Israel will be around for some time

Covered in prayer shawls, Jewish men of the Cohanim Priestly caste participate in a blessing during the holiday of Sukkot, in front of the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's Old City (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Covered in prayer shawls, Jewish men of the Cohanim Priestly caste participate in a blessing during the holiday of Sukkot, in front of the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's Old City (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

I was very disturbed by the tone of Gary Spedding’s lengthy letter (‘Israel has impunity for its violations,’ May 30) lambasting the state of Israel for its very existence.

He uses the Arabic word ‘Nakba’ to describe the experiences of the ‘Palestinian’ people from 1947-49 when the United Nations voted legally to establish, (or re-establish after 2,000 years) the State of Israel after much suffering and even murder of the Jewish people in the nations of the world.

There is not room to address all of Mr Spedding’s objections in the brevity of a reader’s letter, but neither should he be let off describing the Arabs as having ‘cities, towns and villages,’ whereas the Jews are described in terms of ‘settlements, colonialism and occupation,’ yet both are the same in actuality if one were to visit either.

The term ‘Palestinian’ he chooses to use exclusively for the Arabs as if they were the sole residents and claimants to the land before 1948, yet it must be remembered that both Jews and Arabs lived together in the land as ‘Palestinians,’ the term not being only exclusive to the Arabs.

This makes any former Palestinian Jews who use the term ‘Israeli’ today appear as ‘blow-ins’ or foreigners.

This is the very art of air-brushing history and revisionism that he himself accuses the Israeli apologists of.

The 750,000 Palestinian Arabs he cites as being expelled (in most cases by the Arab High Command who ordered people to flee with the promise of return to claim Jewish property as well once they had pushed the Jews into the sea), are matched numerically by 750,000 - 850,000 Arabic-speaking Jews from the Arab countries that had to flee with only their coats on their backs due to persecution and were housed only in tents as refugees for a few years in some cases in what was then called Palestine by the British and other authorities who had governed the territory.

These are the forgotten refugees, lost mostly to the history books as they were humanely re-housed eventually by the fledgling Jewish state, whereas the oil-rich Arab nations did nothing to alleviate the suffering of their Palestinian brethren, leaving them as pawns for the UN to continue to use as a critique against Israel at every turn.

Mr Spedding may view the Promised Land as belonging to the Arabs rather than the Jews, but even a cursory glance at the pages of the Holy Bible reveals how it was God, not the Jews themselves, who gave them the title deed to the ‘Land of Milk and Honey.’

It was the Arabs who migrated into the Jewish towns and cities after the Roman expulsion in the second century who were the foreigners and interlopers. And the Bible does predict that the Jews would return.

This is the concept Mr Spedding describes negatively as ‘Zionism,’ but which is a Biblical word describing the beauty of Mount Zion in Jerusalem, for which the Jews yearned in their prayers every Passover with the words, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

This year celebrates 50 years of that fact. Arabs can live peaceably in the Jewish-governed city, but it would not be so for Jews living in an Islamic Caliphate, or Christians either for that matter, if Israel’s protractors get their way and wipe Israel off the map.

According to the LORD God of Israel, however, Israel will be around for some time to come! Amen to that.

Colin Nevin. Nevin-Shalom Ministries, Bangor.