Why Israel has a claim to its land

in Opinion by

The Jewish claim to Israel is frequently challenged since opposers believe the settlers took land that did not belong to them. However, Israel has historically been land that the Jews settled on since the founding of the faith.

The original Jewish communities were established on Israeli land in the early BC era. The Jews left their ancestral land for Egypt due to slavery circa 1200 BC, but the Jewish people eventually returned to establish a unified kingdom 200 years later that reigned for 300 years until its divide. The first five books of the Bible provide the history of the Jewish kingdom. Even when conquered by the Roman Empire, the Jews still held a unified state under the empire. This lengthy timeline from 1000 BC until the time of Christ helps to show the basis for the Jewish claim to Israel.

The Jews were scattered across Europe and throughout North Africa until they returned at the start of the twentieth century to resettle.

“They were promised in 1917 by the British that a homeland would be established there, but the British never came through with that promise,” said Mr. Mark Gruskin, an AP history and law teacher and Model UN adviser. “The holocaust, a massive genocide, occurred, and the survivors of the holocaust came back to Israel and settled there.”

This Jewish movement Mr. Gruskin referred to was fueled by Zionism, the concept of the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland in Israel. Following World War II, as part of a UN division, the Jews were given a part of their claimed land due to their historical right to it.

The problem arises when this occurs, since part of the land was occupied by Palestinian Arabs who also had a historical claim. However, the Jews were provided a home land in the UN partition along with the Palestinians. Instead of accepting the creation of Israel, the Palestinians and their Arab neighbors attacked Israel.

“In this war, Jordan and Egypt overran Palestinian land, and, rather than returning the land, these countries kept the land, making Palestinians refugees in their own land,” Mr. Gruskin said. “Then that land was lost to Israel in 1967 when the other nations attacked Israel again. After that the world turned around and said to Israel ‘Israel, you stolen the Palestinian homeland!’ No they didn’t; they won it in a war when the people who stole it in the first place lost it to them. It’s like someone steals your bicycle and loses it to someone else in a bet. You don’t blame the person who has it now, you blame the person who stole it in the first place.”

Since then, Israel has been trying to give the land back. They’ve successfully returned some of it, but the controversy is the process of giving it back.

“The Palestinians are not happy with what Israel is giving back in the West Bank, and that’s the issue here,” Mr. Gruskin said. “The division there is with how much land the Palestinians should get back, how much autonomy they should have, how quickly should they give it back.”

“The two-state solution is supported by myself and most Israelis. Both sides do have a right to that land, but everyone has to understand it. Everyone has to accept that both sides have a right to that land, and it has to be divided in a fashion that is not only equitable, but safe for both sides,” Mr. Gruskin said.

Since the Jewish people have a historic presence in Israel and won the land in war, there is no denying that they have a claim to the land. Moreover, in the quest to reclaim their land, the Israeli goal is not to abandon the Palestinians, but to be humanitarian and provide a fair compromise, helping to justify Israeli presence even further.

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