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At the sea end of the plain there is to the lowlands as the floods subsided. another gate near Acre. This was the It is interesting to speculate on what gate that Egypt held when Sisera, might have happened if there had been Egypt's ‘prancing proconsul,' oppress- no Philistines between the Israelites ed the Israelites under Deborah and and the sea, and the ancient Jewish Barak, by his Canaanitish levies in kingdom had become a maritime state. Galilee. This is the gate that Napoleon There is no word for a port in ancient tried in vain to close from the sea during classical Hebrew, and though the Ishis invasion of Palestine. 'If it had not raelites once or twice in their history been for Djezzar I should have been touched the sea, it was only for a brief Emperor of the East,' said Napoleon. period. Despite the Song of Deborah, Later in life, Djezzar and the Turks, Dan did not remain in his ships'; perthanks to the assistance of the English haps she was only sneering at mariunder Sir Sydney Smith, held the gate time ambitions which were destined against all the French attacks, and never to be realized. Joppa was never Napoleon, afraid of leaving it open to Jewish until Sion Maccabæus took it a descent from the sea, of which since at the end of the second century B.C. the battle of the Nile the British had 'He took Joppa for an haven and undisputed command, had to abandon made an entrance to the isles of the his schemes of conquest and beat a re- sea'-an exultant phrase that reveals treat to Egypt. Neither was this gate the tardy satisfaction of an age-long ever in possession of the Israelites. ambition. Julius Cæsar, always pro
A third gate into Palestine was at Jewish, allowed the Jews to keep Joppa, the south end of the Philistine plain at but there was of course no maritime Gaza, and right through Jewish his future for them under the Romans. tory, down to the time of the Macca- If the Jews of the Old Testament bees, an enemy was always in posses- had had Joppa, the history of the world sion at Gaza too.
might well have been different. The sea Thus you had a great trunk road tra- favors the small nations and enables versing Palestine; and the three prin- them to play a bigger part in the hiscipal points in it — the eastern end at tory of the world than they could otherBeth Shan, the southern end at Gaza, wise do. The Jews might have become a and a middle bastion in the neighbor- colonizing people like the Phænicians, hood of Acre - were always in the pos- and have carried over the seas the politsession of enemies. The Israelites of ical independence, which, imprisoned the Old Testament lived overlooking as it was on land, was crushed to death the bridge between Asia and Africa, between the great military empires. and not a single point of vantage on They might even have fought against that bridge belonged to them. This Rome side by side with Carthage, have was the great cause of their political turned the scale in favor of their ally, failure. From the southern end of the and have made the Mediterranean a bridge came the Egyptian invader, great Semitic lake. In that case the from the eastern end the Assyrians; great Mediterranean empire of the and the history of the Israelites on Saracens would have been anticipated either side of the road is the history of by fifteen hundred years. The Jews of a people flooded out of their valleys the northern kingdom, always more as the tide of invasion rushed in from easygoing and less spiritual in nature either end, and forced them to take than the Jews of Judæa, would have refuge in their hills, and then returning given their stamp to the national char.
acter, Palestine would not have been which was permanent, for it correthe head of the religious world, and sponded with two contrasting national the Jews might have acquired secular ideals, of material success and of spirgreatness at the cost of their fame in itual purity, of easy tolerance and of religious history.
narrow formalistic orthodoxy, of the Yet it is a hard fate for the Jews al Sadducees and of the Pharisees. As a ways to have been compelled to obtain general rule, the northern kingdom, religious fame at the expense of secular after Syria had been conquered by misery, and it is no wonder that they Assyria, leaned on Egypt, the southern should have revolted against always kingdom on Assyria, the political princibeing impaled on the horns of this ple being to be friends with next door dilemma. The modern Zionist move- but one; just as, in the Balkans, Serbia ment is almost purely secular in its leaned on Russia for protection against inspiration. It desires a distinctively her neighbor Austria, and Bulgaria on Jewish culture in Palestine, but it has Austria because Austria was not her cut itself loose forever from the ideas neighbor. of theocracy which Judæa imposed Whether from lack of enterprise or upon the country. If Jewish Palestine
from policy Egypt in Biblical times is ever to have a great secular future never realized her opportunities in it must have access to the sea and com- Palestine. The oldest letters in history mand of it, if not in its own right, at the Tel Anarna tablets are full of any rate by the proxy of the protecting complaints from the feudatory kings power.
