The myth of Palestinian nationalism – part one

IMG_20160606_151120229 small.jpg

IMG_20160606_151306966_HDR - smallOften common mainstream opinion these days is Israel “goes and helps itself to someone else’s land and justifies it by religion and nationalism.”    But actually, when you look at history this isn’t true.

I found this old book at a library of a charity I was working for in 2016, but one with no interest in Israel.   Its a Reader’s Digest Atlas, its first printed in 1965 and this edition is from 1982.

Contemporary maps may mark out the West Bank and Gaza regions as ‘Disputed territory’ just to be even-handed and diplomatic.

IMG_20160606_151044743 small Bethlehem jordan small

Jerusalem was recaptured by Israel in the Six Day war of 1967.   Therefore much of this book predates it.   It would appear the 1972 reprint didn’t show a modern Arab Palestine.   Before 1948 Israel was the British Mandate of Palestine, and before 1918 it was owned by Turkey.

A new proposed Palestine is proposed as being sovereign Arabic nation, this is actually a modern concept which leaders around the world are trying to make a reality to appease Islamic authorities in the name of peace.   They are severely misguided.   The most well known father of Islamic Palestinian nationalism is Yasser Arafat.    Who was born in (cough ahem) Cairo, Egypt.

Palestine as a name was invented by Roman emperor Hadrian in AD120.   When crudely transliterated into Arabic, it is pronounced Filastin.   This is because the Arabic language doesn’t have a letter P.

You might think “hold on, you can’t gauge history by just one book?”   – well if you care to look at reliable sources of history, rather than Islamic sources you will find this to be correct.

 

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1950s stamp book shows Palestine Occupation different from what you think

stanley gibbonsInteresting find I discovered a few weeks ago.

I saw a Commonwealth Stanley Gibbons stamp collectors book in a charity shop.   Its basically a British book publisher that’s considered an authority on the value of old stamps.     This book dates from 1956.

This book just covers countries of the British Commonwealth only.   I didn’t end up buying, just snapped a couple of photos;

This caught my eye.   This stamp dates from 1918.

palestine stamps

The one Piastre refers to a small value coin used by the Ottoman Empire, ie: the Turkish.  In the 1920s these stamps were made obsolete by the British who took over.

Therefore these stamps showing “Occupied enemy territory” is not referring to Jewish people, its referring to Islam.

To avoid putting big files on my WordPress account, I’ve listed these on my Google drive cloud storage space to share if you would like a closer inspection.   Apologies the 2nd page is a bit blurry.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9YywUr33gtSLTg5dzEteVlCWEk 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9YywUr33gtSSkhWbGZxXzMwQXc

Evil reincarnated from the past

Haven’t felt like doing much writing, despite much going on the middle east and my new life in London.

I honestly can’t remember when the news was more depressing than this, with war between Israel and Gaza, Iraq and Syria having their own citizens murdered, victims mostly Christian.   Meanwhile naive one-sided white middle class people who don’t know much about middle east history put on kefiyah scarfs and join pro-Palestinian rallies with Muslim people in UK and Europe, and make a nuisance of themselves outside Tescos, but choose to ignore the bigger picture of the often turbulent middle east.

“Boycott Israel”  says your average liberal, leftist, vegan for Palestine, from their iPhone which contains memory chips and 3G technology developed in the only democracy in the middle east.  During the time of the Nazis, Hitler’s Germany had a similar idea to boycott the Jews of Europe.

This got me thinking about the names of today’s enemies of decent civilisation.

HAMAS the terrorism group who run the Gaza strip, their name comprises of an acronym in Arabic.   When transliterated into Hebrew, these five letters are pronounced “חמס” the word for violence.

ISIS is the group currently wiping out the Iraqi Christians at the moment, which bizarrely also a pagan god of Egypt long before Islam.

I was reading a while back also that some churches in Norway were set of fire by members of some heavy metal bands.   Most heavy metal music I have heard has a lot of lyrics about revenge, bitterness, anger, darkness and hatred towards God.   I want to Finland about 11 years ago, the Nordic countries seem to be the metal capital of the world.  Some of the more extreme metal bands contain lyrics and culture related to Norse gods like Thor.     This got me thinking this part of the dominant religious system in this region over a thousand years ago.

Its ironic how evil can be around in society for millennia only to come back with a similar legacy that the world has forgot.

Olympics and Palestinians

Various news sites I sometimes read came up with this:

Apparently the Olympics web site admitted an ‘error’ on their web site, and changed it later.  They also ought to realise that official languages in Israel are Hebrew, Arabic, English and Russian too.

