Moon of Alabama is another of those Middle East experts that exist all other the European civilization (most notably in Norway and Sweden). For some reason those people find a great joy in any piece of news that seems damaging to the Israeli state. Not that they have a slightest idea of the history, ethnography, the religions involved or have spent some time in there. I’m talking about the real situation, not the caricature they have in their minds, embedded by the traditional (since the birth of Roman Christianity) European antisemitism and natural human xenophobia. Instead of educating themselves, if they are so engaged in something that doesn’t concern them in the slightest, or reporting facts, uncolored by emotions, they eagerly consuming any piece of related trash and share it with others.
Truth be told, I could hardly blame people like that, since the point of the Jewish exile is to be hated by the people they live amongst — such is God’s intention. And some prominent Jews (Soros, Zelenskiy, etc., etc.) are selfishly tarnishing their nation in the eyes of the people in whose affairs they involve themselves. That being said, that doesn’t mean God approves of persecution of Jews. For the contrary — the ones which go out of their way to harm Jews find their nation declining rapidly (historically speaking), and the ones that let the Jews be are flourishing. The most notable enemy to Jewish nation in the 20th century was Nazi Germany, and the most notable benefactor were the USA. The former lost the war, territories, self-respect and the position of one (if not the) world leaders in culture, science, technical innovations. While the later became the dominant economical, military, cultural and scientific geopolitical force. Bernard, as one who was born in Germany and migrated to USA is a living proof of that metamorphose. Yet he cannot put one plus one together to see the whole picture.
This paradox of being cursed by the God, yet protected and cherished by him in the same time might have a clue in the Genesis, the story of Cain. Cain, who killed his younger brother (some commentators insist it wasn’t a premeditated murder but an accidental act of passion) was cursed, yet God also gave Cain his protection, cautioning anyone that would harm him a punishment more severe — seven times more than that of Cain’s curse. Another biblical story, the Pharaoh mentioned in Exodus, has his hear “toughened” so to not let Jews go free. It cost him the life of his firstborn, among other sufferings of his people. It was then the first exile, and yet the ones punishing Jews (seemingly according to God’s will) were punished themselves.
But I digress.
In his latest post he seems to celebrate the reunification of the Syria with Arab nations under the rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia by Chinese.
First of all, Chinese don’t care about the Palestinian or Arab-Israeli issues so dear to Bernard’s heart. All they want are trade routs, markets and natural resource suppliers. Their international image of a diplomatic superpower is also important. There is no inherent need for Chinese to resolve ideological conflicts in Middle East. As long as the trade can go uninterrupted — they are fine. Moreover, it is a well-know Chinese position of non-intervention in foreign affairs, external to Chinese core interests. They don’t care for Judaism, Christianity or Islam, as long as it doesn’t affect them directly. Maybe in the future, if they manage to become a global superpower as they aspire to be, they will have no choice but take on side or the other. But for now it is only of practical interest for them.
As such, conflicts rooted in religion, ethnicity, history, are not something they will pursue or even care about. And since all the Middle East conflicts are rooted in religion and history, no real change will occur. At best, they will try to normalize the relations in the region. Which means not only inter-Arab or inter-Muslim normalization, but Arab-Israeli as well. Normalization in the frame of the existing status-quo, not the “normalization” which implies “territories in exchange for peace” as the EU and US envisioned (and which turned out to be a total fiasco, of course).
Secondly, Bernard is celebrating the rapprochement between Arab nations and Iran, as an opposing force to Israel. Bernard hadn’t read his Bible, it seems, for Jews and Arabs (the ethnic Arabs, not the nations all other the Middle East assimilated by them) are actually closely related. Unlike Iran, which is genetically much farther removed from Saudi Arabia.
Middle East is populated by a very diverse ethnic groups, one portion of which are Abrahamic nations. Two prominent historic survivors of which are Jews and Arabs. The rest are not only farther removed from them, but some are actually of non-Semitic origin.
If Bernard truly wanted peace, he would know that peace starts in own family. Hopping for peace by aligning one member of a family with the enemy of another member is a perversion.
Bernard also talks about Palestinian issue in this context. Since Germany and especially USA is so removed from the Middle East, I can understand his ignorance. Especially if this ignorance was promoted by authorities and their institutes for almost a century, in not more. He assumes Palestinians are Arabs, and as such the Arab collective, especially if reinforced by other non-Arab nations, would be able to force the will of Palestinians (which is to drown all the Israeli Jews in the Mediterranean, by the way).
