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Map of the Holy Land, showing the 12 tribes of Israel (Facsimile copy) made by Pietro Visconete (14th century), modelled on much of Marino Sanudo's map, sometime earlier (Lost now) — From Eretz Israel / Palestine Collection, Gallery Eretz-Hemdat (Yaakov Aviel's map collection of the Holy Land, auctioned on 19 July 1981) 1984. Click here for similar, easier to read map from the same collection.
Since the promise included all of the lands from the Euphrates river to the Egyptian river, those within that area have feared Israeli presence. Saddam Hussein, in the Desert Storm War, launched Scud missiles from Iraq into Tel Aviv based on his fear that Israel laid claim to his land, "as far as the Euphrates." In the south concerning the "river of Egypt," Israel agreed that its southern border, or the "river of Egypt," is a wadi that presently marks its southern border. Israel returned all of the land in Sinai south of that border to Egypt, after the Six-day War.
Israeli settlements and the disposition of Jerusalem are also related to religious expectations. While Israelis and Palestinians both have made it clear that Jerusalem is their capital, Jewish settlements within Jerusalem and the West Bank territory continue to be an obstacle to peace between the two groups. The fact remains that the Jews share a belief — like Americans espousing "manifest destiny" — that it is their destiny to occupy the land of their forefathers. Spurring this movement is the reality that populations can grow, requiring more space in which to live. However, by tradition Israeli space is limited, according to the geography of their twelve tribes and the land allocated to them. See also Maravot's "Ancient maps of Israel" ; palestinefacts.org, "Maps of historical Israel, Palestine and the region." ; lib.utexas.edu, "Perry Castañeda map collection."
New York, New York
Dear Imam Feisal,
Your work in reconciling the faiths is appreciated. There are many around the world, as you know, who are reaching out between the Christian and Muslim worlds. I believe that much more can be achieved since the first Interfaith Conference held in Madrid, under the auspices of Saudi King Abdullah in July 2008, then in Kazakhstan in July 2009. A more recent initiative, "A Common Word," from 138 Muslim scholars and intellectuals, coordinated by Jordan's Prince Talal, offers a greater opportunity to get down to brass tacks, exploring the Word upon which the faiths are based (including other faiths, such as the Sikhs and Bahá'í, who recognize the holiness of the Jewish Scriptures and Gospel (sic. the Bible) and the Koran.
Since the Koran says in many places that it was written to confirm [the truth of] the Jewish Scriptures and Gospel, it can be said outright — and is recognized by many Islamic scholars — that there should be no real difference between the faiths of the Koran and the Bible, and where there are differences they can be exposed and set aside, having no central affect to the argument the Bible makes, regarding the sublime purpose encapsulated in the Lord's Prayer. In this Christians are taught to pray for "a kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven." Whilst people set their sites on heaven (paradise) we can ask why they are not focusing their good will and attention in bringing the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Bin Laden has been promising Islamist martyrs — who murder for Allah — a place in paradise, served by seven virgins, whilst the entire direction of the Bible has been to bring about (or restore) paradise on earth.
In exploring this misdirection in Islam we cannot help to recognize that the same misdirection occurs in modern Christian teachings (from the Apostle Paul) which maintain that in the Last Day (Day of Judgment) they (the saved) will be caught up with Jesus returned in the clouds and snatched away to heaven. For my part I see this point of view a bit self-serving and not in support of the intended mission listed by the Old Testament prophets.
Without an inquiry into these foundations, the world is left in the lurch — each pastor, rabbi and imam teaching according to his own personal hopes and plans. Even in my highest expectations through the document, " A Common Word," organizations who saw common agreement pointed out that they still reserved the right to worship according to their own ways. In effect they said, "We know there is a greater teaching under which we can unite, but we prefer to go our own way." They believe that they are saying this to their peers, but in fact they have said it to God. (The prophets complained about this problem among the pastors; See Jeremiah 12.10, for instance, "Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.")
