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What's behind the Arab-Israeli Impasse

Neither the United Nations nor the Big Powers seem able to defuse today's explosive Middle East.
Here are the facts behind the Mideast muddle — the paradoxical
events which have led up to the present Arab-Israeli impasse.


Jerusalem, "Old City"

EVENTUALLY the entire world will become involved in the bitter Mideast struggle. King Hussein has attempted to bring about a solution favorable to the Arabs through his visits to Cairo, Washington, Bonn, London and Moscow. He knows what could happen to Jordan if the simmering Mideast cauldron were to boil over.

So does President Nixon.


No Solutions?

It is time you were given the plain truth about the "Palestine Question."

Why are the United Nations and the Super Powers totally unable to untangle the Middle East knot? Or to disentangle themselves from it?

When did the strife between Arabs and Israelis begin? What caused the enmity between these two Semitic races?

It may surprise you to learn that the Jews and Arabs lived in comparative peace and harmony until recently — until Jewish Zionists began to push for a national home in Palestine.

But — why should Arabs be fearful of a Jewish state? Tiny Israel has less than 8,000 square miles (excluding conquered territories) and a population of only 2.7 million. Israel is surrounded by 110 million Arabs living in 13 nations (plus a number of sheikhdoms) which occupy over 4.6 million square miles. The Israelis are outnumbered 40 to 1.

What is it that provokes Arab leaders to openly vow to drive all Israelis into the Mediterranean?

Consider, now, when and how this Arab-Israeli strife really began.


Arabs and Jews — Sons of the Same Father

Does Arab-Israeli strife go back only to the 1947 U.N. resolution to partition Palestine? Or, does this strife go back much further than this and the subsequent creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948?

When touring the Middle East on numerous occasions I have asked local Arabs about their ancestry. Without hesitation, they told me they are the direct descendants of the patriarch Abram (Abraham), mentioned in the Bible. They will tell you plainly they are descended from Abraham through his firstborn son, ISHMAEL. The Jews (Israelis) also know they are descendants of Abraham, by his son Isaac.

Israel's former Premier, David Ben-Gurion, recently said: "It is still possible for Arabs and Jews to go back and live together on the same land, as in the time when they were all sons of Abraham." And he added, "Something must be done quickly. We may be on the brink of a terrible war!"

All races and nations are, generally speaking, descendants of a common ancestor or ancestors. Some nations are made up of several diverse ancestral stocks. Quite often, a nation is simply a family of people which has grown great! In a general way, this is true with the Jews and with the Arabs.

I have repeatedly asked Arabs and Jews why, since they have a common racial origin, they can't get along. Could it be that world thinkers have overlooked the part human nature plays in family quarrels?

Having recently travelled in the Arab lands, I know how Arabs think about the Middle East dilemma. I understand how they feel toward the West and toward the Jews. I know what they believe is the only solution to the Arab-Israeli problem. And I also know full well that mistakes have been made by all parties — including the United Nations, the British, the French, the Soviets and the United States.

Few know where America and Britain stand in this struggle! The U.S. and Britain have tried to straddle the dangerous Mideast fence. The English-speaking world has supported both Arabs and Jews — hoping to please both.

The present U.S. administration is trying to pursue "a more evenhanded" approach to the simmering Mideast dilemma.


Britain's Promise to the Jews

How did the Jews begin to get a national toe-hold in Palestine — after 2,000 years of dispersion throughout the whole world?

Britain promised the Jews a "national home" in Palestine in the official Balfour Declaration. This government promise was made by Britain before she was granted rule over Palestine under a League of Nations mandate. In 1917 Lord Balfour, British Foreign Secretary, wrote the following official letter to Lord Rothschild. Here is this now-famous (or infamous — as viewed by the Arabs) official British document.

The Foreign Office 2nd November, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations, which has been submitted to and approved by the Cabinet.

His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which might prejudice the civil and religious right of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I shall be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours sincerely, Arthur James Balfour

Most Arabs stoutly deny being anti-Semitic. They say they are Semites, too. They claim they don't hate the Jews — but only Zionism — the philosophy that Jews must repossess a homeland in Palestine.

But Arabs do resent the Jews being given a national home in Palestine — at their expense! They don't believe the Jews are the legal titleholders to the "Promised Land"

Believe it or not, it is this deep-seated envy and disagreement as to WHO IS THE LEGAL INHERITOR OF PALESTINE that is the real root cause of the enmity between the Jews and Arabs!

Many Jews freely acknowledge that God Almighty drove their forefathers from the Promised Land, and let Gentile nations occupy it for a season — because their ancestors sinned against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (see II Chron. 36:14-21).

