“The 4000-years history of the Promised Land, from Canaan to Israel, by way of Judea/Samaria and Palestine, can be summarised in one word covenant.”1 God’s covenant to Abraham can be found in Genesis 17:7-8, within the essay we will look at this passage and others to see how Christians can use the Old Testament as a response to the claims of Israeli West Bank settlers.
There are many arguments over who has claim to the West Bank; the argument mainly comes from Jewish people and Israeli settlers.
Mitchell Bard states;
“The Jewish people base their claim to the land of Israel on at least four premises: 1) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham; 2) the Jewish people settled and developed the land; 3) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people and 4) the territory was captured in defensive wars.”2
In about 1000 B.C the twelve tribes of Israel formed the first monarchy in Palestine and David made Jerusalem the nation’s capital, although later it would be split into separate kingdoms their independence lasted two hundred and twelve years. All throughout the eleventh century the Jewish community continued to grow. At the time of the crusade many Jews were killed but throughout the next two century’s Jewish pilgrims flooded into Jerusalem where communities were developed in Safed. “Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and in Israel.”3 Over the next three hundred years these became established so that by the early nineteenth century more the 10,000 Jews lived throughout what we know as Israel today.4 This is also around the time we see the start of the Zionist movement, “its general definition means the national movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel.”5 The movement was eventually successful in establishing Israel on May 14, 1948, as the homeland for the Jewish people. The proportion of the world's Jews living in Israel has also steadily grown since the movement came into existence and over 40% of the world's Jews now live in Israel, more than in any other country. These two outcomes represent the historical success of Zionism, unmatched by any other Jewish political movement in the past 2,000 years. Taylor states “In some academic studies, Zionism has been analysed both within the larger context of diaspora politics and as an example of modern national liberation movements”.6 One thing is important when looking at the Zionist movement and that is the fact that almost none of the Jews in modern Israeli are descended from the original Jews of Palestine thousands of years ago. Most of the Jews in Israel today are descended of European’s who converted to Judaism in the Middle Ages. Key to the Zionist movement was when Arthur Balfour became Britain’s foreign minister in 1916 and he convinced the government to support the Zionism and the Balfour declaration gave support to them having a national home. About a month later troops entered Jerusalem and British control lasted till the Second World War, the fear and Astonishment of the holocaust meant that Jews were doing anything to leave Europe and so Jewish pressure to be let into Jerusalem grew and British troops found themselves under attack. In 1947 Britain handed control over to the United Nations, so later that year the united nations set out different parts of Palestine to make it a Arab and Jewish state but the differing side did not meet the size of each population and even though the Arabs had great resentment over this Israel raised their flag on May the 14th and within eleven minutes the Arabs declared war and started the war of Independence.
The Arab nations took great offence not only to the land promised to the Jews but also to the United Nations thinking they could determine the destiny…