Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Roman Empire, which stretched from the British Isles in the West to North Africa in the East to the Mediterranean in the south, across the length and breath of Europe, before Christianity was pagan. They had all sorts of Gods and the Emperors themselves were Gods, and the people were required to worship them or else be fed to the lions in the arena.
Then comes Jesus Christ and Christianity which was becoming far too popular and widespread. Unable to subjugate the mounting numbers of Christians, Emperor Constantine, the Roman Emperor does the next best thing. Since he cannot subdue the growing numbers, he himself embraces Christianity in AD 300, moves the capital of Rome from Rome to a city which he built for himself, Constantinople at the mouth of the Bosporus, in Turkey, todays Istanbul, and renames his empire the Christian Byzantium empire with its seat in Constantinople.
You could say the problems of the Jews started from the day Constantine became a Christian. According to the Bible, it was Judas Iscariot, a Jew who betrayed Christ resulting in his crucifixion. And therefore the Jew was the enemy of all Christians, to be persecuted, discriminated and punished. Although wise historians would rightly argue that it was not just Judas who was to blame but also the High Priests in the Jewish temples whose tax revenue was diminished by the popularity of Christianity as well as the person who ordered the crucifixion, Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, it became convenient to blame it all on Judas and hang the Jew.
A student of history would realize that the enemy of the Jew was historically never the Muslim Arabs, but the Christians. There were laws throughout Christian European nations that discriminated Jews. In England, Jews, were not allowed to hold professions. they were not allowed to be lawyers, doctors or the other professions. They were not allowed to own land. Only menial jobs such as musicians were allowed them. This was the case across Europe for centuries.
And then there was Theodor Herzl and the advent of Zionism. Herzl was a Austro Hungarian Jew, a scholar and journalist. In 1895 he writes the Der Judenstaadt (the Jewish State) in which he outlines his idea of Zionism, the idea of Jews returning to Biblical Palestine and argues that unless the Jews have a state of their own, they would forever suffer the curse of being a Jew wherever they are. He advocated the mass emigration of Jews to Israel.
In the meantime, the Byzantium Roman Empire with its seat in Constantinople, present day Turkey lasted from AD 300 to 1453, when Sultan Memhet II, the Ottoman Turk and Muslim sacked the Christian city of Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul in present day Turkey. And thence, the Christian Roman Empire becomes the Islamic Ottoman Empire again stretching across the length and breath of Europe, North Africa and all of the Mediterranean, the same extent as that of the Roman Empire.
Wanting to escape the persecution in Christian Europe, many Jews emigrated to the area we now call Palestine which was now under the Muslim Ottoman Turks. The Jews had no problem moving to Palestine. It was merely a case of Jews contractually buying land from the Arabs who were already there, and these contracts were honored by the Ottoman government. Therefore the Jews had no problem settling peacefully in Palestine under the Ottomans. Also it has to be stressed there was no discord between the Muslims and recently arrived Jews who lived with each other in perfect harmony as they have done for thousands of years. In fact the Jews were much more comfortable under the Muslim Ottomans than they ever were under Christian Europe.
There is a reason for this cordiality between the Muslims and the Jews. In Islam, the Jews, as are the Christians were considered people of the Book, meaning they worshiped the same God except their path to God were different. Therefore although the Muslims did not treat the Jews as equals, they were at least left alone as long as they paid their taxes.
As an example of the Muslims accommodating the Jews, Maimonides, a great Jewish philosopher, born in Cordoba Spain under the Islamic Moorish Caliphate was in fact the principle advisor to the Caliph, none other than a Muslim. He had no problems living under the Muslims. His problems started only after the Christian Crusaders invaded Spain resulting in his having to flee, first to Muslim North Africa and then to Egypt.
Everything began to change in Palestine in 1914, with the advent of the First World War. The Ottoman Empire began to crumble, with almost every subject state demanding independence. The Arabs living under the Ottomans were no different. King Hussein, the King of the Hejaz, present day Israel and Palestine too had ambitions of independence.
At this point, the Ottomans under the persuasion of a man named Enver Pasha persuades the Ottomans to join the War on the side of the Germans, on hindsight a terrible mistake. By an uncanny coincidence, the British at this time who were fighting the Turks became aware that across Arabia, under their feet there was a sea of oil, worth a treasure.
