Justice and the Palestinians
Is Israel an apartheid state and what is the status of the Palestinians? Has the life of the Palestinians been better under their own leaders?
One object to which contemporary people demanding justice have turned their attention is the state of Israel. These demanders are hostile to Israel and see it as representing some kind of apartheid state. It is alleged that the Palestinians are being oppressed because of their Palestinianism and that Israel is an occupying power. That is why many have been working on trade boycotts against Israel because they think it will improve the position of the Palestinians.
But how is it really? Sometimes there may be grounds for accusations, but often demanders do not know the history and how the current situation has come about.
First, history. It is worth noting that Israel has existed as a state and Jews have lived in the area for millennia. Here are some good verses from the New Testament. They are real history and they do not talk about the Palestinians yet, because no such name was known. Instead, they tell of the Jews who inhabited Jerusalem as well as Judea and Samaria, or the present West Bank. (The Qur'an also mentions 600 years later how holy the land belongs to Israel and how the Jews are chosen, 5: 20,21 / 10: 90,93 / 17: 104/26: 59/2: 47/45: 16) The question is about From events 2,000 years ago:
- (Matt 2:19,20) But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appears in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
- (Acts 1:4-8) And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said to them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.
8 But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
- (Acts 2:14) But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words:
What about the last century? At that time, Israel was reborn in 1948, but even before that, the League of Nations, the predecessor of the UN, had confirmed the so-called Balfour Declaration (1917). Based on this declaration, the area promised to the Jews included, not only the territory of present-day Israel, but also Jordan, as well as the West Bank and Gaza.
So what happened after Israel's declaration of independence? At that time, the surrounding Arab states (Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen) attacked the newborn state with the intention of sharing it among themselves. They did not succeed in their intentions. However, Jordan occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Egypt oocupied Gaza and Syria occupied the Golan Heights. These areas were in their possession illegally and contrary to a UN decision for almost 20 years, until 1967, so they were illegal occupiers.
What about the Palestinian background? We are repeatedly told that Israel is occupying a Palestinian state, but this is distortion of history, as no evidence of the past is known about the so-called Palestinian people and a state that would have had its own rulers, its own army, its own money, its own language, clear identifiable borders, and other features of national existence. Instead, the current Palestinians are ordinary Arabs who originally represented several nationalities (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq ...) because they arrived in this area from the surrounding Arab states or (before 1917) from the territory of the former Turkish Ottoman Empire, which over hundred years ago reigned most Arab areas. They could not have any national Palestinian identity at that time, and not even the surrounding Arab states spoke of anything like that at the time. It happened much later, after the 1967 war.
The following quote refers to the same. Palestinian identity is a relatively new thing. This identity did not emerge until after the 1967 war, when the West Bank and Gaza, which, according to the Balfour Declaration, had already been promised to Israel, returned to Israeli power. The quote is from a former commander of the PLO armed forces, who says there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese:
Commander of the armed forces of PLO, Zuheir Moushin’s statement for a German magazine in Kairo, 1972: Palestinian people do not exist as it is. The creation of a Palestinian state is only one way to continue our fight against a Zionist country to support Arabian unity. In reality, there are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese people. Only due to political and tactical reasons we now speak of the existence of Palestinian people, because the consideration of the Arabian coutries’ national benefits require that we set a separate Palestinian people to oppose Zionism. See, merely from tactical point of view Jordania, which is a recognized and sovereign country with its own confirmed borders, cannot demand for Haifa, Jaffa, Ber-Sheva and Jerusalem, where as a Palestinian nation living inside Israel can undoubtedly do so. I want to highlight that in that moment, when we have seized all of Palestine, we instantly connect Palestine and Jordania. (1)
Is there oppression? The fact is, therefore, that the so-called the Palestinians, or Arabs, and Jews now live side by side, and that must be accepted. There should be room for both peoples in these areas, and there should be no discrimination in any sides.
Are the Jews then guilty of discrimination, as some have argued? Surely they have often acted incorrectly, and this cannot be denied.
The question, however, is whether the position of the Palestinians has been better or worse under their own leaders compared to the Jewish regime? This is a key issue in this area and can be looked at.
Firstly, water supply, health care, schools and the economy. Palestinian Arabs have received significant improvements in their territories. One of them is running water for West Bank residents. Whereas in 1967 only 10% of the West Bank residents received daily running tap water, the number is now 96%. Their situation is much better than in the surrounding Arab countries.
