RABBI MICHAEL BARCLAY: 'Palestine' does not exist, except as code for genocide

The war in Israel seems to be filled with misconceptions about its complexity as there are so many moving pieces, so much misinformation, and so many fallacies being presented in the media.  It is important to really understand the true history (along with fact-check hyper-links), the honest evaluation of the current war situation, and to offer what may be the only solution for a long lasting peace in the region.

Everyone accepts that on October 7, Hamas, the governing body of Gaza since 2007, led a surprise attack in Israel that resulted in over 1400 murders of civilians, as well as kidnapping over 240 civilian hostages. By their own go-pro footage, Hamas proudly demonstrated their depravities, the like of which has not been seen since the Nazis and Holocaust.  Israel responded and attacked Hamas in northern Gaza, after dropping hundreds of thousands of fliers warning civilians to evacuate.  After over a month of fighting, Hamas sued for a truce, offering the return of some hostages in exchange for a respite in fighting.  Around the world, leftists and Jew haters have been protesting for a cease fire and for Israel to stop attacking Hamas; chanting “Palestine from the river to the sea”.  All of this is pretty well accepted by everyone.  But what is really going on, what has caused this, and what can and really should be done for a lasting peace to be established in the region?

To understand more, we first need to look briefly at history.  First, and in many ways most important to make clear, there is no such thing as a historical nation of Palestine, or people known as Palestinians.  The practice of calling any of the area “Palestine” begins in the late 19th century when it is called that by the Ottoman Empire.  In 1922, it has that name as a British protectorate.  In 1948, with the creation of the modern State of Israel, the name was used as a protectorate of Jordan, which controlled it until 1967.  After the 1967 six day war, the land became part of Israel by international law.  Again, there is no historical “Palestine”.

There is no such thing as “Palestinians”; and certainly no relationship between the people living in Gaza and those in the West Bank.  The great-grandfathers of those currently in the West Bank identified as “Jordanians”, and those in Gaza self-identified as “Egyptians.” After 1967, when the Sinai Peninsula became part of Israel, there was a land-for-peace deal made between Egypt and Israel, and Gaza remained part of Israel after that treaty in 1979. 

These facts are irrefutable, and are even confirmed by Hamas in their own charter, the Covemant of 1988.  In Article 11 of that charter, they claim the right of “waqf”: “holy possession.” They do not claim an historical tie to the land, but rather that all of the land in the region belongs to them because it was conquered in the 13th-15th centuries; and once land is dedicated to Allah, it is always Islamic land according to this right of waqf.  In 1964, at the suggestion of Dudley, Anderson, and Yutz, a New York public relations company hired by the Arab League, the concept of a ”Palestinian people” was created with the establishment of the Palestinian Liberation Organization on May 28, 1964.  Prior to that date, there were no “Palestinians”, only Egyptians and Jordanians.

There is no historical country of Palestine, and no “Palestinians” as a people prior to 1964.

In 2005, in order to try to establish peace, Israel gave Gaza autonomy.  In 2007, by a margin of over 90%, the people of Gaza elected Hamas as their political leaders, headed by Ismail Haniyeh.  The people of Gaza did this with full knowledge of the Hamas charter, which includes, among other things:
  • An understanding that Hamas is a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood (Article 2)
  • That all Jews who will mot live by Sharia law should be obliterated, not just Jews in Israel (Article 7)
  • There will never be peace negotiations, and the only reason to sit with the enemy is to lull them into complacency so that Hamas can destroy them in the future.  (Article 13)
Since 2005, Israel has offered a two-state solution 5 times to Gaza.  In accordance with their charter, Hamas rejected the idea all five times.

There is no historical Palestine nor Palestinians, and Gaza has repeatedly demonstrated that it is not a homeland they seek, but worldwide domination with the creation of an authoritarian theocracy.

To take a look at Israel is to see a diametrically opposed history.  Even if Biblical references are ignored, we know that the Jewish people have been in Israel for over 3000 years, based on the Mount of Olives cemetery, which has been used as a Jewish burial site since before the time of King David. Since at least that time, Jews have consistently lived in Israel.  In 1948, when the partition was made for the modern State of Israel, it was immediately attacked by its Arab neighbors.  Since that time there have countless smaller conflicts, and seven “wars.” Not one of these seven wars was initiated by Israel.  The closest was the 1967 six-day war, in which Israel launched the first military attack after Egyptian President Nasser effectively declared war with the closing of the Straits of Tiran to Israel and his mobilization of Egyptian military forces.  Israel’s army is called the ‘Israel Defense Force”, and by law can only be used for defense of the nation.

