Was Anyone There?

Today, for some strange reason, no one is getting killed in Gaza. The war is now in a lull moment. However, there are more important issues that remain. During the closing years of the 19th century, rulers of the Ottoman Empire decided to invite Jews to farm land in what was then the province of Palestine. An assumption was that native Palestinians were backward, and the region was in need of modern ideas, particularly in the area of agriculture. There were thousands of young Jews in eastern Europe desperately seeking to “return to the land” since Russian officials refused to allow Jews to become land owners. Thus, was created two modern ideas– Palestinians were not good guardians of the land, and Jews were interested in modern agricultural ideas. Thus, among those Jewish settlers(thousands of Jews did live in Palestine who traced their ancestry back to Biblical times, but they were poor and lacked funds to become farmers) an idea became accepted. Jews were the ones who made the land blossom because Muslim Palestinians lacked the will, the intelligence, or desire to make dessert areas bloom with crops.

Inherent among many Zionists was a belief that no one was farming the land so it stood to reason that Jews had a right to farm land lying fallow. From this belief it was a short jump to conclude that Jews were entitled to possess the land in the absence of Muslim Palestinians who were anything other than lazy, incompetent farmers. Over time, Zionists developed ideas that it was the Jews who deserved to settle in Palestine and eventually transform it into the modern state of Israel. This form of thinking was remarkably similar to English colonists who arrived in America, and discovered some people, who they called, “Indians.” Since Indians did not focus upon agriculture(there was limited farming) English colonists concluded they had a right to farm land that had been fallow.

It is time for Israel leaders to recognize that Palestinians HAVE lived in the area we term, Palestine, for a few thousand years. Establishing Jewish settlements is simply an act of stealing land from those who inhabit it. BOTH peoples are native to the region. From that point, the only issue is how to determine which people should control which areas of land?