He has a lot of interesting things to say in his piece, including this:
In Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel, Eric H. Cline writes of Jerusalem: “No other city has been more bitterly fought over throughout its history.” He backs up that claim, counting “at least 118 separate conflicts in and for Jerusalem during the past four millennia.”He goes on to argue that unlike almost every other instance in history where a new nation was formed, Israel did not arise out of conquest but through purchase.
He calculates Jerusalem to have been destroyed completely at least twice, besieged 23 times, captured 44 times, and attacked 52 times. The Palestinian Authority fantasizes that today’s Palestinians are descended from a tribe of ancient Canaan, the Jebusites; in fact, they are overwhelmingly the offspring of invaders and immigrants seeking economic opportunities.
[The Jews] could not possibly achieve statehood through conquest. Instead, they purchased land. Acquiring property dunam by dunam, farm by farm, house by house, lay at the heart of the Zionist enterprise until 1948. The Jewish National Fund, founded in 1901 to buy land in Palestine “to assist in the foundation of a new community of free Jews engaged in active and peaceable industry,” was the key institution — and not the Haganah, the clandestine defense organization founded in 1920.Pipes concludes his column with this observation:
Zionists also focused on the rehabilitation of what was barren and considered unusable. They not only made the desert bloom, but drained swamps, cleared water channels, reclaimed wasteland, forested bare hills, cleared rocks, and removed salt from the soil. Jewish reclamation and sanitation work precipitously reduced the number of disease-related deaths.
The building of [Israel] was based on the least violent and most civilized movement of any people in history. Gangs did not steal Palestine. Merchants purchased Israel.To what extent Pipes is correct about what he says in his article, I can't say, but the view of the history of the region he presents is certainly one that most Americans are unaware of.