The Palestinians claim they own the West Bank and that Israel is "occupying" their land. A new video tells the truth about these disputed territories.
Dear Friend of Israel, Friend of FLAME:
As I've studied the history of the Middle East, I've always been puzzled by the term "occupied territories" as it applies to the West Bank and Gaza. Who really owns these lands? And if these territories truly are Palestinian land---as the New York Times and many other media seem to assume---when did the Palestinians actually acquire them?
In order to answer this question, we must know some essential facts about history---essential, because the Palestinians have tried to rewrite history and have been successful in perpetuating dozens of lies about Jewish and Arab presence in the Holy Land.
Let's start with some indisputable facts: We know that Jews have lived in Palestine---including what is now called the West Bank and Gaza---continuously for more than 3,000 years, including a Jewish nation whose kings included David and Solomon. We know that Christians have lived in Palestine for more than 2,000 years, and that Arabs have lived there for about 1,400 years, since the Arab conquest in 647 AD. (The Crusaders ruled Palestine for several hundred years, and the Ottoman Turks in turn conquered much of what we now call Palestine in the year 1516).
But through all this historical tumult, no independent Arab state has ever existed in Palestine.
Up until the first half of the 20th century, the sovereignty of the entire Middle East---what is present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel---has been fluid. For more than a hundred years, this region was part of the British and French colonial empires, and there were no bona fide states. Lebanon became a state in 1943; Syria became a state in 1944; the British mandate of Transjordan became the Kingdom of Jordan in 1946 and none of them included any of Palestine.
Israel declared independence in 1948 and was declared a state (which did not include the West Bank or Gaza) by the United Nations in 1949. During Israel's war of independence, however, Jordan invaded the West Bank and attempted to annex it (a move recognized by very few nations and no international body). Also during Israel's war of independence, Gaza was seized by Egypt. Neither Jordan nor Egypt was ever accused of occupying these territories---not by the U.N., not by the New York Times, not by the Arabs who lived there.
In short, neither Gaza nor the West Bank has ever been part of a sovereign nation. Rather, for hundreds of years they've been a legal no-man's land. Let's note, too, that until 1967, there was no such thing as a Palestinian people---the non-Jews who lived in Palestine were Arabs, just like the Arabs in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
I don't mean to bore you with history---and I hope I have not. But it's critical to sort out the false claims accepted by so many that Israel is occupying territory that belongs to Arabs. She is not.
Now I want to share with you an even simpler, more powerful proof of the fact that the Arabs do not "own" the West Bank (Israel turned over Gaza to its Arab residents in 2005). A concise, hard-hitting video produced by the state of Israel makes this fact crystal (and graphically) clear in just 6.5 minutes.
I urge you to join the nearly 200,000 people who have already viewed this short video by watching it now. Just go to "The Truth about the West Bank"---it will be the most important time you invest in Israel all week.
Of course, it's just as important for others to see this video, so, as usual, I urge you, using the Forward to a Friend button below, to pass along this week's FLAME Hotline to your friends, family, and colleagues.
Finally, I invite you to scroll below this letter to review "20 Essential Facts about Israel and the Holy Land." These facts will help make you a stronger advocate for Israel and will help convince others that Israel deserves our support.
Remember: We are front-line activists in the public relations battle for the hearts and minds of the American people. Israel needs more and more of us spreading the truth . . . today.
20 Essential Facts about Israel and the Holy Land
1. Nationhood and Jerusalem: Israel became a nation in 1312 BC, two thousand (2000) years before the rise of Islam.
2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.
3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BC, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand (1000) years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.
4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 647 lasted no more than 22 years.
5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.
6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in the Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.
7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem .
8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem .
9. Arab Refugees: in 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left (many in fear of retaliation by their own brethren, the Arabs), without ever seeing an Israeli soldier. The ones who stayed were afforded the same peace, civility, and citizenship rights as everyone else.
10. Jewish refugees from Arab lands were forced to flee their homes due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.
11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.
12. Arab refugees were intentionally not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people's lands. Jewish refugees from all over the Middle East and Europe were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey.
13. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars against Israel and lost. Israel defended itself each time and won.
14. The PLO's Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.
15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.
16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.
17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.
18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.
19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives .
20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
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