But they point to the sacred writings of such prophets as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah. The Jews believe that, according to their divinely inspired prophecies, they were again to possess the Promised Land — in these latter days.

Zionists believe, in other words, that there exists A DIVINE MANDATE or TITLE to Palestine — that the God of their fathers would see to it that they again inhabit the land promised to their forefathers thousands of years ago.


Why Arabs Resent "Zionism"

Arabs have constituted the majority of Palestine's inhabitants for nearly two thousand years. Whereas the Jews from Europe who settled Palestine are a progressive, highly skilled people, the Arabs have traditionally been largely a trading or nomadic people. They subsist primarily on the soil, with little industrial development.

Arabs have a deep-seated fear and suspicion of Zionist Jews. They say they do not object to Jews living in Palestine — within an Arab state. But the creation of the political state of Israel would, they insist, be the wedge that could cause all Arabs of Palestine to become totally dispossessed of their land.

Make no mistake; many Arabs believe the Jews are determined to repossess all the land from the Nile to the Euphrates! This is a real concern of many Arabs.

Not long ago President Nasser said: "We crave peace. We desperately need peace for economic development. But we must defend ourselves. The Israelis have said many times their country stretches from the Nile to the Euphrates." When asked if he really believed the Israelis have designs on land between the Nile and the Euphrates, Mr. Nasser answered: "Of course!"

Many Arab leaders agree that Palestine was the Jews' "Promised Land." But, they claim, it is now rightfully their land. They had lived on it continuously for nearly two thousand years as the majority population.

Here is their reasoning. If the Jews can reclaim and repossess Palestine after so long a time, then so could the American Indians repossess the U.S. and Canada. And the pre-Anglo-Saxons could take over England. If this principle is applied world-wide, the peoples of the whole world would have to be totally reshuffled and resettled.

But, in all this, where is the Creator-ruler God?

Does He have a say in the national boundaries of the nations? Have the world's diplomats and statesmen overlooked the "God that made the World" — who "made all nations" — who has "set the bounds [borders] of their habitation"? (Acts 17:24, 26) And notice this warning: "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel" (Deut. 32:8).

There is a God who rules over the nations.


Overlooked Facts

The Arab Muslims acknowledge, in part, the Hebrew Scriptures. They refer to it as "The Book." Thy call the Jews "the people of the Book." They acknowledge the Hebrew prophets.

What does the book of those prophets say regarding Palestine?

The Bible is very explicit in showing that not just Judah — the Jews — but all twelve of the Tribes of Israel were given their inheritance in the Promised Land. That Promised Land stretched from the River of Egypt (the Nile) unto the Euphrates River (Num. 34:5; Deut. 1:7).

The "Jews" — the House of Judah only, not the Ten Tribes — still continued to inhabit a small portion of the Promised Land during the time of Herod and of Jesus. Then, in 70 A.D., the Roman legions slaughtered the Jews and scattered the remnant to the four winds. The Jews have remained scattered throughout the world — without a national home until 1948.

Both before and after World Wars I and II, a number of Jews began to trek back to their Promised Land. At first they established themselves in businesses or on farms among the Arabs who were then inhabiting Palestine. In time their numbers grew. They began purchasing land and were soon thriving among the Arabs.

At the time of issuing of the Balfour Declaration in 1917 there were only about 56,000 Jews in Palestine. But by 1948, when Israel was born as a nation, the Jewish population had risen to about 650,000. Immigration had been largely responsible.

When the dust of the terrible nightmarish World War II had settled, a stunned world learned that nearly 6,000,000 Jews had perished — mostly in Hitler's infamous concentration camps!

The Nazi atrocities against the Jews caused a horrified world to become more sympathetic toward them and their dream of establishing a national home in Palestine. It also served to heighten the Zionist dream of once again returning to their homeland — the Promised Land.

The "Wandering Jew" was tired of being tossed from pillar to post — was weary of being kicked around. He was sick of being "a man without a country."

Soon after World War II, many thousands of Jews began flocking into Palestine.

But Arab reaction to this Jewish influx (or "ingathering") pressured the British (who then ruled Palestine under a League of Nations mandate) to curb this flood of Jewish immigrants into Palestine. The British soon found they were unable to prevent the Jews from being smuggled into the Holy Land. The British consequently became very unpopular with both Arabs and Jews.

In the end, the British felt the whole Arab-Jewish problem had become too sticky for them to handle any longer. So they dumped the thorny "Palestine Question" into the lap of the United Nations in 1947.