Israel and Gaza – What Lies Beneath?

By Robin Briggs

The Roman Empire’s command strategies for its conquered territories included the branding of the land and the people with a new name. ‘Palestine’ and ‘Palestinian’ were contrived in this way by Rome and had no connection with any people group other than the Israelis. ‘Palestine’ was the Roman substitute name for everything that for hundreds of years had previously been known as ‘Israel’. The binary proposition of a separate people group is a very modern propaganda coup. It is a quite artificial proposition that an historic distinct ‘Palestinian’ ethnic people group occupied the land and very sad indeed that the educated west should succumb to racist propaganda.

After WWII across the entire breadth of Europe there was an immediate and pressing need to deal with the ruins of war and the millions of homeless, especially those brutally persecuted and traumatised because of ethnicity and religion. The migrants needed a safe-haven. A solution was found with the British Empire downsizing. Since 1917 it had held the mandate to use a portion of its Middle Eastern real estate for the creation of a Jewish homeland. The original mandate included both the territories known Trans-Jordan and Palestine, but the British scaled back the homeland proposition limiting it to the land of Israel, known as Palestine since Roman times.

The League of Nations/United Nations (UN) was still in its infancy. It had considered the idea of splitting the mandated land into three sectors, Arab, Jewish and International. For their own reasons the Arab leaders rejected the UN idea of the different sectors. They refused the split state solution then as they continue to do today. The UN held a democratic vote. The motion was passed to create the new State of Israel in the mandated territory once ruled by the British Empire. With the UN agreement came the full weight of official global recognition and the blessing of international law. In 1948 the new Israel came into being.

The UN in its still juvenile state was dealing with post-war stresses in Europe and the Far East. It had issues to address elsewhere and could not safeguard the new state. This allowed the surrounding Arab nations to take up arms immediately and mount an aggressive invasion on all fronts. In direct contravention of what the UN had established, they invaded and seized territory. It was to take another twenty years without UN support for Israel to recover the seized territory, which although occupied by the invaders had been legally theirs since 1948. (In an ironic perversion of truth the recovered British mandate real estate originally granted to Israel by the UN is referred to in many media streams as the ‘occupied territory’, rather than as is the factual case, the ‘land restored to its legal owners’.)

By the time the land was recovered in 1967, the UN was maturing. Its focus remained elsewhere. The UN itself was changing. Replacing the old notion of the UN as the blue helmet police peace-keeping force standing between warring factions and accountable to member states, the world began to see the UN building a position for itself as the power house for a new empire. Instead of serving as a peace-keeper accountable to the member states, the UN sought its own place among the ruling elite, accountable to no-one. The UN empire was forming its own ministerial departments (UNWRA, UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO etc) its own legislature, strategies for role expansion and a political agenda. For this new super power in waiting, the blue helmet defence of the tiny state of Israel was far from being a top priority.

Putting the history and the theology to one side, however, the position by the early nineteen-seventies is that, for Jews still fleeing from persecution in other countries and wanting to return to their spiritual homeland, this new Israel was the safe-haven. All that was about to change.

The 1967 restoration of Jerusalem to Israel was a turning point. Golda Meir had been elected the fourth prime minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974. She was Israel’s first and only female head of government and the first female head of government in the Middle East. She recognised the newness of her country, and was perhaps misunderstood when she reminded the world that since Roman times ‘Israel’ and ‘Palestine’ were synonymous terms for the land and its people and that there never had been a binary division of Israeli and Palestinian. They were one and the same. She was correct, but her words were inflammatory.

Meanwhile, a master of propaganda was mobilising his resources to use the invented name of ‘Palestine’. That master of propaganda was Yasser Arafat. It was in the early 1970s that the propaganda war began which leads to the present ideological conflict. It starts with the headline grabbing Black September atrocity at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Black September was an extreme unit of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation which was led by Yasser Arafat. His propaganda coup was to profile the historically disparate indigenous Arab population of Israel as a distinct people group and to use the Gaza identity as a quasi-ghetto of his own making. It was not the truth, but it was good propaganda. So, the words ‘Palestine’ and ‘Palestinian’ originally coined by the ancient Romans were very effectively and very aggressively brought into use once again by a power broker. This is when the formerly united Jewish and Arab nation of Israel/Palestine was effectively broken.

