Spoils of War


Prior to World War i, the area known as Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. When the British defeated the Turks in 1917, they occupied the region till the end of the war. In 1920, the League of Nations mandate over Palestine was given to Britain. This territory included what would become the State of Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. In 1922, the League of Nations passed the Palestine Mandate, which specified the responsibility of Britain to “secure the establishment of the Jewish national home.” The British mandate of Palestine was dissolved in 1948.

On the day of Israel’s founding, Arab armies invaded the Jewish state. Following the war, Egypt remained in occupation of the Gaza Strip. The armistice agreements concluded between Israel and the aggressor Arabic nations reflected the temporary military position of early 1949. The Arab nations refused to negotiate a final settlement, avowing that they would not rest before achieving their declared aim of “throwing Israel into the sea.”

Israel gained formal recognition as a UN member in May 1949. Violating an express Security Council resolution, the Arab states continued to claim a “state of war” between them and Israel. This Arabic mindset found its outlet in Egypt’s closure of the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping, effectively blockading the straits of Tiran.

By 1956, Egypt had created a military alliance with the Arab states bordering Israel, and with their armies under its command, launched a powerful military buildup in the Sinai. In self-defense, Israel struck back in 1956 and broke the Suez blockade. Then, without allowing a final peace settlement, the two superpowers, Russia and the U.S., pressured Israel into withdrawing from the Suez. Israel did gain right of passage via the gulf and the Suez, however, and a UN force was established to patrol the Gaza Strip, the Sinai and the gulf entrance.

In 1967 Egypt summarily dismissed the UN force, reimposed the gulf blockade and amassed a powerful force in the Sinai desert. All previous international agreements went out the door and the world left tiny Israel to its fate. The result was the Six Day War. In one of the most astonishing actions in military history, the little nation of Israel defeated the combined Arab might and reclaimed the Gaza Strip, along with the other areas the Arabs had previously occupied.

In the 1970s, the Israeli government created a wedge of settlements in the Gaza Strip to prevent an Egyptian-Palestinian build-up along the coast that could prove a threat to Israel. These settlements were built almost entirely on uninhabited sand dunes.

Today, however, “It seems the world has forgotten that those areas were won in a war where the Arabs were trying to annihilate the Jews” (Gerald Flurry, Jerusalem in Prophecy). And that the Arabs still have the same goal.