Neither the United Nations nor the Big Powers seem able to defuse today's explosive Middle East. Why? 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.
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.
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.
A National Home at Last!
On November 29, 1947, the U.N. General Assembly (which included the vote of Russia's U.N. delegate!) voted to PARTITION PALESTINE between the Jews and Arabs — thereby establishing a national homeland for the Jews. The Arab members of the U.N. bitterly opposed the resolution and voted against it. But they were outvoted. On May 14, 1948, the U.N. created state of Israel was born. The Zionists' dream of a national home for the Jews in Palestine had suddenly come true! But the ARABS PROMPTLY DECLARED WAR on Israel as soon as it came into existence — and they have continued in a state of belligerence toward the state of Israel ever since. Nasser recently said: "We aim at the destruction of the State of Israel." The FIRST ROUND of the Arab-Israeli war was fought in 1948. The Israelis were the victors. The SECOND ROUND of the Arab-Israeli war was fought in 1956 — when Britain, France and Israel allied themselves against Egypt in an effort to regain control of the Suez Canal — which Nasser had seized. In the 1956 war, the Israeli forces were again victorious. But under pressure from the U.N. and certain big-power nations, the Israelis finally disgorged their 1956 territorial gains. Pressure from the U.S. and threats from Russia forced the British and French to halt their war against Nasser.
Round Three — the Six-Day War
Then came ROUND THREE. The forces of Egypt blockaded Israel's Red Sea port in the spring of 1967. Israel declared it an act of war. In June, the whole world was stunned by Israel's decisive, lightning attack on Egyptian armies along Israel's border. During this brief Six-Day War, tiny Israel almost totally disarmed the neighboring Arab nations who had vowed her complete destruction. One hard fact was driven home during the Six-Day War. NEITHER AMERICA NOR RUSSIA CAN CONTROL THE EXPLOSIVE MIDDLE EAST! America cannot control Israel. Russia cannot control Egypt and the Arabs. Many now realize the Middle East problem is so deep-seated that it seemingly defies all attempts to solve it. The Super Powers, America and the USSR, appear unwilling to become embroiled in World War III over the Middle East — if they can prevent it! Everyone realizes, however, that the Mideast situation could, at any moment, take a turn for the worse that might drag both America and the Soviet Union into war — against their will! World War III could be triggered by accident. The explosion could be the powder keg which would trigger a nightmarish nuclear holocaust — a conflagration enveloping the whole earth in indescribable destruction! Nasser's humiliating, shattering defeat at the hands of the Israelis has left Egypt and other Arab nations respectful of Israel as a military power, but nonetheless still very bitter, demanding revenge. To embittered Arabs, the Six-Day War was just another round in their attempt to erase "Zionist" Israel from the map. They are reluctantly willing to bide their time. In Nasser's own words: "The Six-Day War was, in actual fact, the prelude to a war. At the end of the Six-Day War many top military experts said it might take years for Egypt to properly retrain and completely re-equip her armed forces. Many of her officers and military men were either killed, wounded, captured, sacked or pensioned off. In the meantime EGYPT'S ECONOMY IS a MUDDLED MESS! Her Sinai oil wells have been taken over by Israel. And, in 1968, 80 percent of her fuel-production capacity was destroyed when Israeli shells hit her vast oil refineries at Suez — in retaliation for Egypt's [or was it the USSR's] sinking one of Israel's destroyers. Egypt's refineries near the Suez Canal were blasted again this year during a long series of artillery duels across the Suez. Egypt's lucrative tourist trade with the West has been shut off. Her rich revenues from the Suez Canal have evaporated. To make matters worse, her cotton crops even before the Six-Day War were already mortgaged to the Russians in return for massive shipments of military hardware — most of which was either captured or destroyed by the Israelis in the lightning, Six-Day War. And to make matters still worse, the Israelis now sit securely on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal — daring Nasser to try to use the Canal without their express permission! Also, Israeli supersonic bombers and fighter planes are now within minutes of the heart of Cairo and Alexandria. Syria's plight isn't much better than Egypt's. Israel has Syria over a barrel — the barrel(s) of her big guns. Israeli troops now sit astride Syria's Golan Heights — just waiting the command to take Damascus if Syrian leaders provoke Israel with heedless commando-type raids. Israeli reprisals into the heart of Lebanon have caused that Arab state to crack down hard on the Al Fatah commandos. Furthermore, Israel may already possess her own crude, Israeli-made A-Bombs! Remember, Israel's first atomic reactor (at Nahal Rubin) began operating in July, 1960. Israel launched her first successful solid-fuel rocket on July 5, 1961, "for meteorological study," of course! Israel stoutly denied a recent report in Der Spiegel that she already had at least five or six operational 20-kiloton atomic bombs.
