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Jerusalem Dateline: 03/10/17 The Real Story Behind History’s Oldest Land Dispute

This week on Jerusalem Dateline: Jewish people and Palestinian Arabs both claim ownership of the land of Israel, but whose land is it? We take a look at the Jewish claims to the land of Israel -- the real story behind history’s oldest land dispute. Read Transcript


*

Chris: THIS WEEK ON

"JERUSALEM DATELINE," A

LOOK AT THE JEWISH CLAIMS

TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL.

YOU JUST SCRATCH THE

SURFACE, AND YOU FIND A

RICH JEWISH CULTURE AND

HISTORY OF MORE THAN 3,500

YEARS.

EVER SINCE KING DAVID

BUILT JERUSALEM.

Chris: THE REAL STORY

BEHIND THE OLDEST LAND

DISPUTE IN HISTORY.

> HELLO, AND WELCOME TO

THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF

"JERUSALEM DATELINE."

I'M CHRIS MITCHELL.

IN 1967, ISRAEL CAPTURED

THE WEST BANK FROM JORDAN

DURING THE SIX-DAY WAR.

YOU CAN SEE BEHIND ME AT

JERUSALEM'S OLD CITY.

SINCE THEN U.S. AND WORLD

LEADERS HAVE TURNED

ISRAEL'S PRESENCE THERE AS

ILLEGAL AND ILLEGITIMATE.

BUT ARE THOSE TERMS

HISTORICALLY CORRECT?

HERE IS A LOOK AT ISRAEL'S

CLAIM TO THE LAND.

Gordon: IT IS THE

OLDEST LAND DISPUTE IN

CENTURIES.

FOR CENTURIES, JEWS AND

ARABS HAVE CLAIMED TO BE

THE RIGHTFUL OWNERS TO

JERUSALEM.

IT IS BASED ON FOUR

PROMISES, THE FIRST IS

GOD'S PROMISE TO ABRAHAM.

DAVID BEN-GURION OFTEN

SAID THAT THE BIBLE WAS

THE JEWISH MANDATE FOR

SETTLING THE LAND OF

ISRAEL.

IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS,

GOD GAVE THE LAND TO ABE

ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB,

AND THE REST OF THE BIBLE

TELLS THE STORY OF THEIR

DESCENDENTS IN THE LAND.

MOSES LED THE JEWS BACK TO

ISRAEL AFTER THEIR EXILE

FROM EGYPT.

AND AROUND 400 B.C., KING

DAVID CONQUERED THE CITY

OF JERUSALEM AND BUILT HIS

CAPITAL THERE.

BUT THE STORY OF THE JEWS

ISN'T LIMITED TO THE

BORDERS OF MODERN ISRAEL.

THEIR FOOTPRINTS HAVE BEEN

TRACED THROUGH JUDEA AND

SAMARIA, NOW THE

PALESTINIAN WEST BANK.

BETHEL, WHERE JACOB

DREAMED OF A LADDER TO

HEAVEN.

SHILO, THE RESTING PLACE

OF THE ARK OF THE

COVENANT.

BETHLEHEM, THE BIRTHPLACE

OF KING DAVID.

AND HEBRON, WHERE THE

JEWISH PATRIARCHS ARE

BURIED.

THIS IS ALL NOT JUST

DOCUMENTED IN THE BIBLE

AND IN HISTORY, IT ALSO

REVEALS ITSELF IN EVERY

INCH OF THE LAND.

IN ANY ARCHEOLOGICAL DIG,

YOU JUST SCRATCH THE

SURFACE AND YOU FIND A

RICH JEWISH CULTURE AND

HISTORY OF MORE THAN 3,500

YEARS.

EVER SINCE KING DAVID

BUILT JERUSALEM 3,010

YEARS AGO.

Gordon: THE JEWISH

RULE OVER ISRAEL WAS ALSO

DOCUMENTED OUTSIDETHE

BIBLE.

OFN BY THE ENEMIES OF

ISRAEL.

