Judea, Samaria, and Gaza: Views on the Present and Future

Judea, Samaria, and Gaza: Views on the Present and Future

Judea, Samaria, and Gaza: Views on the Present and Future

Judea, Samaria, and Gaza: Views on the Present and Future

Excerpt

Eretz Israel/Palestine is a unique land in many ways, not least in its geography.On the one hand, it is well known as the crossroads of the old world, where Eurasia and Africa come together culturally and physically.The continental divide between the Atlantic basin and the Indian Ocean—Pacific basins crosses the full length of the land from north to south.Yet the Jordan River basin, which is the heart of the land and contains most of the territory historically considered to be part of it, actually drains into neither of the world's two great ocean systems but is hydrologically self-contained.It drains into the Dead Sea and never leaves the land except to evaporate heavenward.

This physical fact testifies to the land's unity from the Mediterranean to the eastern desert and may even be seen as testifying to its separate character.It also points toward the source of its tragic history as a center of both local and international conflict.

Today that conflict occurs on multiple levels. Most immediate is the struggle between the Jews of Israel and the Palestinian Arabs for a homeland that they, perforce, share.This struggle is part of a larger one between the Jewish people and the Arab world over the right of the Jews—the oldest of peoples—not only to their ancient homeland but also to their very status as a people.Beyond those local and regional dimensions, the conflict has been absorbed into the struggles between the free world and the Communist world and between the third world and the West.

The unity of the land was recognized in international law as recently as 1921 when the League of Nations defined the British mandate over Palestine to include both banks of the Jordan River. The character of the local conflict was imprinted on the map with almost equal rapidity when the new mandatory power in 1922 separated Transjordan from western Palestine for administrative . . .

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