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Aha-- what?

Reader comment on item: More Thoughts on Newt Gingrich and the Palestinians
in response to reader comment: Brief

Submitted by sara (United States), Dec 20, 2011 at 18:02

First, the term arab encompasses many nationalities and mostly tribal families (hamulas). So be careful when you say "Arabs were ALWAYS there".

Second, just like your claim about the Jews migrating from persecution and attempted extermination from Europe, likewise the 'Arabs' you note also immigrated during the Ottoman and then the British empires. They were not indigenous to the land and families came from Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, and perhaps from other countries as well to be employed. So they have no more right than anyone that you argue against.

- According to Martin Gilbert, 50,000 Arabs immigrated to Palestine from the neighboring lands between 1919 and 1939 "attracted by the improving agricultural conditions and growing job opportunities, most of them created by the Jews".[

Here are some good points of FACT for you to consider:

... We also know that the original Palestinians in the 20th century were Jewish---they called their newspaper the Palestine Post and their orchestra the Palestine Symphony. In those days, the Arabs called themselves Arabs, or in some cases Syrians. Even after Israel's birth in 1948, no Arabs called themselves Palestinians. The "Palestinians" began calling themselves that only after the 1967 war, when Israel chased Jordan and Egypt out of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Sinai and Gaza.

The name Palestine is Greek transmuted from Latin, and was applied by the region's ancient conquerors. Nearly all the cities in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza have Hebrew names---like Bethlehem, Nazareth, Hebron---and their current Arabic names are translations of these names. The capital of the West Bank, Nablus isn't an Arabic name, but a mispronunciation of Neapolis, or Latin for "New City."

Need more proof? Way back in 1937, the Arab leader Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi told the Peel Commission, "There is no such country [as Palestine]! Palestine is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria."

Next consider the statement of Zahir Muhsein, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, who in 1977 told the Dutch newspaper Trouw that "The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel . . . Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak about the existence of the Palestinian people."

Mahmoud Abbas, however, in a dazzling display of chutzpah and mendacity at the U.N. recently, recounted a history of ancient Palestine full of Palestinians and a guy named Jesus (no mention of his religion), but no Jews at all. In fact, today's Palestinians are a group of Arabs left over after Syria and Jordan were formed from the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan (which the Arabs rejected and the Jews accepted).

This is not to say that that the Palestinians have no right to a nation. But the Palestinians use this phony history to justify calling the Jews colonialists and interlopers and inciting their people to an eternal struggle to destroy Israel. ...



... He noted that in 1919, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire that ruled in what is now Israel, the first Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations declared, "We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, moral, economic, and geographical bonds."

Similarly, "Palestinian" spokesman told the United Nations Security Council in 1956 that Palestine was nothing more than southern Syria.

Prof. Curtis added that in 1977, The head of the Military Operations Department of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Zuheir Muhsein, declared, "Only for political reasons do we carefully underline our Palestinian identity. …the existence of a separate Palestinian identity is there for tactical reasons." The PLO charter states that Palestine is part of the Arab nation.

"The Ottoman Empire, which ruled from 1516-1918, was the last recognized sovereign power in the area," explains Prof. Curtis. "The area of Palestine was a district of the Empire, officially a vilayet (province), not a political entity. No independent Palestinian state has ever been established, nor was there a single administrative or cultural unit of Palestinians.

"On the other hand, a sovereign Jewish state existed prior to the rise of the Roman Empire. While the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, changed the name of the land to Syria Palestina, and banished the Jews from Jerusalem, this did not eradicate all Jewish presence in the area."

Palestinian Authority officials have claimed that Israel also is "invented," but Prof. Curtis wrote, "Jewish nationalism may include not only centuries-old traditions but also certain invented elements. What is important, however, is that the Jews constitute a people – a set of individuals linked together not only by a common religion, but also as members of an ethnic community with memories of a shared past, common ceremonies and culture, and mutual legal codes, social behavior, myths and symbols. Between Jews there is a peoplehood, a subjective belief in their common descent from ancestors in Judea and Samaria."

The term "Palestine" as a definition of what now is Israel came into being after the British chased out the Ottoman rulers. The League of Nations creates a "Mandate for Palestine," which was handed over to Britain.

Both Jews and Arabs were regarded as "Palestinians," and Prof. Curtis adds, "Ironically, the name was used not by Arabs but only by Jews in the area, as in The Palestinian Post and the Palestine Symphony (now Israel Philharmonic) Orchestra.

"Only after the State of Israel was established in May 1948 did the term "Palestinian" become exclusively used in referring to Arabs in the area. The single most important factor leading to the idea and development of a Palestinian national identity was the creation of Israel and the Arab defeat by Israel in 1948-49. ...



American economist Fred Gottheil argues that there likely was significant Arab immigration:

There is every reason to believe that consequential immigration of Arabs into and within Palestine occurred during the Ottoman and British mandatory periods. Among the most compelling arguments in support of such immigration is the universally acknowledged and practiced linkage between regional economic disparities and migratory impulses. The precise magnitude of Arab immigration into and within Palestine is, as Bachi noted, unknown. Lack of completeness in Ottoman registration lists and British Mandatory censuses, and the immeasurable illegal, unreported, and undetected immigration during both periods make any estimate a bold venture into creative analysis. In most cases, those venturing into the realm of Palestinian demography—or other demographic analyses based on very crude data—acknowledge its limitations and the tentativeness of the conclusions that may be drawn.[37]

In a 1974 study, Bachi proposed an average of 900 for the number of Muslims who were detected as illegal immigrants but not deported.[38] He noted the impossibility of estimating illegal immigration that was undetected, or the fraction of those persons who eventually departed.[38] He suggested, though qualifying it as a "mere guess", that the unexplained increase in the Muslim population between 1922 and 1931 was due to a combination of unrecorded immigration (using the 1931 census report estimate) and undercounting in the 1922 census.[38]



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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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