After centuries of struggling for autonomy, in 1948 Israel finally became a nation again and the Jews were given a home. The area in the Middle East that ran from Egypt to Iraq and from Lebanon to Yemen had been ruled until World War I by the Ottoman Empire. Upon their defeat in the first great war, the League of Nations had to help rebuild the region. It was largely Arab Muslim, but the area that had once been Israel was also still home to a large number of Jews–and during World War II and Sho’ah, hundreds of thousands immigrated to the area. The League of Nations sought to divide the territory and set up smaller governments to keep everything from dissolving into brutal tribal warfare, and creation of a Jewish state had long been promised.
It was not without vehement detractors. All Arabs at the time had one common goal: to prevent the creation of a Jewish state. It didn’t matter what the LoN did or said, there was nothing that could possibly placate the Arabs into accepting giving one inch of land to the Jews for any reason. It wasn’t about being fair. It was purely religious. The Muslims believed that all infidels were beneath them, but the Jews were the lowest of the low. Middle ground was never an option.
Despite the violent refusal to accept such a move, Israel declared her independence officially on May 14, 1948. That same day, her surrounding neighbors–Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan–all attacked with military backing from Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. At first, all the small army of the fledgling nation could do was hold the line to stop Arab soldiers from destroying Jewish settlements in Israel. It didn’t stop Jordanian troops from violently expelling every Jew in Jerusalem from the Old City. In some cases, settlers using little more than light arms and museum cannons fixed to fire again headed off Syrian troops that overwhelmingly outnumbered them.
The first truce, made by the United Nations in June 1948, was broken less than a month later by Egyptian troops. The second truce was broken upon the assassination of the UN mediator. During all of this, most of the Arabs still living in Israel left of their own accord; they were never forced out. Those remaining were offered citizenship in Israel, an unconditional offer that did not come with any religious requirements and would have afforded these Arabs all of the rights and benefits of any other citizen, Jew or Muslim.
The problem was not that the Arabs were being forced out (as this claim, commonly made today, is patently untrue). It was, and still is, that they did not wish to give anything to the Jews. This attitude is still reflected today in the chants heard at pro-Palestinian demonstrations here in the United States:
Itbach al Yahud (slaughter the Jews)
Falastin balad’na w’al Yahud kilabna (Palestine is our country and the Jews are our dogs)
Baruh, badam, nafdeek ya Falastin (with our soul, with our blood, we will cleanse you Palesine)
Al mawt al Yahud (death to the Jews)
Khaybar, Khaybar al Yahud, jaish-Muhammad saya’ud (remember Khaybar oh Jews, the army of Muhammad will return)
And they say the Jews are the ones committing ethnic atrocities. We even have a UN Human Rights Councilmember today, Richard Falk, comparing the Israelis to Nazis. That’s funny, considering the history. Hamas has this really bad habit of deliberately targeting civilians. Israel…well, Israel has begun to actually call the homes of the Hamas leaders and give them warning before they bomb them. They’ve also dropped leaflets to warn civilians of what’s coming. I hate to tell you this, but Hamas is deliberately living and hiding among the innocent to force civilian casualties. They’re willing to do anything, go to any length, to bring Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) down. Even if that means discrediting them with lies and distortions so the rest of the world chooses the wrong side. The Arabs wouldn’t really care if the land were uninhabitable as long as the Jews weren’t allowed to have it.
I guess the writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes was right. Nothing really changes.