of Canaan about Egypt's refusal to protect them against marauders from
the desert, including among these the The long wars, then, between the Israelites themselves. Egypt often Israelites and the Philistines may be overran Palestine, but she never mainregarded as a struggle, in which the Is- tained her rule there; and when an raelites are almost invariably beaten, enemy came, her friends in Palestine for the fresh air of the sea. The ambi- were left to look after themselves, like tion of the Philistines was to get pos- the Bedouin tribes on the Sinai fronsession of the whole road between tiers in this war, when we retired to Egypt and the Syrian desert. The the Canal before the Turkish invaders. most famous of their battles that Yet there can be no doubt that, if Naon Mount Gilboa in which Saul and poleon was right a hundred years ago Jonathan fell — was fought right at in regarding Gaza as the key of Palesthe eastern end of the Plain of Esdrae- tine and of Egypt too, the construction lon, and Saul's body was fastened to of the Canal, the railway (the great the walls of Beth Shan, which, as we conqueror of the desert), and the aerohave seen, is the eastern gate of the plane have vastly strengthened this plain. Clearly the Philistines had all view. The Sinai Desert, never impassbut succeeded in their ambition to able, is now, given time and command cut Palestine in two, by their occupa of industrial resources, hardly a serious tion of the great trunk road. And al- obstacle.
obstacle. Some rectification of the though the rise of Judæa under David Egyptian frontier there will have to be restored the unity of Palestine, it was after this war, and the only question is, broken after Solomon's death by the whether the frontier should be withdivision of Palestine into the northern drawn from El Arish toward the Canal, and southern kingdoms - a division or whether it should be extended so as
to include Palestine. It is hardly con- of the interests of Jewry, not primarily ceivable that the British should with of the British Empire, for they are an draw from the Egyptian frontier to the international and not a national organCanal after a campaign in which they ization; but it is interesting that they have been successful; and if the fron- should at present see in Great Britain tier is to be changed it is much more their best hope of realizing their nalikely to be moved forward so as to in- tional ideals and should aspire to the clude the maritime plain and the plat- status of a British dominion as that eau of Judæa.
which gives most promise of its early There is a school of thought in Great fulfillment. Britain which is prepared to go much But circumstances of course may further than this. It is argued that change, and one suggestion which has under modern conditions of warfare been put forward is that Palestine there is no real security for Egypt un- should be internationalized and that less the protecting power is also the the best international managing trusprotecting power in Palestine. But tee would be the United States, presuch an extension of military responsi- cisely because it is remote and has no bilities in itself is highly distasteful, not selfish interests to serve. However that merely to Liberals, whose traditional may be, it is curious to find this thoupolicy it is to oppose any changes that sand-year-old problem of the relations would involve the country in foreign between Egypt and Palestine still percomplications, but also to many Im- sistently awaiting its solution. perialists and Conservatives, who dis- The maritime plain, which, in the like the addition of fresh protectorates hands of the Philistines baffled the anwhich are unsuited to form part of an cient Jewish ambitions toward the sea, Imperial Union.
is valuable because it gives access to For this and for other reasons, the Esdraelon. To many, Jerusalem is the idea of annexing Palestine has, in cer- capital and centre of the country, but tain unofficial quarters, sought to ally in fact it lies apart from the best and itself with Zionism, and it is main- most valuable districts. There is no tained that by settling the Jews in the country in the world at once so open country, and reviving the old Jewish to invasion and yet so plenteously prostate, Great Britain could at one and vided with strong places. Judæa tothe same time greatly strengthen her ward the sea is protected, first by a most dangerous land frontier in Egypt sheer wall of hills, and then, in front of and render a service to humanity by re- that, by a range of downs known as the moving its oldest national grievance. A Shephelah, crossed by few narrow and society has been formed, with its head- difficult passes. It was in these passes quarters at Manchester, which runs a that the great historic battles of Palesmagazine called Palestine, to promote tine's history took place. The most fathese ideas, and which has had a succès mous of them all is Ajalon, just north d'estime. The British government has of the route now taken by the railway not yet fully disclosed its official policy, from Joppa. It was here that Joshua but undoubtedly this new alliance be- bade the sun stand still so that he tween Zionist ideals and British inter- might have longer light to smite his ests in the East is gaining ground and enemies. It was up this valley that the may have a profound effect on interna- Philistines pressed when their invasion tional policy. In consenting to this als made a crisis in the history of Israel liance, Zionists are of course thinking which led to the establishment of the
monarchy. Here Judas Maccabæus into the country by a pass in the southwon his greatest victories over the western corner. Greeks, and here Saladin and Cæur de Napoleon very characteristically cut Lion fought their battles.
all these difficulties in his Egyptian Gisart, of the Crusaders, is the Gezer campaign. He advanced northward where David smote the Philistines; along the shore, taking Gaza and Joppa and here, too, just before the final cata- on the way, crossed the hills at the low clysm at Jerusalem, the Jews won a and easy pass of Megiddo into Esstartling victory over Cestius Gallus, draelon, threw out one detachment on the Roman general. A second pass, the his left to seize Haifa and besiege Acre, Vale of Sorek, which the railway from and then boldly advanced into the hills Joppa to Jerusalem follows, was the of Galilee, defeating the Turks under scene of many of Samson's exploits, and Mount Tabor. He entered Palestine the recurrent battlefield of Ebenezer in the second week of February, 1799; was in this valley. In the next valley, was at Gaza in the third week and coming south, David killed Goliath, at Joppa in the fourth week; began the and further south still is the valley in siege of Acre on March 5; seized Safed which Sennacherib's army was stricken in Galilee on March 31; and was ready by the plague and came to grief. This for the Turks at Tabor at the end of last is the Wadi el Bizair, running April. Had he captured Acre and seacross the hills from Hebron to Ash- cured himself against the descent from dod, and it was by this valley that the the sea, there is no doubt that he Turks in the last engagement in Pales- would have kept Palestine. Holding the tine rushed down the reinforcements great trunk road from Gaza to Beth which saved Gaza for a time from the Shan, he had only to wait until JeruBritish attack.
