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I was re-reading an article from May 26, 2003 titled, "The Divine Zionist Roadmap" written by Rabbi Eliezer Waldman. It dealt with the liberation of Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, in that miraculous Israeli victory of June, 1967 over Arab genocidal aggression. It also dealt with the liberation of the ancient sites of the Jewish towns and villages that had for too long been occupied by the Jordanian regime. The Jordanian Arab Legion, officered by British mercenaries, had illegally annexed the biblical heartland of Israel known as Judea and Samaria in 1948 and had renamed it the West Bank; a name the world since then has gleefully and shamefully embraced. Incidentally, only Britain and Pakistan had recognized that Arab land grab.
Rabbi Waldman, in writing of the Israeli victory over the Arabs, stated, "...We were then blessed by divine miracles that not only helped us overcome our enemies but united us again with the heartland of Israel. Thousands of people filled with the enthusiasm of Jewish faith, returned to our liberated towns in the hills of Judea and Samaria, so that the song of redemption could be heard again in these hills after 2,000 years of desolation. Thus we established the significant reality of 250,000 Jews living a normal Jewish life of faith and joy in Yesha today. More than all the distorted plans and roadmaps drawn up by foreigners, we are sure that this reality will determine the future life of Israel and its redemption process."
The ancestral and biblical heartland of Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria) is known by the acronym, Yesha. I remembered the biblical passage in Genesis 12:1 when the Almighty called upon Abraham and told him ... "Get thee out of your country ... unto a Land that I will show you." Then followed Chapter 13:15 ... "For all the land, which you see, I will give you and to your children forever."
Rabbi Waldman had been describing the liberation of the ancestral and biblical homeland that took place in June, 1967. The world, of course, does not call it a liberation, but an occupation. It occurred to me that the first liberation of the Land by Joshua some 3,200 years ago must never, never be forgotten, especially by Israel's present leaders who have shown a tragic disregard of Jewish history in their willingness to abandon the Land to the Arabs in return for a delusional peace. So it is instructive to look back to the only "Roadmap" that matters; what I call, The Great Liberation.
Around 1,200 BC, the pagan city states of Canaan west of the River Jordan lay before the tribes of Israel who were entering from the east. At the same time in the west, the Sea Peoples, originating in the Mediterranean island of Crete, were invading coastal Canaanite territory. To quote the late Professor David Elazar: "It is interesting to note that in this same period, the Israelite migration, including the exodus from Egypt and conquest of Canaan ... was an era of migrations and conquests in the eastern Mediterranean region. Four principal migrations and conquests included the Israelites overwhelming the Canaanites; the Dorians overwhelming Mycenaean civilization in Greece; the Achaeans, Sardinians, and Lycoans overwhelming the Mediterranean islands; and the Philistines overwhelming the coastal region of Canaan."
The people known to us as the Philistines were to become a formidable enemy of the Jewish clans and warfare continued between the two peoples for some 200 years before the Philistines complete and final defeat by Jewish forces. Under the remarkable general, Yehoshua (Joshua), the Israelites liberated the territory between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, which was to become known as the Land of Israel, Eretz Yisrael. They also liberated large tracts of land east of the River Jordan, such as in Gilead. Chapter 12 of the Book of Joshua details the division of the Land between the various tribes.
This tribal allocation, enshrined in the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, represents the subsequent basis for the economic, political, spiritual and religious organization of Israel.
As Professor Elazar also pointed out in his study of the texts in the Book of Joshua, "they are permanent and inalienable, even unto the end of days." It is this geographical imperative within the biblical account, which must instruct all Israeli leaders to beware when being pressured by the world to give away Jewish tribal lands to hostile Arabs in fruitless efforts of worthless appeasement. This is God's covenanted possession given to the Jewish people in trust and must never be given away to His enemies.