In 1967, the Gaza Strip was an area that had been won in the war.  Israel developed the beautiful beach land on the Mediterranean Sea; building hospitals, schools, fruit orchards, etc.  In 2005, with the hope of trading “land for peace” as had successfully been done with Egypt, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza.  Israeli settlers volunteered to leave; Israel removed all military presence, and the Gaza Strip was put entirely in the hands of the Palestinian Authority.  Israel received nothing in exchange for leaving Gaza except a hope for peace.

In 2007, the Gazan people voted by over 90% to have Hamas, the self-proclaimed arm of the Muslim Brotherhood discussed above, to take political control of Gaza.  True to their charter, Hamas immediately prepared for war with Israel, and has been launching rockets for two decades towards Israel.  They took the “humanitarian aid” sent to Gaza from around the world and used it to create tunnels and military installations…all with the support and help of Gazan citizens.  On October 7, 2023, they attacked Israel in the most horrific of ways:  murdering babies and other civilians; raping, torturing, and killing women; kidnapping civilians…and videotaping it all in an attempt to create even more terror in the world.  Israel responded, and sought to rescue hostages while destroying Hamas’ military strongholds.  The vast majority of Gazans still support Hamas after this horrific attack, with only 13% of Gazans against Hamas even now, and with 75% still saying that they actively support the horrors that Hamas committed on October 7. The vast majority of Gazan “civilians” do not consider themselves civilians at all, but unarmed soldiers for Hamas.  They consciously choose to protect Hams’ military installations by putting themselves in harm’s way knowing that by doing so, they will either protect the Hamas military, or die as “martyrs” for the Hamas cause and their deaths will be used to castigate Israel in the world press.

As Israel successfully attacked Hamas in the north of Gaza, taking more care to avoid civilian casualties than any army has done in the history of the world, a massive publicity campaign has been successfully launched against Israel.  Using the Gazan unarmed soldiers who died when Israel took out military installations as photo opportunities, a worldwide campaign was launched to create the image of Hamas as a victim in order to make the world, and especially the United States, pressure Israel to stop attacking Gaza.  When that pressure did not stop the IDF, Qatar (where the Hamas leadership live as billionaires while Gazans suffer in poverty), Egypt, and the United States pressured Israel to make a hostage exchange that included:  for every Israeli hostage released, three imprisoned Palestinian terrorists convicted of bombings, murder, etc. would be released; there would be a possibility of continuing that ratio for more than the initial four days at 10 hostages per day; and there would be a cessation of fighting during this time.  This was a brilliant maneuver by Hamas that put Israel in a catch-22.

Jewish law places the highest value on saving a single life, but a pause merely gives time for Hamas to regroup.  Given the Hamas charter’s commitment to never have peace and to destroy Israel, this proposal clearly was an attempt to regroup for more future attacks.  Moreover, if Israel did not take this proposal, their rejection would be used for more publicity worldwide that Israel isn’t really interested in the hostages, and only wants to take over Gaza. This is especially ironic, given that in 2005, Israel unilaterally gave up Gaza.  But it was a brilliant strategy by Hamas:  either give time for Hamas to regroup, or be destroyed even more in the world’s opinion, which would create even more pressure on Israel from the United States.

Israel accepted the hostage exchange, which has now been extended day by day as Hamas rebuilds, and despite the fact that Hamas has already repeatedly broken the truce by attacking Israel and the IDF.  The real motivations of Hamas were revealed the day before the truce when Hamas encouraged their “civilian” unarmed soldiers who had evacuated to the south of Gaza to return to the north and protect the Hamas military.  Thousands of women and children traveled back to the north as directed by Hamas so that they would either protect Hamas military or die as “martyrs” and used in the publicity campaign against Israel.

Concurrently with this, the publicity campaign of Hamas has led to demonstrations against Israel involving tens of thousands of people:  demonstrations that even extended to the White House gates.  The repeated line at each of these demonstrations is “Free Palestine from the river to the sea.”  Again, a brilliant marketing move by Hamas.

