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Monday, 12 January 2009

PALESTINE-ISRAEL CONFLICT - II. The Birth of Palestine

It begins with a map. Without a map, we will all get lost. If you are myopic, a condition suffered by mostly aging grumpy old men and women, and some of our politicians who, ironically, have yet to reach their 40th birthday, then kindly tap on the map to get a bigger view. For those of you who grumble why the map is in black and white, read properly, "Map of Ancient Near East"...ancient...get it?


Moving along. There will be many version of the early history of Palestine, and since history is mostly bullshit anyway, we will just get it from sources that makes the most unbiased sense.

WHO'S LAND ARE THEY FIGHTING FOR ANYWAY?

Between 1800 and 1500 B.C., it is thought that Semitic people called Hebrews (Haipiru), left Mesopotamia and settled in Canaan . There are others who settled there, including other Semitics, Hittities and later Philistines ( people from the sea who are thought to have arrived from Mycenae, or to be part of the ancient Greek that settled in Mycenae). Oooohhhh....look at the amount of hyperlink I have..talk about deeper than the rabbit hole....( Matrix...duuuhh)

The archaeological record indicates that the Jewish evolved out of native Cana'anites and the invading tribes. According to the Bible, Moses led some of the Israelites out of Egypt (south of Cana'an), who under Joshua, conquered the tribes and city states of Cana'an. King David conquered Jerusalem sometime in 1000B.C.

I'm sure the burning question by now would be, who are the Jewish, who are the Israelites ? Well, to find out, click here for a clear answer.

Oh by the way, 1000B.C. comes later than 1500B.C , and so forth. Smaller number means later chronologically. For a freaking 5 minutes, I was trying to figure out, who was there first in Cana'an, the Hebrews, ergo the Jews, or the Israelites. (and I thought I was going to get only confused by who are the Jewish and who are the Israelites....told you I slept through History class....but wait...there's more to come...the Zionist...gulp in more aspirins). The kingdom was divided into Israel, in the north and Judea in the south. Jerusalem however, remained the center of Jewish sovereignty all the way till Jewish revolt in 133 A.D. (not After Dinosaur but Anno Domini , Latin for "In the year of our Lord.")

The conquering did not stopped there. Assyrians conquered Israel in 722 B.C. Babylonians conquered Judea around 586B.C. Solomon's Temple was destroyed and a large number of Jews were exiled.

Israel (the northern part of the earlier split mentioned) was forced into exile by Assyria and were replaced by other captives of the Assyrian Empire. The Israelites who were captured were placed in the western part of the empire. Later, when Babylon became the world ruling empire - replacing Assyria, they migrated westward rather than becoming captives of the Babylonians, ergo, pushing the Israelites farther westward.

Some clay cuneiform tablets containing containing Assyrian records of this 700's BCE Israelite deportation, were discovered sometime in late 1800's (translated in 1930s). There were records of four deportations, which proved the ten tribes of the northern Nation of Israel were assembled into Assyrian culture and became identifiable as the Camerians, the Sycthians, and the Goths, who later , through different paths, migrated essentially to northwest Europe. They were later known as the Anglo-Saxon Celtics.

Babylon was conquered by Cyrus, the Persian king some time in 536B.C. (50years later), and ruled the land until 331 B.C. They allowed the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem and settle in it. However, a large number of Jews remained in Babylonia, forming the first Jewish Diaspora .

With the conquer of Persian by Alexander the Great and after his death in 323B.C , the empire was divided by his generals.

Sometime around 61 B.C, Rome invaded Judea and sacked Jerusalem in support of King Herod. Judea had become a client state of Rome. The Romans called the large central area of the land, including Jerusalem, Judea. In A.D. 135, the Romans drove the Jews out of Jerusalem after a failed Bar Kochba revolt in about 70A.D. and again, in 132 A.D.

Palestina was given it's name by the Romans at about this time. Most of the Jews fled or forced into exile where they form the second Jewish Diaspora. There are Jewish community that existed mainly in Galilee, northernmost part of Palestine.

Palestine was governed by Romans until the fourth century A.D. and then by the Byzantine Empire. It is believed by the Christians, that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, Judea, in early years of the Roman rule. For some time, there was calm before the next diarrhoea spasm.

Then the conquering spasm started again with the Muslim Arab armies moving in north from Arabia to conquer most of the Middle East, including Palestine. For the historians that denied the fact that, just like Christianity, the Islam is spread via war, eat that fact and try not to get indigestion. Jerusalem was conquered by Caliph Umar Al Khatab, who gave protection to it's inhabitants. Jewish and Christians were allowed to keep their religion albeit most of the local population embraced Islam and the Arab-Islamic culture of their rulers. Muslim powers controlled the region until the early 1900's. Jerusalem ( Al-Quds) became holy to Muslims as it is believed that the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. ascended to heaven after a miraculous overnight ride from Mecca on his horse Al-Buraq. Al Aqsa mosque was erected on the site regarded generally as the area of the Jewish temples.

