WHO OWNES PALESTINE?
Part III: The Position of the Arabs
Dr. Noel Smith
Reprinted from the Baptist Bible Tribune, Oct. 4, 1957
from The Best of Noel Smith by Norma Gilming. Used by Permission.
This is the third of five articles.
We have in a single authoritative document the position of the Arab world toward the question, "Who Owns Palestine." This document is the clear, comprehensive, detailed letter the late King Abdul Aziz bin Rahman al Feisal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia (father of the present king - 1945), addressed to the late President Roosevelt on March 10, 1945. It should not be necessary to say that presumably no possible argument favorable to the Arab position was omitted from the letter.
Here is the complete text of the letter as it was released by the White House at the time:
March 10, 1945
From Abdul Aziz bin Abdur Rahman al Feisal Al Saud to His Excellency, Mr. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America.
This is indeed a happy occasion for us to join with you in rejoicing at the triumph of those principles in defense of which was declared and to remind those great personalities in whose hands, after God, the fate of the world order rests, of a right which has existed unquestioned since the dawn of history.
This right men now seem to destroy by injustice unparalleled and unequalled in history. Such is the right of the Arabs in Palestine which the spokesmen of Jewish Zionism wish to scorn and abolish by the use of various forms of lying propaganda, invented, concealed and employed by them throughout the world.
They have acted unjustly and are making hostile preparations against the Arabs, some of which are known, although much remains undetected. They are preparing a form of Nazi-Fascism within sight and hearing of the democracies as well as in their heart and in the heart of the East which has proved itself loyal to the Allied cause in these critical times.
Right to Homeland
All people have the natural right to live in their homeland, a right guaranteed to them by natural law established by the principles of humanity which the Allies have proclaimed in the Atlantic Charter and on numerous other occasions.
The Arabs have a natural right in Palestine which needs no explanation. We have on a separate occasion mentioned to Your Excellency, as we have many times to the British Government, that the Arabs have inhabited Palestine since the beginning of history and that they have throughout the ages been its masters and enjoyed an overwhelming numerical superiority.
We would now make a brief reference to Palestine's history, ancient and modern, up to the present day, to make it clear that Zionist claims in Palestine are not based on historical facts.
The earliest recorded history of Palestine begins in the year 3500 B.C., its first inhabitants being the Canaanites, an Arab tribe which emigrated from the Arab peninsula and had its first abode in the lowlands, hence the name Canaanites. In 2000 B.C., a section of the Jews under the leadership of the Prophet Abraham, emigrated from Iraq (Ur of the Chaldees), settled in Palestine and then immigrated because of famine into Egypt where they were delivered into bondage by the Pharaohs.
The Jews remained scattered there until their delivery from exile by the Prophet Moses, who brought them back to the land of Canaan by the southeastern route, either in the time of Rameses II i.e. 1250 B.C. or his son Munfitah, 1225 B.C.
Bible Text is Cited
If we accept the text of the Bible we find that the conqueror of Palestine was Joshua, the son of Nun, who crossed with his Army and captured the city of Jericho from the Canaanites with great cruelty and barbarity: witness his words to his Army;
"Burn ye all that is in the city and slay with the edge of the sword both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep, and burn the city with fire and all that is therein." Joshua Ch.7 vs 12-24.
Thereafter the Jews split into two kingdoms; one, the Kingdom of the Israelites with its capital Samaria (Nablus), lasted 250 years and then fell into the hands of Shalmaneser, King of the Assyrians, in the year 722 B.C., and was led into captivity. The other, the Kingdom of Judah, with its capital Jerusalem, lasted 130 years after the Kingdom of Israel had perished.
It was later destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, who burned down the city and the temple with fire, and led the people into captivity to Babylon in the year 580 B.C.
The captivity in Babylon lasted seventy years, and then the Jews returned to Palestine by order of Cyrus, King of the Persians.
The Greek conquest followed in 332 B.C., under the command of Alexander the Macedonian, their rule continuing in Palestine for a period of 272 years.
The Roman conquest took place next in the year 63 B.C., under the command of Pompey, their rule lasting in Palestine for 700 years.
In the year 637 A.D. the Arabs occupied Palestine, and their rule lasted continuously for 880 years.
The orders of the Caliph to the conqueror were: "You shall not act treacherously, dishonestly, commit any excess or mutilation, kill any child or old man; cut or burn down palms or fruit trees, kill any sheep, cow or camel, and shall leave alone those whom you find devoting themselves to worship in their cells." This was related by Ibn-al-Atheer, the famous historian.
Palestine then passed under the rule of the Turks in A.D. 1517, during the reign of Sultan Saleem the First, and their rule lasted 400 years. The Arabs were the inhabitants and participated with the Turks in the government and administration of the country. It was then occupied by the British who are still there.
Arabs First Inhabitants
This history of Palestine, an Arab country, shows that the Arabs were its first inhabitants and that they dwelt there for a period of 3,500 years before Christ, and have remained there since Christ to the present day.
They ruled it alone or with the Turks for a period of about 1,300 years, whereas the disjointed reign of the Jews did not exceed 380 confused and sporadic years.
No Jewish rule has existed in Palestine since 332 B.C. not until the British forces entered Palestine in 1918, i.e., for 2,000 years there have been few Jews there and they have had no influence. They numbered not more than 80,000 when the British entered Palestine and lived comfortably, happily and prosperously in that country with the original inhabitants, the Arabs.
