What would you do if your homeland were taken from you?

Earlier Period

1.  For millenia Jews, Arabs, and their Semite ancestors have lived in the area we now call Israel/Palestine.  (Since both Arabs and Jews are Semites, does  the term ‘anti-Semitic’ have any usefulness in a consideration of the people affected in the Israel/Palestine conflict?)

2.  Jericho (in the West Bank), which we are told is the oldest inhabited city, was built about 10,000 years ago by ancestors of Arabs.

3.  Early Jews moved from Ur in Sumer (Mesopotamia, now Iraq) to Canaan (inter alia, Israel/West Bank) about 4,000 years ago.

United Kingdom of Israel about 1020 BC  –  about 922 BC, then
Israel (northern Kingdom ) about 922 BC  –  about 722 BC
Judah (southern Kingdom) about 922 BC  –  about 586 BC

4.  There was a Jewish diaspora over time; however, many Jews remained in Palestine.

5.  In Jerusalem during the First Crusade (1096  – 1099 ) thousands of Muslims, Jews, and Arab Christians suffered.  Palestine was their home.

Later Period

6. The  Balfour Declaration, in November 1917, stated in part “His Majesty’s Government” (that is, the Government of Great Britain) “view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, … it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine….”

7. The declaration was accepted by the League of Nations in July 1922 and  was embodied in the mandate given Great Britain for temporary administrative control of Palestine.

8.  In 1947  the British Government turned the Palestine question over to the United Nations.

9.  In November 1947, partition of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state was recommended by the United Nations.

10.  Many Arab Palestinians had to leave, many fleeing, their homes  —  many settling in, or becoming refugees in,  the West Bank or Gaza, and many settling or becoming refugees outside Palestine.   In May 1948 Israel proclaimed independence.

What would YOU do if YOUR homeland were taken from YOU?  In such a case, what do YOU think SHOULD be done?

One proposal
Source:  ‘The Nation,’ June 28, 2010
Implementation of the 2002 Nusseibeh-Ayalon Plan for the creation of two states — with June 1967 borders (with small, one-to-one adjustments) and Jerusalem being the shared capital of both states.

Israel/Palestine negotiations
Negotiations are planned to begin again in September 2010 and to cover ‘issues like the borders of a new Palestinian state, the political status of Jerusalem, security guarantees for Israel and the right of return for Palestinian refugees,’ reported in the “New York Times, August 20, 2010.”  Will there be a just outcome?  Make your views known to the White House ­­
e-mail:;  comments:  202-456-1111; switchboard:  202-456-1414.

Some Books:
A Peace to End All Peace, David Fromkin (New York:  Henry Holt and Company – Owl Books, 1989).

Arabs & Israel for Beginners, Ron David (New York and London:  Writers and Readers, 2001).

Fateful Triangle – The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians, Noam Chomsky (Cambridge, Massachusetts:  South End Press, 1999).

One Palestine Complete – Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate, Tom Segev (New York:  Henry Holt and Company – Metropolitan Books, 1999).

The Balfour Declaration – The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Jonathan Schneer (New York:  Random House, 2010).

– Barbara Walker
for the Granny Peace Brigade


  1. You ask what I think should be done I think all socially conscious people should convey to Israel, Palestine and our own government including Pres. Barak Obama that equal rights which include the ability to live and work with decency and respect must be a primary call for all without a wall of separation or fear that one’s home will be destroyed.


  2. Barbara, Your summary is very valuable. I hope that all involved in the peace process will keep in mind the statement in the original mandate by Great Britain that the rights of all of those who live there must be respected. Edith


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