© Jordan White
Feb 29, 2000
Everyone knows that it is good military strategy to “divide and conquer”. Another technique is to attempt to gain control of the highest ground in a particular locale.
“Divide and conquer” refers to the fact that if an army is allowed to remain unified, it is, of course, stronger. Any particular unit is not powerful in and of itself. Therefore, if a unit is cut off from another, it remains isolated and weak. There is strength in numbers and there is strength in unity. Once the army is divided, it is easy to take out the isolated units and have a decisive victory.
Gaining high ground is also important in military strategy to achieve victory. The advantage here is that whoever has the highest ground can effectively monitor the activities of the holder of the lower ground. The lower ground does not, of course, necessarily be sea level or even lowland at all; it just needs to be lower than the land overlooking it.
These two strategies are being employed by the Israelis to dominate the Palestinian people. The “divide and conquer” strategy is being carried out through the building of large Jewish settlements scattered throughout the areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, lands which legally belong to the Palestinian people. (See UN Partition Plan, Nov. 29, 1947.) The settlements are connected to one another by “bypass roads”, highways which bisect Palestinian lands and make it difficult or impossible for them to access their own property, since the roads are for the exclusive use of Jewish settlers and military personnel. There is a system of checkpoints and artificial borders at which all Palestinians are required to stop, show ID, and often, be searched, not just their vehicles but their bodies as well. “Divide and conquer.” That’s the strategy that leaves the Palestinians with a land referred to bitterly as a “leopard skin”, since there’s no unified stretch of land these people can call their own, but only scattered splotches held together by nothing. They can only watch with envy as bees and other insects fly blithely about, crossing borders forbidden to the humans. The bees make honey from Jewish and Palestinian plants alike; however, they alone are allowed to benefit from the land as a whole. The Palestinian people, born on that land, holders of ancient deeds to lands cultivated and homes cherished for generations are forbidden from using or even treading upon that land. They are not just the legal owners; they are tied to that land and they are of that land.
The settlement movement also makes use of the “gain control of higher ground” strategy. Notice that land “returned” to the Palestinians through the so-called “peace process” is often the lower or even the lowest land in the area. Israel obviously found its 1948 UN-established boundaries limiting them to land that seemed uncomfortably low; that is one reason for the seizure of the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank from Jordan following the war of June, 1967. The Golan Heights is the high plateau which extends from the area of the Hula Valley to Mt. Hermon (9232 ft.). The West Bank contains the Samarian and Judean Hills. Jerusalem, at 2625 ft., is located in the Judean Hills region. These are areas that Israel is building settlements on so assiduously and, in many cases, lays claim to because God gave the areas they call “Judea” and “Samaria”(as well as Jerusalem), to the Jewish people for an “everlasting possession”. This is nonsense, of course. Nowhere in Scripture is there an example of God giving anyone land for an “everlasting possession”. In fact, these very lands were taken from the Biblical Jews thousands of years ago because of their disobedience. Add that to the fact that modern-day Israelis (Ashkenazim), are in no way related to the Biblical Jews and you will see that they have no right to these lands whatsoever. Even modern-day governments condemn their seizure of these lands as illegal and refuse to recognize them as a part of Israel. This includes the United States and the European Union.
The real reason for their claim to these lands is, of course, not religious but simply strategic. The land is higher and therefore more valuable from a defense (and possibly even offense) standpoint. Even Israel refers to the new settlements going up as “hilltop” settlements, an odd barefaced confession of their true intentions.
Take a look at the land either “returned” to Palestinian control or that which has been allowed to remain largely in their hands. Just a few examples to start: the Gaza Strip and Jericho, whose “return” was orchestrated by the 1993 Oslo Accords. The Gaza Strip lies on the coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea; Jericho, on the Dead Sea plain, lies at -846 ft. The Palestinians seem to be gratuitously given lower lands to control here and there, as long as there is higher Israeli land to watch over it. For example, Bethlehem is controlled by the Palestinians, and is located in the outskirts of Jerusalem, in the Judean Hills. It’s on high land, right? Yes, in fact Bethlehem sits at 2460 ft., a pretty impressive elevation. However, as I have already pointed out, the city of Jerusalem sits at 2625 ft. and is a city claimed and controlled by Israel since 1967. And why are the Israelis so determined to keep East Jerusalem, in spite of the fact that it contains the Dome of the Rock, the third holiest Muslim shrine and has traditionally been in Arab control? It’s because East Jersalem is higher land, and allows a sweeping view down to Jericho and other West Bank, Palestinian-controlled towns. Yet the Israelis continue to give religious, not strategic, reasons for their desire to dominate this holiest of cities. In my book, that’s using God’s name in vain. That’s blasphemy.
Christians, think about this. Do you really want to be supporting a nation that so clearly is setting out to dominate and subdue an innocent people, dispossessing and robbing them of their legal rights? Do you want to support a nation that claims that God gave them the right to do this, when they surely know they are doing it for strategic reasons? Jesus taught that whoever exalts himself shall be humbled (Matt. 23:12). In the same passage of Scripture He condemned the Pharisees (religious leaders of His day), for the hypocritical action of making pretentious, long prayers even while “devouring widows’ houses”. Jesus’ brother, James, states: “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1: 27)
Don’t buy the lie that Israel is the inheritor and custodian of these lands that rightfully belong to others. Their so-called “covenant” does not exist. The only way to peace in this region is for the land that rightfully belongs to the Palestinian people to be returned to them, with all the settlements dismantled and all the bypass roads torn up. Practice true religion yourselves, and demand that Israel stop blaspheming God with their continued abuse of these people.