You can bookmark articles to Read Later

God’s Promises, an Inheritance for Israel, and the Settlements

“I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night.  You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give Him no rest till He establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth.”  (Isaiah 62:6–7)

The anti-Semitism that skyrocketed around the globe this summer has drawn a thick dividing line between nations and peoples.

“This polarization is causing people to more openly define their policies toward Israel,” says one resident of Jerusalem, a city where the conflicting currents are at an all-time high following the two Blood Moons of the current Blood Moon Tetrad.

Tetrad blood moon earth

A blood moon over the earth (YouTube capture)

Israel’s enemies have sought to rock international confidence in the Jewish state through repeatedly accusing Israel of multiple “crimes” that relate largely to Israeli ownership of property within the Holy Land.

They have unjustly accused Israel of apartheid (racial segregation)—a lie told to delegitimize Israel, and one which clouds the injustices against blacks during the South African apartheid, offending South African nationals.

This fallacious accusation is used by some to smear all of Israel.  Others, however, say that apartheid is present primarily in Judea-Samaria (the West Bank).  They say that only Israeli citizens can move between this area and Israel’s 1948 borders at will.

That is simply not true.  Israeli law forbids Israeli citizens from visiting any Palestinian Authority (PA)-run area, such as Jewish heritage sites Bethlehem and Hebron, without official approval from the Israeli Civilian Administration.

Likewise, PA residents must also seek permission to enter Israel’s 1948 lines, and both groups go through checkpoints to reach the other side, as a safety measure.

These 1948 lines were drawn as military boundaries, but never recognized by any nation or international committee as borders.

Armistice lines Green line 1967 border

The Armistice lines (Green Line or the so-called 1967 borders) drawn in the armistice between the armies of Israel and the armies of the Arab nations that attacked Israel in 1948.

The Lie of Apartheid and Nazism

The “apartheid” accusation arises from heated debates about who controls the disputed territories beyond the Green Line.  It is not based on any racially motivated measures by Israel against Arabs.

Even so, just this month, world leaders claimed a de facto apartheid in eastern Jerusalem—condemning Israel for allowing Jews to move into a pair of legally purchased buildings in the “Yemenite Village” of the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Silwan.

Silwan is a district in eastern Jerusalem that houses 500 Jews and 50,000 Arabs.  The vast neighborhood lies just outside the Old City walls and includes the ancient City of David, the site of the original Israelite capital.  Some Jews choose to live in this hostile territory as a way to ensure a continued presence in the actual location of ancient Zion.

“For the Jewish people, having Jewish life back in an old Jewish neighborhood is paramount,” said spokesman Daniel Lurie to YNet, in reference to the neighborhood where Yemenite Jews lived decades before the Arab riots of the 1920s and 1930s.

Still, it is very difficult to actually buy property within the disputed areas.

Any Arab who sells property to a Jew is faced with immediate death threats. And so are the Jewish residents.  Recently, on October 20, after dozens of Jewish Israelis moved into an apartment complex in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, Arab residents threw Molotov cocktails and firecrackers at the building.

Silwan, a neighborhood in Jerusalem

Silwan, a neighborhood in Jerusalem

Israel’s slanderers also unjustly equate Zionism with Nazism—a false comparison that mocks the atrocities of the Nazis against the Jews and ignores the safe-haven that Israel has become for its six million Jewish citizens and two million Arab and other citizens.

“The line between fair criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism has been crossed, and once again we are experiencing the sights and sounds of Jew hatred,” adds Jerusalem U, sponsor of the upcoming film Crossing the Line II.

Second, this accusation undermines the true definition of Zionism: “a movement for [originally] the re-establishment and [now] the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.”

This Oxford English Dictionary definition was posted on the gate of one Israeli this summer, when anti-Israel protesters were deriding the terms “Zionist” and “Zionism”.

“They return at evening, snarling like dogs, and prowl about the city.  See what they spew from their mouths—the words from their lips are sharp as swords, and they think, ‘Who can hear us?’  But you laugh at them, Lord; you scoff at all those nations.”  (Psalm 59:6–8)

Jewish National home San Remo Conference 1920

The area allocated for the Jewish national home at the San Remo Conference in 1920.