This slogan ties together the West Bank and Gaza into a fake country of Palestine.  By defining “Palestine” as from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean, it creates a map where Israel no longer exists.

“From the river to the sea” is a de-facto call for the destruction of Israel and the genocide of the Israeli people.

There is no such thing as Palestine or Palestinians, but in reality Egyptians in Gaza, and Jordanians in the West Bank.  Hamas, which is still supported by over 75% of Gazans, is committed to never having peace or a two-state solution, and to destroying Israel and obliterating every Jew in the world.  Israel has to fight a war with both hands tied behind its back, and even so, is getting castigated by world opinion.  Civilian hostages are being held captive, and the world wants Israel to be grateful for any returns, forgetting that they should never have been kidnapped in the first place, and forgetting about the horrors committed on October 7.

Understanding the history and values of the players involved, what should now be done?  Is there a solution that will ultimately cause a lasting peace?

One alternative is for Israel to ignore world opinion, continue fighting until all hostages are released, and Hamas is utterly destroyed while doing the best she can to avoid “civilian” casualties.  Although painful, this is actually what is biblically endorsed based upon understanding that Hamas is the modern incarnation of Amalek and must be blotted off the earth.  The challenge with that pathway is that Israel needs the world’s (and especially America’s) financial support.  Not to win the war, but to win the peace. When Israel goes to war, everyone in Israel goes to war.  Industry shuts down.  Tourism becomes non-existent.  Without the financial support of the United States, Israel cannot afford a protracted war.

Another pathway is for Israel to avoid a lengthy war and bomb Gaza so heavily that Hamas is entirely destroyed.  But that would mean some innocents would die (the 13% that do not support Hamas), and would ensure that Israel would be entirely isolated in the world.

A cease fire could be structured.  But Hamas is clear that they will never stop attacking Israel.  Hamas leadership has committed to reenacting the horrors of October 7 again and again, even until the millionth time.  To have a cease fire is only a choice to wait until Hamas perpetuates further evil and depravities.

Is there a choice that doesn’t involve Israel’s destruction either from external war or from economic circumstances within?

There may be a different possibility, but it would involve the hard work of the rest of the Arab nations and the world.  It is extremely difficult, but possible; and requires a few necessary steps.

The first step is to utterly destroy Hamas.  This is a group that worships death and war, and will not rest until Israel is non-existent.  As long as Gaza is controlled by this organization, there will never be peace by their own admission and desire.

The next step is for the world, and especially Israel, to stop tying the distinct areas and populations of Gaza and the West Bank together as a fictional “Palestine”.  Each area is unique, and needs to be treated as such.  By making the honest distinction that is already there historically, this allows two different peace deals to be structured.  It also removes the fallacy of a Palestinian nation that extends from the river to the sea and calls for the genocide of Israel.

Then, it is necessary to involve the world’s active participation.  Once Hamas is destroyed and Gaza is viewed as distinct from the West Bank, a new Gaza could be created in peace.  Gaza is inherently beautiful and on one of the best beaches in the world.  With help from the international community and without the hate of Hamas, it could become a country of peace and prosperity.  An area that could rival Las Vegas or Cannes as an international tourist attraction.  With investment partners from around the globe, Gaza could become one of the world’s truly great resort areas.  It could become a financial hub similar to the Isle of Man or Hong Kong.  It would have unlimited potential, and become an economic partner with Israel and the rest of the world.

A paradise of Gaza is only a few steps away:  utterly destroy Hamas; philosophically distinguish between Gaza and the West Bank, removing the myth created in 1964 of “Palestine”; and generate international support for a re-beautified paradise of Gaza…a nation of peace and prosperity.

Wouldn’t that be better than the incessant wars we have been experiencing for a fantasy of “Palestine” and a hatred of depravity found in Hamas?

Hamas is the personification of evil and must be destroyed.  But we must take their ashes and use it as a fertilizer for a new, independent Gaza:  a Gaza of peace and not war, of prosperity and not poverty, of hope and not hate.

May the day not be distant when these goals are realized, and with the destruction of Hamas and the support of the international business community, a vibrant Gaza exists as a peaceful neighbor with Israel…committed to peace and prosperity together.

Image: Title: Gaza border