Return of Jews Foreseen
Millennia ago the prophet ZEPHANIAH announced in advance that during our time the people of Judah (the Jews or "Israelis") would inhabit the coastal strip along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean. "And the coast shall be for the remnant of the HOUSE OF JUDAH; they shall feed thereupon; in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity" (Zeph. 2:7). In this same advance news report the people of Judah were pictured in possession of the ancient land where the Philistines (verses 5, 6) once dwelt. If you were to consult a map showing the territory anciently inhabited by the Kingdom of Judah, you would notice that the Jews did not then dwell along the sea coast of the Philistines. Anciently, Judah was an inland country, often without territorial access to the Mediterranean. So this advance news report in Zephaniah is a message for our day! The Israelis now possess the coast of the Philistines. Recently, when touring the remains of old Ashkelon, I noticed a sign which the Jews had put up right within the ruins of this ancient city. On this sign was a quote from Zephaniah 2:7 which reveals that the Jews would possess this territory in our day. Yes, the Jews know they are fulfilling this prophecy! ZECHARIAH also prophesied of the time when the city JERUSALEM would become "a burdensome stone to all nations" (Zech. 12:2, 3). (Aren't the dis-United Nations — all 126 of them — quite burdened down with the problem of what to do with Jerusalem?) World leaders seem to overlook that God Almighty declared He would "make the governors of JUDAH [the men of prominence, like Dayan and Allon] like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem" (Zech. 12:6). This advance news report for our day reveals that the Jews would be much more powerful than their neighbors. Even the "feeble" Jews of Judah are to be as strong and courageous "as David." Another report says: "And Judah also shall fight at JERUSALEM..." (Zechariah 14:14). The preceding verses of the 14th chapter show the time setting is at the end of this age — just before the long-awaited Messiah returns to this earth to save mankind from being annihilated!
When Jews and Arabs Embrace!
Astounding as this may seem, your Bible reveals that the Jews and Arabs will settle their differences — will embrace each other in the near future. But not until some bitter lessons are first learned. Ben-Gurion was right when he said: "It is possible for Arabs and Jews to go back and live together on the same land, as in the time when we were all sons of Abraham." Today anti-Semitism is still rampant throughout the entire earth. Jews have been hated, maligned, cursed, persecuted and slaughtered for centuries. The brutal, cold-blooded murder of nearly six million Jews by the Nazis was merely the latest episode in this long, sad, weary chronicle of anti-Semitism! But thanks to God Almighty, anti-Semitism is soon destined to disappear from this earth. "Many people and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in JERUSALEM, and to pray before the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; in those days it shall come to pass, that TEN MEN shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a JEW, saying, we will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you" (Zech. 8:22-23).
At Last — A Happy Solution!
Yes, incredible as it may seem, the time is soon coming when the nations will look to the Jews with respect and honor, knowing that God (in the person of the Jewish Messiah) will be dwelling right in Jerusalem — among the Jews. Has any nation found a solution to the Middle East muddle? Not the U.S., Britain, Russia, France — not even the United Nations. No human being nor nation has a workable solution to the explosive "Palestine question"! "The way of peace they have not known" (Rom. 3:17). Only God can untangle this knotty problem. The solution can only be brought about by a SUPERHUMAN BEING — the Messiah! It will take the Kingdom of God (literally established on this earth) — the only government possessing the needed wisdom and power — to solve this difficult Mideast problem (see Isa. 9:6, 7; Dan. 2:44, 7:21, 22, 27). "And the Lord [the Messiah] shall be king over all the earth" (Zech. 14:9). In the end, however, Egypt and all other nations will serve God: "And the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be EGYPT my people, and ASSYRIA the work of my hands, and ISRAEL mine inheritance (Isa. 19:23-25). Then shall all the earth overflow with abundance of peace, happiness, and prosperity. Then, at last, the Utopian age of the prophets shall have come to pass (see Isa. 2, 11; Micah 4). It is during this time that the JEWS (the HOUSE OF JUDAH) and ISRAEL (the HOUSE OF ISRAEL, the ten tribes) will be joined together back in their Promised Land (Palestine) never again to be divided into two nations (Ezek. 37:15-28). Where those Ten Tribes are — where the ancient Assyrians migrated to — has been one of history's best-kept secrets. Then there will be no more anti-Semitism — no more commando attacks against Israel — no more reprisals against Arab countries — no more Arab threats to annihilate Israel — no more Israeli military campaigns into Arab territory — no more homeless Arab refugees! Yes, both Jews and Arabs will dwell together in peace and mutual respect in the wonderful World Tomorrow!