What then is the territory given by God to the 12 tribes and through them to the Jewish People as everlasting covenanted lands? Chapter 11 of the Book of Joshua completes the epic story of the conquest and liberation of the Land, usually employing the Hebrew word, nahalah, meaning inheritance. Chapter 12 begins by detailing the initial division by lot in the Torah (the first Five Books of the Bible). In Chapter 13, we come to the specific geographical distribution of territory, which today some 3,200 years later includes areas needlessly given away to the Arabs by respective Israeli leaders.
These leaders, from Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin down to the present time, have been possessed of an overwhelming desire for an Arab-Israel peace. But their desperation to go down in history as the great peace bringer (with the added bonus, perhaps, of receiving what has now become the grotesquely misnamed Nobel Peace Prize) also has become their grand and tragic delusion with calamitous implications for Israel's survival. Instead of peace with a trustworthy ex-enemy, they have created Frankenstein monsters. The purveyor of Jew hatred, Hamas, now occupies Gaza and the equally murderous and duplicitous Fatah occupies large tracts of the biblical Jewish homeland in Judea and Samaria.
Chapter 14 describes the constitutional division of the Land. The lands were divided by Joshua as chief executive, Elazar the high priest, (notice the continuation of the Jewish name, Elazar, over a three thousand year period) and the heads of the tribes, Rashei Avot, (literally the heads of the fathers of the tribes). The tribe of Judah received the land to be known as Judea, which is the southern half of today's so-called West Bank territory including two of Judaism's holy cities, Hebron and Jerusalem. Judah also received most of the Negev (Chapter 15). Judah never fully liberated the Philistine coast. This has become a salutary lesson for our own times for in allowing an implacable hostile population to remain, the inevitable and concomitant danger is always future warfare.
Though Jerusalem and its environs were included in Judah's patrimony, the city still remained in Jebusite hands until its later liberation by King David. He replaced Hebron as capital with Jerusalem as the final and eternal capital of both the Jewish state and the Jewish faith. Chapter 16 is the account of the division of territory among the next important tribal complex; the Joseph tribes. Judah (with Simon) is the most important; the Joseph tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph's two sons) are the next.
After the death of King Solomon, the Land was rent in half. The Joseph tribes became in time the nucleus of the northern kingdom of Israel while the tribe of Judah became the nucleus of the southern kingdom of that name. As we know, both halves were to descend into rancor and mutual enmity sadly a recurring theme within Jewish polity creating "causeless hatred" and eventual national calamity.
The Land of Israel thus embraces the territory on both sides of the Jordan River ordained by God. Joshua, Chapter 12, informs us of the pagan kings whom the people of Israel defeated. It lists the lands the Jewish clans possessed east of the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon, with all the Arava eastward as follows:
"Sihon king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and from the middle of the valley as far as the river Jabbok, the boundary of the Ammonites, that is half of Gilead. The Arava to the Sea of Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) eastward, and in the direction of Beth-Jessimoth to the Sea of the Arava, the Salt Sea, (Dead Sea) southward to the foot of the slopes of Pisgah. Og, king of Bashan, one of the remnant of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan (the Golan Heights) to the boundary of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and over half of Gilead to the boundary of Sihon king of Heshbon. "Moses, the servant of the Lord, and the people of Israel defeated them. And Moses the servant of the Lord gave their land for a possession to the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh. "And these are the kings whom Joshua and the people of Israel defeated on the west side of the Jordan, from Baal-gad in the Valley of Lebanon to Mount Halak that rises toward Seir.
"And Joshua gave their land to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their allotments, in the hill country, in the lowland, in the Arava, in the slopes, in the wilderness, and in the Negev, the land of the Hittites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. These are the other kings defeated by Joshua and whose lands were liberated including Jericho; Ai, which is beside Bethel; Jerusalem; Hebron; Jarmuth; Lachish; Eglon; Gezer; Debir; Geder; Hormah; Arad; Libnah; Adullam; Makkadesh; Bethel; Tappuach; Hepher; Aphek; Lasharon; Madon; Hazor; Shimron-Meron; of Achshaph; Taanach; Megiddo; Kedesh; Yokneam in Carmel; Dor in Naphath-dor; Goim in Galilee; Tirzah: In all, the territories of 31 kings."