IN EGYPT, AN INSUBCRIPTION

THE ANEPA THELA

PROCLAIM THAT ISRAEL HAS

BEEN LAID WASTE.

IN 840 B.C., THE MOBITE

KING WROTE ABOUT THE HOUSE

OF DAVID.

AND AS DID ANOTHER KING A

CENTURY LATER.

IN THE FIRST CENTURY A.D.,

JOSEPHUS DESCRIBED IN

GREAT DETAIL THE JEWISH

TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM, AND

ITS DESTRUCTION BY THE

ROMANS.

EVERY DAY ARCHEOLOGY

YIELDS MORE EVIDENCE OF

ANCIENT JEWISH CULTURE

DATING BACK THOUSANDS OF

YEARS.

AND IN THE 20th CENTURY,

THAT HISTORICAL CONNECTION

HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED

SEVERAL TIMES BY

INTERNATIONAL LAW.

IN 1917, BRITISH FOREIGN

SECRETARY ALREADY BALFOUR

ISSUED A DECLARATION,

CALLING FOR A JEWISH

HOME INNIAN,

ALSO KNOWN THEN AS

SOUTHERN SYRIA.

PALESTINE INCLUDED AT

THE TIME ALL OF THE

TERRITORY THAT IS ISRAEL,

JUDEA, SAMARIA, THE WEST

BANK, AND JORDAN.

Gordon: IN 1920, THEY

GATHERED IN ITALY TO

DIVIDE THE REMAINS OF THE

OTTOMAN EMPIRE.

THEY CREATED THE SANRAMO

REVOLUTION, WHICH

INCORPORATED THE BALFOUR

RESOLUTION.

THE RESOLUTION WAS SIGNED

BY THE LEAGUE NATIS, DBRH RE P

IN CHARGE OF PALESTINE.

TH MEANT WERE

LEGALLY BOUND TO HELP THE

JEWISH PEOPLE BUILD A

STATE THERE.

TWO YEARS LATER, IN 1922,

THE LEAGUE ADOPTED THE

BRITISH MANDATE FOR

PALESTINE, WHICH

RECOGNIZED THE HISTORICAL

CONNECTION OF THE JEWISH

PEOPLE.

AND THE NEED FOR

RECONSTITUTING THEIR

NATIONALE HOMNATIONAL HOME THERE.

BY THAT TIME, THE LAND

ALLOCATED TO THE JEWISH

PEOPLE HAD BEEN

DRASTICALLY REDUCED.

WITH MORE THAN 75% OF IT

GOING TO THE NEW ARAB

KINGDOM OF TRANSJORDAN.

THE MANDATE WAS SIGNED BY

ALL 51 MEMBERS OF THE

LEAGUE OF NATIONS.

AND, ONCE AGAIN, A JEWISH

STATE WAS GUARANTEED BY

INTERNATIONAL LAW.

BUT 25 YEARS LATER, THAT

STATE STILL EXISTED ONLY

ON PAPER.

AND IN 1945, THE LEAGUE

WAS REPLACED BY THE UNITED

NATIONS.

ARTICLE 80 OF THE U.N.

CHARTER STATES THAT THE

U.N. WOULD NOT ALTER

EXISTING STATES, PEOPLES,

OR MANDATES.

WHICH MEANS THE U.N.

LEGALLY RECOGNIZED THE

RIGHT OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE

TO SETTLE IN PALESTINE.

FROM THE JORDAN RIVER T

THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA.

THE UNITED NATIONS IS

THE LEGAL SUCCESSOR AND

INHERITER OF THE LEAGUE OF

NATIONS.

WHICH MEANS ALL

OBLIGATIONS, COMMITMENTS,

AND PLEDGES OF THE LEAGUE

OF NATIONS MUST BE UPHELD

BY THE UNITED NATIONS.

UNFORTUNATELY, THEY DID

NOT DO IT IN THE CASE OF

ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH

OWNERSHIP OVER THEIR LAND.

Gordon: IN

NOVEMBER 1947, THE LAND

INTENDED FOR THE JEWS WAS

DIVIDED ONCE AGAIN.