Healthcare is a similar thing. Under Israel, the health conditions of Arabs in the West Bank have improved considerably, as have other conditions. They are also better than in many Arab countries:
Although the West coast Arabs do not politically accept Israel in their territory, it is no secret that they have recognized the Jews for making the health conditions better in the area. They noted that king Hussein promised – in paper – clinics, hospitals and schools for the area, but never went through with his promises during the 19 years that the area was under his rule. Arabs have then stated that, although Israel and the Jews never promised anything, they still did what Hussein was always only talking about, and they did it even in a bigger scale than the Arabs could gave ever anticipated. (2)
What about Israel's own Arabs? In practice, they are in a better position than Arabs in general, especially compared to Arabs in their neighboring countries, and they know it. They have a better standard of living, better health care, more freedoms and equality than other Arabs. In addition, there are Israeli Arabs as MPs and ambassadors, demonstrating their influential position. Thus, very many of Israel’s Arabs would not be willing to change their status to Arabs in other countries. The majority of them are satisfied with their position, which has become clear e.g. on opinion polls conducted by the Israeli Democratic Institute. According to them, 57% of Israeli Arabs have rated their situation as good or very good, suggesting their good status.
What about the status of the Palestinians who have lived in the West Bank and Gaza Strip? These territories had Israeli rule after 1967, but later, in 1993, the Palestinians gained autonomy, or self-government. Did this self-government improve their position or how did it affect? Were Palestinian leaders better rulers than the Israelis had been? Tass Saada, who fought in Arafat's troops but later moved to America to live, says his observations on this. After a break of years, he returned to the Palestinian territories, the West Bank and Gaza, and inquired about the situation from Palestinian residents. Many of them saw that their position was better under Israeli rule than during Palestinian self-rule:
I arrived in Ramallah early to get a feel to the city… I deliberately drove several different taxis to get a chance to talk to the drivers. I have noticed that this is an excellent way to explore the city atmosphere. "Well, what is it like to live here today?" I asked innocently.
“Not good,” almost everyone said. “Life is pretty miserable. Ever since the Palestinian Authority took the reins, the situation has actually worsened, ”they claimed. “Abu Ammar himself is a great, real fighter to the end. We love him. But his representatives don’t know how to handle things at all. They demand bribes from everyone - it doesn’t make sense. Of course, the Israelis on the border do not trust the Palestinian Authority either, and so they have tightened their grips even further - more rules, more papers, more restrictions. It was actually better when they were here and decided everything! Of course, it's awful to say, but it's true. ”
These opinions made me sad. I remembered what I wanted to talk to my former hero…
… I was once in Gaza in a taxi with several other passengers. I looked at the traffic and said, “There are a lot of taxis! You have a lot of competitors, don't you? ”
“Yeah, it's robbed of control,” the man said. “Everyone who has a car wants to make money with it. Soon there will be more drivers here than passengers, ”he sighed.
Then he continued, “When the Israelites ruled here, things were different. Everything was in better order. ” (3)
So where do the problems of the Palestinians come from? One of the biggest reasons has been precisely the Palestinians ’own leaders, who have plagued the people. They have not focused on building society and improving the conditions of their people, but on armed struggle with Israel and propping up their own position. Corruption and bribery have been common among them.
However, the biggest problem has been human rights violations. Palestinian leaders have oppressed their own people and weakened their position. It has manifested itself in arbitrary arrests, torture and silencing of the opposition. Because of this, thousands of Palestinians have fled their own settlements, moving abroad.
Finally, let’s look at a quote related to the topic. Mosab Hassan Yousef, whose father was one of the founding members of Hamas and in which organization Mosab himself previously worked, described this situation at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on 25 September 2017. He drew attention to the abuses of the Palestinian Authority towards its own people. The speech can be found as such on Youtube in English:
Report of the UN Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Council) meeting on 25 September 2017
Agenda: Human rights in Palestine.
Accusations; Israel violates human rights, racial discrimination, does not allow to work, kills children, occupies historic Palestine, steals food, water, land, money, trees, commits crimes against humanity, etc., among others.
They were presented by: Palestinian Authority-Algeria-Qatar-Sudan-Syria-North Korea-Bahrain-Saudi Arabia-Venezuela and Iran. Mosab Hassan Yousef (son of Hamas) requested and received the floor.
Growing up in Ramallah as a member of Hamas, I address my words to the PA regime, which claims to be the only true representative of the Palestinian people.
I ask where your mandate to represent the Palestinians comes from, they did not choose you. They did not give you the right to represent them. You have appointed yourself. You are accountable to the people and from the people.
This is evidenced by your violent behavior against their human rights. In fact, you are the least moved by the human rights of Palestinian individuals and people. You are kidnapping Palestinian students, torturing them in your prisons and you are also torturing your political opponents.
The suffering of the people is the result of your selfish political aspirations. You are the greatest enemy of the Palestinian people. If Israel didn’t exist, you wouldn’t have anyone to blame. Take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.
You ignite the flames of conflict to maintain your false power. Finally: You are using this forum to mislead the international community, to lead Palestinian society to believe that Israel is responsible for the problems you have caused yourself. Thank you. (4)
1. Citation from "Totuutena valhe", Pekka Sartola, p. 278
2. Jukka Riippa: "Israel polttopisteessä", p. 179
3. Tass Saada: Taistelin Arafatin joukoissa (”Ich kämpfte fur Arafat), p. 203, 278
4. Finnish text: Pekka Sartola: Taistelu Jerusalemista
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
Grap to eternal life!