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Israel and Today's Gibeonites: the 'Palestinians'

A Christian's approach to the Current Issue

by Jacques More

For those interested in the background I have also written:
A brief Modern History of Israel and Palestine

Writing December 2002

When I wrote my article entitled Islam, The Devil, and Israel one of my immediate concerns was to speak into the lie that God is behind and thus for suicide terrorism by Arabs against Israelis. The mischievous and wrong idea that God would reward those who did such deeds was thus addressed. In the article I gave full recognition to the land being endorsed by the God of the Book: the Bible, as for Israel. I finished however by mentioning what God had said to Israel, when they re-entered the land after their time in Egypt:

. . . you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 23:9

Here I wish to expand upon that theme and highlight how the Bible goes on to show things done by Israel today which are not in God's plans or purposes. Things I believe God is unhappy about and indeed against. I wish to do this by means of the story of the Gibeonites. I am in no way claiming that today's 'Palestinians' are descended from the Gibeonites in any way whatsoever, indeed to the contrary. What I will do is show by this story how God feels about Israel when they fail to live up to the promises they make, let alone if they or any nation persists in wickedness (Jeremiah 18:7-8). I would also like to discuss the UN resolutions and the current way things are in 'Palestine'. Therefore there will need to be a bit of history and background to outlay.


I have thus far placed the word 'Palestinian' and 'Palestine' in quotation marks. I have done this deliberately. Initially this is in order to highlight something not immediately known by many when they hear the news of "the plight of the 'Palestinians'". The name of Palestine (Syria Palestinia) was given to the region by the Roman Emperor Hadrian during the 2nd century AD. He is best known here in the U.K. for his wall to keep the ancient Scots out of England. Today Palestine as a region encompasses parts of Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Israel. However by the re-creation of Syria and Israel and the creation of the Jordan kingdom and Lebanon in the last century, the name of Palestine has been removed from use in their respective territories. But, until the re-birth of the State of Israel in 1948 in the very middle of the region known as Palestine, as is Jordan, the inhabitants were known as the Jews and the Arabs of Palestine. Not a country or a State by that name, but a region like Europe. It is a description of a region irrespective of the countries now within that region. No one though, at this time, calls themselves European as if that was 'their' country and no one called themselves 'Palestinian' as if that was 'theirs'. This remained the case until the 1960s right up until about the beginnings of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (the PLO). Even in 1964 when the Arabian - American Oil Company donated funds for equipment to help the Refugees in the area it was a gift to the Palestine Refugees not 'Palestinian' (The Times 14th August 1964 page 7b). Indeed earlier that year on the 29th May the Palestine Arab Refugees first conference convened in East Jerusalem then part of Jordan (The Times 30th May 1964 page 7d): The article begins to show the use of both terms 'Palestinian' and 'Palestine Refugee' (i.e. Arab) as interchangeable. It appears to be the period when the term Palestinian then became 'the name' for the Arab Palestine Refugee. This is of value in order to recognise that there did not exist a Palestinian State or 'Country'.

The Arabs who lived in the land at the same time as the Jews by the time the British left in 1948 had no name by which to identify themselves, and the majority desiring to stay, but not be part of the new Jewish State of Israel, eventually began to call themselves Palestinians. The name for the whole region then became used for the Arabs without status in the region and those who did not wish to be identified (eventually) with the new nation of Jordan or, as Egyptians. At the time of the1967 '6 day war' between Israel against Jordan, Egypt and Syria, the areas now known as the West Bank were part of Jordan and the Gaza strip part of Egypt. At the Oslo Accords of 13th September 1993 (I use this date because until that day the PLO was not named on the documents) Israel has recognised by naming the PLO officially on the documents, that the name Palestinian exists for this group of Arab peoples: Since the PLO claim themselves as sole representative of the Palestinians. Arabs who stayed and live in Israel since 1948 are now called Israeli Arabs and they live with the Israeli Jews. They also have their own involvement in the politics of Israel and there have been a number of Israeli Arab Members of the Knesset: the Israeli Parliament. As we saw the Palestinians began calling themselves by this name whilst living in Jordan and Egypt. We also saw that these 2 countries are the States who had sovereignty over and were responsible for what is now called the West Bank and the Gaza Strip respectively. These 2 areas were then confiscated by the Israelis and occupied as a result of the 1967 and 1973 wars against these nations. All this is important in order to understand United Nations (UN) Resolutions 242 and 338.