salem, isolated from its supports, surThe Hebrew prophets, who preached rendered. The calculations of Vespaa policy of splendid isolation from the sian and Titus seem to have been much quarrels of Egypt and Assyria, were the same, for they thought by occupyundoubtedly right if we accept their ing the great trunk roads to compel point of view in secular politics, which the surrender of Jerusalem and avoid was conceived in the narrow selfish in the necessity of a siege. terests of the southern kingdom and its Since this paper was written the
naintenance as a citadel of the pure world has learned with profound emofaith. So difficult is Jerusalem to ap- tion of the capture of Jerusalem by proach, that it would have been quite Allied forces under General Allenby, possible for the southern kingdom if it who succeeded Sir A. Murray as comhad pursued a strictly prudential pol- mander-in-chief in Palestine. Having icy, to maintain itself in isolation al- taken Beersheba and Bethlehem to the most indefinitely. In his wars with the south, he reduced the port of Gaza Greeks, Judas Maccabæus never had which had successfully resisted Murray more than a mere fraction of the peo- in the spring. Joppa soon fell, and Alple tively on his side, but he man- lenby, marching eastward into the hills, aged to hold these difficult passes with threatened Jerusalem from the norththe merest handful of men; and when west, while the force at Bethlehem, he was finally beaten it was by a char- working to the northeast, completed acteristically clever manæuvre of the the isolation of the Holy City, which Greeks, who marched right round the was evacuated by the Turks and entermountain walls of Judæa and slippeded by the Allies in December, 1917.
from Palestine by the range of the
Lebanon, and is essentially a part of Unless Palestine remains under the Syria rather than of Palestine. If sovereignty of the Turk, -and after the ancient glories of Tyre and Sidon, all that has happened that seems ex
and of Antioch, are revived, it will be, ceedingly unlikely,- its most probable not by a Jewish state, but by the power future is as the home of the revived that holds Syria, and the maritime Jewish state - a state, which, in its aspirations of the new Jewish state will governing principles of polity, will have be satisfied by the possession of Haifa far more in common with the old north- and the ports of the Philistine plain, ern kingdom than with the narrow and by an outlet at the head of the theocracy of Judæa. Arrangements gulf of Akbar, the old Ezion-Gaber would have to be made for the custody to which King Solomon sent his ships. of the Holy Places, of which there are But quite as important to the future many, both Christian and Mohamme of the Jewish state as access to the sea dan, and only a Jewish state whose is a strong natural frontier to the north ideas have been strained of everything and a foothold east of the Jordan. The resembling religious bigotry, could, natural frontier of Palestine on the with fairness to other creeds, be set up north is the old Dan, the modern Bain Palestine. About that there is not neas, where the Leontes and the Upper likely to be very much difficulty, for Jordan are separated by the towering the Jewish character, in its long period ridge of the Lebanon range. Baneas of adversity, has lost its ancient reli- is the key of Upper Palestine, because gious intolerance, and indeed its be- it commands the only entry from the setting sin now is a too great adapta- north. The Egyptian Ptolemies won bility and a too ready assimilation to Palestine from Syria at Gaza. Antiother civilizations.
ochus of Syria won it back from them More serious, however, than the re- near Baneas. The Franks and Saraligious difficulties are the conditions cens contended for it fiercely in the under which the new Jewish state days of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusamight be expected to become strong lem and an expedition sent by Louis, and self-supporting, whether as a do- in the Ninth Crusade, after conquering minion of the British Empire, or as an all the Jordan Valley, had to withdraw American territory (for this alternative because it failed to conquer Baneas. should not, in the opinion of many In possession of Baneas, the Jews, if Englishmen, be left entirely out of ac- they abandoned, as they should, all count), or as an internationalized state pretensions to the Syrian coast north under the guaranty of a league of of Acre, would have a natural frontier nations such as President Wilson con- in the great range of the Lebanon and templates. One of the conditions of command of the only entrance from progress which has already been dis- the north. cussed in this paper, is access to the sea There are two military causes of the such as the ancient Jewish state never failure alike of the ancient Jewish kinghad. The whole of the coast of Pales- dom and later of the Latin kingdom of tine as far north as Carmel, and includ- Jerusalem. One is the failure to estabing both sides of the great bay to the lish this natural frontier on the north, north of Carmel, Haifa, and Acre, and the other the failure either to hold would clearly have to be Jewish. The Damascus themselves or to keep it in coast northward from Acre is cut off the hands of a friendly power. All was