Yesterday, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his administration began plans to build more than 3,000 additional units in 25 of the 130 Jewish settlements in the West Bank in further defiance of international law of settling its own people in what the United Nations, of which Israel is a member, deems “occupied territory.”
Most non-Israeli authorities who have been involved in trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict agree with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that such further Jewish settlement of the West Bank reduces the chances of this conflict ever being solved. U.S. State Department Ned Price said yesterday concerning this latest expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which the U.S. has always opposed, “it damages prospects for a two-state solution.” I beg to disagree.
I propose in my book, Palestine Is Coming: The Revival of Ancient Philistia (1990), that Bible prophecy indicates there will be a two-state solution to this conflict, and it will result in a Palestinian state that will not exist in the West Bank at all but will be located entirely in the coastal plain of as a very expanded Gaza Strip.
Accordingly, this increase in expansion of Jewish settlement in the West Bank makes my proposal more likely. That is, I think that sometime in the future the tide will turn in which Palestinians will realize that they are never going to get a state in the West Bank and separated Gaza Strip, as they have desired, and that they must look elsewhere for a two-state solution. I maintain that the logical place is where the ancient Philistines, from whom Palestinians derive their name, used to live 3,000 years ago and less.
Philistia was the nation of the five tribes of the Philistines. The Philistines were the arch-rival of the Israelites during antiquity, and the Jewish Bible (=Old Testament) tells much about it. Philistia was located in the coastal plain to the west of Jerusalem, largely between Joppa, which is now Tel Aviv, and the Wadi el Arish, which is about 25 miles south of today’s Gaza Strip.
When the Jews declared the reestablishing of their nation, on May 15, 1947, it started a war that resulted in the modern nation of Israel. Their 3-page Proclamation of Independence claims repeatedly that Jews have a right to their “ancestral land.” But the new Israel only existed in part of the Jews’ ancestral land. Much of modern Israel is still located in “the land of the Philistines,” as the Bible calls it, which is the coastal plain. Israeli leaders have always been correct in claiming that the West Bank is where Judea and Samaria used to exist, which were the heartland of ancient Israel. Thus, modern Israel has never been located in the major part of ancient Israel.
I maintain that this conflict should be settled according to historical precedent, which would represent an implementation of the Jews’ claim in their Proclamation. That is, let Israel have the West Bank, and let Palestinians have all of the coastal plain south of Tel Aviv, thus to include the ancient Philistine cities near the coast–Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gaza–in which to establish their Palestinian state. I believe that is the two-state solution that everyone should be thinking about and that is predicted in the Bible. This further expansion of Jewish settlement in the West Bank, though I don’t support it, makes my proposal more and plausible as the years go by. See the chart at my website that shows how developments have been proceeding in this direction all the time since my book was published over thirty years ago.