Also Israel is considered part of ‘Europe’ here: http://www.london2012.com/countries/area=europe/ the rest of the Middle East is under Asia: http://www.london2012.com/countries/area=asia/

Looking at the official web site via the search engine, there is no mention of the 40 years anniversary of the tragedy that killed 11 Israelis in 1972 Olympics in Munich.   There really ought to be a special moment to remember that sometime in the schedule this year.

I wasn’t aware that the Palestinians have a representation this year even though they are not a sovereign nation as of yet, I don’t even know that they have a national anthem if they were to get a medal, after quickly checking out Wikipedia there is one disturbingly, the lyrics shown translated into English have some worrying theme, read this Wiki article on it here.  Here is another article from Arabic Wikipedia also in case perhaps I am being unfair.

Is there any calls from any moderate Arabic speaking country to challenge them into having a song with less violent sounding words I wonder? Rather than a  “volcano of my vendetta” or “And my intention a bullet and a volcano retaliation” or whatever it is.

The Olympics shouldn’t be a political event.  But it should recognise people lost from terrorism in 1972, just as it should kick out cheats and dopers, and so far the authority are making a very poor effort.

Interesting related article:- Nazi Germany involved with the 1936 games in Berlin

Silwan, not so ancient part of Jerusalem

At the city of David, the south edge of Jerusalem’s old city has the troubled Palestinian city of Silwan.   I have been here a few times, with great care, just to visit the museum that is there, read more on my previous writings on King David Museum, Hezekiah’s tunnels and Silwan troubles also Palestinian archeologist at Hezekiah’s tunnel

I came across these images from the excellent “Elder of Zion” blog which exposes Palestinian propaganda and their supporting Western friends.

Silwan is nowhere to be seen on this black and white picture which was taken in around 1915, a time where Palestine was owned by the Ottoman Turks and three years later it came under British rule.   So much for what you hear about land being ‘stolen’ in the media so often.   I do feel sorry for Palestinian people who want peace and want no part in any extremism, Silwan is a volatile part of town though.

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2011/11/city-of-david-then-and-now.html

There is some excellent links to some old archives of photos where you can see parts of Israel in its pre-1948 period from the British Mandate or Turkish periods.

Jericho – 2. Jericho’s town centre

This fountain stands in the middle of the square in Jericho.   As it was close to or exceeding 40c today, I really wanted shove my face in it, with lots of people around I decided to be civilized I opted to soak my hat instead.

Right by the fountain, I spotted this old Arabic coffee flask, now this bus service I like, I am not certain, but it seems customers riding on this bus get some Arabic coffee before they hop on.  Even if this at extra cost, I think this is a great idea 🙂

Two things you see in Palestinian cities, butchers shops with mostly whole animals in the windows, and bright yellow taxis with green licence plates.

This logo seems to appear on cars and buildings owned by the Palestinian Authority.   I don’t like this at all, this eagle symbol reminds of another force from history…. Oh never mind.

We took a quick look in this phone and computer accessories shop.  My friend Jeremy wanted to get a case for his iPhone, this shop has these odd looking speakers which seem to be aimed as playback of music from a phone via USB or Bluetooth.  I notice Arab people often play music on their phone in the street, and probably use them to play Islamic prayers and teaching material.  By the way we were here a few days before the start of Ramadan.

The news seems to show all Palestinians as poor, but there is plenty of shops in the main cities like Jericho, Nabulus, Bethlehem, Ramalah and Gaza seem to have all type of businesses selling all the same goods you can find in Israeli cities.

I found the people of Jericho to be extremely friendly, not just the people that were trying to sell us stuff, people outside of shops and fast food places wanted to chat to us as we didn’t look Arab, so it was pleasant to chat to folk that we (well my two friends were on holiday from England, I didn’t mention about my reason for being here) and I didn’t see anyone else obviously foreign.

This particular iPhone 4 case here is distributed by a Palestinian company (you can just about make out the .ps domain address)

Apparently Jericho only has 20,000 people so it is quite a lot smaller than I thought it would be bigger being the oldest city in the world with a consistent population.

Soon! The mount of temptation where Jesus went to pray and fast, and I got to visit an old tree that had could of had some very special significance from the time of Jesus!!

1. Crossing into the oldest city in the world2. Jericho’s town centre3. Church on the cliff4. View of Jericho’s plain –  5. The tree

Peace monuments in Israel part 1

Back in the 60s and 70s, the word ‘peace’ was a greeting used by hippies, I wonder if they got the idea from Jews and Arabs who have used it as a regular hello in their respective languages for a few thousand years.

Just lately I have found it interesting with seeing examples of false peace here in Israel, not just what I see on the news.  Normally its from other nations who are asking the State of Israel to compromise with its security arrangements and borders, but there are some other things as well.