Two Wars and the Lay of the Land

In the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the United Kingdom (UK) promised the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People.  Following WWI, the League of Nations also agreed that such a homeland should be established in the British Mandate of Palestine.

In 1922, the UK divided the Mandate territory, creating the Arab state of Transjordan (Jordan) and leaving the remaining portion under British control for a future Jewish homeland.

When the British Mandate expired in 1948, Israel declared itself a nation and the Jewish state was born in a single day, in fulfillment of Isaiah 66:7–8.

Today, accusations of apartheid and Nazism arise among those who are anti-Israel because Jewish civilian communities were established within territory secured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War.  This territory comprises Israel’s ancient heartland of Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank), which Jordan temporarily controlled from 1949 to 1967, including east Jerusalem, but also on the Golan Heights.

Internationally, many would like Israel to give up Judea and Samaria, including east Jerusalem, in order to establish an Arab state, leaving the Jewish state with unworkable, unsecure borders.

Israel and Occupied territories map

Today, many around the world demand that Israel be divided into an Arab and a Jewish state, a move that would leave the borders unworkable and unsecure.

The two-state solution was first proposed in the British Mandate of Palestine by the 1937 Peel Commission.  It was accepted by Jewish leaders, but rejected by Arabs.

The 1939 British White Paper and the UN’s 1947 Partition Plan also suggested a two-state solution in the remaining territory.  While Jewish leaders agreed to the Partition Plan, Arab leaders did not.  That Partition Plan would have secured for the Palestinian People much of the land that is disputed today.

The Arab League rejected all three plans; instead, Palestinian Arabs began attacking Palestinian Jewish persons and infrastructure from November 1947, the beginning of Israel’s costliest war.

Then, in May 1948, five Arab nations invaded the newly independent State of Israel. These included Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan—even though Jordan had promised two weeks prior not to attack the Jewish state.  In fact, though, Jordan was hungry for a fight and for more land.

UN Partition Plan for Palestine map

Jewish leaders accepted the UN Partition Plan, but the Arab leaders did not.  The Arab leaders wanted the entire area.

Israel’s 1948 win secured the territory proposed for the Jewish state in the 1947 Partition Plan as well as 60 percent of land that would have been granted to the Arabs had the plan been accepted.

However, Jordan’s heavily armed troops seized Judea-Samaria (to be dubbed Jordan’s “West Bank”) and eastern Jerusalem, both of which it claimed to have annexed.  The international community, though, rejected this claim, and Jordan later withdrew the assertion.  (American Thinker)

For the next 19 years in eastern Jerusalem and in Judea-Samaria, Jordan was a brutal occupier, burning the synagogues, evicting the Jews, and allowing the areas to deteriorate, making life oppressive even for Arab residents.

In May 1967, Egypt ordered the exit of the United Nations Emergency Force from the Sinai Peninsula and mobilized its forces in Sinai on its southern border with Israel.  Syria had been firing on Israeli settlements across Israel’s northern border for at least two years, not unlike Hamas in recent years.

The British Mandate divided to create the Arab state of Transjordan

The British Mandate divided to create the Arab state of Transjordan

Israel’s 1949 Armistice Agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria were about to crumble.

“As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel.  We shall exercise patience no more.  We shall not complain any more to the UN about Israel.  The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence,” said the Voice of the Arabs radio station announcer on May 18, 1967.  (Jewish Virtual Library)

Soldiers in Reunited Jerusalem 1967

In 1967, Israel reunited Jerusalem.

The 1967 Six Day War should have been a death blow for the Jewish state; nevertheless, despite having been attacked by the same five nations 19 years earlier, Israel rebounded, recovering Jordan’s stolen properties (the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem), while also securing part of the Golan Heights from Syria, and both the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza from Egypt.

As a result, Israel is cast internationally as the occupier of these territories.  Not everyone agrees.

“Israel exercises legal sovereign rights over the West Bank and ‘East Jerusalem’ under the international rules of war having captured these lands in a legal, just, defensive war (sic.) that defeated the five Arab nations which attacked Israel in 1967,” writes Times of Israel reader Skipper Kamerman, of California.

Most nations that conquer land in a war, annex it as part of their nation.  But not so with Israel.  In a sincere gesture for peace, Israel released administration of Gaza and the West Bank region to the Palestinian Authority and evicted every one of Gaza’s 8,000 Jews in 2005.