In keeping with the Turki Boleh spirit, the Seljuk Turks conquered Jerusalem in 1071, lasting 30 years of ruling. Initially, they were replaced by The Fatimid rulers of Egypt. The Fatimids took advantage of the Seljuk struggles with the Christians Crusaders. They made and alliance with the crusaders in 1098 and captured Jerusalem, Jaffa and other parts of Palestine. The Crusaders, however, broke the alliance and invaded Palestine about a year later. They captured Jaffa and Jerusalem in 1099. slaughtered many Jewish and Muslim defenders and forbade Jews to live in Jerusalem. and held the city until 1187. Then weaving like ketupat, the Muslim ruler Saladin conquered Jerusalem. Of course the Crusaders had to recapture Jerusalem, the holy land that had seen generations of bloodshed in the name of religion.

By now, if anyone have not wondered what is it about men and conquering, then they have not been paying attention to the history. Basically this is the era whereby countries got gang banged and they still have the audacity to call it "civilization". Changing from B.C to A.D obviously have no impact on men's habit of conquering and engaging in war. Funny how people who have been granted enlightenment by the higher being behave no less than how a Pagan would behave. Apparently enlightenment did not change men's greed for more land, more power and ultimately more concubines.

Question : Have men change through time? The history of Palestine will answer your question.

Basically the Crusaders lost the war in 1291 in a battle in Acre, whereby Muslims captured it. They deterred the Crusaders during post-crusade period, who raided the coastline of Palestine by pulling people back from the coasts and destroyed coastal towns and farms, rendering it depopulated and impoverished for hundreds of years.

Marmelukes, soldier-slave of the Arabs (based in Egypt), established an empire that included Palestine sometime in 1200's. At that time, the population comprises of mostly Arab speaking Muslims. Beginning in the late 1300's Jews from Spain and other Mediterranean lands settled in Jerusalem and other parts of the land. The Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamelukes in 1517, and the Palestine became part of the it's empire. Jews fleeing the Spanish Catholic Inquisition were invited by the Turkish Sultan to settle in the Turkish empire, including several cities in Palestine.

And you think this is the "and they live happily ever after part" ? Well, you're wrong. This is just a tad bit of serial conquering spree Palestine had endured. In 1798, Napoleon came into the scene. ("aaaaaaaaaaaam coming up, so you better get the party started" I can hear Pink singing in the background of my mind ). Needless to say, most people fled. Those who stayed revolted against Egyptian and Ottoman rule. It is believed that this time may have helped to catalyze Palestinian Nationalism. Things went back to "normal" when the Turkish Empire opened to foreigners , allowing the beginnings of Jewish settlement under varios Zionist and proto-Zionists movements. Population of both Arabs and Jewish increased. ( no entertainment like TV etc, that's why).

1880 boasted population of Palestine , surmounted to 400,000, only 24,000 Jews. At that time, the Ottoman government imposed severe restriction on Jewish immigration and land purchase, and began inviting Muslims from other parts of the Ottoman empire to settle in Palestine, including Circassians and Bosnians. However, chiefly by bribery, Jews managed to seek colonization in Palestine.

Up to this point, I hope we now have a clearer view (albeit it is difficult to see anything pass the thick smoke of burnt land from the blasting canons of war), of why the Jews want their land back, and why the Arabs think the land is theirs. As for me, I am tired of thinking, therefore, just like the History Class back in school, I am calling for a recess. Got to go to the loo to puke while slowly deciphering why despite many allegations, there was never a sighting of Intelligent Life form from outer space....because they are intelligent enough to stay away from the human species. I shall be back in Part 3 of the history I've managed to turn into a mini series soap opera, minus the bad hairdo and the shoulder padding. I shall return in the next blog (after my throbbing headache is gone. Now I remember why I slept during my History lessons), with The Rise of the Machines.....oops..I meant The Rise of Zionism.

Before that, what is the conclusion derived from all this conquering of Palestine?

- WOMEN SHOULD LEAD THEIR COUNTRIES not men with their crooked minds designed for conquest. Women on the other hand, would spread love onto the land they rule. The worst fight they'll ever engage in would be just pulling hair in the parliament, just to prove a point when diplomacy fails.


2 comments:

ummi said...

Shari darling,
At this juncture, i don't care what is written in the first few paragraphs..it is the last paragraph that makes all the sense in the world!!!

pah nur said...

Eh...Ummi Aida...heh...heh...
Agreed....WOMEN SHOULD RULE THE WORLD!!!