Why There Is No Such Thing As A Palestinian
Published on February 8, 2004 By Larry Kuperman In Republican
There is a dangerous myth, growing in acceptance. The myth that Israel, by virtue of it's very existence, is denying the Palestinian people their rightful homeland. I would move that this is untrue, that the "Palestinian people" is a misnomer. As I have pointed out before, words have power and shape our ideas and perceptions. It would be very different morally to argue that their are Jordanians living outside the borders of Jordan who want land that is not theirs and will use any means necessary to get that land.

Look at the origin of the word "Palestinine." It is not an Arabic word nor of Hebrew origin. It comes instead from the Romans. For thousands of years, the Jewish people had lived in the Middle East in hte twin kingdoms of Israel and Judea. They were conquered by the Babylonians, who destroyed the Temple of Solomon and foced the Jewish people into exile in Babylon, but in 586 BC had returned and rebuilt the Temple. The Greeks conquered the lands and desecrated the Temple, but in batte that is commemerated at Hanukkah the Jews had reclaimed their land and restored the Temple. In 63 BCE, Pompey entered Jerusalem and ended Jewish rule. In 70 AD, the Roman conquerers, tired of the obstinate refusal of the Jewish people to place statues of the Roman gods in their temple, destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Please see http://www.templemount.org/destruct2.html for details.

The Romans wanted to end the troublesome Jewish people forever. So they exiled many to the corners of the Roman Empire and renamed the region Palestine. The Roman conquerers are long gone and Palestine was only the name of convenience for their satrapy.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, Jews returned to Jerusalem as did Christians. Although the Prophet Mohammed is supposed to have bodily ascended to Heaven from Jerusalem, most historians agree that there were only churches and synagogues in Jerusalem at the time of his death in 632. In 691 the Dome of the Rock was built on Temple Mount, close to the only remaining wall of the Temple (the so-called Wailing Wall.) Twenty years later the Al Aksa Mosque was completed. Islam laid claim to all the land "from the Sacred Mosque to the Furthest Mosque." Bear in mind that this would have also included parts of Spain. The Arabs had invaded this land as well, with the intention of conquering the world. See http://www.tzemach.org/fyi/in-depth/moslem-claim-false.htm for a reference.

Fast forward to modern times. The land is part of the Ottomon Empire, governed by Turks. By 1895 there are only 500,000 people living in the region, roughly 10% of whom are Jews. Most of the Jews have come from Eastern Europe in the wave of immigration known as the Aliyah. From 1904 to 1914, 40,000 more Jews arrive and buy land on the Jordan river. These waves of returning Jews continue for years. The Ottomon Empire sides with the Axis during World War I. The British government issues the Balfour Declaration:
"His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country." See http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/research/cjl/Israel_Palestine/before_world_war_i.htm

World War I ends with the Allies and their Jewish supporters victorious. Britain is given governorship over the region. See http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/research/cjl/Israel_Palestine/between_world_wars.htm

Jews continue to return to the region. As World War II approaches, the Arab world sides with Hitler, while Jews support the Allies. In 1936, Arabs aided by Nazis attack Jewish settlements. The Jews do not retaliate. They wish to honor the Balfour Declaration.

At the end of World War II, there are more than 100,000 Jewish survivors of the Shoah (the Holocaust) in Displaced Persons camps awaiting the opportunity to go to their promised homeland. Surprisingly, in 1946 Britain announces it will not permit Jewish survivors of the Shoah to immigrate. Britain decides to refer the "Palestine problem" to the United Nations. In 1947 the United Nations votes to partition of Palestine into two sovereign states - one Arab, one Jewish. Jews accept the U.N Partition Plan. Arabs reject it. At this time the stimated population of the region is: Arabs 1,300,000; Jews 600,000. Britain rejects the UN commision plan and withdraws its forces. The Jews declare the State of Israel and the War of Independence begins. Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invade the new state of Israel. Amazingly, despite better arms and weapons and vast numerical superiority, they lose. The Arab powers sign a peace treaty with Israel granting the borders currently in place. The UN recognizes the State of Israel. 750,000 Arabs flee the area. 800,000 Jews from various Arab states flock to Israel.

