While the U.N. calls it ‘Palestinian territory,’ history says it’s not
The U.N. Security Council resolution condemning “Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem” was one-sided and unfair. That’s obvious.
The resolution certainly won’t encourage the Palestinians to negotiate, since they see they can get what they want without negotiating. No doubt about that.
And the countries that voted for it are brazen hypocrites, since every one of them is occupying territory to which they have much less claim than Israel has to Judea and Samaria, and Jerusalem.
But I think the most important point in this debate is being overlooked: The United Nations is condemning Israeli settlements in “Palestinian territory” — but the territory in question is not “Palestinian.”
It may be unfashionable to talk about the Jewish claim to the Land of Israel when the whole world is so determined to give that land a different name and award it to someone else. But the truth is the truth, whether the rest of the world likes it or not.
The truth is that according to the Bible, the historical record and international law, Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem belong to the Jews, not the Palestinian Arabs.
The words “Palestine” and “West Bank” do not appear in the Torah or the New Testament. The Hebrew Bible calls the whole area the Land of Israel, and those specific regions Judea and Samaria. So does the Christian Bible. In fact, many of Christianity’s foundational events took place in the Old City section of Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives and Judea.
The terms “Palestine” and “West Bank” do not appear in the Quran, either. During the time that the Muslims ruled the area (starting in the seventh century CE), they never created a state of Palestine. Muslims didn’t regard it as a separate territory and the Muslim residents didn’t consider themselves Palestinians.
It was only in the 1960s that the Arabs in those areas began calling themselves Palestinians and started calling the area the West Bank. Those terms had no historical basis and were invented to advance the anti-Israel agenda. The fact that the United Nations and the Western news media adopted that language does not make it legitimate.
It’s not just a matter of religious and historical rights. It’s also a matter of international law. The Balfour Declaration of 1917, the San Remo Conference of 1920 and the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine in 1922 affirmed the right of the Jews to a national home in an area that included Judea and Samaria (in fact, it also included the area that today constitutes the Kingdom of Jordan). Israel’s capture of Judea and Samaria in 1967 was a matter of self-defense, which international law recognizes as a legitimate basis for taking and holding territory.
The only reason there are more Arabs than Jews in Judea and Samaria at the moment is because the British tolerated massive illegal Arab immigration to those areas in the 1930s and 1940s, and the Jordanians barred Jews from living there from 1949 to 1967. Those two acts of historical injustice do not make the Palestinian Arabs the rightful owners of those territories.
No matter what biased and hypocritical resolutions the United Nations adopts, Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem are Jewish territory, not Palestinian territory.
Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.