If we were to focus on the Day of Judgment, as per the prophets, even as the Koran claims that it will be confirmed on that day, no doubt we might assume the simile of the Judge, looking upon the faiths from the Biblical (Heavenly) point of view. "They have all gone astray; not one doeth good," is one of the judgments expressed by the prophets for that Day of Judgment. Because of this and other judgments expressed by the prophets, that day was also called the Day of Wrath, when nation rises up against nation, etc. Since the Judge (also called the Messiah, as listed in the Koran) appears in the Day of Wrath, it follows that He might be one that is feared. (Isaiah 59.19-20 "So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the West, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.." And Jeremiah 23.20 says, "The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till He have performed the thoughts of his heart: In the Latter Days ye shall consider it perfectly.")
Now we all know what the thoughts of His heart are. They include peace to the brokenhearted, a comfort to those in mourning. For those who haven't given much thought to this I have prepared a list of Messianic epithets from the Bible. Since the Koran acknowledges the Messiah and the Gospel, it follows that those epithets are, in the sense of a Messianic being, epithets also endorsed by the Koran. Many of these epithets involve the final status of the Holy Land.
Looking at the situation as a whole we noted that a controversy out of Malaysia, called the "Allah Controversy," embodies the entire spectrum of misunderstandings between Muslims and Christians. In following the controversy to its end and reconciling the differences separating Muslims, Jews and Christians, we can correct some assumptions that have fostered violence and give them a new heart by which we can produce a more just world. I prepared a document building upon "A Common Word," called "The Allah Controversy," : http://www.maravot.com/Maravot_News-Allah.controversy.html
I have proposed to President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton that we hold an interfaith conference using "The Allah Controversy" as the manifest through which the conference must work. It highlights the major issues to be resolved and their political and religious relationships. It is a means of separating the chaff from the wheat as it were. A part of the discussion called "Philistia triumph thou because of me," was one of a handful of documents on the internet that aljazeera.net linked to in the early years of its existence.
I would like to gather an initial group together to discuss the issue and refine and implement the argument from there. As a minimum it would defuse expectations of extremists doing violence on behalf of their god.
Everyone likes to participate in the work of salvation according to their own ideas and ways, which is why these dark days of murderous outrage have continued and no doubt will continue. A better dialogue will hopefully lead them too out of the darkness into a greater light.
You, of course, may be a scholar that believes that the God of the Bible and Allah of the Koran are two different entities, and if this is so, it is obvious that you must be convinced of the unity of their being before more fruitful steps in the dialogue can be taken. Or believing that Allah is God, God is Allah, you may be one who believes that the Koran supersedes that which it intended to confirm. (A contract cannot dispute that which it clearly says it confirms; thus, any inconsistencies between the Koran and the Bible would need to be separate from the Biblical corpus of truth.)
You may subscribe to the idea that the Koran supersedes the Bible, making the Bible old and passed away, such as Paul argued with regard to the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. This too would be a stumbling block to a more fruitful conversation shedding the light anticipated by the prophets of the Bible. But if you agree that the Koran cannot contradict that which it confirms, then we can step further into the light and put down the Koran and devote our time to the understanding of the Messiah.
It may be, however, that you subscribe to the theory some imams have expressed, that the Messiah is no important character in the Bible, or, like Paul, believe that the Messiah is Jesus who will return in the clouds and carry all of the saved back up to heaven, destroying the world in the lurch. This would lead to the necessity of examining all of the expressions of the prophets that relate to the Messiah and his times. We have gathered many of them together knowing the eventuality that the discussion will turn to them.
