By Hameed Abdul Karim –
For some reason or the other the Sri Lankan print media has, in recent times, taken a very pro-Israel stance. When they carry stories of the Middle East conflict from western agencies like Reuter, AFP or BBC it can be excused because such agencies are heavily biased in favour of Israel. But when editorials and articles by ‘readers’ appear frequently you begin to raise an eyebrow or two. It becomes worst when they papers refuse or deny the reader of a ‘right of reply’. Such is the case with The Island, once a progressive newspaper, but no it has joined the ‘mainstream’ carrying different stories and editorials whilst following the same pro-Israel and pro-establishment theme as other newspapers.
Such was the case with The Island when they ignored a ‘right of reply’ I wrote to an article that heavily promoted Israel and its myths. Here is what I said.
Dr. V.J.M. De Silva in his article titled ‘The Israeli Palestinian Conflict Some Random Thoughts’ (The Island, 12 August, 2014) quotes the Bible in support of Israel. The one that Dr. Silva cites is often quoted by Jewish and Christian Zionists or Evangelical Christians to support the colonial conquest of Palestine by European Jews. This so called promise to the Prophet Abraham (peace be on him) is found in the book of Genesis.
The particular verse is found in Genesis 17:8 which says ‘And I will give unto thee (meaning Abraham) and thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan (Palestine) for an everlasting possession and I will be their God’. However, this is the only verse that Dr. Silva quotes like all Zionists. There are other verses in the same Bible that should be taken into account before we can draw any conclusions. This particular verse must be put to test in accordance with the Biblical verse that says ‘And if thou say in your heart, how shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken. When a Prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing the Lord has not spoken, but the Prophet had spoken it presumptuously: thou shall not be afraid of him’. (Deuteronomy Ch. 18: 21-22)
Let’s put Genesis 17:8 to the test with the verses of Deuteronomy quoted above.
When Abraham passed away his sons Isaac and Ishmael (peace be on them both) buried him in a cave on a land their father had bought from ‘the sons of Heth’ Genesis (25 verse 9-10). This suggests there were other people on the land that God had supposedly promised to Abraham. Wouldn’t it be right to conclude that if the Lord had given the land to Abraham there would have been no need for him (Abraham) to ‘purchase’ a part of the land from Heth?
More Biblical Evidence
The Bible further testifies that God didn’t make any promise of the land of Canaan (Palestine) to Abraham. The book of Hebrews says in chapter 11 verse 13 ‘These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off’.
Perhaps a couple of verses from the book of Acts would end the controversy of the ‘Promised Land’ industry. In Acts chapter 7 verses 3-5 it is reported ‘And God said unto him (Abraham). Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and come unto the land which I shall show thee’.
Then came he out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in Haran and from there when his father was dead he removed him into this land (Palestine) in which you now dwell’.
Here comes the crucial verse.
And he (God) gave him (Abraham) no inheritance in it, NO NOT SO MUCH AS TO SET HIS FOOT UPON, yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession and to his seed after him’. (Acts 7:3-5)
About 20% of the Palestinians are Christians. Has anybody like Dr. De Silva ever bothered to ask them what they think of the Biblical promise that God supposedly made to Abraham? Have Christians who support Israel on the basis of Biblical premise, ever bothered to ask their co-religionists how they feel living as refugees in foreign lands or under perpetual humiliation at the hands of the Israelis in Occupied Palestine? The answer would be in the negative, because somehow the media has projected the Palestinian catastrophe as a Muslim issue and not as a humanitarian one as it certainly is. The media has brainwashed people to believe the conflict in Palestine is between Jews and Muslims. They have subtly left out the Palestinian Christians out of the picture.
Not many Christians know, certainly not in the west where the media is censored on the issue of Palestine, that the first village that was destroyed in Palestine was a Christian village called Deir Yassin. Over 240 Palestinian Christians were lined against the walls of their humble homes and shot dead in cold blood by the Jewish terrorist organisation called the Stern Gang headed by future Prime Minister and later Nobel Laureate, Menachem Begin. Their homes and churches were destroyed and to this day they lie in ruins as mute testimony that struck on that fateful day in 1948.
Indeed there are Palestinian Christians struggling against Israel’s racist policies in Israel as well as Occupied Palestine. Jimmy Carter and Arch Bishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu describe Israel’s policy as Apartheid with the latter going one step further saying ‘it is worse than South Africa’s apartheid under white rule’.
Those interested should read ‘Blood Brothers’ written by Reverend Father Elias Chacour a Palestinian Catholic priest who still is in the forefront of the struggle for Palestinian freedom.
There is a Christian movement in Occupied Palestine called ‘KAIROS’ headed by Rifat Kassis. More than 3000 Palestinian Christians have signed a document appealing to all Christians in the world to support their freedom struggle against the Zionist regime in Israel.
