On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock (a burdensome stone). All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves. Zechariah 12:3 NLT
LAND FOR PEACE
Representatives from Israel and Palestine met in Oslo, Norway, in 1993. They agreed (The Oslo Accords) to work on a process by which Israel, which had undergone a number of suicide bomber attacks and terror, would make an effort to appease the Palestinians. Israel would give the Palestinians land, and in return the Palestinians would give Israel peace.
Several offers of land for peace were then made by Israel; however, they were all turned down by the Palestinians. The offers included one made in the year 2000 in which the Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak, offered Yasser Arafat (chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization) a big swath of land called the West Bank.
Arafat would not agree to this or any other proposal by Israel, and so fighting and terror resumed. The attacks and discord have continued ever since.
Here is a chart comparing the square miles and population densities of countries in the Middle East.
Country Approximate # Square Miles Population Per Square Mile
Lebanon 4,000 1,261
Syria 71,500 298
Jordan 35,000 278
Iraq 167,600 215
Iran 636,000 124
Saudi Arabia 830,000 36
Palestinian Territories 2,300 1,958
Israel (2018) 8,019 1,004
As you can see, the Palestinian area per square mile is overcrowded. At the same time, the other Arab countries in the area are not nearly as heavily populated.
Israel’s population density is only exceeded by Lebanon; it has almost no land to give up to the Palestinians. However, other countries in the Middle East have a lot of land that could be given to the Palestinians.
Other statistics you may be familiar with: India’s population density is 937 per square mile; China’s population density is 361 per square mile; and, the United States has a population density of 83 per square mile. New Jersey is our most densely populated state (and close in size to Israel) and has a density of 1210 persons per square mile.
This is why the continuing demands for Israel to give up land make little common sense. And, the whole issue about “peace in Israel” is so complex that it could be a book in itself!
In Part 2 of this article we will examine the background and history of the name “Palestine” and try to understand why only Israel--this particular area of land-- of all land areas in the entire world, wields so much influence and conflict.