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OPINION: The Holy Land, Israeli or Palestinian?

I've come to the conclusion that the Palestinians have been given a raw deal and are being treated unfairly by Israel, by the American media and particularly now by the White House.

I've come to the conclusion that the Palestinians have been given a raw deal and are being treated unfairly by Israel, by the American media and particularly now by the White House. Photo by Max Pixel

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Avery Rollins

In 1966 I was one of four FBI Agents assigned to a yearlong Arabic language/Iraqi dialect course at the Army Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. In that 12-month course, I was introduced to Muslim history, culture and politics, and made many Muslim friends, including Iraqis, Egyptians, Kurds and Palestinians.

When the six-day Arab/Israeli war broke out in June 1967, our formal instruction ceased, and we spent the week listening to radio broadcasts from the BBC, Radio Cairo and Radio Tel Aviv. We also heard many personal stories from Palestinians about the "Nakba," the catastrophe which occurred in 1948 when the establishment of the State of Israel resulted in the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages, making them refugees.

In the subsequent 30 years of my FBI career, I worked Middle East espionage and terrorism cases in New York City, Washington, D. C., and Oxford, Miss. I visited Israel, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Gaza. Since that time I've come to the conclusion that the Palestinians have been given a raw deal and are being treated unfairly by Israel, by the American media and particularly now by the White House.

With the land seizures in 1948, and the seizure of Gaza and the West Bank in 1967, Israel gained control over a Palestinian population that is now approaching five million. Palestinians have little political or monetary control over their lives and chaff under illegal Israeli rule.

Another 1.5 million of them live in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan.

It is unfortunate that in the current Israeli/Palestinian conflict, most American media favor the State of Israel over the aspirations of Palestinians who wish to establish their own country. The truth is Palestinians have an even greater right to The Holy Land than do the Israelis. The British Mandate governed Palestine from 1922 to 1948. During that time the resident population was about 700,000: 80 percent Palestinian; 10 percent Jew; 10 percent Christian. The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 resulted in a huge influx of Jewish refugees and illegal land grabs from Palestinians, which continue today in the West Bank.

Orthodox Israelis and others claim the Holy Land is theirs based on biblical history and tradition. DNA studies show that Israelis and Palestinians spring from the same Canaanite ancestors. More than likely, Canaanite tribes in the Holy Land split into two separate groups: Jews and Palestinians.

The truth is that the most famous stories in the Old Testament Bible, like the Exodus and King David, are a collection of oral histories and myths rather than actual historical facts.

These are wonderful allegories that I enjoy reading. But they should not be used as a basis to illegally seize property, land and freedom from the Palestinians.

What I am suggesting is that those who rely on the Bible as justifying the State of Israel are relying on myths and stories that have no historical, legal or archeological basis. It is time to give the Palestinians back their country; return Israel to the original 1947 UN Partition Plan of Palestine; and allow Palestinians to return to their homeland.

Avery Rollins was an FBI Agent for 31 years and a firearms instructor for 23 years. Follow him on Twitter at @AveRollins.


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