Yet, Israel’s spectrum of enemies still claims that she illegally occupies Judea-Samaria, Jerusalem and even the entire Jewish homeland.

IDF evacuation Jewish settlers Gaza Strip

In an effort not to be removed from his home, a young Israeli boy holds on the bema in a synagogue as the Israel Defense Forces evacuates Jewish settlers out of the Gaza Strip.

Is the Conflict Really About Settlements?

Israel’s enemies claim that “the settlements” or Jewish housing in Judea and Samaria are the primary obstacle to peace—a claim denounced by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in October 2013.  He pinpointed Jewish immigration in the 1920s as the match that struck the kindling of local Arabs.

“When anyone is asked what is the source of the conflict, the standard answer is the ‘occupation,’ the territories, the settlements.  They say that the Israeli takeover of Judea and Samaria following the Six Day War to a large extent created the conflict, and I ask whether that is true,” Netanyahu said.

“The conflict—if I have to choose a date when it began in earnest—began in the year 1921, on the day Palestinian Arabs attacked the immigrants’ house in Jaffa.  This attack, of course, had nothing to do with the territories or settlements. It was against the immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel,” he explained.  (The Guardian)

Jewish immigration into Israel was encouraged by the League of Nations in the original Palestine Mandate, which stated that the administrating body “shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage … close settlement by Jews on the lands, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”  (American Thinker)

And there is plenty of unoccupied land for this purpose.

“Fifty percent of the West Bank is public land.  This reflects the land system inherited from centuries of Ottoman rule when individual ownership was severely limited and one of the main land categories was meri—land belonging to the Emir,” states Myths and Facts website.

promenade sraeli settlement of Immanuel Samaria

A partial view of the promenade in the Israeli settlement of Immanuel, which is in Samaria.

During Jordan’s occupation of Judea and Samaria, it did not develop the land or the economy for Arab enjoyment, and it “razed Jewish settlements, destroyed 58 synagogues, and used headstones from the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives to build roads.” (MythsandFacts)

Jordan’s actions during its 19-year occupation seemed to wipe out thousands of years of history.

“Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria—the West Bank—since ancient times.  The only time Jews have been prohibited from living in the territories in recent decades was during Jordan’s rule from 1948 to 1967,” The Jewish Virtual Library states.

At present, “more than 120 settlements with a population of close to 300,000 are located in Judea and Samaria,” the Library says, but “the built-up areas constitute only 1.7% of the West Bank. That is less than 40 square miles.  Even if you add the unbuilt areas falling within (sic.) the municipal boundaries of the settlements, the total area is only 152 square miles.”

Israeli siblings Children on beach

Israeli siblings

However, critics of Israel’s settlements often fail the precision test of specificity, writes Michael Curtis, author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East, claiming that the categorical assessment of settlements is flawed.

“These critics rarely, if ever, distinguish among the 121 settlements that are officially recognized by the State of Israel, with 350,000 inhabitants; the 300,000 in East Jerusalem; the 20,000 in the Golan Heights; and the 102 illegal outposts,” Curtis writes.

Israel defines illegal settlements in Judea and Samaria as “outposts,” and issues army troops to demolish illegal structures in these areas by mandate of Israel’s High Court of Justice.  Just such an outpost, Ma’aleh Rehavam, was destroyed by the IDF forces in May of this year.  (Algemeiner)

“Farming communities, frontier villages, modular homes, and urban suburbs, and towns of considerable size—such as Mod’in Illit with 55,000, Beitar Illit with 42,000, and Ma’ale Adumin with 36,000—all are part of the diverse settlement movement,” Curtis elaborates.

And while internationals might consider Israel’s settlers “occupiers,” there has not been a legal sovereign over the disputed territory since the Ottoman Empire, Curtis asserts, challenging this claim.

Planting trees at Ma'aleh Rehavim

Planting trees at Ma’aleh Rehavim

Rebuilding Jerusalem

In mid-October, Israel’s Jewish Home party, carrying a tenth of the Knesset’s seats and comprising a third of Netanyahu’s government coalition, demanded a return to building in Judea and Samaria after a six-month de facto building freeze.  (JTA)

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Jewish movement into Silwan and the construction of Jerusalem’s Givat Hamatos neighborhood this month has drawn strong condemnation from world leaders, which Netanyahu rebuked directly.