At the end of the wars just mentioned Resolutions 242 and 338 of the UN came about. As signatories to the UN charter Israel, Egypt and Jordan were duly bound by that charter not to hold onto territory gained in war from another Member State of the UN. UN Resolution 242 on the 22nd November 1967 was passed and requires the territories be returned to the States from which they were taken and other matters. Since there was no peace agreement between the countries involved Israel kept these lands for security. Resolution 338 made on the 22nd October 1973 just re-affirms 242 and called for an immediate ceasefire of the latest conflict. This immediate ceasefire was crucial because Russia (the old U.S.S.R) was arming the Syrians who were involved in the 1973 conflict and, as these were losing, they too were about to get involved directly which also caused the Americans (the U.S.A) to threaten likewise…

Now after the 26th March 1979 Peace Accord with Egypt the whole of the Sinai Peninsula which had been captured was returned to Egypt. The Gaza strip was agreed as a special exception with due regard to the Palestinians, and the Egyptians did not require it's return. Also similar could be said in regards to the West Bank territories which were part of Jordan up to 1967, but the issue is a bit more complicated there. There was mutual recognition and respect of present borders up to the agreement signed on 26th October 1994 between Jordan and Israel which exclude the West Bank. A number of factors led to this. The PLO was recognised as the 'speaker' by the Arab Peoples generally as the "only legitimate spokesman for all matters concerning the Palestine People" (letter to U Thant Secretary General of the UN in 1964 reported in The Times ibid.). The fighting between the PLO and Jordan forces after 1967 in Jordan (East Bank) until their final expulsion in the summer of 1971 (mainly to Lebanon and Syria). This expulsion involved the armed Palestinians; there remains many Palestinians in Jordan. The West Bank then became a de facto, non-part of Jordan and recognised as such by Jordan. The relationship between Israel and Jordan though secret and covert in practise was such that immediately prior to the October Yom Kippur war of 1973 King Hussein of Jordan expressed his belief to Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir directly on the 25th September 1973 that the Egyptians and the Syrians were co-operating and preparing for an imminent war (pages 118-119 of The Fifty Years War: Israel and the Arabs by Ahron Bregman and Jihan El-Tahri BBC Book). On the 6th of October 1973 eleven days later the war began.

UN Resolutions 242 and 338

The current relevance of all this is that UN resolutions 242 and 338 are explicit of the return to the States involved of the territories that were captured in 1967 and 1973. As regards the Gaza strip and the West Bank the countries are Egypt and Jordan respectively. But de facto understandings and actual agreements between these two countries and the State of Israel have relinquished the right to these territories for themselves. The States involved in UN 242 and 338 have therefore already agreed their immediate non-requirement for these lands by their own States. UN resolutions 242 and 338 therefore legally or technically speaking, since they are not involving in themselves any other States in respect of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, do not have any further relevance in the issue between the Palestinians and Israel. Not as regards their explicit wording: a factor long recognised (astutely) by the PLO. They refused to recognise 242 and 338 on the grounds that the PLO is not mentioned. But, since other parties required the PLO to recognise the resolutions in order to be recognised (and talked with) themselves, the PLO eventually accepted them prior to the Oslo Accords. However, the Oslo Accords themselves do not reflect the 242 and 338 understanding that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are Egyptian and Jordan areas: areas of States existing. To all effects and purposes therefore UN resolutions 242 and 338 are no longer relevant. Any further attempt at their application is incongruous.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip

By the time of their capture in 1967 the West Bank and Gaza Strip had become part of Egypt and Jordan. By then Egypt, Jordan and Israel were members of the UN. Now these are areas understood since by the PLO and Israel in their Oslo Accords. However these Accords recognise that these areas are not final in settlement i.e. as part of the Greater Israel (just as the West Bank had been part of the Greater Jordan). Therefore by these Accords signed by both parties there is recognition that there is territory fully relinquished for a Palestinian autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as territory also in those regions not fully decided/agreed upon as to being either for eventual Palestinian control or Israeli control. Until such time of these agreements the latter territory is under Israeli control, but the agreed areas of autonomy are no longer. These were evacuated of Israeli troops since the Oslo Accord of 13th September 1993. Any references by the media generally therefore that the West Bank or the Gaza Strip are 'occupied territories' are erroneous and misleading in general. Anytime further terrorist activities by Arabs have occurred, has seen the Israeli Defence Forces re-enter the autonomous areas (as is their right under the accords). These areas have thus temporarily been re-occupied. But, you cannot re-occupy 'occupied territories'. That is a fallacious statement and the media services and other information services need to update their data in this respect. It is not helpful to future peace and negotiations to have such misleading propaganda (effectively). However there remains un-agreed portions of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip which are recognised as such by both parties. But, the agreed areas are no longer 'occupied territories'.

The Gibeonites

Apart from my introductory paragraphs and bible quote I have dealt with history and fact. Particularly as they relate to the truth of the present situation between the State of Israel and the Palestinians. They may appear biased towards Israel, but in effect reflect accurately the situation which is not always seen by the parties involved and those interested. If it is felt I have been inaccurate as an assessment, since certainly it is not complete or exhaustive, such that it is thought I am wrong in my above conclusions, then I would be glad to receive information to the contrary of the above. I now wish to talk about the Gibeonites.

Following the exodus from Egypt in the 15th century BC, prior to the people of Israel entering the promised land and conquering the inhabiting nations, the Lord clearly stated:

. . . I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand, and you shall drive them out before you. You shall make no covenant with them . . .

Exodus 23:31-32

Now, after Moses died Joshua led Israel into the land and soon after, the lord gave victory over the cities of Jericho and Ai. Not far were the inhabitants of Gibeon (Ramallah is probably the nearest town to these ancient places which include another three towns: see Joshua 9:17) and in fear for their lives these people craftily came to Joshua and said that they lived in a far away country. They did not mention the recent victories for had they declared them, they would have shown themselves to having been around nearby. Instead they claimed that they had heard (only) of the work of God in delivering Israel from Egypt and the immediate victories following their departure from there. So they said they had come to make a peace deal with Israel - to enter into a covenant 'relationship' with them. Seeing the worn out clothes these people were wearing, the mouldy food with them (claimed as having been new when they left their far away land) and hearing this 'testimony', the leaders of Israel did not ask the Lord, but went ahead and entered into a covenant 'relationship':

. . . they did not ask counsel of the LORD. So Joshua made peace with them, and made a covenant with them to let them live; and the rulers of the congregation swore [in promise] to them. And it happened at the end of three days, after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were their neighbours who dwelt near them.

Joshua 9:14 -16

Later in the history between these people in covenant there came to be a famine in the land of Israel for 3 years, year after year. When David the king (at the time) inquired of the Lord why this was, He answered:

It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house [the previous king and his rule], because he killed the Gibeonites.

2 Samuel 21:1

So we see that God cares when He sees the mis-treatment of a people who are in accord with Israel. He expects the fulfilment of Israel's promises and agreements made with people in the land. He expects faithfully holding to the promise made, with his help and blessing in the process.

What has this got to do with the Palestinians?

Simple, following the Oslo Accords, the Lord expects Israel to keep to their promised obligations. Which includes as stated in these Accords to discuss the territories not agreed as final areas for either party to eventually possess. This means that any buildings and inhabitants in the 'disputed' or 'not yet agreed' areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip will eventually be inhabitants of a greater Palestine Authority (the P.A.) autonomy or, of the greater Israel. Since both parties agree to these areas now as being 'under eventual discussion and agreement'. Now there was a timetable to all these things in the Accords, but the continued disturbances and terrorism has stopped the clock temporarily. This was always a possibility. But continued disturbances and terror will only keep that clock inactive. They do not invalidate the promises made that these areas are to be discussed. It does not help the P.A. to have orchestrated and given any continued credence to Intifadas (mass disruptions and throwing of stones, etc).

