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HomeExpertsThe Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, and the Heralded Messiah

The Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, and the Heralded Messiah

Young people watching the outbreak of the war in the Middle East may think that it started with Hamas’s attack in the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023, leading to unbelievable acts of violence. However, there are other underlying facts behind the events, and it is not limited to just this attack.

Many of the victims killed and kidnapped in Hamas’s inhumane attack earlier this month were peace activists far removed from the ongoing conflict in the West Bank. These people were subjected to a level of violence that no one deserved. The original inhabitants of the same land, the Palestinians, have been subjected to similar inhumane attacks since 1948. Moreover, since 1967, these acts of violence have doubled.

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To better understand what has happened to the Palestinian people, one must look at the letter sent to Lord Rothschild, one of the leaders of the international Zionist movement, on November 2, 1917. This letter, known as the Balfour Declaration, declared the British government’s support for the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Palestine. In this declaration, Britain, a colonial power, proposed a homeland for European Jews suffering under anti-Semitism long before the rise of the Nazis. The person who wrote this letter and gave his name to the declaration was Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary. This initiative initiated the plan to establish a Jewish state in the land of Palestine.

Jews who gained a new homeland after this declaration are now paying their debt of gratitude to Balfour by exhibiting his working desk at the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv.

Edwin Samuel Montagu, a radical liberal who served as the Minister of State for India between 1917 and 1922 and was one of the three Jews in the British cabinet, described Balfour’s statement as a “mischievous political creed.” He vehemently opposed Zionism and successfully altered the terms of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which he found to be anti-Semitic. In a note sent to the cabinet, Montagu summarized his views on Zionism as follows:

“…I assume that it means that Mahomedans (Muslims) and Christians are to make way for the Jews, and that the Jews are to be enabled to erect, by the help of the British government, a Jewish state in Palestine. I do not agree that this is the way to make Palestine friendly to British rule, and it does look like giving away more than we have got. … I assume that the government would not be prepared to do anything that would injure the susceptibilities of the Mahomedans. Are we prepared to violate the susceptibilities of the 7,000,000 of Mahomedans in India by proposing to give to a few Jews for all time the land of the Mahomedans?”

In fact, E.S. Montagu used strong language in his letter dated August 23, 1917, stating: “Zionism has always seemed to me to be a mischievous political creed. If a Jewish Englishman sets his eyes on Mount of Olives and longs for the day when he will remove English children from their shoes and resume agricultural activities in Palestine, he seems to me to have adopted the immemorial wrongs of the Jews as a grave moral condemnation against the civil population of the country in which he is a citizen, and if he can come, he can only come as an invader.”

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In March 1925, the most popular newspaper for Arab Palestinians, La Palestine, published a four-page editorial that began with the words “J’Accuse!” (I accuse!) to protest the Balfour Declaration.

For the Arabs, the arrival of the British forces in their country in 1918 signified the death knell of all the hopes they had nurtured. A special edition in English, published during Lord BALFOUR’s visit to Palestine, bearing the name of the declaration, was printed. In the article, which was gathered under three headings by saying “I accuse,” the following complaints were made.

  1. The BRITISH GOVERNMENT allowed the Jews to become a tool in advancing their nationalist goals in Palestine.
  2. The LEAGUE OF NATIONS tried to govern Palestine in a way that was incompatible with Article 22 of the Covenant Agreement establishing the Mandate system.
  3. The PALESTINIAN GOVERNMENT pursued a policy that granted privileged status to the Jewish minority, causing injustice to the Arab majority in Palestine.

Before the Nazis found a final solution in the name of the Jews, they looked at other regions in other countries as potential destinations for mass expulsion. Madagascar was once considered a possible solution on the table. The idea of Palestine as an alternative was not entirely opposed either. Most German and other European Jews preferred the idea of emigrating to other places, including the United States and the United Kingdom. In the early 20th century, other Jewish groups opposed the idea of establishing a state where both Jewish and Arab capitalists would resist. The underlying idea behind the establishment of Israel was actually the desire for Jews to leave.

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The collective punishment imposed on Gaza and the Palestinian people, allegedly to eliminate Hamas, has had many precedents in the past. The Nazis are infamous for this. The complete destruction of the Lidice village in what is now the Czech Republic in June 1942 on the orders of Hitler and the massacre of 642 people, including women and children, in the Oradour-sur-Glane village in German-occupied France on June 10, 1944, are two tragic events.

In the 1980s, Israel supported the Muslim Brotherhood as a balancing element against the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). The success of this strategy led to Hamas, a branch of the Brotherhood, winning the 2006 Palestinian elections and subsequently being deprived of governance through the Palestinian Authority.

After Israel evacuated this small region in 2005 without relinquishing control over its borders, Gaza was taken over from the Palestinian resistance organization established in 1959 under the leadership of Yasser Arafat and the ruling party in the Palestinian National Authority, Fatah. Considering that Gaza was abandoned just when Ariel Sharon wanted to give up negotiations with the West Bank, everything seems to be going according to plan.

About four years ago, Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the lawmakers in his ruling party, Likud, as follows: “Those who want to prevent the possibility of a Palestinian state should support the strengthening of Hamas and the transfer of money to Hamas. This is part of our strategy.”

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This strategy collapsed on October 7, and Netanyahu has not yet apologized, unlike other responsible officials. However, when the time comes to account for what has happened, he will definitely step down.

A quote from Golda Meir, who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Israel and the first and only woman to hold the position, and was known as the “Iron Lady” in the country’s politics, is frequently brought up these days: “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

The story of the land yearning for peace did not begin to be written just 20 days ago. On Judgment Day, it is stated in Jewish texts that the Messiah heralded will come to Jerusalem via the Mount of Olives. Therefore, the slopes of the hill are filled with graves numbering up to 150,000. Let’s stop the war cries and not bury more innocent children next to these graves.”

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YÜKSEL DURGUT is a journalist with a primary focus on global politics and foreign affairs.

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