Let’s stop for a moment and consider the name “Palestinians”. It comes from the time of Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire, the second (if I’m not mistaken) Judo-Roman war. To punish Jews, Rome renamed the Provincia Iudaea (named after the Hebrew name for the Judean Kingdom — Malkhut Yehuda), into Provincia Palaestina. In those times, the greatest punishment for a nation would be erasing in from history by displacing its population as slaves to farther corners of the Empire and abandoning the name itself. (I think something similar was done to Carthage.)
In any case, to punish Jews for their uprising against infamously corrupt Roman management of remote provinces, the name Palaestina was chosen. It comes from Philistia (according to wiki), from Hebrew Pleshet. Pleshet (or Peleset) word built on the root P.L.Sh., meaning invasion, invaders. Pleshtim were the Sea People who invaded not only the territories of today’s Israel but notably also Egypt and Greece. They may even played a role in collapse of the Ancient (Greek) Mycenaean civilization — the time table seems appropriate. There are scientific theories about their origin and ethnicity, but there isn’t any consensus as far as I’m aware.
As for my understanding, those Sea People weren’t amongst the nations whose lands God gifted the Hebrews. As such, they weren’t meant to be exterminated, and their lands ceased, like the seven nations inhabiting the land of Canaan. Yet Hebrews and Pleshtim –who controlled the territory of roughly today’s Gaza Strip and some distance farther north–, were engaged in constant wars. The story of King David and Samson is directly related to those wars.
Caution! We are now significantly departing from the mainstream science and religion, and entering the realm of my personal speculations, so be aware and don’t rely on any of it without making your own mind (preferably after some research) on the matter!
Except for Pleshtim, or Sea People, there were other nations inhabiting the territory of Hebrews. Some were the above mentioned nations of Canaan that God ordered to be exterminated, but Jews chose not to follow that command through. It wasn’t for some conscience reasons as a modern person may assume, but because of the desire to use their slave labor to work the land and live an idle life.
As God has cautioned the Hebrews, allowing Canaanites to remain among them brought a disaster. And not many generations after, the Israeli Kingdom, comprised of 10 Hebrew tribes, was eliminated from the face of the Earth and from the history. The remaining tribes, the Yehuda, Levi and (reportedly) Benyamin were organized in Malkhut Yehuda, or the Judean Kingdom. They didn’t abandon their God, and they held to the Temple located in Jerusalem (the same temple on which remains the Al-Aqsa mosque now stands). From this point, only this part of Hebrew nation remained as an ethnically and religiously distinct nation, and started to be called Jews (after the Judean Kingdom – Yehuda’s tribe being the majority of population, and the royal dynasty rooted in King David from the same tribe).
The fate of those Canaanites that inhabited the Land of Israel got murky and disappeared in the millennia long history. In addition to those Canaanites and Pleshtim, there were also nations living there, some of them adopting the religion of Hebrews. For example, Samaritans may be the remnants of Kingdom of Israel, or maybe they are of other ethnicity entirely that chose to convert to Judaism at the time of the conquest. There are some other ethnicities in Israel, wither with their distinct religion (like Druze) or ones that converted into Christianity or Islam. There are of course Bedouins, the nomadic Arab tribe (or tribes? I’m not sure), which is ones of the original Arab nations and have lived in Israel throughout the history, probably before the times of Exodus and up until now. They may be the Ishmaelites, the descendants of Ishmael who settled in those parts of Southern Israel and Sinai Peninsula.
One group stands out — the Palestinians. As far as I know, they aren’t considered to be Arabs by the Arabs who inhabit Israel and surrounding countries. Bedouins, probably the original Arabs or one of their tribes, are actually serving in Israeli Army (in combat roles as well). Samaritans and Druze are either favorable to the State of Israel or keeping a neutrality. I’m not sure about Christian Palestinians, since on some occasions they seem Israeli-friendly and on other they seem to take the anti-Israeli side. I don’t live in Nazareth or any other Arab-Christian settlement, and can’t witness it myself — I can only rely on some media reports (which are always manipulative or misleading) or hearsay (which may be unreliable or unrepresentative).
