Synopsis of Parts 1-3: Part I of this article outlines the historical connection between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel, beginning with the settlement of that land under Joshua in about 1200 BCE, while emphasizing that none of the ancient people that inhabited Canaan 3200 years ago are still around to claim that land as theirs. Part II deals with the forced exile of the Jews to Europe, their history of persecution there, and the 1900 years of illegal occupation of the Land of Israel by 16 different regimes which, eventually, brought about the establishment of the Zionist movement. Part III exposes the world’s great hypocrisy and silence on its own long history of occupation, including the occupation of Palestine by the Muslims in the 7th and 8th centuries.
Thus, in regard to the issue of truly unauthorized “occupation,” we can now reach two important conclusions: First, that probably most of the world’s humans have, at one time or another, seized and then occupied lands that formerly or currently were not or are not theirs. Second, that every one of these illegal land seizures and occupations has been accompanied by brutality and bloodshed.
Should we seriously believe that the many critics of Israel have never heard of any of the above-mentioned occupations and atrocities? Or, while singling out Israel, do they simply ignore these other occupations in order to buttress their groundless and hateful accusations against Israel?
Let me stress this point in no uncertain terms: There isn’t a single critic of Israel’s so-called “illegal occupation” of the West Bank who is not an occupier himself/herself or is the descendant of occupiers. Thus, instead of accusing Israel of “illegal occupation,” let them undertake a deep self-introspection of their own history of occupation, and then remember the old adage, “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
One should also be aware that while they were determined to resettle in their ancient homeland, the early Zionists were not naïve; they knew that no leader or nation would offer them an obstacle-free road to re-settlement in their ancestral homeland, and that they could neither rely on the good will nor on the sense of historical justice of those who occupied Palestine in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In fact, it is precisely because of this awareness that they decided to add an additional layer of legitimacy to their historical right, namely, the legal transaction of purchasing vast tracts of land in Palestine from the then Ottoman, Syrian, and Palestinian landlords.
These land acquisitions began early in the19th century by Sir Moses Montefiore and followed in 1860 by France’s Alliance Israelité Universelle, headed by Carl Netter; in 1880 by Laurence Oliphant; in 1889 by the Palestine Land Development, headed by Joshua Hankin; in 1900 by Baron Edmond de Rothschild; and after 1901 by the Jewish National Fund as first envisioned by Hermann (Zvi Hirsch) Schapira.
As well, it’s important to note that many Palestinians refused to support the Mufti’s call for a national resistance against the Jews. On the contrary, several of those most eager to sell thousands of acres of land to the Jewish settlers were some of the richest Palestinian landowners, such as the El-Husseinis, the Nashahibis, and the Shukeiris, among many others.
Still, the irony of all these land purchases shouldn’t escape anyone: The Jews found themselves in the absurd position of needing to purchase – from non-native people who seized these lands by force – the very lands that belonged to them since 3200 BCE.
Part I of this article can be found here.
Part II of this article can be found here.
Part III of this article can be found here.
Part V of this article can be found here.
Part VI of this article can be found here.