By Randall Price
Harvest House Publishers, 446 pp, 2001
Odd are you haven't seen this book at
your local bookstore, despite its obvious relevance. That's because the
author, who holds a Ph.D in Middle Easter Studies, has lived in Jerusalem
and studied at the Hebrew University, is a Christian. So, even if the
major chain stores carry the book, it's hidden away with the other religious
That's a shame, because Price does
something few in the media bother to. He critically examines the claims
made by both sides in the Middle East conflict, and determines which is
true. You don't get that from the press today. The anchors breathlessly
relate the latest carnage or atrocity, or parrot the propaganda line by
both sides, but completely fail at informing their audience of the
historical and religious context. That leaves us all ignorant and unable
to reach an informed opinion. This book fills a yawning void that
Anyway, Price begins by rehashing the
events of 2001, including the WTC and Pentagon attack. The first few
chapters are the weakest part of the book and tells us nothing new.
Price hits his stride when he spends the
rest of the book delving into the history of the conflict, going back to
Biblical times, and showing what impact it has on today's events.
For example, citing historical texts and
quotations, he makes the following assertions:
- The Palestinians are a relatively
modern invention, and have not occupied the land for a thousand years,
as they claim. The Jewish claim on the Holy Land is far stronger.
- Jerusalem is indeed a holy city for
the Jews but only recently, in the last 50 years or so, have Muslims
claimed the city as their own. Jerusalem is mentioned nowhere in the
- Palestinians claim that the Temple
Mount, site of the sacred Jewish Temple from the days of Solomon, hold
no archaeological evidence of Jewish influence, despite mountains of
evidence to the contrary, and despite Muslims who claimed the opposite
60 years ago.
- Muslims today reject any evidence
that Jerusalem is sacred to Jews, despite the fact that earlier
Muslims, and even Mohammed himself, recognized Jerusalem as sacred to
- The present goal of Yassir Arafat
remains, just as it was when he formed the PLO in 1964, the
destruction of Israel with a Palestinian state in its place. He cites
Arafat reconfirming this as recently as 1996, three years after he
promised peace at Oslo.
- The supposed Palestinian "right
of return" is nothing more than a propaganda tool. Most Arabs who
left Israel after it was founded and after the Six Day War did so at
the command of the neighboring Arab countries, who promised they could
return after the Arab armies destroyed Israel.
- Finally, Islam is not a religion of
peace, but is actually part of the problem, because the Koran teaches
that all people must submit to Islam, that no Islamic country can make
a permanent peace with a non-Islamic one, that Muslims can lie to
non-Muslims, and any land once occupied by Muslims, no matter how it
was acquired or how long it was held, belongs to Muslims for all
eternity and no other religious people can live there.
His claims are controversial but
thoroughly documented. You may think he is merely a supporter for Israel,
and biased against the Palestinians. To me, as long as his claims hold up,
it doesn't matter. The truth is the truth.
This is the first book I've read about
the Middle East, and to broaden my knowledge, and test Price's claims,
I'll read more. But I urge everyone to get familiar with what's going on
over there, so you can come to your own conclusion, rather than relying on
two-minute stories on the nightly news.