Now where did the fleeing Arabs go? In large measure they went to Jordan. Why not? Racially, religiously and culturally they ARE Jordanians. During the next several wars, the Arab world tried to wipe Israel off the map. They had larger armies and support from various world powers, including the Soviet Union. Surely, they thought, it was just a matter of time. Unfortunately, they kept invading and losing. Losing not only the war, but huge chunks of territory. The refugee camps in Jordan were sites of terrible poverty and were the spawning grounds for the modern terrorist movements. After the 1967 war, the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed, headed by Yasser Arafat. They were headquartered in Jordan. King Hussien of Jordan became increasingly concerned about the presence of armed guerilla forces within his borders. The PLO had formed it's own army, the PLA. TThe PLO called for "national rule" in Jordan. In September of 1970, Arafat tried to overthrow Hussein. A 10-day civil war broke out, with Syria aiding Arafat's rebels. This is known as Black September. More than 3,500 were killed. Finally the fedayeen of Arafat were forced to leave. Since that time, pro-Arafat terrorists killed the Jordanian Prime Minister were alleged to have plotted Hussein's assasination as well. See http://www.onwar.com/aced/data/bravo/blacksept1970.htm

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Arafat and the PLO rushed to side with him. Pretty ironic considering that Kuwait had given large sums of money (between $8 to $13 billion) to support Arafat's terrorist efforts. Here is what one Palestinian thinks about it: http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/4944/pales.htm

Next comes the attempted invasion of Lebanon, a country that had a substantial Christian population at one time.

Once again, they picked the losing side. Arafat could have been captured and tried for war crimes. Instead he was sent to the fledgling West Bank Occupied Territories. The PLO could no longer count on funding from the oil countries and in 1993, when the PLO's Central Commitee asked him about finances, he was so mortified that he should be questioned that he resigned. For a few hours. At that point, again ironically, the country offering the greatest welcome for Arafat and the PLO was....Israel.

But then comes the Second Intifada! Ah, happy days are here again! Arafat never had any intention of peaceful negotiations, it says do in the PLO statement at the beginning of the first Intifada, "The PLO reaffirms its complete rejection of all liquidatory plans and all forms of autonomy and the sharing of roles, whatever their color and under whatever name." See http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/History/PLOstatement88.html The PLO charter states "Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine." See http://www.iris.org.il/plochart.htm Now we are back in business, with money flowing in.

In May of 1999, Arafat appears in front of a map of the Middle East that shows NO Israel. It should not be surprising since Arafat and every PLO member wears the same map on their uniforms. See http://www.cdn-friends-icej.ca/isreport/mayjun99/plomaps.html

Having been thrown out of Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait what other alternative is there? The PLO is commited to the extermination of the Israeli people and funded by states that will pay billions to keep the PLO away. But the real truth is that the land of Israel has been given by UN treaty and by signed peace accords. The Arab people who call themselves Palestinians have never lived there, have no historical right to the land and could easily be settled within the bounds of the Arab world.

Comments (Page 1)
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on Feb 09, 2004
I agree.

The fact is, Jews have lived happily in Israel even in the worst times of Islamic control, and Arabs have done the same when Israel was in control. Israel decided to make a 'fatherland' and is paying a high price for it. Arab families that had lived in the same home in Jerusalem since the 1300's were forced out at gunpoint to make room for settlers whose families hadn't seen Isreal proper for thousands of years.

That said, Israel exists. There's no fixing that, so any ethos that seeks to nullify the fact is flawed, and shouldn't be a power consulted to devise a safe Middle-East. Bringing "all sides to the table" just gives criminals the shine of acceptability (as Clinton did with Arafat) and places them in an advantageous position to sabotage the workings of peace.

I think, though, that little can be done as long as terrorism is considered a valid for of political expression by those with power an money in the middle east. If Hussein's fall accomplished anything, at least it prevented him from paying $10k a head to families that send their youngsters to kill and die.
on Feb 09, 2004
The fact is, Jews have lived happily in Israel even in the worst times of Islamic control, and Arabs have done the same when Israel was in control.

Well, there was the "convert, die, or pay a really high tax" phase that wasn't so great for the non-muslims...

That said, Israel exists. There's no fixing that, so any ethos that seeks to nullify the fact is flawed

Why should it be fixed? Nations rise and fall, that's the way the world works.

on Feb 09, 2004
jetblackstar: Well, the Germans, had they been successful in holding France, could have made the same argument. I don't differentiate between Israeli soldiers driving people out of their homes because of their ethnicity any more than the SS clearing out Jewish homes to give to more deserving Germans.

If I could somehow give back all the property that "Israel" seized from the rightful owners, I would. I can't, so a compromise has to be found.
on Feb 09, 2004
Blah Blah Blah Blah...

By your logic, There is no such thing as an Australian.

Let me ask you this... For arguments sake... lets say you live in Miami... you and your family have lived there for thousands of years, whether you are originally from Miami is not the issue here...

