The Ottoman Empire ruled from 27 July 1299 to 29 October 1923. The territory of this empire spread from what is now Turkey around the coast of North Africa. All the land in between had no other territorial or national claim other than being part of the Empire. After World War I and the defeat of the Ottomans the empire was broken up, divided and nation states that had not existed before were formed. The 1920 Treaty of Sevres would redefine what is now known as the Middle East. What is now Israel was an empty sparse parcel of land populated by both Jews and Palestinians. Not until 1948, following the holocaust of Europe during World War II, was the land officially given to Israel to form a national identity.
From a pragmatic point of view it has always been that the spoils of war go to the victor. The Romans took the land from the Greeks, the Ottoman’s took it from the Romans, and the Europeans took it from the Ottomans and gave it to whomever they choose. From this stand point the Israeli’s have as much right to be a nation as do the other nation states that were set up by the Treaty of Sevres.
Taking a step back even further the Israeli Nation had a national identity prior to the Romans expelling them in AD 70. But seldom do nations regain lost land unless regained through battle. Only through the efforts of the Zionist movement and their relationship with, and sympathies from, Europe did it make possible Israel’s return to the land.
In this view of shifting national identities based on the spoils of war those who would like to take Israel’s land by force can do so if they have the strength to be militarily victorious. In 1967 the Arab’s of the region felt they had that might. They attacked Israel from two sides and lost. Not only did they lose the war but also they lost land (to the victor goes the spoils). For them to cry fowl now is kind of silly.
It is easy to look back and make judgments about the decisions of other nations and say that they were right or wrong. That doesn’t provide any solutions for today. It would be like the United States going back to its 1850 boarders because the Native Americans want their land back. It might be the right thing to do but it would also create a whole slue of other problems for today. Should Israel go back to the 1967 boarders or the 1920 boarders? Or should they return to the boarders of Roman or Solomon?
From my perspective the Land has belonged to Israel since the time of Moses, taken and given back to them over and over again. They now are in their land once again by the providence of God. The boarders of 1967 were gained as a result of an attack on their national identity and belong to them. As a nation we should support the rights of nations as they stand today. But we won’t. As we fight in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya we prove once again that might brings about change and to the victor goes the spoils. We perpetuate what we say we abhor to bring about what we believe is the best for the region and us.
God is not finished with Israel. He has a plan for her to turn her heart back to Him. We need to support her, not in everything that she does, but because she is the chosen people of God. Let us guide, advise, encourage, chastise, and pray for them as a people; first to return to the God of their Father Abraham and faith in His Son Jesus; secondly, to live at peace with her neighbors (if that is even possible). I’m just saying…..