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Friday, March 1, 2024

“Wet dreams” of Tanja Fajon and illusions of the “state” of Palestine

By: Gašper Blažič

As a catechumen, I first heard about Palestine in the first grade, which is said to be another name for the Holy Land. It involves territories historically linked to the settlement of the Israelites and also to Jesus’ activities. Therefore, the Holy Land, in a broader sense, extends to the north into Lebanon and southeast Syria (with the Golan Heights as some kind of “intermediate zone” in between), and to the south into eastern Egypt. Besides the current state of Israel (with all its Arab territories), it also includes (to the west) Jordan. Palestine, formerly known as Canaan, as a region encompasses the area between Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the Mediterranean Sea.

To better envision which country certain biblical sites belong to, let me explain that the eastern part of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the region of Samaria, and the territory south of Jerusalem (between Hebron and the Dead Sea) fall under the jurisdiction of the so-called West Bank, under Arabic administration. In Jordan’s territory, for example, there is Mount Nebo, from which Moses glimpsed the promised land just before his death. Beyond the Jordan River, there is Bethany, where John baptised, and also the Decapolis, a group of ancient Hellenistic fortifications east of the Jordan River that Jesus visited. It is probably not a coincidence that, even in Jesus’ time, the semi-pagan region of Samaria was very unfriendly to the orthodox Jews, while the area of Gaza and its surroundings was consistently the homeland of the Philistines, a people who fiercely fought against the Israelites. We all know the story of how the young David, who later became the Israeli king, defeated the notorious Philistine warrior Goliath (cf. 1 Samuel 17). By name, the Philistines are associated with Palestine, the region where Jews and Arabs mainly reside today. In reality, both are Palestinians based on their place of residence.

And the city of Gaza? It is mentioned several times in the Holy Scriptures. It is known that the Philistines held the judge Samson captive there, whom Delilah had betrayed shortly before (cf. Judges 16:21–30). It is also known that the military leader Jonathan from the Maccabean family was first solemnly received in the nearby Ashkelon. However: “From there he moved on to Gaza, but the people of the city shut their gates. He began to besiege the city, burned down its surroundings, and plundered it. The inhabitants of the city appealed to Jonathan for peace. He gave them the right hand of friendship, but he took the sons of their leaders as hostages and sent them to Jerusalem.” (1 Maccabees 11:61–62) In the prophetic books, Gaza is practically not spoken of favourably: “Truly, Gaza will be abandoned, and Ashkelon will become a desolation…” (Zephaniah 2:4). In short, it is a city that has been held under some kind of curse since ancient times and has always represented a hostile pagan stronghold among the Israelites.

Why am I listing these facts? Primarily because of the many misconceptions and illusions that are currently spreading in the public about the so-called state of Palestine. It was only in 1988 that the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Yasser Arafat, declared it as a kind of revival of the failed UN plan from 1947, which envisaged the division of British Palestine between Jews and Arabs. While the Jews accepted the plan, the Arabs staunchly rejected it, leading to a civil war. It is worth mentioning that just a year before that, present-day Jordan gained independence, and in 1948, upon the establishment of the Jewish state, it participated in the aggression of Arab states against Israel.

What is the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East today? Primarily, the influence of Hamas propaganda through the media and the boundless naivety of international politics, which refuses to see the real background, for example, the blockade of a hospital in Gaza, where patients are, in reality, hostages to Hamas brutality. As long as the suicidal logic prevails, based on achieving goals at all costs (even through the bodies of their own people!), and until Palestinian Arabs renounce terrorism as a means to achieve their objectives, any debate on the international recognition of Palestine is pointless. Therefore, it is scandalous that Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon, at the expense of Slovenia’s reputation, conveys her “wet dreams” about recognising Palestine, subtly persuading the public between the lines that authorities in Gaza should be believed unquestioningly when reporting on Israel’s violence. It is also senseless to publish various comparative maps showing alleged deliberate shrinking of the living space of Palestinian Arabs; despite the Oslo Peace Accords (from 1994), they still demand the entire area of Israel for themselves. Until when?

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