Some orgaisation has decided that people with one testicle have been slaughtered and abused for too long,- all people with only one testicle are to move to Miami, their spiritual home land...

It just happens to be that the most powerful people with one testicle want to live in your exact neighbourhood... this nicest part of Miami... and you have to go and live in the substandard part with all the other people with two testicles... in spite of this, the one testicle freaks continue to build and settle into the 2 testicle area....

You and I will never understand... no matter how much we try, because we cant put ourselves in their shoes... some people just have more empathy than others i suppose.
on Feb 09, 2004
Muggaz: No, that is my point, really. Of course there are indigenous white Australians now who have every right to be there, but the original people who killed to take land weren't Australians, and had no right to it. Thus I said:

"That said, Israel exists. There's no fixing that, so any ethos that seeks to nullify the fact is flawed"

I don't excuse the creation of Israel, but I can't fairly nullify its right to continue either, since it would be impossible to revert things without committing the same sin to indigenous Israelis again.

I don't buy "Manifest Destiny". It is a nice word for what the Nazis did. You can't come to an agreement, so you take the land by force. Israel did it, now terrorists are trying to do it.

on Feb 09, 2004
BakerStreet, you are right in that the situation exists and must be dealt with. You are wrong in that you ignore or minimize many of the events cited and supported above. I am not going to quote the Balfour Declaration again, or the Ottoman Sultan's inviting Eastern European Jews in, the purchase of land by the Zionist Congress in the early 20th Century or even the United Nations recognition of the State of Israel. What I will cite is that about 3/4 of a million Arabs left to go to Jordan during and after the war of independence and approximately the same number of Jews came in from Arab countries. When the Palestinians left, they assumed that Jordan would welcome them as brothers. That didn't happen. Instead they were kept in camps inside Jordan where conditions were terrible. Some returned to Israel, where they had a much higher standard of living.

It is only the events of the recent past, the unceasing number of terrorist bombings, that has caused Israel to look to build a wall. It is not just the attacks that, because of their unthinkable brutality, gather the attention of the world media. There were over 3,500 terrorist attacks last year. A Rabbinical student stabbed walking down the street, a family murdered in their beds, these are the events of daily life.

The reason that the lot of the Palestinians is so desparate is that, having been ejected from Jordan, from Lebanon and failing to conquer Kuwait when allied to Saddam Huessein, they have no place to go in the Arab world.
on Feb 09, 2004
Let me add one more note. There are always two sides to a story.

I visited the web site of the Jordanian organization responsible for the refugee camps "The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Department of Palestinian Affairs" at http://www.dpa.gov.jo. If you can find any reason why after more than 50 years people who speak the same language as the Jordanians, who have the same religion, who are racially and culturally the same continue to be confined to camps in Jordan, please enlighten me.

My point is that had the Arab world offered even a modicum of assistance to people who are, under the Koran, their brethren, the situation would not exist. If, even now, the billions of dollars that goes to fund terrorist organizations was spent for humanitarian relief of the Palestinians (or expatriate Jordanians) the situation would not exist.
on Feb 09, 2004
Larry... I am afraid i dont see it is the Jordanians responsibility to look after these 'refugees'

Thats like saying the Canadians will look after the two testicle dudes because the one testicle dudes forced them out, and the Canadians live right near them, have the same culture, blah blah blah...

I wish the world were as simple as that...
on Feb 09, 2004
LK: I'm not in any way excusing terrorism, saying they 'asked for it', or that the behavior of Jordan and others with regards to refugees is acceptable. Their excuse is that they refuse to be a party to the resettlement, to take part in the process of a Jewish state of Israel. They have a myriad of ulterior motives.

The fact is, though, there have always been Israelis who felt that the original agreements that formed Israel wasn't enough. They are no less dangerous than the Arab terrorists, and their intent is no less misguided. "Manifest Destiny" is alive and well with the kind of people who defy their own government, take land that isn't alloted to them, and even committed the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin to prove their point.

I am not anti-Israel, nor am I anti-Arab, but there are many on *both* sides that seek to profit form the conflict, and not just through arms sales and terrorist fundraising. I think for every concerned Israeli official that feels the wall is for security, there is another who thinks that it can be used as an excuse to benefit themselves.
on Feb 09, 2004
Muggaz, the one-testicle/two testicle analogy is provocative, so let me use the Canadian analogy instead. If Canada annexed Montana, as Jordan claimed the West Bank in 1952 and moved Canadians in for years and then the Montanans reclaimed the land, would Canada keep the returning Canadians in refugee camps for two generations?