Yet, the Palestinians are the clear majority of non-Jewish population in Israel. They are getting more adversarial towards Christian population under the dominance of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. Notably in Egypt a great deal of damage was done to the Christian Copts, which are the remnants of Antient Egypt nation, dominated now by Arab Muslim majority. I believe things are not much better in Lebanon and Syria, where the Hezbollah is operating. The other ethnic groups are trying to stay outside of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or are quietly favorable to Israel. And there is another group which since recently lives in Israel. Those are Ethiopic Jews, who, for the best of my understanding, are not ethnically related to Jews but have converted in ancient times (king Solomon times, maybe) into Judaism. In recent decades almost all of that population migrated into Israel and is now have more or less integrated into Israeli-Jewish society.
Which brings me to Bernard and many others like him, who thinks this is an issue of invading Jews against the homogenous local population. Did he gave any attention to the Christians or any other minorities in the Middle East? Did he researched the issue of nomadic Arab tribes of Druzes serving in Israeli Army or Police? What will happen to them under the rule of the radicalized Palestinian state? I guess he prefers to keep it simple — were are Jews and Palestinians, and that’s it.
During the long and mostly miserable Jewish history, there was one (or more) local ethnicity that chose to be culturally assimilated by the great powers of the time, and was always in conflict with Jews. In the Alexander’s Empire that soon collapsed into various Kingdoms ruled by his generals, such a group converted into Greek religion, fully accepting its culture, language etc. This group then sought support from the now culturally aligned post-Alexander Kingdoms to fight against Jews. At some time Jews prevailed, restoring the Judean Kingdom under a new dynasty. Few centuries later, during a time of a civil war and internal unrest, Romans were called in by one of the Jewish fractions to help against the others. (This is roughly the times of Jesus, for the time reference.) As Jews remained Jews, Samaritans remain Samaritans etc., there was a group of locals who converted into Roman religion and fully accepted their culture, language and so on. This group was pushing Romans to intervene into Jewish affairs: to force on them religious practices prohibited by Judaism etc. The final result is one of the most massive wars in the history of Roman Empire (I believe somethings in order of ten Roman legions and even more Auxilia) were marched all other the Empire, as far as Spain (Iberia), to suppress the Jewish rebellion.
After that, a portion of Jewish population was brought as slaves to the corners of Roman Empire, or have fled to neighboring territories. There were still remnants of Jewish settlements in northern Israel by the forth century C.E., but the land was made unlivable for any Jew that wished to keep his religion and identity.
Many centuries have past. Roman rule changed into the rule of Byzantine, and then the land was claimed by Arabs, then shortly parts of it were conquered by Crusaders, and back to Arab rule again. Different names, different kingdoms, but this is not the point. Eventually the Turkish Ottoman Empire got the land, and then the British Empire. British weren’t interested in converting locals into their religion or culture, and didn’t stay in Israel for long, so the Islamic influence remained as the dominant one.
The name given to this land by British was Palestine, in the memory of Roman ethnical cleansing of two millennia ago, I assume. Which is kind of ironic, I suppose, since the official religion of the British Empire is Christianity, yet they ignored the Biblical name in favor of a name given by pagan Rome. Naturally, no identifiable Sea People could be found anywhere in the Land of Israel, and if they were some, I’m sure they didn’t called their nation “Invaders” in Hebrew in the first place. So the name Palestine is purely anachronistic at best.
After that introduction, I’m interested in what kind of Israeli-Palestinian resolution Bernard is hopping for. Does Bernard believe Chinese intervention would spoil God’s plans? Does he think that Israel will now be OK with cutting itself off until nothing will remain in order to satisfy the millennia-old local blood grudges and for some European perverse sense of anti-Semitic justice? Bernard should maybe recall the words: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”.
Russians have the saying: “a bad peace is better than a good war”. Maybe it isn’t always true. Maybe sometimes wars are necessary. Only God can make this judgment, since our, human morality is nothing more than a pale reflection of one of His intrinsic attributes. Than being said, wishing for Muslim-wide alliance against Israel, while at the same time celebrating the possible failure of Abrahamic Accords, is at the very least a questionable endeavor. Unlike Muslim states, Jewish state exists in a constant state of real threat to its very existence (being German-American, Bernard is unfamiliar with it). Palestinians were given territories in Lebanon and Jordan, and still have territories in the state of Israel, and have none threatening their very existence. Israeli Jews, on the other hand, live under explicit and repeated threats to their state by Iran and Palestine authorities, and no Arab nation would welcome Jews to their land, to give them autonomy and political representation. That is why any forced solution would only end in war, the war in which one side has nothing to lose and nowhere else to go.
Bernard should think about the meaning of such war, and its possible consequences. And he should recall the fate of his fatherland that “curseth thee”, and why he left for the country that “bless thee”.
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