A lot of violence and rising tensions lately in the middle east have been brewing over the Palestinian desire to establish an official state, and in particular over their desire to have Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as the capital of this state. What most people do not realize is that what are today called Palestinians are in fact no such thing. The original palestinians were once known by another name: Philistine. The philistines lived in what is now known as the Gaza strip, which is so called because Gaza was a city of the philistines in the times of Samson and king David. The philistines had a long history of hatred for Israel and desired nothing more than the destruction of Israel and the Jews. They do not want Jerusalem because it is their city, which is not and never has been, they simply want to take it from the Jews to whom it has belonged for three thousand years.
Mr. Arafat has been putting a lot of effort in uniting arab and Islamic nations against Israel in his quest to claim the holy city for his own. He has even gone so far as to claim that the Jews have no historical claim to Jerusalem. A claim that is easily refuted by the three thousand years of history of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel since David founded it.
Mr. Arafat and the rest of the arab and Islamic nations would be much better advised to leave Israel alone and forget about Jerusalem. Mr. Arafat's time would be much better spent seeking God and asking forgiveness for his hatred of the Jews. Because they have a covenant with God, which was first established with Abraham, and then confirmed with Isaac, and confirmed again with Jacob. God established this covenant with them and their descendants for all time. God promised that he would bless those who bless them and curse those who curse them. The full text of this covenant is recorded in Deuteronomy chapter 28, but it's essence is:
Genesis 12:3, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Ever since then, the people that have since become known as the Jews have been gods chosen people. And while they have not always honored this covenant, God has never changed his position:
1 Chronicles 16:13-22, "O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth. Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it. And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm."
Because of this covenant, the philistines with their hatred of the Jews, was one of many peoples that God has promised judgement:
Amos 1:6-8, "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver them up to Edom: But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD."
Even though the temple was destroyed, and the Jews were scattered around the world to every nation, gods' vengeance against those peoples that would destroy His chosen is still promised:
Isaiah 14:29-31, "Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant. Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times."
Here God is telling the Philistines that even though the people of Israel were scattered around the world when Rome destroyed the temple in 70 A.D., they have no reason to celebrate the apparent destruction of the people they hate so much. God announces that " thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved. " Of course, the Philistines were not the only peoples that God pronounced judgements upon:
Jeremiah 25:17-20, "Then took I the cup at the LORD'S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,"
You'll note here that when God pronounced judgements, He included His own chosen people. This was because they had broken the covenant and fallen into sin. The difference here is that the people of the covenant were not to be destroyed forever, God would eventually call the remnant back from where they had been scattered, ending their captivity in other nations not their own:
Jeremiah 29:11-14, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive."
As for the Philistines, they are given no such promise of restoration. In fact, God gave their land to His chosen people of the covenant:
Zephaniah 2:4-7, "For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks. And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon: in the houses of Ashkelon shall they lie down in the evening: for the LORD their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity."
For almost two thousand years Israel did not exist as a nation, and while there has always been a Jewish presence in Jerusalem, most of the Jews were scattered all over the globe. Then in the early part of the 1900's God began calling His people back to their homeland, turning away their captivity in other lands. And on May 14, 1948, the nation of Israel was officially reborn in direct fulfilment of prophecies. This then is why Israel feels they have right to the Gaza strip, because God has given it them.
As for the so-called Palestinians, these 'wanna be' Philistines are no such thing. God destroyed the Philistines long before judgement fell on Israel and they were scattered. The Romans are the ones who started calling the area 'Palestine'. It was intended simply to add an insult to injury, renaming the Jew's homeland after these people that hated the Jews. Now however, we have Mr. Arafat and company desiring to stand in the place of the original Philistines, sharing the same hatred of the Jews. This will, unfortunately for Mr. Arafat and his followers, guarantee eventual destruction and judgment.