We recognize that this may be a delicate area for many to look into, since the character, including such names as the Branch or the Redeemer, expects to return to Zion and do those things listed of him. The reason he is called the "Redeemer" has to do with the redemption of Israel back to the Holy Land. Up until 1947 it was not possible for the "Redeemer" to exist, since Israel had not yet been redeemed to the Holy Land. But now they have been redeemed and we ought to spend a few moments looking at the epithets that describe what the Messiah is expected to do with regard to the disposition of the inhabitants of Jerusalem and its Holy Land. If you can follow my logic, the prophets declared (Isaiah 60) that everyone in that day is holy to the Lord and that the Holy Land shall be given a new name. That name is not Israel and not Palestine, though I perceive that those states could be federal departments of the whole. The whole is called "Beulah," meaning married to God; the idea being to note that Israelis and Palestinians share the land, they don't own it, like the Palestinians and Jews that live peacefully together in New York, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, etc. This, of course, is the argument the Messiah makes in the book of Isaiah.
Jewish midrash argues that the redemption of the Jews involves the redemption of all mankind. In other terms it has been expressed as a simple marriage ceremony (familiar to both Arabs and Jews), cast in the Latter Days, as in God's redemption of his wayward wife.
If you believe that the steps I have outlined are worthy of exploration, all of the way to their conclusion, I would enjoy pursuing this matter further with you.
Mr. Abdula Manafi Mutualo
Secretary of the Islamophobia Observatory
and Culture and Social Affairs’ Officer
OIC General Secretariat
Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu
Organization of Islamic Conference
I prepared a manifest that builds upon your agreement that the Koran was written to confirm the Jewish Scriptures (and also the Gospel). It includes quotes from you and the mission of Islam posted on the OIC website by Dr. Hassan Hathout (which we quoted in entirety under the chapter “A moderate view of Islam.”) Our document, “The Allah Controversy,” is at: http://www.maravot.com/Maravot_News-Allah.controversy.html
We believe that “The Allah Controversy” can be an important manifest used for reconciliation of the faiths, since the conclusion that God is Allah, that the Koran confirms the Jewish scriptures and Gospel (sic. The Bible), extends to the conclusion that there should really be no substantial difference between the three faiths. In our document we highlight the basic differences that promote conflict and a record of the conflict between Islam and the West. We believe as you and the OIC that education and understanding will defuse the violence. One cannot read into a reconciliation of the faiths only those things one believes; one must address the whole.
I would like to convene a more focused interfaith conference to discuss “The Allah Controversy” and would look forward to your support and input. For instance there can be a great reward to reconciliation once leaders and scholars agree that the Koran was written to confirm [in essence] the Bible. This leads to the conclusion that the Koran (like any other contract) cannot contradict that which it confirms. Nor can it supersede that which it confirms.
This being evident, then we can put down the Koran for a moment and explore precisely what the Old Testament prophets anticipated with regard to our present dilemma, of the conflict of faiths. Cutting through the chaff we can examine the prophets' vision as relating to the Messiah (The Koran calls Jesus the Messiah), his days, and the terms for the redemption of the Jews to the Holy Land. If you look at those terms — as I list in "The Allah Controversy" — you should find them to be a sensible solution. While it may not seem appropriate to some, it may be the best chance for peace in Jerusalem and, through Jerusalem, a substantial peace in the world. There may always be tribal and national, economic and cultural differences in the world to disrupt peace, but at least we can remove the agreements that promote murder, theft and lying for God / Allah.
I look forward to your support and input.
