br />The Narrative
The war of narratives shaped itself as a "slam dunk" win for the
Palestinian people and had the potential to change the lineup of forces in the
struggle for a just solution to the Middle
East crisis. After all, unlike
the Zionists, the Palestinians are a singular people, speak a common language,
have common customs, and lived a shared history. They inhabited the area for
centuries, if not for millennia, and tilled and watered the land to which th ey
had legal title. Western nations restructured the Middle East ,
denied the Palestinians a country, and placed them in a British mandate. Refusal
to agree to surrender any of their lands to the UN Partition Plan led to the
catastrophe in 1948 (Al-Nakba), which left them stateless and subject to
Israeli occupation and oppression. As a community, the Palestinians are now
headed toward destruction. Can
they prevent that destruction by winning the war of narratives?
Despite their more compelling narrative, the Palestinians have been unable to
successfully articulate their experiences or implement a powerful rebuttal to Israel 's narrations, and Israel has prevailed in the war of narratives, a feat that
defies the possible. Adding to the failure is the perplexing manner by which
Palestinian institutions and persons unknowingly validate portions of the
Zionist narrative and its falsifications of history. As an example, this
excerpt appears on the website of a Palestinian "think tank" in Washington,
Canaanites were the earliest known inhabitants of Palestine. They became urbanized and lived in city-states, one of
which was Jericho. Thus Jericho is considered to be one of the oldest continuously
inhabited cities on earth.
Israelites, a confederation of Hebrew tribes, defeated the Canaanites, but
found the struggle with the Philistines more difficult. The Philistines had
established an independent state on the southern coast of Palestine and controlled the Canaanite town of Jerusalem. The Philistines were superior in military organization
to the Israelites [and] severely defeated them about 1050 BCE.
"David, Israel 's king, united the Hebrew tribes and eventually defeated
the Philistines. The three groups assimilated with each other over the years.
The unity of Israelite tribes enabled David to establish a large independent
state, with its capital at Jerusalem. However, that did not last long as that state split
into two: Israel in the north and Judea in
Palestinian "think tank" has published a dubious biblical history,
which Israel 's propagandists use to advantage. History and
archaeology contest the presentation:
(1) Jericho, one of the
earliest cities, no longer existed at the time of the later Canaanites (it
eventually recovered), which means it was not continually inhabited, and there
was no Jericho for Joshua, and probably no conquest by a Joshua of other
(2) The Exodus, Conquest, and lives of David and Solomon are myths. If a David
and/or Solomon existed, they were minor chieftains and not leaders with a
capital in Jerusalem.
The Exodus and
lack of proof of its occurrence
Although the ancient Egyptians kept meticulous records, no manuscripts,
drawings, or documents describe Hebrew slaves in Egypt or an exodus. Besides, Egypt was not, as Rome, a slave state and only kept foreigners captured in war
as slaves. If they wandered 40 years in the barren desert, would not the
100,000-plus Hebrews have left some traces for future verification -- pottery
shards, implements, shreds of garments, or weapons? If they had the latter,
which they needed for conquest, how were they obtained or forged? Lastly,
because the earliest examples of written Hebrew date from the 10th century B.C.
would not the Hebrews, after being captive in Egypt for centuries, have spoken and written a Middle Egyptian
language? What language did they speak?
Archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, in her book Digging
up Jericho: The Results of the Jericho Excavations, 1952-1956, Praeger, New York, estimated the city
was destroyed before 1550 BC, 150 years prior to Joshua's supposed arrival, and
remained dormant until the 11th century B.C. Radiocarbon tests by Hendrink J.
Burns, Tell es-Sultan
(Jericho): Radiocarbon results of short-lived cereal and multiyear charcoal
samples from the end of the middle Bronze age, Jacob Blaustein, Institute
for Desert Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, confirmed Ms. Kenyon's
If Joshua did not
conquer Jericho, was there any conquest?
The most definitive rebuttal to
biblical history before the 9th century B.C. comes from recognized Tel Aviv
University archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher
Silberman, who documented their explorations in The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's
New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, Simon
& Schuster, 2002.
Their archaeological diggings demonstrated that "the Israelites were
simply Canaanites who developed into a distinct culture. Recent surveys of
long-term settlement patterns in the Israelite heartlands show no sign of
violent invasion or even peaceful infiltration, but rather a sudden demographic
transformation about 1200 BCE in which villages appear."
Finkelstein and Silberman continue with discoveries, which "suggest that Jerusalem was sparsely populated and only a village during the
time of David and of Solomon. During the time of Solomon, the northern kingdom
of Israel had an insignificant existence, too poor to be able to
pay for a vast army, and with too little bureaucracy to be able to administer a
kingdom, certainly not an empire." It was not until the eighth century
B.C., 200 years after David, that Jerusalem began to grow.
Control of Jerusalem
Jerusalem's status is furiously debated in "balanced"
discussions. Israel demands total control of a "united city,"
which it claims is essential to its heritage, and Palestinians are willing to
defer to Jerusalem becoming a shared city. In these "balanced"
meetings, the Palestinians cannot gain the offensive, and are unable to obtain
a reply to a simple question: Why are Jews allowed to settle in East Jerusalem and reclaim a few dubious properties, while Palestinians are not
allowed to settle in West
Jerusalem and regain multitudes
of usurped properties?
Examine the Holy
Basin. The Holy
Basin contains well-marked Christian and Muslim institutions
and holy places that have had historical placement for more than a millennium --
Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Al Asqua Mosque, Dome of the Rock, and Mosque of
Although Hebrews had
major presence in Jerusalem during the centuries of biblical Jerusalem, which
included rule by several kingdoms and control by the Hasmonean dynasties, their
control and major presence were interrupted between the kingdom and dynasty and
became insignificant after 70 A.D. Commentary has enabled the more than two
thousand years of lack of control and presence to seem as if they never
happened, and that today is only a short interval from the ancient years of
King Hezekiah. Centuries of Christian and Crusader rule and more than one
thousand years of Muslim rule are less noted, and their tremendous
constructions and creations in Jerusalem are downplayed. The Christian and Muslim everythings
become nothing and a minor Hebrew something becomes everything. Myth replaces
reality. Ethereal spirituality replaces physical presence.
Some remains of Jewish
dwellings, burial grounds, and ritual baths can be found, but few, if any, major
Jewish monuments, buildings, or institutions from the Biblical era exist within
the "Old City" of today's Jerusalem. The oft-cited Western Wall is the supporting wall for
Herod's platform and is not directly related to the Second
Temple. No remains of that Temple have been located.
The Western Wall, which
erroneously entered the vernacular as the Wailing Wall by someone during the
19th century, is considered to be close to the "holiest of the
holies," the most revered site in Judaism. According to historian Karen
Armstrong, in her book Jerusalem, Ballantine
29, 1997, Jews did not pray at
this part of the Western Wall until the Mamluks in the 15th century allowed
them to move their congregations from a dangerous Mount of Olives and pray daily at the Wall. At that time, she estimates
that there may have been no more than 70 Jewish families in Jerusalem.
This portion of the
Western Wall lacks absolute proof of its being close to the "holiest of
the holies," and therefore has religious significance by default -- there
is no other readily apparent religious construction from the ancient Hebrew's Jerusalem. Or, is it significant because Israel wants control of part of the wall that surrounds the
Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif, a site it hopes to control one day?
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