This brief history of the nation of Israel was found in Wayne Grudem’s book “Politics According to the Bible.” I was shocked by what I read, so I wanted to share it on here.
This summarizes a section from the chapter on foreign policy devoted to the nation of Israel.
I. History – Where did the Modern Nation of Israel Come From?
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations passed General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the land of Palestine to be divided between two nations, Israel and an Arab nation. The land was under the control of the British government at the time. Within a year (on May 14, 1948), Israel declared their independence.
The real trouble began the day after the declaration. On May 15, 1948, the five Arab nations of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq attacked Israel. After a year of fighting Israel was able to pull ahead in the war until a cease fire was ordered and temporary border were drawn up. Israel was admitted into the United Nations on May 11, 1949.
During the war, there was a great exchange of populations. Arabs living in Israel fled to the surrounding Arab nations, while Jews in the Arab nations fled to Israel. What happened to these separate groups is important to note. The Jewish refugees were given citizenship almost immediately upon arriving in Israel. However, the Arab refugees were not given citizenship to the nations they fled to, with the exception of Jordan which offered a form of citizenship, but required them to stay in refugee camps. The refugees who wound up in other Arab nations would become stateless, without any rights or opportunities, and mostly remain so to this day.
The reasoning behind this, is that Israel is a nation that does not deserve to exist. In the minds of the Arabs, Israel will one day be wiped from the face of the earth and the Arab refugees will then go in and reclaim the land as their own. To put it another way, “The demand for the ‘return’ of the refugees… means the destruction of Israel.”
The question must be asked, what is the conflict about? Bernard Lewis suggests there are only two possibilities: 1. The size of Israel, or 2. The existence of Israel. In light of history, it is obvious that the goal of the Arab nations is to destroy Israel.
II. Arabs Living in Israel
There is still a population of Arabs living within Israel. They work in their stores, vote in their elections, serve in Israeli parliament, serve in the Israeli military, and even serve on the Israeli Supreme Court.
Contrast this with the Arab nations outside of Israel. Practically all Jews have since been driven out, even though many Jews lived peacefully in these nations for centuries.
III. Suicide Bombing and the Israeli Security Fence
For many years, Israel had to defend itself against it’s own Arab citizens who would enter crowded market places or buses and kill themselves and many innocent civilians in suicide bomb attacks. Eventually, Israel decided that the only solution was, in 2003, to start building a series of concrete walls up to twenty-four feet high around communities that were predominately made up of Arabs. The only way in or out of these walls is through military check points. Since construction on this wall began (it is still not complete), the number of suicide attacks has dropped significantly.
IV. The Gaza Strip
Originally, the Gaza Strip was supposed to go the Arab nation that was created in the UN partition in 1947. After the Arab-Israeli war The strip was under Egyptian control until Israel took it in the Six-Day War in June 1967. Israel then built 21 settlements in the land.
This is the part where I started to grow angry…
In 2005, Israel, under the “Land for Peace” goal, began giving up portions of the Gaza Strip in the hopes that peace could be reached with the Arab nations. On September 25, 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained the results”
In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza. It was very painful. We dismantled 21 settlements, really, bedroom communities, and farms. We uprooted over 8,000 Israelis. We just yanked them out from their homes. We did this because many in Israel believed that this would get peace.
Well, we didn’t get peace. Instead, we got an Iranian-backed terror base 50 miles from Tel Aviv. But life in the Israeli towns and cities immediately next to Gaza became nothing less than a nightmare. You see, the Hamas rocket launchers and the rocket attacks not only continued after we left, they actually increased dramatically. They increased tenfold. And, again, the UN was silent – absolutely silent. (1)
Starting as early as 2000, the terrorist group Hamas began firing rocket attacks into the Gaza Strip. Hoping that a withdrawal from the Strip would lead to concessions of peace, the attacks only intensified. Israel’s defense minister had this to say:
After enduring eight years of ongoing rocket fire—in which 12,000 missiles were launched against our cities, and after all diplomatic efforts to stop this barrage failed—it was my duty as defense minister to do something about it. It’s as simple and self-evident as the right to self-defense. (2)
The choice before Israel was a hard one. How do you defend a nation from a terrorist group like Hamas? How do you attack a group like Hamas when they intentionally deploy their forces in densely populated areas, store explosives in private homes, and launch rockets from crowded school yards and mosques?
Despite these questions, Israel decided to press an attack against Hamas, but not before alerting the civilians in the area. In order to get civilians to leave the areas that would be attacked, Defense Minister Ehud Barak employed the use of millions of leaflets, telephone calls, and text messages. On December 27, 2008, Israel used fighter jets to attack specific key targets in Gaza. These attacks were followed up with a ground invasion launched on January 3, 2009.
Now for the infuriating part…
In response to Israel’s attack, the UN issued a report that accused Israel of committing war crimes (in a document called the Goldstone Report). In the report there was no mention of the 12,000 rockets fired indiscriminately into civilian targets over an eight year period.
I was enraged by what I learned in Grudem’s book. I for one stand by Israel, acknowledging that they are still God’s chosen people. I find this overlooking of terrorist activity, while criticizing a nation trying to protect the lives of their citizens almost horrifying. I write this blog entry to raise awareness of what Israel is going through, and to raise awareness of the atrocities committed by Hamas.