THE U.N. VOTED TO

PARTITION WHAT WAS LEFT OF

PALESTINE INTO TWO PARTS.

56% WOULD BE A JEWISH

STATE, WITH 43% GOING TO

AN ARAB STATE TO BE

ANNEXED TO JORDAN.

ONCE AGAIN, A JEWISH STATE

WAS MANDATED BY

INTERNATIONAL LAW.

ISRAEL DECLARED ITS

INDEPENDENCE IN 1948, AND

A YEAR LATER THE NEW STATE

WAS ADMITT TO THE UNITED

NATIONS.

BUT DESPITE NUMEROUS LEGAL

EMRA

BORDERS WOULD STILL BE

DISPUTED FOR DECADES TO

COME, AS ARAB LEADERS

INSIGHTED VIOLENCE AGAINST

ISRAEL.

THEY SAY WHAT THE

UNITED NATIONS SIGNED BY

INK, WED BY

BLD.

is: COMING UP,

WO LEADERS GAM

ISRAEL'S PRENCE IN THE

WE BANK IS VIOLATI

OF INTERNATIAL LAWS.

BUT WHAT DO LEGAL EXPERTS

WE EXAMI ISRAEL'S LEGAL

CLAIM TO THE LAND WHEN WE

COME BACK.

TO THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF

"JERUSALEM DATELINE."

IN 2002, SECRETARY

ATTORNEY KOFI ANNAN USED

THE TERM "ILLEGAL

OCCUPATION" IN 1967.

BUT ANAN'S CRITICS WERE

QUICK TO POINT OUT HIS USE

OF THE TERM "ILLEGAL" WAS

INCORRECT SINCE THE LAND

NEVER BELONGED TO THE

PALESTINIANS IN THE FIRST

PLACE.

Gordon: IN 2002, U.N.

SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI

ANNAN FAMOUSLY USED THE

PHRASE "ILLEGAL

OCCUPATION" TO DESCRIBE

ISRAEL'S ANNEXATION OF THE

WEST BANK IN 1967.

BUT HIS CRITICS WERE QUICK

TO POINT OUT THAT HIS USE

OF THE WORLD "ILLEGAL" WAS

INCORRECT BECAUSE THE WEST

BANK NEVER LEGALLY BLOCKED

BELONGED TO THE

PALESTINIAN ARABS IN THE

FIRST PLACE.

FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS, IT

WAS CONTROLLED BY THE

BRITISH UNTIL ISRAEL

DECLARED ITS INDEPENDENCE.

DURING THE WAR THAT

FOLLOWED, THE KINGDOM OF

JORDAN INVADED THE WEST

BANK AND FORMALLY ANNEXED

THE LAND IN 1950.

THERE IS A LOT OF

HISTORICAL UNDERSTANDING,

AND ALSO THERE IS AN ABUSE

OF INTERNATIONAL LAW SINCE

THE WEST BANK, JUDEA AND

SAMARIA, WAS ANNEXED BY

JORDAN, IT WAS AORDANIAN

TERRITORY.

AN IN 19 THE SIX-DAY

WAR, W H

AGAIN, A CAMPGN OF ENSE, WHEN THREE

ARMIES OFIA,DAN,

AND EGYPT WERURROUNDING

US, READDRIV US

E SEA, RAELON TH

D AS A RESULT,K

INTO POSSSI THET

BANK, JUND SAMARIA.

THIS LAND WAS CAPTURED

FROM JORDAN.

Gordon: SINCE ISRAEL

RECAPTURED THE LAND FROM

JORDAN, IT NOW BELONGS TO

ISRAEL, ACCORDING TO

INTERNATIONAL LAW.

ONE JUDGE ON THE

INTERNATIONAL COURT OF

JUSTICE WROTE THE

FOLLOWING ABOUT THE 1967

WAR: "A STATE ACTING IN

LAW FULL EXERCISE OF ITS

RIGHT OF SELF DEFENSE MAY

SEIZE AND OCCUPY FOREIGN

TERRITORY, AS LONG AS SUCH

SEIZURE AND OCCUPATION ARE

NECESSARY TO ITS

SELF-DEFENSE.