Professor Ihsanoglu's comments relative to the reconciliation of the faiths:
Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General Of The Organization Of The Islamic Conference (OIC), sent their Invitation to a New Partnership, to President Obama, January 21, 2009, that included the following comment: "...Many myths about Islam, fostered by extremists in both the West and East, have proliferated in the last decade, and a new word — "Islamophobia” — has even entered the world's lexicon to describe anti-Muslim acts of prejudice and violence. Despite these pernicious myths, you will find that Islam is a religion of peace. Tolerance is its benchmark and borne of the very nature of Islam. Nor is Islam an exclusive religion. It is an integral part of the history of world religions. It continues and confirms the previous scriptures. Along with Christianity and Judaism, Islam emanates from the same part of the world, comes from the same God, and holds to the same Prophets, mainly Abraham. It has been tested over fourteen hundred years, and shown itself to be a religion of compassion, mercy, justice, and equality. Extremists in any faith or tradition are rare, though they often command disproportionate attention. But the often overlooked truth is Islam is also the religion of moderation. It celebrates diversity and acknowledges and venerates a wide array of religions. Islam, in fact, abhors extremism and fanaticism and calls for treading the path of the “middle way” in favor of tolerance and reconciliation. It exhorts Muslims to be morally responsive to the truth and to goodness, and to be alert to all that is false, evil or destructive..."
Statement By Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu Secretary-General Of The Organization Of The Islamic Conference At The 15th Summit Of The Non-Aligned Movement Sharm El-Sheikh — Arab Republic Of Egypt (15-16 July 2009) (extract)
OIC's attendance of this important Summit meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Sharm enriches its organisation which includes 57 Member States, 51 among whom are active members of this Movement. This fact by itself reflects the strong links which attach the Non-Aligned Movement to the OIC. Since their early inception, during the cold war, they have common goals and objectives: to put an end to colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, foreign occupation and exploitation. Their tireless endeavour in defending the rights of all peoples to self-determination and independence was a value target that succeeded in liberating scores of countries from the yoke of foreign hegemony.
...Today, the internal and external challenges facing our countries are daunting. Issues such as globalization, climate change, environmental degradation, access to clean drinking water, energy shortage, epidemics, regional conflicts, shortage of food supply as well as the issues of upholding human rights, good governance, combating international terrorism, the democratization of international financial institutions, are on top of the agenda of our time. The role of the Non-Aligned Movement in addressing these topics is decisive and crucial.
At a time when we aspire to a new world in which justice, freedom and equity prevail, we are regrettably faced in the Muslim world with inextricable and protracted problems. In the Middle East, the occupation of Palestinian and Arab territories, the construction of settlements and racial discrimination continue unabated, where Israel is committing with impunity war crimes recognized as such by the world community. We hope that we are living the closing stages of the occupation of Iraq with what that occupation entailed of wanton destruction, untold suffering and the killing of hundreds of thousand of victims. Afghanistan is going through extensive military assault, reaping the lives of scores of innocent civilians. Somalia is straying in the abyss of a never-ending civil war; Jammu and Kashmir is still in limbo, while the rights of its people to self-determination are denied. The situation in Darfur in the Sudan, in Nagorno-Karabakh and Muslim Minorities and Communities in non-OIC Member States is awaiting resolution. The OIC is contributing through contacts with concerned Governments to the acceptable resolution to the problems of these minorities which constitute one third of the number of Muslims worldwide and which suffer from similar problems and envision to achieve equality and to practice their legitimate rights.
The menace of terrorism and the baseless attempts to associate this scourge with Islam, the mounting phenomenon of Islamophobia and attempts to defame Islam and its holy Prophet, represent serious challenges to the Muslim world.
As for the Iran's nuclear issue, I would like to reiterate OIC's support to the inalienable rights of Iran and all Member States to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, in accordance with the Non-proliferation treaty. Consequently, we believe that Iran's nuclear issue should be settled through dialogue and peaceful means...
His Excellency prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu secretary general of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference at the East West Institute on the OIC and the West working to resolve conflicts, statement September 22, 2009: (extract)
The Organisation of the Islamic Conference is an intergovernmental organisation established in 1969 in the wake of the deep anguish felt in the Muslim world over the burning of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969. The OIC is not a religious organisation. It is mandated to coordinate and streamline the common and joint actions of its 57 Member States. It is the second largest intergovernmental organisation after the United Nations and has a mission to defend the interests and just causes of its Member States. It is also the only official Muslim organisation that speaks on behalf of the Muslim world and the 1.5 billion Muslims
...In this age of globalisation, where boundaries are crashing down or melting away, it is ironic that Islam with its glorious civilization and tolerant values is often stereotyped as being an ideology of hate.
