When did the Israeli-Palestinian conflict begin?
For some, the root of the conflict is the United Nations’ partition plan in 1947 to divide Palestine into two states – one for the Jews, and the other for the Arabs. For others, it began from the Holocaust between 1941 and 1945 – the genocide of European Jews during World War II. There is also the Balfour Declaration by the British government in 1917 to build a “national home for the Jewish people” on Palestinian land.
Yet, there are those who argue that the conflict might be deeply rooted in the eviction of the practicing Jews from the Crowns of Castile and Aragon and its territories after the Alhambra Decree (also known as the Edict of Expulsion) issued in 1492 by the joint Catholic Monarchs of Spain – after which the evicted Jews found a safe haven, in the Ottoman Empire.
Under the British Mandate by the League of Nations following World War I, Jewish emigration to Palestine increased considerably. Unlike their migration in the past, the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the United Nations partition plan of 1947 allowed Jews to oust 85 per cent of the Arab population from their homes.
The resulting civil war allowed the British to terminate the Mandate on May 14, 1948, and subsequently, for Israel to declare independence on the same day.
In 1967, Israel launched a pre-emptive attack against Jordan, Egypt, and Syria. In a lightning-quick offensive, Israel seized the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan. The speed and ferocity of what became known as the Six-Day War resulted in Israel expanding its territories, capturing all of Jerusalem and controlling the Biblical lands known as Judea and Samaria.
At least until the 15th century, they (the Jews) were not there in that region – they came from somewhere else.
According to the Book of Genesis, the name ‘Israel’ was bestowed upon Prophet Yaqub (Jacob in the Bible) after the incident in which he wrestled with the angel (Genesis 32:28 and 35:10). In a later historical account, descendants of Prophet Yaqub (Bani Israel) became slaves of the Pharaoh.
To cut a long story short, during the time of Prophet Musa (Moses) – son of Prophet Imran (Amran in Hebrew) – the Israelite family fled from Egypt – the Kingdom of the Pharaoh. After leaving Egypt, Prophet Musa led the Israelites towards the ‘Promised Land’ and reached Mount Sinai.
The legacy of the Biblical exodus and arrival in the ‘Promised Land’ continued later with the Alhambra Decree until the Balfour Declaration.
Is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict then rooted in any modern geo-political dispute, or just in the Biblical exodus?
As with almost everything to do with this conflict, the answer will depend on whom you ask. But the answer is crucial in resolving the conflict.
In response to the conflicts causing the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women, and children, silence from the Muslim world shows their paralysed conscience. At the same time, blind, all-out support by the developed nations to the imposed occupation and atrocities by the Israelis reveal their masked identity of inhuman indignity. It is then up to the devoted Jews to resolve the conflict – if they want to.
The Torah, which means “teaching” or “instruction”, is by far the most important Jewish scripture, consisting of the first five books of the Bible – also known as the Pentateuch. The first legal codes in the Bible, also called the Rainbow, or Noahide Commandments, describe God’s relationship with all of humanity.
As it says: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made the man (Genesis 9:6).” The rule helps explain why human life is sacred, as man is made in “imago Dei”, or, in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). Made in His image, all humans have an inherent dignity – the foundation for the development of human rights.
A Biblical narrative would endorse the importance of how Jews, Christians, and Muslims are rooted in their common ancestor – Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). With the rise and fall of many generations and kingdoms, the Tower of Babel rose and fell. Then, the Almighty spoke to a blessed man named Prophet Ibrahim and ordered him to leave his home and go to the land of Canaan (modern Israel) with his wife Sara and his nephew Prophet Lut (Lot in the Bible).
Prophet Ibrahim was a bold and successful military commander. He was also a good diplomat, who built alliances with the other victims of the oppressors, and never harmed the innocents. In every respect, Prophet Ibrahim was the model of the ideal Jewish fighter who fought to save the innocent, not for material gain, but for justice for all mankind.
All in all, the killing or murdering of innocent men, women, and children is no justification to capture the so-called ‘Promised Land’. In fact, the perplexing inherent contradiction in the claim for the ‘Promised Land’ – by murdering men, women, and children – is more Satanic, rather than Biblical.
Professor Dr Mohammad Tariqur Rahman is the Associate Dean (Continuing Education), Faculty of Dentistry, and Associate Member, UM LEAD, Universiti Malaya.
The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of Twentytwo13.