I deliberately quote in full from the biblical verses in order to more fully provide the geographical extent of the territories involved in the Great Liberation. Subsequent chapters and verses in the Book of Joshua list additional liberated territories as does the following Book of Judges. Much of this ancient land still remains within the present day State of Israel but a significant portion has already been given away to the Palestinian Authority, which occupies territory in the heartland of the original possession of the Twelve Tribes of Israel Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank). In addition, some of the biblical possessions of the Jewish Tribes now lie within the Arab state of Syria or in those artificially created Arab states of the 20th century: Lebanon and Jordan.
Some of the locations named above that have been reconstituted as Jewish villages after the liberation of 1967 are described by much of the world's media in pejorative terms. They use the term, "settlements," to describe them, which in the English language tends to falsely imply that they are colonial outposts of a people with no roots in the Land. Such charges are routinely used in their deliberate de-legitimizing of both the Jewish residents and of biblical Jewish history itself. Israel is under relentless pressure from the U.S. State Department, from President Barack Hussein Obama, from the morally problematic European Union and, of course, from the depraved United Nations, to abandon these Jewish communities to those Arabs who call themselves Palestinians to further the "peace process."
We know, of course, that such previous abandonment has given Israel no peace but greater Arab violence and aggression. In listing the God given land that the Jewish people are meant to hold in trust as an everlasting covenant, I am saddened beyond all measure at how much has foolishly been given away by too many Israeli leaders. Israeli leftwing organizations, such as Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), heavily funded by the mendacious European Union, relentlessly hound and torment those Jews who wish only to fulfill the desire to live within every precious part of Eretz Yisrael.
In all this, I am reminded of an eminent politician I met at a function who described himself as a "progressive." Heaven protect us from such euphemisms. We fell to discussing the implications of the Two State Solution. "For peace," he said, "I would willingly give away Judea and Samaria (he called it the West Bank) and the eastern half of Jerusalem." He was naively convinced that the Muslim Arabs would permanently honor any peace agreement made with the Jewish State.
Yet this same gentleman expressed total ignorance when I referred to the "Truce of Hudaybiyyah." This is for Muslims the precedent for how not to honor any agreements entered into with non-Moslems. In 628 AD, Mohammed made a "truce agreement" with the Quraish tribe in Mecca in order for followers of his new Muslim faith to worship at the Ka'abah. The truce was to last at least ten years but after only two years, when he had gained more followers and was considerably stronger, he abrogated the treaty and attacked the Quraish people, slaughtering every male among them.
This truce between Mohammed and the 'infidels' of Mecca became the precedent in Islamic law for conducting all agreements with non-Muslims: never to be honored as permanent, and abrogated as soon as it becomes expedient to do so. Need proof? Be warned. The Palestinian Arab branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, in Gaza has no intention of honoring agreements with Israel. Nor, for that matter, would the so-called moderate Palestinian Authority under its Chairman, the Holocaust denying, Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah organization.
Hamas and Fatah, merely take any opportunity to feverishly arm themselves until they feel strong enough to begin a new round of ever more lethal aggression against the Jewish state. They have a precedent: The Truce of Hudaybiyyah.
The "progressive" politician, who had sadly replaced "The Great Liberation" in exchange for the latest suicidal "roadmap to peace," was finally silenced after I had suggested to him that if Israelis were to follow his advice, the time honored prayer recited at Passover, "Next Year in Jerusalem," would have to be changed to: "Next Year in West Jerusalem."
Victor Sharpe is a writer on Jewish history and the Islamist-Israel
conflict. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book: Politicide
The attempted murder of the Jewish state. The second volume,
updated to the end of 2009, continues documenting in some 46 easily
readable chapters the relentless war of the Islamist and Arab world
against Israel. It has just been published by Lulu Press and can be
found with Victor Sharpe's other books on Amazon.com
This article appeared in the
Jerusalem Connection and is archived at
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