In southern England, around the countryside there are small buildings we called ‘follys’, they are buildings that where made with no specific purpose whatsoever, they were just made to provide a centrepoint on the hill above a village or mark a land boundary and to provide employment for local labourers.

In Nazareth, I saw a slightly odd aerial shaped monument next to the precipice.    Now the precipice is a hill which was meant to be where people tried to throw Jesus off that got upset by his teaching in the synagogues.

On top of here looking south you can see a spectacular view over Megiddo and Mount Tabor.   One is the place of previous wars and a future one planned for the end of the world, and one is a possible location of Jesus’s transfiguration.   On the other less steep side of the hill facing northwards is a TV aerial shaped thing at the front with a series of concrete steps to sit on which looks like a pleasant place to watch a concert or (small) sports event.   The paths that lead in between the step have rough gravel on them, certainly no good for people with baby carriages or wheelchairs.  It looks unfinished and rushed to be honest.   If I remember correctly this project was a gift for peace to the people of Nazareth from the Pope and the Vatican in circa 1997.   Having said that, the view up here is terrific, and it would be nice to see some live bands up there, but I didn’t see anything on any posters about any live music scene.  If you are interested in my travels to Nazareth, start here on part 1 of my trip the city of Jesus’s youth.

In Sderot, I went with my friend Daniel from work with one of his community projects to a small town that most of you will know gets used as target practice for terrorists in Gaza.   These poor people live with worry of being next hit by Katusha rockets.   Next to some fields and an army base on a hill I can see directly into Gaza less than 1.5km away.  Up here is a giant musical instrument, with some chime bars and a hammer thing on a piece of rope you can use to ring as a ‘peace’ gift for Israelis and Gazans.   I don’t remember who made this thing, but it a novelty chime instrument doesn’t help people having to rush into bomb shelters especially when they happen when their kids go to school.

Jerusalem is the same.   Near my house is the UN headquarters, and close to there is a monument with some inscriptions in English, Hebrew and Arabic, probably say people need to give each other a hug or something.

Closeby is the Haas promenade, there is a really nice place to walk along the side of the hill which attracts Arab and Jewish families having picnics and foreigners on rented electric Segway chariots. On the paths that go down, is a few peace monuments here, these actually look quite decent that are designed a viewpoints over the city.

That is until you go up the steps to view out of them, there is graffiti inside them, and smells of that they have used as a toilet.  One of the monuments that was a gift from Canada, has some wooden steps that go sideways onto the path.   Trouble is most of the wooden slats of the steps you can see below are missing, as someone stole them probably for firewood for their barbecue.

Ezekiel 13 : 10 “‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash.

Really, these buildings from foreign nations trying to help Israel, seem like nice gestures, but are not implemented well and are a bit shortsighted in their actual useful value.   Its a bit like getting a present of a picture of an ornament you don’t really like and having to put it on the wall when you friend comes round so not to hurt their feelings.

 

Other examples of false peace are so called authorities that provide prizes or bestow awards, such as PLO chairman Yasser Arafat who got a Nobel Peace award in 1994.   Also a well known ex-Palestinian terrorist who wrote a book about accepting Jesus, has be spoken about as being a fraud as still hating Israel, after some things spoken about recently in Arabic appears to be different from the story he originally gave in his book.

Architects seem to like create buildings for peace purposes that don’t quite yet have a proper purpose to them.

My thinking is if you want to do a tangible construction project for peace purposes maybe start with something that has a social benefit like hospitals and schools.  I really like the Magon David ambulance service which I think is entirely funded by foreign donations, but assists Jewish, Arab and foreigners to Israel if an accident or emergency happens.

I am really proud to part of Bridges for Peace, true, our two food banks won’t win any design awards, our headquarters looks lovely and has a wonderful garden but is tucked away from the public with an electric gate, and my role is in a backroom to look after resources and equipment, but the works we do impact the poor people in this nation, as well try as close as we can to follow the actions of Jesus in this land to the most needy.

Jeremiah 8 :  8-12 “‘How can you say, “We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,”when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped.   Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?  10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners.  From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.  11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.  “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.

It smells nasty in this look out post, signs of arson and grafitti, not all of it bad though!

My point isn’t to poke fun too much at efforts to make peace between nations, but for me, true reconciliation will only happen between Israel and the Arab neighbours will happen with Jesus’s return.

Part 2 of this article is here:

Seperation barrier and threats to peace

One thing the critics of Israel like to point out is the concrete separation barrier in between the main part of Israel and the West Bank.

A tour leader I spoke to told us that the concrete wall only accounts for less than 5% of the fence in between.