The Jews were merely aliens who had come to Palestine at intervals and had then been turned out over 2,000 years ago.
The permanent rights of the Arabs in Palestine rest of the following:
(1) The right to dwell there. This they have done since the year 3,500 B.C. without ever leaving the country.
(2) The natural right to life.
(3) The existence therein of the Holy Land.
(4) The Arabs are not aliens in Palestine, and there is no intention to bring any of them from other parts of the world to settle there.
The historical claim of the Jews is, however, a fallacy. As already mentioned, their brief and sporadic rule gives them no right to claim that they own the country, for them to occupy a country and then leave it entitles no nation to claim and demand ownership thereof. The history of the world is full of such examples.
World Problem Indicated
The solution of the problem of the persecuted Jews in the world differs from the fictitious problem of Zionism. For to provide homes for the scattered Jews is something in which the whole world can cooperate, and here Palestine has borne more than its full share. But to bring these scattered people, put them in countries already occupied and do away with the original inhabitants is an act unparalleled in human history.
We state frankly and plainly that to help Zionism in Palestine not only means to endanger Palestine but all neighboring countries.
The Zionists have given clear evidence of their intentions in Palestine and in all neighboring countries. They have organized secret military formations. It would be thus a mistake to say that this was the action of a group of their extremists and that it had met with the disapproval of their assemblies and committees.
We declare that the actions of the Zionists inside and outside Palestine are based on a program agreed upon and approved of by world Jewry.
These people began their vile work by wronging the Government that has treated them kindly and sheltered them, namely, the British Government. Their assemblies declared war on Britain and organized dangerous military formations, which at present hold in Palestine all the arms and military equipment they require.
Their members have carried out various attacks of which the most shocking was the attack on that outstanding figure, so kind and charitable toward all men and with the greatest sympathy for persecuted Jewry, Lord Moyne.
Lays Terror to All Jews
The proof that all Jews aided and abetted their vile deed is to be seen in the demonstrations and efforts made by Jews everywhere, demanding a light sentence for the criminals in order to encourage others to do the same.
This, then, is the way they behave with the government which has treated them so kindly. What would be the position if they were able to realize their objects and made Palestine entirely their own country, in which and near which they could do as they pleased.
If the matter were left to the Arabs and these aggressors it might perhaps be easy, but they are protected by the British Government, the friends of the Arabs. The Zionists did not respect the sanctity of this protection but plotted mischief, beginning first with Britain and threatening the Arabs after Britain with similar and more dangerous plots.
Main Causes of Dissension
Thus if the allied governments, whose friendship the Arabs are aware of, wish to see the fires of war break out and bloodshed between Arabs and Jews, their support of the Zionists will surely lead to this result. What we and the Arab countries fear from the Zionists are:
(1) That they will carry out a series of massacres as between themselves and the Arabs.
(2) That the Zionists will be one of the main causes of dissention between the Arabs and the Allies. The latest proof of this is the case of the two Jews who killed Lord Moyne in Egypt. Had the Jews been able to hide the criminals, a dispute would have occurred between the British Government and Egypt.
(3) That the ambitions of the Jews are not confined to Palestine alone. The preparations they have made show that they intend to take hostile action against neighboring Arab countries.
(4) Supposing that the Jews obtain their independence somewhere in Palestine, what is to prevent them from coming to an agreement with any power that may be hostile to the Allies and to the Arabs? As it is, they have begun taking hostile action against Britain while under her protection and mercy.
Such factors should no doubt be taken into consideration in regard to the establishment of peace in the world when the problem of Palestine is discussed. Not only is the gathering of Jews in Palestine not based on an historical agreement nor on any natural right, and is in fact absolutely unjust, but it constitutes at the same time a danger to peace, to the Arabs and to the Middle East.
The crux of the matter is that the formation of a Jewish State in Palestine will be a deadly blow to the Arabs and a constant threat to peace, for disturbed conditions are bound to prevail between the Jews and the Arabs, and if the patience of the latter is one day exhausted and they despair of their future then they will be obliged to defend themselves and future generations against this aggression. No doubt the Allies, who are working to uphold peace and respect for men's rights, are aware of this. We have no doubt that they are dissatisfied with this uneasy situation which threatens peace in the Middle East.
Could Wait No Longer
We did not wish to bother Your Excellency or your Ministers with this matter during the present titanic struggle in which you are engaged. Confident that the Allies will treat the Arabs fairly, however, we would have preferred the Arabs to forbear until the end of the war had it not been for the provocative and offensive acts committed by the Zionists who, regardless of war conditions and the preoccupation of the Allies, seek to bring every form of pressure to bear on them to adopt a policy which is inconsistent with the principles of right and justice which the Allies have proclaimed.
That is why we wished to explain the true rights of the Arabs in Palestine so as to refute the flimsy arguments of the Zionist party, counter their aggressive tactics, and set out the facts in order that the Allies may fully understand the rights of the Arabs in their country, the country of their fathers and forefathers.
The Jews should not be permitted to exploit the forbearance of the Arabs or their desire to avoid any embarrassment to the Allies, to obtain concession to which they are not entitled.
All we ask is that the Allies should fully realize the rights of the Arabs and for the present prevent the Jews going ahead in any new matter which may be considered a threat to the Arabs and to the future of every Arab nation, in order that they, the Arabs, may be assured of justice and equity in their lands.
With highest respects,
ABDUL AZIZ AL SAUD
Part IV of this series will be continued in the Jan-March 2015 Trumpet. The title will be: "Reply to the Arab Position."