So the thinking was, if the British could driver the Turks out of Arabia and Palestine, they would have all that wealth in oil.
So they send an Englishman, Thomas Edward Lawrence, commonly known as Lawrence of Arabia to convince the Arabs that if they would allow the British to help them drive out the Turks, they would give them independence. Of course the British had no such intentions, but we are not sure whether Lawrence too was part of this betrayal. The British arranged a treaty between Sir Mark Sykes, British civil servant and Francois Georges Picot, a French civil servant in Paris in 1916 and plan to divide the entire Middle East between the British and the French. King Hussein and his Arabs got nothing.
Anyhow the British manage to kick the Turks out of Palestine in the war which ended in 1918. Just before it ended, a man named Arthur Balfour, British Foreign Secretary, makes that fatal statement that was the beginning of all the Arabs and the Jews problems. That statement is the famous Balfour Declaration. In 1917, Arthur Balfour declares that in consideration of all the help the Jews, and in particular the financial help received from the British Jewish banker Rothschild, he will give a homeland to the Jews in Palestine.
Mind you, his promise did not extend to giving them a country. All it said that Jews from anywhere in the world are allowed to come and settle in British controlled Transjordan, within a small area set aside to be called Palestine.
You can imagine what followed. All the persecuted Jews from across Europe were heading in refugee ships to sea ports on the Mediterranean coast of Palestine. Naturally as too many were coming, the British had no choice but to renege on their promise and began turning these Jewish refugee ships back principally to Cyprus where they were detained.
Now the British themselves became the brunt of the hatred both of the Jews for stopping Jewish immigration and from the Arabs unhappy that too many Jews were allowed to come. As a result from 1918 to 1947, the British found themselves having to fight both Jews and Arabs.
Lawrence at this time was clearly against creating this Jewish homeland. He correctly predicted then that the Jews in this so called homeland would only be able to survive through the use of continued violence and force which we see today.
In 1947, unable to contain the problem any longer, the British hand over their Palestine mandate over to the United Nations which becomes a UN mandate until 1948. In 1948, the Americans table a motion at the General Assembly in the United Nations for partition and the creation of a Jewish State. Through some arm twisting and threats of economic sanctions, many countries initially opposed to partition eventually come around and on May 14, 1948 at midnight, the state of Israel is born.
And ever since then, Israel has not had a single day of peace. And I reckon they never will.
This is how I see it. The Balfour Declaration should never have happened and secondly the state of Israel should never have been created. The Jews should have been allowed to come to Palestine but they would have to live among Arabs in a secular state with all races living in harmony, as it was so for millennia. By creating a Jewish state and the resultant deportation of thousands of Arabs from their homes where they lived for millennia, you simply leave no prospect whatsoever of peace.
And this is what you see today. Continuous bloodshed, war and violence, which has gone on since 1918 and which will go on for another hundred years and more.
And today, there simply is no solution. Too much blood has been spilled to satisy the Arabs for any settlement.
Today every single Arab no matter where he lives, bitterly hates Israel. And the Jews have only themselves to blame. It is because of what they have done to the Arabs. In 1948, with the creation of Israel, thousands were deported from their homes in which they have lived for thousands of years, leaving them to live as refugees in today's Jordan or the occupied West Bank. In 1967 war, they have occupied the West Bank, land which does not belong to them and not only continue to occupy it in violation of UN resolutions, they continue to build settlements there to take it permanently. And as for Israel itself, a country which did not exist before 1948, a country which was created by fraud and deception of the world powers, Britain and France.
In 2003, I travelled to Jordan in my client's interest. In Amman, I met my client's father, an old man who was kicked out of his orange grove in Haifa, within present day Israel, in 1948 by the Jews at gunpoint. He tells me, no matter how long he lives, he is determined to get his orange grove back! He will never rest until that happens!
Another anecdote which has some similarity comes to mind. Ho Chih Minh was reported to have told a French Army officer just before the fall of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. He said "For every French soldier who dies, 10 Viet Minh will die. But in the end, we will win and you will lose". As was said, the Viet Minh Army defeated the French, a far superior force in Dien Bien Phu, 1954, Vietnam, resulting in the Armistice.
I fear the same could be said by the Arabs to Israel.
Attorney at Law
A Singaporean in Exile
Fremont, California, USA
Tel: 510 491 8525