BakerStreet, Manifest Destiny derives (as far as I can tell) from John L. O'Sullivan's 1839 speech On Manifest Destiny. Although the phrase was used in the 1840's to explain westward expansion, the original speech is worth noting: "It is so destined, because the principle upon which a nation is organized fixes its destiny, and that of equality is perfect, is universal." O'Sullivan's point is that a people's destiny is determined by their beliefs and actions. I would move to you that the Arab people of the area, by attacking Israel in 1948, in 1952, 1967, on Yom Kippur in 1972, by attacking the Christians in Lebanon, by thousands of acts of terrorism, by genocide in the Sudan, by fostering and defending terrorists within their borders, by inhumanity to their own people, have fixed their destiny.

As for the wall, please show me the profit to be gained. When my neighbor builds a wall, I assume that it means he wants to be left alone.
on Feb 09, 2004
No, of course they wouldn't... but as far as Jordan is concerned, they aren't Jordanians, they are Palestinians, as the refugees calim to be.

It would be acceptable if the returning 'Canadians' claimed to be Candian, but they would be claiming to be Montanan.

nice try though.

on Feb 10, 2004
LK: Don't we wish everyone historically had interpreted Manifest Destiny in that way? Sadly, the original meaning was lost almost immediately.

The evil is the 'destiny is sealed' part. Both sides are moving as if they have some claim. Neither does anymore. They are both indigenous peoples now. Israel is full of people who think God gave them that land exclusively. In a religious context, that is fine, but in a political context it makes for nasty people to sit down at the table with. Same with the Islamic people who believe Israel doesn't have the right to exist. It may be your opinion that there is no such thing as a Palestinian, but there are Arabs living in Palestine that call themselves Palestinians. What do you propose to do to change their minds?

Again, I am not for an instant saying that I agree with terrorism, but I also don't believe that being the victim of horror should taint people's judgment of Israel. Much like Ireland. Anyone can tell you all about IRA terrorism, but few people know the horrors that protestants have committed as well. Does it matter which side does more damage? I think Arafat and his like are criminals, but Israelis that behave in a criminal way are as well.

As for your neighbor's wall, if you look at the average civil case regarding such, you might think he wants to build it around something of yours, establishing that it is his. Walls are more points of contention than agreement.
on Feb 10, 2004
There are always two sides to a story

There's actually, three sides to a story, your side, their side, and the truth, the problem is convincing the two competing sides of what the truth is.
on Feb 11, 2004
"Look at the origin of the word "Palestinine." It is not an Arabic word nor of Hebrew origin. It comes instead from the Romans. "

you are wrong from the beginning. it´s the Roman transcript of an older word. ever read the Bible? heard of the Philistines? Arabs still call what we call Palestine Filistin. there is no such thing as Jordan in Arabic though (as country, of course i´m not speaking of the river). the Hashemite kingdom is (as Israel) a failure of British imperialism.
on Feb 11, 2004
"Now where did the fleeing Arabs go? In large measure they went to Jordan. Why not? Racially, religiously and culturally they ARE Jordanians."

I notice you don't mention WHY the Palestinians fled from their homes but never mind. You seem to be saying that the Palestinians should be happy in Jordan because they have a lot in common with the Jordanians. This is true but you miss the point (perhaps deliberately). The fact is that the Palestinians CANT return to their country. The fact that the countries in which they now reside are culturally similair is not much consolation.

Let me give an example (since analogies seem to be the order of the day). I'm Irish, the British people are culturally, racially, linguistically very similair to me. I could, as many of my compatriots do, live in Britain quite easily. It would be no hard thing. However it would be entirely different if I was expelled from Ireland and told I could never return. In this scenario the fact that I got to live in a country quite similair to my own wouldn't be of much comfort.

"They had larger armies"

Not true of the 1948 war.

"After the 1967 war, the Palestine Liberation Organization was formed"

It was actually formed on 1964. You should really know this since Israel's supporters frequently use this fact to try to discrdeit the Palestinians i.e. the PLO pre-dates the loss of the West Bank and Gaza.

"But the real truth is that the land of Israel has been given by UN treaty and by signed peace accords."

The UN partition plan gave only 55% of mandate Palestine for a Jewish state. In the 1948 war the Zionists expanded this to cover 77%.

"The Arab people who call themselves Palestinians have never lived there"

This is a ridiculous argument. You should stop clinging to this myth about "a land with no people". When Zionism was just starting out Herzl sent two rabbis to Palestine to assess the prospects of Jewish settlement. When they returned they told Herzl:

"The bride is beautiful but she is married to another man."

Can't put it better than that.
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