...I have always called for, and worked toward, reaching a historic reconciliation between Islam and Christendom. A similar experience took place last century and a historic reconciliation between Christianity and Judaism was achieved.
Today Muslims admire the great achievement of the West. I have always asserted that Muslim[s] in general harbour no ill feelings to the people of the West. On the contrary, they admire [the] Western success story and achievements in many domains. They highly appreciate many of the West's values and look for friendship and cooperation with the Westerners, to make of our fragile and small planet a heaven of prosperity and well being for all. When we agree that the enemy is not the other but rather the ignorance, the intolerance and fear, then we can say that there is a hope for historic breakthrough.
In reality, what unites the Islamic world and the West outweigh[s] what separate[s] them. They have a common spiritual and intellectual reference.. rooted in their revealed religions and similar culture. They are also united in their geographic proximity and complementary economics. The new rise of China and India in Asia should incite the West and the Muslim world to close ranks, enhance and sustain their commonalities and consolidate their relationship and reinforce their common interests.
What we, in the Muslim world aspire to, is evolving a more just, equitable and democratic global system, founded upon humane, universal, and moral values in this age of connectivity and permeability.
There is no doubt that conflicts in the Muslim world — domestic or international — have their direct impact on the West and vice versa. Think about the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Look at the repercussion of the invasion of Iraq, and the tens[e] relationship with Iran. Confidence building between the USA and the Muslim world is the need of the hour. President Obama's Cairo speech has set the ball rolling. It is time for follow-up action.
...In the domain of conflict prevention or peace-building, we, in the OIC, do not think that resorting to military means is the most suitable way to reach success. At the peak of the period of Iraq's sectarian killing between the Sunni and Shiite sects, the OIC was able to successfully broker an end to this sectarian strife through mediation among the high religious authorities of the two factions. A meeting was convened in the holy city of Makkah Al Mukarramah in 2006, assembling Muslim high authorities and scholars from Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis to agree and announce the “Makkah Document on Iraq," a document which had been elaborated under the aegis of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy. The document clarifies the position of the Islamic teachings and jurisprudence vis-à-vis the killings in Iraq based on sectarian considerations. It clearly showed Islam's strong position in prohibiting killing of Muslims outside the realm of law. This document which had very wide circulation in all Mosques of the two sides in Iraq resulted in a resounding success and was effective in drastically reducing the sectarian strife in Iraq. This result was an important factor in countering the brutal activities of the insurgency in Iraq through local means.
This method, for example, could be used tomorrow in Somalia...To build the trust, we need to find a just solution to the tragedy of Palestine which continues to stalk the Muslim world for more than sixty years. We also need to stop the manifestation of Islamophobia in the West and treating Muslims and their sacred symbols with contempt...
Statement of H.E. Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu Secretary General Organization of the Islamic Conference At the Muslims of Europe Conference 2006 Challenges and Opportunities. (extract)
For many societies in the West the presence of Muslim immigrants is a relatively new phenomenon. Fear of the “other” and intolerance, according to sociologists, is a very natural inclination, and constitutes an intrinsic attribute of human behavior. Tolerance, therefore, must be earned by necessity, reason and intelligence, because it is a requirement for social life, and because people are not necessarily prone to prejudice. However, intolerance cannot justify domination or the deliberate use of fear of the “other” for political purposes.
Integration is needed, immigrants must adjust to their new societies, and societies must adjust too. This human relationship should be a two-way street to become sustainable. Both sides should understand each other's expectations and responsibilities, and work to demystify the notion of the “other” through contacts and education. All the above is needed, but it is easier said than done. To be able to forge headway to any tangible action, one should look for the root causes which nurture what is commonly called Islamophobia.
