a Palestinian flag.
In short, Israel is NOT a Democracy.
Source(s): 18 years of living in the Middle East
- The Swarm.... Modesto's Premiere Blogsite. “The myth of the Palestinian homeland,” http://blog.voiceofmodesto.com/node/1662; Fri, 05/13/2011 - 07:15 | augustine1
- Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Norman G. Finkelstein. (Verso: 2003)
- PalestineRemembered.com. “Isn't it true that Palestinians never had either a state, nor any distinct culture or language of their own?” http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Palestine-Remembered/Story413.html