“We are building for Jews and Arabs alike, for Jerusalemites of all religions,” Netanyahu stated to the press on October 19, refusing to categorize Jerusalem as “a settlement.”

“How is this possible that a Jew cannot build his home in Jerusalem?” he pressed.  “How could it be that we be barred from building in our capital, the legacy of our forefathers?  We shall keep building for all the city’s residents, Jews and Arabs alike.”  (i24news)

While Palestinian leaders have claimed as recently as last week that Jerusalem should be the “eternal capital” of a future Palestinian state, three out of four Israelis oppose the division of Jerusalem to create such a state, according to a poll by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.  (Jerusalem Post)

God opposes such a division, as well.

“The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble.  But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.  ‘Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill.  Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.'”  (Joel 3:16-17)

overlooking Temple Mount Kotel Jerusalem

A man stands on the Mount of Olives, looking toward the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, both of which were controlled by Jordan from 1949 to 1967.

Internal Opinions on Inhabiting Historical Israel

Within Israel, extremists exist on both ends of the settlement spectrum: some erect illegal outposts to establish a Jewish presence at any cost.  Others reject Jewish sovereignty over the Holy Land, believing that only the coming Messiah has the sovereign right to establish Israel during His Messianic reign.

But between the extremes, many Jews understand that Israel is their terrestrial birthright and the only solution to the supernatural hatred in the world, which several times has sought to wipe out the Jewish race or religion.

As a member of the international community, Israel feels the external pressure to make peace, resulting in opposing internal opinions about a one- or a two-state solution and on which borders any state should be based.

A single-state solution would eliminate the possibility of a “democratic, Jewish state,” as the Jewish majority would be diluted by the influx of a much larger Arab population—a concern for Jews whose lives and freedom depend upon a government concerned for their well-being.

The two-state idea, which Israel has agreed to many times over the years (while the Arab party has not) would leave Israel with an internal mix of Jews and Arabs while the Palestinian state would be “Judenfrei” (the Nazi term for “free of Jews”).

With such hostility toward Israel over living in the disputed areas, it seems that creating a Jew-free Palestinian state is the solution to peace.  But, in reality, it is not enough.

Palestinian leadership has publicly declared its mission to overturn Jewish historical claims and purge Israel of its Jewish identity so they can wipe Jews out “from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.”  And polls show that most of the Palestinian people want that, too.  (Washington Institute)

And so do many of Israel’s neighbors.

Iran’s “supreme leader” Ayatollah Khamenei issued a nine-step plan last week for achieving this ultimate goal.

Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran

Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran

Israel Settlements from a Biblical Perspective

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Command the Israelites and say to them: “When you enter Canaan, the land that will be allotted to you as an inheritance is to have these boundaries.”’”  (Numbers 34:1–2)

The Land of Israel is teeming with evidence of a long-lasting Jewish presence, from ancient ceramic tiles marked with menorahs to Jewish medallions and even the ancient Qumran scrolls; the Jews’ Biblical history has been confirmed time and again by archaeological findings.

In fact, archaeology has uncovered 700 names from the Bible, strengthening the validity of the Bible as a historical record for secularists.

Plus, while the Bible contains few specifics regarding the borders of the Gentile nations, Israel’s borders are laid out in Numbers 34:1–10, east and west, north and south.

Joshua Ben Nun, who led the Israelites into their Promised Land, issued land and city allotments to the tribes of Israel in specific detail, areas that include today’s disputed territories and which Palestinians want to annex as part of their own state.

Joshua 15, for example, allocates to the tribe of Judah (after whom the Jews are thus named), “Gaza, its settlements and villages, as far as the Wadi of Egypt and the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea.” (15:47)

The Golan Heights, which Israel annexed from Syria during the 1967 War, was designated to the half tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 1:12) and Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) comprise the ancient territory of several of the sons of Israel.

And the sale of the Temple Mount itself atop Mount Moriah to King David is recorded in 2 Samuel 24:18–25.

God’s Biblical promises stand for Israel’s eternal right to her homeland. While the nations rage against Israel, God stands with her, promising a restoration in these last day:

“In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.  There I will put them on trial for what they did to My inheritance, My people Israel, because they scattered My people among the nations and divided up My land.”  (Joel 3:1–2)

report article corrections