Islamophobia is a deeply rooted phenomenon in the psyche of some Westerners since many centuries, based mainly on outdated religious considerations against Islam. Many of these fanatic views are, unfortunately, still lingering in the minds of many.
As for today, known global political and socioeconomic developments, presence or hot-spots of problems mainly prevalent in the Muslim world and stemming from the Cold War period, remnants of the colonialism, onslaught of refugees from the Muslim world to the West and unmanaged transformation of the fabric of the western societies and failure of a number of Muslim countries to adapt to the modernization process to create prosperous and developed societies, brought us to a point where we face [a] multitude of challenges with implications on both the Western societies and the Muslim world...
...In considering this alienation context, one should also not neglect the historical experience and sufferings of Muslims during the eras of colonialism. New Muslim resentments are still being fuelled daily by the scenes of sufferings of Muslims in the hot-bed areas of conflicts created by the Western powers especially in the Middle East. It would be naïve to think that European Muslims can be and should be mentally isolated from [the] overall context of the Muslim World. Due to the peculiarities of the teachings of Islam, they will always feel the suffering of other Muslims in their hearts even though they are devoted citizens of Western countries.
Reactions to the humiliating conditions in the Muslim world can sometimes be brutal and visceral by radical fringe elements who pretend that they act in the name of Islam. Often these reactions are mistaken in the West for an Islamic hatred against Western values, sparking an anti-Islamic backlash — a fact which leads us to a vicious circle. Islam does not condone extremism and terrorism and it is a well-known fact that every single Muslim country and their religious leaders have always condemned and will continue to condemn the extremist and terrorist acts committed on behalf of Islam. The very Islamic teachings preach moderation and peace. Therefore, the Western politicians and media should be careful not to incite hatred towards Muslims and their religion which they often do on utterly wrong and deviated supposition.
...We have also already made great efforts and offered initiatives to pave the way for a historical reconciliation based on the realties of the time, openness and tolerance. Chief among these efforts being the dialogue among civilizations advocated in the last decade by the OIC as an alternative for the clash of civilizations proposed by some Western thinkers....
"Partition map of the land of Canaan," Lyon 1568, from the Yaakov Aviel Collection, 1981.
|Roman-Byzantine Codex Notitia Dignitarum, (~400 A.D.) from Yaakov Aviel Collection. Duchies / castles of the Holy Land. Aelia, bottom right, is Jerusalem||Roman-Byzantine Codex Notitia Dignitarum, (~400 A.D.) from Yaakov Aviel Collection. The date shown for Provincia Palestina is 1536.|
The ethnic cleansing of the land of the Jews under the Roman Emperor Hadrian and later the Roman Emperor Trajan, by his general Marcius Turbo, and changing the name to Syria Palaestina no doubt became the foundation for the British Mandate of Palestine, comprising Transjordan, and Palestine. It was also a foundation for the mass expulsion of the Jews (diaspora) and two-thousand years of persecution:
"The complete destruction of Jerusalem, and the settlement of several Greek and Roman colonies in Judea indicated the express intention of the Roman government to prevent the political regeneration of the Jewish nation. Nevertheless, forty years later the Jews put forth efforts to recover their former freedom. With Israel exhausted, they strove to establish commonwealths on the ruins of Hellenism in Cyrene, Cyprus, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. These efforts, resolute but unwise, were suppressed by Trajan (115-117), and under Hadrian the same fate befell the attempt of the Jews of Israel to regain their independence (133-135). From this time on, in spite of unimportant movements under Antoninus, Marcus Aurelius, and Severus, the Jews of Palestine, reduced in numbers, destitute, and crushed, lost their preponderance in the Jewish world. Jerusalem had become, under the name "Ælia Capitolina", a Roman colony and entirely pagan city. Jews were forbidden entrance on pain of death, except for the day of Tisha B'Av, see also Anti-Judaism in the Roman Empire. Nevertheless, 43 Jewish communities in Israel remained in the sixth century: 12 on the coast, in the Negev, and east of the Jordan, and 31 villages in Galilee and in the Jordan valley. Yavne on the coastal plane, associated with Yochanan ben Zakai, was an important center of Rabbinic Judaism." [wikipedia.org]
