Sunday School, Colonization, Ethnic Cleansing, and the Holy Land

How Europe and the US Screwed Over Both Palestine and Israel

Group of Israeli soldiers stand at attention in Jerusalem
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Sunday School

Any student of the Bible knows that God promised the Jews a Holy Land, containing at the very least the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. The promise is for perpetuity. And in order to secure that promise, the nation of Israel is commanded to commit genocide against the inhabitants who were there at the time of the Exodus. The book of Judges repeatedly scolds the Jewish nation for not completely wiping out their idolatrous neighbors. The promise is from God; the means of securing it rely on the political will of the Israel to wipe out their neighbors.

Colonization

There was a small problem, of course. Someone else was living in the land that we thought of as Israel — the Palestinians. Many of them were actually Christian. There had been a Bishop of Jerusalem for most of the last two millennia. But they were Arab Christians, affiliated to the church of the East not the West, and easy to ignore from London or New York. They were Brown and agricultural. Easy to dismiss as backwards or perhaps as “not true Christians” and therefore a group that Europeans and the US felt no obligation to protect. Oh, and England owned their land.

Ethnic Cleansing

It was not a solution. What Europe, the US, and the Zionists themselves had done was set up a colony to which Jews could be shuttled. But the colony was tiny compared to the number of Jews who needed refuge. And it was surrounded by Arab people who were understandably upset at having had their cousins and relatives yanked off of their ancestral farms to make way for some people Europe didn’t want.

Shrinking territory held by Palestinians vs. Growth of Jewish held land
Shrinking territory held by Palestinians vs. Growth of Jewish held land
Credit: palestinepnc.org

The Conundrum of the Holy Land

That’s where the situation stands today. There are too many people competing for a tiny plot of land. (Yes, the below map is to scale.)

Map of Israel overlaid on NY state, taking up less than half the land.
Map of Israel overlaid on NY state, taking up less than half the land.
Credit: Jewish Virtual Library. Israel to scale with NY map.

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