In the event of dwellings and inhabitants being within the geographical area of the greater 'Palestine' then full recognition and security needs to be effected for them, but not as citizens of another 'State'. Just as Arab citizens in Israel are known as Israeli Arabs, so Jews there could be known as Palestinian Jews; and vice versa. Any further settling would require further purchases as occurred prior to 1948. If the Jews there did not wish this, then they would need to migrate to Israel proper. No amount of 'Settling' in the disputed territories in the meantime, by virtue of the recognition that these areas are still to be negotiated, invalidates the area as belonging to either party.

Various thoughts involving both sides

Israel's injustice since the Accord

Israel has attempted influence in the elections carried out by the Palestinians. For free and fair elections to occur neither Yasser Arafat as the present P.A. leader nor Israel, should prevent genuine free and fair voting rights of the Palestinians in the understood areas where they have been allowed to vote. In East Jerusalem undue influence was brought to bear by the Israeli authorities preventing thousands from voting in the first elections of 20th January 1996 (pages 459-460 Sharing the Promised Land by Dilip Hiro published by Hodder and Stoughton). Equally Yasser Arafat did not give equal access to the media for any of his political opponents.

The free movement of peoples are also a factor in the economy and ability to work. Any such restrictions in reprisals from terrorist acts unjustly discriminate against the population as a whole, when the terror is due to the deeds of individuals and small groups. These are effective 'attacks' on any Palestinian economy as a whole and proper trade and thus contribute to the cycle of violence and disagreements against Israelis; they do not hinder it. Security will always mean restriction. How much is the issue.

The Accords agreement calls for co-operation in between the security and Policing organisations of Israelis with Palestinians. Therefore any incursions of Israeli forces into Palestinian areas if not co-ordinated should at the very least be fore-warned, if in the vaguest of terms, until such times as all explicit terrorist organisations are disarmed within the autonomous areas.

The PA's injustice since the Accord

Equally for Yasser Arafat and the P.A. is trust valid in them when they not only condone, but approve acts of terrorism? No.

Is it any wonder that Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu, prominent men in the Israeli Likud Party desire to see Yasser Arafat be removed? No.

The signing of documents and organising of weapons for other than the PA Police Forces, let alone the continued praise of 'martyrs' do not engender trust. Statements made in English to the media should be no different to those made in Arabic to Palestinians. They have not.

Has there been real effort to cease the arming of terrorist organisation within their autonomous territories? Is not 'turning a blind eye' to such an implicit approval of continuing violence? So, why I ask myself does Yasser Arafat condemn the pre-emptive attacks by Israeli forces against such groups when he should be involved in preventing the terror and arming of these in 'his' autonomous areas?

Also in regards to fellow Palestinians, Yasser Arafat and the 'ruling government' need to allow freedom of expression to his opponents (within the normal 'standard' of non-incitement to violence of course). Whether they be radical or moderate. Since the radicals are usually armed, the moderates less so, it is important that their security from harm and their freedom of expression is guaranteed. The opposite has been occurring and this 'ruling' has had a direct involvement in quenching such expressions and organisation. Also in previous elections a disproportionate amount of shutting up or prevention of speech of other views and political voices has been the norm. With these things happening I do not find it hard to understand those who desire Yasser Arafat to go amongst Palestinians and Israelis. He needs to address all the above and be seen to do so honestly if he wishes to be trusted.

East Jerusalem

One of the difficulties in the negotiations has been the status of Jerusalem. The Palestinians desire is to have their capital in East Jerusalem. The Israeli dream is not to have Jerusalem divided but as a single entity. These appear as incompatible.

