Project Genesis

The Land of Israel


Are Palestinians Like the Native Americans?

Question: Was it fair to the Palestinians, and other people living in the land of Israel, to have their land taken away? I know it’s the Jews supposed “promised homeland”, but the Palestinians in this generation had nothing to do with taking the land hundreds of years ago. Let me set up a scenario. What if the Native Americans decided to take ‘their’ land back? (I live in the USA). What if these Indians came in, kicked all of us out, bulldozed our homes and claimed that it was their land? Wouldn’t you be defending YOUR land just as the Palestinians are now. Me and you had nothing to do with taking the Indians land hundreds of years ago. I see this same scenario happening in Israel. I do not believe that it is right. The Palestinians had nothing to do with it hundreds of years ago. I do not believe that it seems very G-dly to do. Do you?

Answer: I appreciate your comments and I hope that I can clarify the situation to your satisfaction. G’d determines our livelihood but that would not give us permission to sit at home and watch TV all day long saying G’d will provide. G’d expects us to make every reasonable effort. So too, G’d expects Jews to make reasonable efforts to accomplish the unification of Israel in the land He promised to them. Whether our efforts will succeed or not depends on the Will of G’d but we cannot sit back and tell G’d to take care of everything and just let us know when all is ready for us.

When the Jews returned to Israel they found a largely desolate country with a very small Arab population. They made no effort to expel that Arab population and would have been content to live side by side with those Arabs in peace. But the Arabs had other ideas and they attacked the Jews both before the British left the country and after when the United Nations had voted to recognize the fledgling State of Israel. It was the Arab League that called on the Arab population of Israel to “temporarily” leave the country so that they would not be in the way when the neighboring Arab armies would drive the Jews into the sea.

Once the Arab armies were defeated those Arabs who had fled could not return. They gambled and lost and they have to live with the consequences of their fateful decision to flee Israel. You should direct your frustration at the vast and wealthy Arab countries who have refused to accomodate the refugees in their own lands. It would be the easiest thing for Saudi Arabia or Jordan or even Iraq to carve out a Palestinian state from their own unpopulated areas or, at least, to provide funds for the Palestinians to live in comfort and learn skills for their future. But they have deliberately ignored the Palestinians in the hope of exerting pressure on Israel to do what the Arab world refuses to do.

Your analogy with the American Indians is not accurate. The “stateless” Palestinians are a product of this generation, not something that happened hundreds of years ago. The guilty parties are still alive not long buried as in the case of the Native Americans and those who invaded their land.

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