My friend, Maria, has asked me if I follow the blogger that goes under the pseudonym of Geviha ben Pesisa. At her suggestion I do check up on it occasionally (and was flattered to find myself 'linked'). Anyway, he just posted something that I thought was worth noting, especially since I've often argued that facts have no place in an inter-religious dispute. So here it is:
So, I've been thinking about this for a long time. It won't make a difference, but it makes me feel good. So....
The Arabs claim that our presence here is illegitimate. They deny the fact that Israwel was given by God to the Jews (though it says so in the Quran). They claim we must dismantle the State of Israel because we conquered them. OK. How did they get here? Well, the Arabs conquered Byzantine Palestine at the Battle of Yarmuk in 636 CE. The Byzantines, of course, were merely the Eastern Roman Empire. The Romans conquered Israel from the Hasmoneans in 63 BCE. The Jews, of course, had had autonomy under the Persian Empire, which conquered the Babylonians in 539 BCE. The Babylonians conquered Judaea from...the Jews, who had taken it (by divine mandate) from the Canaanites.
So, if conquest is illegitimate, so is theirs. If we move backwards, the only people who are identifiably original inhabitants and who were conquered are...the Jews. So, no matter how you cut it. Eretz Yisrael belongs to us.