I think an offer of East Jerusalem for the Palestinians is possible if it is understood that the City of David, the Old Town is Central Jerusalem and not part of any East Jerusalem. You cannot divide the centre.

Arab Brothers - The Brotherhood of Arabs

In my reading of the material to gain an appreciation of the situation I was pleased to see the Arab 'feeling' or 'appreciation' for other Arabs in the world or as neighbours. A view of each other as brothers has helped their mutual appreciation and understanding. Now I am not aware of any evidence to the contrary, but it is often understood or believed that the Arab Nations and peoples originally came from Ishmael the first son of Abraham (Genesis 17:20). Now, Isaac was also a direct son of Abraham and both Ishmael and Isaac were present together at Abraham's funeral (Genesis 25:9). And since Isaac is father to Jacob whom God renamed Israel (Genesis 32:28), then it can be seen that Arabs and Jews are fellow sons of Abraham. Since all this is true and undeniable the people of Israel and Arabs can be seen as brothers. Is it not about time they treated each other like that?

(I first came upon this thinking in John Noble's book The Shaking published by Monarch Books)

Israel's need to act: how to

To be just and fair involves feeding your enemy when he is hungry and to drink when he is thirsty for then you will be rewarded by the Lord and convict your 'enemy' to equally do what is right.

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

Proverbs 25:21-22

But, the Palestinian is no longer Israel's enemy if they are fellow participants of a joint agreement. So even more reason to assist and not entice to further violence. Security is one thing; retaliation and revenge is another. Is security helped by persistent disproportionate and indiscriminate reprisals to acts of terrorism? No.

Israel must not forget

Israel must not forget that while God loves His people and the land, He caused their removal from the land more than once due to their wickedness: The first time to Babylon and the second to the world. He can do so again (Deuteronomy 29:14-30:20). The famine experienced by King David and Israel as a result of the mis-treatment of the Gibeonites is a clear indication that God is for justice and righteousness. He is no respecter of persons (Deuteronomy 10:17).

Israel is praising and commending the memory of the fighters for the independence of the Jews who committed terrorist acts up to 1948 against the British (who themselves were not 'pure' - I speak as a British Subject), conveniently the motives of these fighters is forgotten when addressing the issue of Palestinian terrorists. Both are wrong.

For both

It is not by the gun, but by sound reasonings that progress can now occur. By honest aid and recognition as God clearly advocates for then there will be peace and stability. In the end, I believe God wishes both Israelis and Palestinians not to think that any deed of terrorism or unjust retaliation can be done with impunity. But those He rewards will be those who truly work for the other to the praise of His Name (Proverbs 25:22: Deuteronomy 10).

You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Exodus 22:21

. . . [God] administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.

(This is only verses 18-19 but the whole is well worth a read.) Deuteronomy 10:12-21

Finally, a verse for the Israeli Jew who thinks he can just kill, maim or harass with impunity:

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8


Please note that in writing this Document I have made no use of quotes from the New Testament of the Bible. The quotes contained can all be verified in a Hebrew Bible: in the Torah and the Prophets.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 242

22 November 1967

The Security Council,

Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which include the application of both the following principles: (i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict; (ii) Termination of all claims of states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized borders from threats or acts of force;

2. Affirms further necessity (a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area; (b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem; (c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles of this resolution;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the Special Representative as soon as possible.

Adopted by unanimous vote

United Nations Security Council Resolution 338

22 October 1973

The Security Council

1. Calls upon all parties to the present fighting to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately, no later than 12 hours after the moment of adoption of this decision, in the positions they now occupy;

2. Calls upon the parties to start immediately after the ceasefire the implementation of Security Council resolution 242 (1967) in all of its parts;

3. Decides that, immediately and concurrently with the cease-fire, negotiation shall start between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East.

Adopted by 14 votes to one with one abstention (China)


Ref. M.020

Unless otherwise stated Bible quotes are from the New King James Version

© copyright Thomas Nelson Inc. 1979,1980,1982.

© copyright Jacques More 2002. All Rights Reserved.

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