Moreover, there is Hanan Ashrawi is in the forefront of the Palestinian freedom struggle. She is a Palestinian Christian as was the late Edward Said.
Seed of Abraham
Assuming for argument sake that God did indeed promise the land to the Jews, one must carefully read the words that are enshrined in that particular verse in Genesis. It says the promise is made to Abraham and his SEED after him. The SEED includes the Arabs also because they are the children of Ishmael, Abraham’s son. But what Israel wants to do is to complete the purification of Palestine of all Goy (Gentiles: Jews being the ’Chosen People’ and all) and convert the whole of Palestine into a ‘pure’ Jewish state. This is Zionist fascism no different to Hitler’s Hein Rasse (Superior Race).
Paradoxically if the famous verse in Genesis in the Bible were to be applied it would automatically disqualify the present day ruling class in Israel because they are not the SEED of Abraham. Rather they are Khazars who were converts to Judaism as explained by Arthur Koestler in his book ‘The Thirteenth Tribe’. Factually speaking they are Caucasians and are called Ashkenazi to describe their European roots. Till today Israel participates in the Euro Vision Song Contest. As far as I can tell, Israel is not in Europe, but Europeans are occupying Palestine. Israel is a European colony, just as Sri Lanka was a British colony at one time.
To quote Arthur James Balfour to support the creation of Israel is like quoting Winston Churchill to support the perpetuation of Her Majesty’s Empire which included Sri Lanka, then Ceylon. British MP George Galloway puts this aspect of history in his inimitable and acerbic way by asking ‘What right did Balfour have to give one people’s property to another’. If Balfour was so concerned about the harrowing experience the Jews underwent under the Europeans, then it would only be proper to give them a piece of land in
Europe. It was the European Christians who incinerated the Jews and the Palestinians have to pay the price!
Be that as it may, the western powers, under the guise of the UN, partitioned Palestine like as if it were bequeathed to them by their grandfathers thus creating Israel. However, it also ‘rearranged’ Palestine, but today Palestine does not exist. Historical Palestine has been wiped off the map of the world. These are the stark facts that anybody with a little compassion for humanity can see if only they want to look.
Ehud Barak’s Offer of 95% Land
Dr. De Silva claims that Ehud Barak offered 95% of Palestine to Arafat and that Arafat rejected this Israeli ‘generosity’ out of hand. This is such a big fib that even the Israeli spin doctors or apologists cannot use it any longer for fear of being derided. What Ehud Barak really offered was a Palestinian state comprising ‘four cantons or Bantustans on the West Bank, Jericho, the southern canton extending as far as Abu Dis (the new Arab ‘Jerusalem’) a northern canton including the Palestinian cities of Nablus, Jenin and Tulkarem and a central canton including Ramallah’ according to Prof. Noam Chomsky. Elaborating on this he says ‘the cantons would be completely surrounded by territory to be annexed by Israel. The areas of Palestinian population concentration were to be under Palestinian ‘administration’ an adaption of the traditional colonial pattern that is the only sensible outcome as far as Israel and the US are concerned’
Dr. Silva claims that this magnanimous ‘offer’ would connect Gaza to the West Bank. This is not true. ‘The plan for Gaza Strip, a fifth canton was not certain’ Chomsky points out ‘Israel might relinquish it or might maintain the southern coastal region and another salient virtually dividing the Gaza Strip below Gaza City.
Ewen MacAskill diplomatic editor of The Guardian newspaper of 14 April 2001 sheds more light on this myth of Israel’s ‘generous’ offer of 95% of historical Palestine back to its original inhabitants. I quote ‘The Israelis portrayed it as the Palestinians receiving 96% of the West Bank. But the figure is misleading. The Israelis did not include parts of the West Bank they had already appropriated.
The Palestine that would have emerged from such a settlement would not have been viable. It would have been in about half-a-dozen chunks, with huge Jewish settlements in between – a Middle East Bantustan. The Israeli army would also have retained the proposed Palestinian state’s eastern border, the Jordan valley, for six to 10 years and, more significantly, another strip along the Dead Sea coast for an unspecified period: so much for being an independent state.
Dr. De Silva attempt of putting his faith in Alan Dershowitz in support of the myth of the 95% offer is, I am afraid, grossly misplaced. Dershowitz is an ardent Zionist Jew and he has absolutely no compassion for anybody who does not sunscribe to his Zionist views.
Paul Finklestein, a controversial Jewish academic, now discredited in the Jewish media for his support for Palestinian rights, called Alan Dershowitz a liar over a plagiarism issue and Prof. Noam Chomsky, also a Jew, has called Dershowitz a ‘Stalinist style thug’. So the less said about Alan Dershowitz the better.