Thus, since the time of Hadrian the area has been known as Palestine. This area was most recently part of the Ottoman Empire, Eyalet (province) of Egypt, established in 1517, consisting of Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Other divisions of the Ottoman Empire included sanjaks, such as the Sanjak of Jerusalem. Some sanjaks were further divided into timars (fiefs held by timariots) and zeamets. Some sanjaks such as the Mutasarrifate (Sanjak) of Jerusalem, were not part of a province. Sanjak governors also served as military commanders of all of the timariot and zeamet-holding cavalrymen in their sanjak. Some provinces such as Egypt, Baghdad, Abyssinia, and Al-Hasa (the salyane provinces) were not subdivided into sanjaks and timars (wikipedia.org). During the Ottoman Empire an area called "Palestine" did not exist on official maps, though Christian maps showing the lands of the Bible, such as the "Partition map of the land of Canaan," show the Gaza Strip with the name of Palestine. The website israelipalestinian.procon.org shows several maps of the area, including Ottoman districts of the Eyalat of "Egypt" as: District of Beirut, District of Acre, District of Nablus, District of Jerusalem (approximately the old territory of Judaea / Israel) and District of ma'an (1517-1917). It shows the population mix in 1914 as follows: Jews 60,000; Arabs 731,000; Total: 791,000. In 2005 the population mix is about equal: 5.275 million Jews to 5.139 million Arabs.
Before the Roman conquest the area was part of Alexander the Great's Selucid Empire, (305 B.C. - 63 B.C), but Gaza was part of Alexander's Ptolemaic Empire. During Roman times the area was the province of Judaea. Jordan was part of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea. Sinai was part of the province of Aegyptus. North of Judaea was the province of Syria, including Lebanon. The British Mandate of Palestine thus appears to be the first appearance of Palestine on an official map, since the beginning of the Ottoman Empire.
The earliest historic accounts of the Palestinians are in the Bible, including King David's wars with the Philistines (Palestinians, Pulusti) about 1,000 B.C. The Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II (1279 - 1213 B.C.) mentioned the Pulusti among the invading Sea Peoples during his era. Archeological accounts show that the Philistines are culturally related to the Greeks and probably came from Crete. The traditional exodus from Egypt of the Israelites may have been at this time.
Tracing through the centuries to reconstruct the traditional states of the Israelis and Palestinians can be trying upon the hardiest souls. No doubt the map created by the United Nations at the time that august body created the state of Israel (UN Resolution 181 November 29, 1947) attempted to reconcile some of the traditional, geographic requirements, as the British Mandate territory before it.
The United Nations took it upon itself to restore the state of Israel, just as it enabled the states around the Holy Land, such as Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Transjordan and Egypt. Palestine was a new creation by the United Nations — as a distinct new state — as it began reconstructing the territories of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Transjordan from the old French and British Mandate territories. UN Resolution 181 of 1947 details the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate (consisting of Palestine and Transjordan) into a Jewish state and an Arab, Palestinian state. The British Mandate of Palestine appears to be the first recognition of Palestine as a geographic area, and that is probably because Palestinians live within that area (Transjordan, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel). Because of the distribution of Palestinians throughout the British Mandate of Palestine it is understandable how that mandate came to be given the name of Palestine.
Palestinian leaders argue that they want their land (state) back. If we use the British Mandate territory as their land, we would of necessity have to change the name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to "Palestine." (It's probably not something the Jordanians would embrace, though about 1.5 million of their inhabitants are Palestinian exiles.) No doubt the United Nations realized this, separating Transjordan from their projected map of Israel and "Palestine."
