One Explanation for the Mess in the Middle East
One hundred years ago tomorrow, November 2, 1917, the British Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour wrote what is known today as the Balfour Declaration.
The British saw this as doing several things for them. They thought that the Jews in other countries would assist them in WWI against the Germans, especially within neutral countries during the war. Additionally, they were concerned about bringing stability to the Middle East. They were concerned about their Egyptian colony in North Africa and India in the East. By controlling the Middle East, Britain would benefit. Therefore, they supported the Zionists, who would be a reliable ally against the Germans and the Ottoman Turks and Arabs generally.
The interesting dilemma was that the Zionists wanted their homeland, which they hadn’t lived in for two millennia. Of course, that land had other nations which locals saw as theirs. Initially, the Canaanites lived there prior to the Hebrews seizing the land of Canaan. The Hebrews’ logic was their god told them it was to be their homeland. They got into the situation of determining their right to the land based upon their spin on what their god had said to them. That assumes that their god was the only rightful god in the world.
The Zionists and British teamed up to give the Zionist the land but for differing reasons. Therefore, if you are British or Jewish, the Balfour Declaration seemed reasonable and a defensible position. However, additional global issues interfered with the Balfour Declaration coming to fruition. After WWI, the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 gave the British the mandate of control in that area. Nevertheless, both the Zionist, who didn’t live in Palestine, wanted the land, and the Palestinians wanted Palestine, where they had lived since biblical times.
Within a decade of the Treaty of Versailles, the Great Depression occurred. Additionally, as a result of the treaty, Germans had suffered due to the conditions. As a result, Hitler emerged, which resulted in the beginning of WWII. After WWII, the UN partitioned Palestine between the Jews and Arabs on November 29, 1947.
Therefore, what the Middle East faces now is the direct result of the mistakes that were started exactly a century ago. Or to quote Shakespeare, “The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children.” In all fairness, Shakespeare paraphrased Numbers 14:18 from the OT. For those sins of the British and Zionists, we have all suffered. ISIS is merely the last incarnation of the Balfour Declaration.
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