Not so easy to see in this picture perhaps but there is just a chain link fence in between the Jewish orchards and Palestinian towns in the background, the silver things is some rows of fruit trees with plastic sheeting over them.

Here we are passing in a quite narrow strip of land in Israel parallel with Tel Aviv.

I have done some more experimenting with Google Maps.

Note – please press the [ – ] button to zoom out on each of these maps to get a better understanding of where you are looking at.

This line drawn across is only 8.8 miles this show how narrow this section of Israel would be in parallel to a possible Palestinian state, further down a bit is Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport, this especially needs to be carefully guarded with the flights arriving and departing each day.

This map here shows the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Beer Sheva, both of these cities have been hit in recent months by GRAD missiles, these have a radius of 25 miles /40 kilometres. The diagrams show these cities are just in proximity of attacks from Gaza, now I don’t know where these are launched from in the Gaza strip exactly, so this is approximate but you should be able to get the idea, these cities are just about reachable by GRADs, and there is fear that other weapons could reach further in.

For those of you who think the middle east crisis can be fixed with a two state solution, I would advise you to check out this site, it shows how Israel’s borders are defended, and how a new Palestinian state is impractical as well as wrong I believe from a Christian biblical point of view.

http://shomroncentral.blogspot.com/

I personally want to see safety and security of all people here, but I think its important know exactly the threats and practicalities involved here.

Akko – Just Islam here?

Akko is a very Islamic city, its not near any of the Palestinian territories, however Akko was run by the Eastern Empire (also known as Byzantine)  in 395AD, about 900 years before Islam came about.

The bible only mentions it once in Judges 1 : 30-32.

Here you can see the familiar upright pencil shaped minarets the accompany mosque and buildings that are under Islamic authority.

From a distance its noticeable that this tall thin tower is a tiny bit lop sided.  This ought to be concern, seeing as one ancient one fell over in Morocco recently, resulting in about 75 people dead.

As other parts of the city are needing extensive work done on them like this below building is crumbling.  This court yard is called Khan al-Umdan and was built by the Ottoman Turks in 1784.

Whilst editing this I have just found the bit of nougat I forgot I had which was 10 shekels off the young chap who took this photo for me, he had all kinds of other nut cake and halva and Turkish delight on a stand here.

I set out to see if there was any part of Christianity here, and if there are Arab believers today.  There were of course, Crusades here, which is a regrettable part of history, from people calling themselves Christians acting in no way Christians should be.

There are symbols of a Jewish community in the old city as you can see below, and I went in a synagogue which was a few metres away from a mosque.

Unlike Jerusalem’s old city which has more defined quarters for the different communities with in the walls, here its more tricky to find where Jews and Christians live.  Are things peaceful between Arabs and Jews here?  Well I guess for most part, I do remember seeing on the news about some problems in the past sometimes.

Left: Seems to be a church here, in a cellar type building.  Right: Small synagogue tucked away.

I didn’t find any churches that were open for casual visits whilst I was there.  This one was an attractive looking building but it was locked.  Of course its hard to tell if some churches are actual operating places of worship or just dusty bits of history.

The other little known faith that is here I have read about is the Baha’i faith, which has origins from Iran, and has a unusual temple with big gardens up in Haifa, but also has a place here.  I don’t know much about this though or get time to see it.

Its only when I got back home, I have found on the web Evangelist Baptism Church Akko, which has a mixture of Arab and Jewish believers in Jesus.  Check out their site here.

Along Hevron Road – from Jerusalem to Bethlehem

After my trip to Rachel’s tomb I took some pictures on the way back….

The white sign shows a welcome to Jerusalem

New house construction in progress.  This was stopped for a while during the building freeze which was during talks with the Palestinian Authority.

Houses are far to expensive here, new builds all around the country are necessary to provide for growing Jewish and Arab families. (its common for both types of families to have 5-10 children)  Other cities like Karmiel pay about 40% less rent for a similar apartment than Jerusalem residents do.   I don’t think of the houses as a settlement, but as part of the regeneration of the sovereign nation of Israel.   There is a new school, police station and shops in this district when I went there about 2 month ago.

I stopped outside this church on the Hevron Road.   Its a Greek church, and has very pretty gardens.

Everyone had just left when I arrived, I spoke to priest who had tradition Greek Orthodox Christian garb on, asking if I could look around but he said he was just locking up.

There are Arab Christian families on the way back to their cars.    I am not sure if these Arab people live the main west part of Jerusalem or if they come across the border that is about 2Km down the road where I have just come from.

Left: There is small cafe and plenty of picnic tables, and looks like a nice place to fellowship with people after the service.   I need to come back here another time I think.  Right: Poster for Taybeh, a Palestinian beer, on a table in the garden.