April 28, 2007

What is the West Bank?

The West Bank is considered landlocked territory not officially recognized as part of any country. Israel calls the land "disputed."

The United Nations claims the West Bank is "occupied" by Israel, which maintains overall control of most of the area while the Palestinian Authority has jurisdiction in about 40 percent. The Palestinians claim a population of roughly 2.4 million, but new demographic studies show the numbers are likely inflated. The actual Palestinian population could be up to 1 million less.

The territory remained under Jordanian rule from 1948 until Israel captured the West Bank in 1967 after Jordan's King Hussein ignored Israeli pleas for his country to stay out of the Six Day War. Most countries rejected Jordan's initial claim on the area, which it formally renounced in 1988.

The West Bank borders most of Israel's major cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Military strategists have long estimated Israel must at a minimum maintain the West Bank to defend its borders from any ground invasion.

In essence, the West Bank should be part of Israel.

Many villages in the West Bank, which Israelis commonly refer to as the "biblical heartland," are mentioned throughout the Torah.

The Book of Genesis says Abraham entered Israel at Shechem (Nablus) and received God's promise of land for his offspring. He was later buried in Hebron.

The nearby town of Beit El, anciently called Bethel meaning "house of God," is where Scripture says the patriarch Jacob slept on a stone pillow and dreamed of angels ascending and descending a stairway to heaven. In that dream, God spoke directly to Jacob and reaffirmed the promise of territory.

And in Exodus, the holy tabernacle rested in Shilo, believed to be the first area the ancient Israelites settled after fleeing Egypt.

But that's a moot point to Muslims and arabists. They ignore the facts that when the West Bank and Gaza were "occupied" by Egypt and Jordan, from 1947 thru 1967, the palestinian leadership had no complaint about any "alien occupation " and expressed no desire for self-determination.

There was no movement toward a palestinian state when Gaza was under the control of Egypt and the West Bank under Jordan.

Jordan didn't give up its territorial claims until 1988 by which time, of course, it had no control over the area. Fatah was founded in 1964 with Arafat; unless causality has no meaning, the resistance to Israel was born with no reference to 1967 but, rather, with Israel's birth in 1948 and, indeed, with the arrival of Jews in the land in the 19th century.

The point of all of this is that it is outrageous in the extreme that the world would accept a scheme that would permit Arabs to have an ethnically cleansed geographical region where no Jews can live.