Into the power vacuum left unfilled by old empires, and not yet taken by the UN came the Islamic Resistance Movement. It is better known as Hamas.

In order to understand what lies beneath Hamas one must look to see if there is a mission statement. Many nations and corporations have them. They often point to some social responsibility and concern for the well-being of the whole community. The Gettysburg address is an early example remarkable for its brevity and its depth. It makes at the outset the absolute statement that all men are equal and concludes; ‘It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us … we here highly resolve … that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth’. These are words carved out of sadness and sorrow, in the bloodshed of conflict, and yet full of reconciliation, love and hope.

The Hamas vision statement is somewhat different. It starts emphatically by denying the principle that all men are equal. Published in 1988 and revised in 2017, the vision statement is known as ‘The Covenant Of The Hamas’, subtitled ‘The Charter Of Allah: The Platform Of The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas)’. The subtitle positions the charter and its authors as powerful divine authorities, more equal than other men, and certainly not as servants of the people. It is for the reader to determine for themselves whether it expresses equality, tolerance, hope and love, or rather some other less benevolent emotion and outcome? ‘The Covenant of Hamas’ reveals the vision. In the first instance it is genocide. The statement in the opening preamble is this: ‘Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors’. Above all else the objective for Hamas is utterly to eliminate Israel, the people and the land, from the face of the earth. Muslim brothers who stand against Hamas’ way are to be treated like infidels and become targets for violent action. Articles throughout the covenant are written in political/poetic language but are very clear in their intent. Article 7 incites the fulfilment of the quote ‘Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!’ This is not the place and time for a theological debate about the ideological differences of Judaeo-Christianity and Islam, but the differences must not glossed over.

Underneath the violence being shown on our screens lies ‘The Covenant of Hamas’. The goal is toxic, lethal alike to non-aligned Muslim, Jew and Gentile. Embodied in the covenant there is clear evidence that the conflict will not end until Islamic genocide of the Jews has been completed. And presumably the Christians will be next. It must not be forgotten either that Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was an honoured guest of Hitler’s throughout WWII. His escape from house arrest in Europe pending war crime trials cascaded his Nazi message of hate through to other organisations like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizbollah. The toxic Nazi legacy of hatred and the genocidal message span all these groupings.

So what is the solution?

The two-state solution vaunted by naïve western leaders simply will not work because it cannot satisfy the Palestinian objective of eliminating the Jews. The current favourite of a ceasefire can only ever be a temporary solution whilst one side or the other re-arms itself for the next round of attack or self-defence. Forced displacement of the Jews will not work, for the Palestinian goal is complete global genocide. Forced displacement of the Gazans will not work, because for various reasons the local Arab nations are unwilling to take them. So what hope is there?

Funnily enough, the answer comes from an Ukrainian women. At times her words have been seen as inflammatory, and she certainly did not shrink from controversy, but this is what she said:

“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us” (Golda Meir, A Land of Our Own: An Oral Autobiography 1 Jan. 1973).

For the violence to end will be a matter of the heart for the genocidal Islamists and their allies. Nothing less will do. The Ukrainian lady made the observation;

“When peace comes we will perhaps in time be able to forgive the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons.” (ibid)

The lady was, of course, Golda Meir. She spoke these words fifty years ago and they are still true today. The solution to the conflict is a matter of the hearts and minds for those who until now have stood behind the genocidal covenant of Hamas. Israel also must choose then not avenge its grief for its own sons and daughters and its grief for their enemy’s children who as a human shield have been put to death by their Arab parents.

It is not impossible. It will take great courage and it will involve individuals choosing to put their own lives at risk. We have seen it in our lifetime. If the men of the Muslim world do not have the courage to stand against the terrorists (it appears the self-conscious western leaders and the UN vested in building their own empires also lack the courage) consider the deliberate and wilful change of heart in the last fifty years in Ulster. A women’s peace movement across the divide was critical to ending the violence of power-seeking terrorist leaders. An end to the ’Pro-Palestine’ (and by definition genocidal anti-semitic) marches is required urgently. Yet that is not enough.

If the marchers are serious about peace rather than the brutality of genocide, they should start take to the streets not chanting with factional hate, but crying out against the terrorists who are covenanted to kill, and who hide behind a human shield of their own women and children.

“Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us”.

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