AND WHERE THE PRIOR HOLDER

OF TERRITORY HAD SEIZED

THAT TERRITORY UNLAWFULLY,

THE STATE WOULD

SUBSEQUENTLY TAKE THAT

TERRITORY IN THE LAWFUL

EXERCISE OF SELF-DEFENSE,

HAS AGAINST THAT PRIOR

HOLDER BETTER TITLE."

WE BOUGHT OUR LAND IN

THE BLOOD OF OUR SOLDIERS.

WE DIDN'T STOP WITH THE

WAR.

ALL OVER T WH

SOMEONE STARTED WITH

WAR, H PAID P

HE PAID THE PRI

SO WE H PAY THE

PRICE NOW?

Gordon: THE LAST

CLAIM THE JEWISH PEOPLE

MAKE FOR THE LAND OF

ISRAEL FOCUSES NOT ON HOW

THEY GOT IT, BUT WHAT THEY

DID WITH IT.

TODAY ISRAEL'S POPULATION

IS WELL OVER EIGHT

MILLION.

BUT IN 1850, ONLY 350,000

PEOPLE LIVED IN ISRAEL AND

THE WEST BANK.

IN 1857, THE BRITISH

CONSULE IN PALESTINE

REPORTED THAT THE AREA WAS

EMPTY IN INHABITANTS.

A DECADE R, BRITISH

SCIENTIST WROTE THAT WHOLE

VILLAGES THERE ARE RAPIDLY

DISAPPEARING FROM THE FACE

OF THE EARTH.

AMERICAN WRITER MARK TWAIN

WROTE THIS ABOUT THE

JUSAWA VALLEY: "THERE IS

NOT A SOLITARY VILLAGE IN

EITHER DIRECTION.

THERE IS NOT A SINGLE

PERMANENT HABITATION."

TODAY MANY PALESTINIAN

ARABS CLAIM THAT THE JEWS

STOLE ARAB LAND, EVICTED

THE OWNERS, AND LEFT

THOUSANDS OF ARAB FARMERS

HOMELESS.

BUT IS THAT THE REAL

STORY?

LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

AS EARLY AS THE 1850s,

JEWISH PEOPLE STARTED

BUYING LAND IN PALESTINE.

BUT THEIR CHOICES WERE

LIMITED BY ARAB SELLERS.

THE ARAB SETTLED MAINLY

IN MOUNTAINOUS AREAS, AND

THEY DID NOT OFFER THOSE

LANDS FOR SALE.

THE ARABS WANTED TO SELL

LAND IN PLACES WHERE THEY

DID NOT LIVE, IN PLACES

WHICH THEY HAD LEFT IN THE

PAST.

Gordon: RECORDS SHOW

THAT MOST OF THE LAND

PURCHASED BY THE JEWS

BELONGED TO A SMALL GR

OF WEALTHY MUSLIM

FAMILIES.

MOST OF WHOM DIDN'T EVEN

LIVE IN PALESTINE.

THE ARABS WERE FROM

MANY WALKS OF LIFE,

ASCENDANTS WHO LIVED IN

BEIRUT, DAMASCUS, SWELLS

LOCALS, AND ALSO PEOPLE

WHO BELIEVED IN THE RURAL

VILLAGES.

ALL OF THEM WERE WILLING

TO SELL THEIR LAND.

THERE WAS ALWAYS MORE LAND

AVAILABLE THAN THE DEMAND

FOR THEM.

Gordon: FROM THE

BEGINNING, THE JEWISH

POLICY WAS CLEAR: NO ARABS

WERE TO BE REMOVED FROM

THEIR LAND AGAINST THEIR

WILL.

IN 1920, ZIONIST LABOR

LEADER BE BEN-GURION

ANNOUNCED UNDER NO

CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL WE

TOUCH LAND THAT BELONGED

TO ARABS, OR WORKED BY

THEM.

