If you read one thing today, make it this.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, targeting the Jewish population in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, has given a new impetus to a discussion on violent conquest, occupation and colonization, which most of the international community rightly understands as immoral and illegal.
However, when taking into account 3,000 years of history and context, Palestinian Arabs, not indigenous Israeli Jews, become the offending party.
If one people violently conquered the territory of an indigenous people, forced them to declare allegiance to the conquering nation and creed at the point of a sword, foisted a culture, religion and language on the conquered people and treated those who refused as second-class citizens with far fewer rights, there would rightly be outcry, derision and, above all, condemnation.
In the Land of Israel, which was renamed Syria Palaestina after the Roman suppression and expulsion of the indigenous Jewish inhabitants in 135 CE, some Jewish communities remained on their lands and in their cities for hundreds of years. Even Arab writer Muqaddasi complained in 985 CE that “the Jews constitute the majority of Jerusalem’s population.”
The Jews, the last people to hold sovereignty and independence in the land, were subsequently harassed and unequally treated by a series of Roman, Byzantine and Muslim conquerors, whether Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk or Ottoman.
Still, the Jewish presence never disappeared.
In this conflict, only one people — the Jews — meet the criteria of indigeneity, while it is abundantly clear from a cursory understanding of history that the Arab Palestinians do not, as their origins, language, culture and religion came from elsewhere.
One of the most remarkable but overlooked elements of Israel’s history is that the majority of its Jews, almost a million of whom were ethnically cleansed from the Middle East and North Africa in the 20th century, threw off the language and elements of the culture that had been imposed on them throughout the Arab world to reclaim their ancient linguistic and cultural heritage in their ancestral homeland.
This is the long misunderstood historical context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is absolutely a conflict between an oppressed people fighting every day for the freedom to live in their ancestral and indigenous homeland against settlers and occupiers.
If the lens of history is widened, it becomes clear that the current paradigm of the Jewish people as settlers and colonizers and the Palestinians as native to the territory is the opposite of the truth.
Read the entire thing.
As an aside, I am proud of the fact Israellycool was one of the first sites to get behind Ryan Bellerose, who I consider to be largely responsible for articles like this coming out, and the discussion around the conflict focusing more on Jewish indigenous rights.
If you have yet to read his posts on this, you can find them here.