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The Future of Palestinian Arabs in Israel

The Biblical Solution to a Complex Problem

“I begin with the basic conviction that Jews and Arabs can live together. I know that we are both inhabitants of this land, and although the state is Jewish, that does not mean that Arabs should not be full citizens in every sense of the word.” [Ariel Sharon, 2002 ]

To many the Middle East conflict between Palestinian Arabs and Jews is complex and confusing. Sadly, it is easy to be influenced by shallow social media comments and by the bias of major TV channels and newspapers. Not surprisingly this has given rise to a rapid rise in antisemitism in the West.

So is there a truth to be had, and, if so, where is it? How will the conflict be resolved? The Bible claims to speak truth about many issues, and Bible prophecy reveals a lot about the final scenario in the land of Israel. The following summary is drawn from many prophecies and you can go deeper using the links provided.

You might be surprised at the eventual outcome; one day Jew and Arab will live together in peace.

Israel’s Homeland

  • God promised by covenant that He would give all the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. This was ‘forever’ (Genesis 17:7-8). Ancient Canaan spanned today’s Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, and the southern portions of Syria and Lebanon.
  • As promised in prophecy, for over 120 years now God has been calling His people out of the Gentile nations and back to this promised land. The Jews call this immigration “Aliyah”.
  • In 1922 the League of Nations gave approval for a Jewish national homeland in Palestine. The British Mandate for Palestine (finally) defined the boundary of Jewish Palestine from the river Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. See map.
  • The Mandate didn’t recognise the existence of a ‘Palestinian people’ but instead referred to the local Arab population as “existing non-Jewish communities”. In fact, a substantial portion of the so-called ‘Palestinian people’ resident in Mandate territory originated, not from that territory, but rather from the surrounding Arab lands of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt!  So the ‘Palestinians’ are not really an ethnic group (in contrast to the Jews).
  • In 1946 the League of Nations was dissolved and its duties transferred to the United Nations (UN). The UN implicitly reaffirmed the 1922 Mandate for Palestine and Article 80 of the UN Charter now preserves the mandated rights of the Jewish people (the validity of Article 80 has been reaffirmed three time by The International Court of Justice). So today the Jews have the unalterable right to live anywhere in Palestine, in the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.  They have the legal right to live anywhere in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and in Gaza.

Increasing Palestinian hatred of the Jews

  • During the late 1920’s Jewish immigration and investment benefited the Palestinian Arabs and their standard of living in the area increased. But by the 1930’s they became alarmed at the rising Jewish population. Some see this “stirring of Palestinian nationalism” as a response to the threat posed by Zionism, when waves of Jewish immigrants arrived in Palestine between 1919 and 1939.
  • This fear was unjustified since the rights of the existing non-Jewish occupants of Palestine was specifically defined in the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which stated:
  • His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people … it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine …
  • The First two-state proposal: The British Peel and Woodhead commissions of 1937-1938 recommended partitioning Palestine into a small Jewish state and a large Arab state. But this was rejected by the Arab leadership (which included Saudi Arabia).
  • The Second two-state proposal: In 1947 a UN Special Commission on Palestine recommended that Palestine be partitioned equally, with open borders, into an Arab state (Palestinian Arabs) and a Jewish state (this plan referred to an “Arab” state, rather than to a “Palestinian” state since there was no indigenous Palestinian people). The Jews accepted the UN resolution but the Arabs rejected it.

The 1948-49 War: Palestinian Arabs become Refugees

Palestinian refugees in 1948
Palestinian Refugees 1948

On 14 May 1948 the Jews proclaimed an independent State of Israel. As the Jewish State was born and the British finally left, five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq) immediately invaded Israel. Many Palestinians evacuated their homes under direction from Arab armies, hoping to return soon after the inevitable Arab victory, link.

So at this time over 700,000 Palestinians fled to neighbouring Arab countries and became refugees, link. It seems the first Palestinian refugees were the result of Arab rejection of the State of Israel.

A two-state Solution is Unrealistic and Unbiblical

As mentioned, there were several failed attempts at a two-state solution before 1948. Then, in the 1990’s the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on a plan to implement a two-state solution as part of the Oslo Accords. But, as before, the plan eventually failed.