ONLY IF A PERSON LEAVE HIS

LAND DO WE OFFER TO BUY IT

AT AN APPROPRIATE PRICE.

THE JEWS BOUGHT THE

LAND LEGALLY, IN ORDER TO

FULLY SECURE THE OWNERSHIP

OF THIS LAND.

THE ARABS WERE NOT EVICTED

FROM THESE LANDS.

THEY RECEIVED COMPENSATION

FOR THE LANDS.

Gordon: THAT

COMPENSATION WAS

DOCUMENTED BY THE BRITISH

PEELE COMMISSION IN 1937.

THE GROUP HAD BEEN SENT TO

PALESTINE TO INVESTIGATE

CLASHES BETWEEN ARABS AND

JEWS.

THERE ARE REPORTS THAT

SHOW OF THE 646 ARAB

WORKERS DISPOSSESSED BY

LAND SALES, 347 WERE

RESETTLED BY THE BRITISH

GOVERNMENT FOR FREE.

THE REST REFUSED HELP, AND

FOUND EMPLOYMENT

ELSEWHERE.

NOT ONLY DID THE JEWS BUY

THE LAND LEGALLY, THEY

ALSO PAID 10 TIMES THE

NORMAL RATE.

IN 1944, THE GOING RATE

FOR RICH, FERTILE SOIL IN

IOWA WAS $110 AN ACRE.

WHILE IN PALESTINE, JEWS

WERE PAYING MORE THAN

$1,000 AN ACRE FOR ARID,

ROCKY LAND.

THEY SAY, THEY'RE

CRAZY.

THEY BUY THIS LAND.

IT'S DIRTY LAND.

IT'S NO GOOD LAND.

BUT THEY ARE NOT STUPID,

AND THEY KNOW THAT WE MUST

WORK VERY HARD.

AND THEY WORKED VERY HARD.

LOOK WHAT WE HAVE.

WE'RE ONLY 66 YEARS OLD,

AND LOOK WHAT WE HAVE

ALREADY.

Chris: UP NEXT, LIFE

IN PALESTINE BEFORE AND

AFTER TH ARRIVAL OF

JEWISH SETTLERS.

HOW THEY IMPROVED

CONDITIONS FOR EVERYONE IN

THE HOLY LAND.

AGRICULTURAL ADVANCES, AS

WELL AS HEALTH AND

EDUCATION BREAKTHROUGHS

THAT BENEFITED EVERYONE.

Gordon: IN THE 19th

CENTURY, LIFE WAS HARD

UNDER OTTOMAN RULE FOR

ARAB WORKERS IN PALESTINE.

MANY HAD LOST THEIR FARMS

TO HEAVY TURKISH TAXES OR

BEDOUIN RAIDERS.

THERE WERE NO SCHOOLS, NO

ELECTRICITY, AND LITTLE

SANITATION.

THE AVERAGE LIFE

EXPECTANCY FOR AN ARAB

MALE IN PALESTINE WAS 30.

WITH THE ARRIVAL OF THE

JEWISH SETTLERS, ALL OF

THAT STARTED TO CHANGE.

WITH HARD WORK, THEY

TURNED SWAMPS INTO

VINEYARDS, FARMS, AND

CITRUS GROVES.

THEY INTRODUCED

ELECTRICITY TO PALESTINE.

AND IMPROVED THE

SANITATION.

THEY ALSO IR

IRRADICATE MOSQUITOS.

OVER A 20-YEAR PERIOD, THE

INFANT MORTALITY RATE FOR

ARAB CHILDREN WAS CUT IN

HALF, AND THE LIFE

EXPECTANCY FOR ARAB MEN

INCREASED BY 12 YEARS.

THE JEWISH LAND OWNERS

HIRED MANY OF THEM TO HELP

WORK THE LAND, AND PAID

THEM BETTER THAN THEIR

ARAB EMPLOYERS.

FIRST OF ALL, FOLLOWING

THE PURCHASE OF LAND, THE

ARAB POPULATION THAT

INCOME.