Hamas, of course, wants all of the Jews driven into the sea so that they (the Palestinians) can have their land back. But that does not seem to be fair to the Jews who have counted the land as their inheritance given to Abraham about 1,900 B.C. The Bible records that inheritance, the Koran confirms the Bible and, thus, their claim to possess the land of their forefathers is indirectly endorsed by the Koran. What is important to note is the fact that the United Nations Resolution 181 of 1947 also recognized that covenant given to the Jews through Abraham.
A Hamas spokesman told journalist Charlie Rose, published on PBS May 28, 2010, that their faction of the Palestinians wanted to restore the 1967 borders (before the Six-day War) — also expressed by President Assad in an earlier interview with Charlie Rose. It seems that this criteria recognizes the territories laid out by UN Resolution 181 of 1947, except that the Corpus Separatum of Jerusalem administered by the United Nations is not part of that restored territory. Hamas seems to really be saying that they want all of the land. What is relevant here is that Transjordan and the Arabs / Palestinians rejected United Nations Resolution 181, sealing their refusal with their invasion of the West Bank and the Corpus Separatum of Jerusalem. This 1948 Arab-Israeli War led to more wars between Israel and the Arabs, culminating in the 1967 Six-day war.
The conflict between the Arab states and Israel continues. The Palestinian struggle of "resistance" has moved the entire land into chaos. When I was in Israel in 1985 there was a working relationship between Israelis and Palestinians; there was no fence, but Palestinians had just begun setting bombs in public places (a bomb was placed in a restaurant off of Zion Square at the time). Rather than exercising violence, they could have signed off on UN Resolution 181 and worked towards a unification / cooperation of the two territories of the Jews and "Arabs," just as they work together in other places, such as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, New York or San Francisco.
Interestingly enough, the Declaration of Independence of Israel guarantees the protection of rights, of the Palestinians, Israelis or other inhabitants of the land, such as:
WE APPEAL — in the very midst of the onslaught launched against us now for months — to the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to preserve peace and participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.
WE EXTEND our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.
WE APPEAL to the Jewish people throughout the Diaspora to rally round the Jews of Eretz-Israel in the tasks of immigration and upbuilding and to stand by them in the great struggle for the realization of the age-old dream — the redemption of Israel.
This is not just about the redemption of Israel.
Confusing the possibility of reconciliation
Recently Turkey's government sponsored a "humanitarian flotilla" to provide aid to Gaza. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government had been in touch with Israel about the aid convoy.(Maravot News 5.31.10 article 05.25.10 Turkey to Israel: Lift blockade of Gaza ) As of June 1, 2010 there is confusion as to what caused the convoy containing about 700 people to ignore Israeli commands to put into the port of Ashdod where the ship's cargo could be inspected for weapons and transferred directly to Gaza under the humanitarian group's supervision. Refusal to obey Israeli instructions resulted in death and injury to both commandos and the ship's passengers. Since the Turkish flotilla assault other flotillas have been scheduled, from Lebanon and Iran, all of which have been cancelled, presumably because of Israel's letter to the UN that such attempts would be considered an act of war. Gaza is now at the center of Islamic protests, having drawn support from both Muslim extremists and non-Muslim forces. Opposing their interests for an independent (and presumably armed) Palestinian state are Israel and conservative Western forces. Such opposition often addresses the violent and suppresive expressions in Islam, including the suppression of women's rights, marriage of women at the age of nine, punishing women who are raped, rather than the rapist, etc. Among many movements in the West - of restricting symbols of Islam, such as minarets on mosques or the use of burqas — groups have sprung up to protest the free worship of Islam in the West altogether, since it advocates the overthrow of Western institutions. A site banned by the government of Pakistan for anti-Islam content is islamexposed.blogspot.com. We have summarized the complaint of islamexposed.blogspot.com in Appendix B.
Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04 — | ♦
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