Today, those politicians who still talk loosely about a two-state solution seem to be ignorant of several major factors against it. Here are three reasons:

  • 1: As discussed, Article 80 of the UN Charter specifically says the Jews can settle anywhere between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea. So this ruling implies that the geographical location of a Palestinian State within Palestine is legally impossible. Today politicians (especially the UN) and the media ignore Article 80 and describe the West Bank, for example, as “occupied land”.
  • 2: The 2017 Hamas Charter (an update of the 1988 Hamas Charter) promotes the basic Hamas goal of destroying the Jewish State through Jihad and to replace it with an Islamic caliphate. The Charter states:
  • Palestine extends from the River Jordan in the east to the Mediterranean in the west . . . the Palestinians are the Arabs who lived in Palestine until 1947 . . . Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea . . . Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the Jews . . . There shall be no recognition of the legitimacy of the Zionist entity . . . Resistance and jihad for the liberation of Palestine will remain a legitimate right . . . There is no alternative to a fully sovereign Palestinian State on the entire national Palestinian soil, with Jerusalem as its capital” 
  • Clearly, the Charter is incompatible with any two-state solution. The ideology of Hamas accepts only a ONE-state solution – a Palestinian State spanning the whole of Palestine.
  • 3: The Bible states that Canaan is God’s land and the home of the descendants of Abraham – the 12 tribes of Israel. So the “God of Israel” is angry when the nations divide up His land, and at the end of this age they will be judged. Here is the prophecy:
  • I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up My land” (Joel 3:2). Clearly, God rejects a two-state solution.

Decisive Wars

Bible prophecy says there will be two major Middle East wars before the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is resolved. These are:

The so-called Gog-Magog war followed by the so-called battle of Armageddon. The first war (which appears imminent) is key to dealing with the present-day conflict. At that time key Islamic nations (e.g. Iran, probably backed by Russia) will attack Israel from the north. But they will be defeated by the God of Israel (Ezekiel 39).

As in all wars, some Palestinians will survive, and they or their descendants will then endure the final all-nation war against Israel, Armageddon (Zechariah 14:2). Again, the God of Israel defends Israel.

Palestinian Arabs in the Millennial Age

Taking a dispensational view of the Bible, after the final Middle East war Christ returns to earth and rules the nations from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:9). Many Bible scholars see this as the start of the Millennial Age, when the earth is finally at peace. A key point is that the end-time wars (especially the Gog-Magog war) probably result in the humiliation and defeat of militant Islam as God defends Israel:

[then] I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel . . . then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. (Ezekiel 39:7)

Gone will be the jihad-driven ideology for a single Palestinian State, and the ill-informed UN drive for a two-state solution. So what of those Palestinians in Israel who have survived the end-time traumas and go on into the Millennial Age? Here’s the biblical solution.

God’s Timeless Instruction to Israel

When Israel entered Canaan, the land promised to Abraham’s descendants, the Canaanites were a people known for barbarism and paganism, a people God had condemned to judgment at the hand of the Israelites. But once conquered, Israel was instructed by God to care for the foreigners (non-Jews) amongst them. Israel was commanded to love foreigners and to let them live normal lives amongst them (Deuteronomy 10:19):

When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall do him no wrong … (he) shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself (Leviticus 19:33-34)

This was a timeless instruction, and today Israel’s leaders readily accept the concept. During an interview in 1989, Arial Sharon was asked: “Do you think of Arabs as your friends, neighbours, your enemies?” He replied:

Millennial Division of Canaan

From my childhood, I have believed Jews and Arabs can live together, and I believe now they should live together. All the rights to this country, to the land of Israel – especially Judea and Samaria – are Jewish … but everyone who lives in the country should have all the rights of the country.”

Ariel Sharon, TIME, April 1989

Sadly, as discussed, such co-habitation is not possible given the Islamic jihad against Israel.

The Millennial division of the Promised Land

God’s instruction to Israel in the Millennium is the same. Once Israel has returned to her land, the land is divided up amongst the tribes of Israel (enlarge map)  and the stranger amongst them is also ‘allotted an inheritance’. God says:

And they (strangers e.g. Palestinians) shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel; they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.

Ezekiel 47:22

This is the future of the Palestinian Arabs in Israel: peace at last with God’s people. In fact the surrounding Arab nations will also be at peace with Israel:

 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will serve with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land,  whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23-25)

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