WITH THE HELP OF THIS

MONEY, THEY COULD IMPROVE

THEIR LIVING.

AND THE ARAB SOCIETY COULD

RAISE THEIR STANDARD OF

LIVING.

SO BECAUSE OF JEWISH

PURCHASE OF LAND, THE

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL

CONDITIONS OF THE ARAB

SOCIETY WERE BETTER.

Gordon: ARABS FROM

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES

FLOCKED TO PALESTINE TO

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE

HIGHER STANDARD OF LIVING.

FROM 1922 TO 1947, THE

TOTAL ARABULATIO I

PALEINE MON

DOUBLED.

IN THE CITY OF HAIFA, THE

NUMBER OF ARABS INCREASED

BY 290%.

IN JERUSALEM, 131%.

AND IN JAFFA, 158%.

IN 1939, JEWISH SCHOLAR

MARTIN BURE DESCRIBED THE

QOCOOPERATION BETWEEN ARABS

AND JEWS IN IS LETTER:

"THE JEWISH FARMERS HAVE

BEGUN TO TEACH THEIR

BROTHERS, ARAB FARMERS, TO

CULTIVATE THE LAND, TO

SERVE IT, AS THE HEBREW

HAS IT.

THE MORE FERTILE THE LAND

BECOMES, THE MORE SPACE

THERE WILL BE FOR US AND

FOR THEM.

WE HAVE NO DESIRE TO

DISPOSES THEM.

WE WANT TO LIVE WITH

THEM."

THE JEWISH PEOPLE HAD

ALREADY BUILT A STRONG

NETWORK OF COMMUNAL FARMS

THAT STRETCHED FROM THE

GALILEE TO THE NEGEV.

THEY ALSO BUILT SCHOOLS,

HOSPITALS, ROADS, AND

CITIES.

IN OTHER WORDS, THEY WERE

ALREADY FUNCTIONING AS AN

INDEPENDENT STATE.

WHEN BEN-GURION

DECLARED THE FOUNDATION OF

THE STATE OF ISRAEL IN

1948, HE ALREADY HAD A

BASE, A TERRITORIAL

FOUNDATION OF LANDS AND

SETTLEMENTS.

A LARGE NUMBER OF

SETTLEMENTS SPREAD

THROUGHOUT ISRAEL.

SETTLEMENTS BUILT ON LANDS

PURCHASED BY THE JEWISH

PEOPLE.

Gordon: DESPITE THE

VALID HISTORICAL AND LEGAL

CLAIMS OF THE JEWISH

PEOPLE TO THEIR LAND,

ISRAEL'S BORDERS ARE STILL

BEING NEGOTIATED.

AFTER NEARLY SEVEN DECADES

OF STATEHOOD.

EVEN THOUGH THERE IS NO

DOUBT, NOT HISTORIC, NOT

MORAL, NOT ARCHEOLOGICAL

DOUBT ABOUT THE CONNECTION

OF ISRAEL TO THE LAND AND

THE LAND TO ISRAEL,

ISRAELIS ARE WILLING TO

COMPROMISE JUST IN ORDER

TO SAVE LIVES, JUST IN

ORDER TO ACHIEVE PEACE.

WE WILL WAIT UNTIL WE HAVE

THE PARTNER ON THE

PALESTINIAN SIDE WHICH IS

TRUSTWORTHY, WHICH DOES

NOT BELIEVE IN THE

DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL AND

THE JEWISH PEOPLE AS A WAY

TO BUILD THEIR OWN

NATIONAL NARRATIVE AND ARE

WILLING TO LIVE WITH US IN

PEACE AND COOPERATION.

FIND OUT HOW YOU CAN GET A

D.V.D. OR BLUE RAY FOR

YOURSELF.

THAT'S IT FOR THIS EDITION

OF "JERUSALEM DATELINE."

YOU CAN FOLLOW US ON

TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM, AND

Facebook.

I'M CHRIS MITCHELL, WE'LL

SEE YOU NEXT TIME ON

"JERUSALEM DATELINE."

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