THE MYTH OF PALESTINE
By Jacob Prasch
(PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein,
March 31, 1977
in an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw.)
The Palestinian people [do] not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is
only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our
Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians,
Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do
we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national
interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people'
to oppose Zionism.
For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders,
cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa. While as a Palestinian, I can
undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment
we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to
unite Palestine and Jordan..........
The facts are as follows based on UN records:
1. Palestine was a British invention after WWI and never existed as an
independent state. Most of this "Palestine" is called Jordan today.
2. The small number of people (700,000) occupied the entire Palestine Mandate
which included Israel, the West Bank, Golon Heights, Gaza and Jordan today. Most
of the Arab populations lived East of the Jordan River.
3. The common usage of the word "Palestinian" refers to people who live in
Palestine: Arabs (a "mixed race of Arabic speaking peoples"), Bedouins,
Christians, Druze, and Jews.
4. Under Muslim rule the region had been reduced to a barren wasteland. Jews
were the only people that produced anything causing resentment from the masses
of illiterate and poverty-ridden Arabs. Jews never held any political power
5. The British didn't want a Jewish majority in the region. This led in later
years to a policy of systematically reduced immigration quotas, and indirectly
to the death of millions of Jewish refugees in Europe twenty some years later.
The British would illegally partition the region into Jordan, (forbidding Jews
from living there) then stripped off the Golon Heights giving that to France and
Syria. Calling the remainder "Palestine" then flooding it with outside Arabs.
6. Constant agitation by outside Arabs and others leading to riots and murders
of Jews. The British did nothing to stop this. Immigration and travel
restrictions were almost universally applied only to Jews, no restriction was
placed on Arab immigration to help flood the region with Arabs the British
favored. Jews were the only economic success even with all of this going on.
7. Whenever there were Arab riots, Jewish immigration was restricted. This was
the beginning of the British Policy of Appeasement, and the success of
terrorism. The success of terrorism goes on today and appeasement still fails
today. When will they ever learn?
8. All lands acquired by Jews were purchased, not taken according to Arafat's
Nazi Uncle in 1937 and the British. Haj Amin al-Husseini was a Nazi war criminal
wanted in Yugoslavia and mixed Nazi ideology into Islam. Arafat in fact wasn't
even a Palestinian, but was born, raised, and educated in Egypt. According to
Forbes, his estate is estimated to be worth over $300 million while he locked
his own people into concentration camps.
9. Between 1950 and 1967 when Jordan and Egypt annexed the West Bank and Gaza,
they flooded the area with more Arabs. Even today most Arabs in the West Bank,
etc. hold Jordanian passports and Jordanian citizenship. After 1967 Jordan/Egypt
relinquished claims to the area then started to scream for a second Palestinian
state in addition to the first Palestinian State of Jordan. Before that, they
claimed Palestine meant land of the Jews.
10. Even with immigration from Russia in the 1990's, the majority of Israelis
are descended from Arab, Asian, and African Jews including two-thirds of the
870,000 Arab Jews expelled from surrounding Arab Nazi states. Druze, Bedouins,
Christians, and some Arabs sided with the Jews in 1948 and serve in the Israeli
Army today. The Israeli military has three Arab generals.
11. Why did the British do this? It's about oil, stupid! Britian didn't give a
damn about Arabs or Jews. Just like America today ignores Saudi terrorism it's
still about oil.
"If you believe what you read in most news sources, Palestinians want a homeland
and Muslims want control over sites they consider holy. Simple, right?
Well, as an Arab-American journalist says who has spent some time in the Middle
East dodging more than his share of rocks and mortar shells, these are just
phony excuses for the rioting, trouble-making and land-grabbing.
Isn't it interesting that prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, there was no
serious movement for a Palestinian homeland?
"Well, Farah," you might say, "that was before the Israelis seized the West Bank
and Old Jerusalem."
That's true. In the Six-Day War, Israel captured Judea, Samaria and East
Jerusalem. But they didn't capture these territories from Yasser Arafat. They
captured them from Jordan's King Hussein. I can't help but wonder why all these
Palestinians suddenly discovered their national identity after Israel won the
The truth is that Palestine is no more real than Never-Never Land. The first
time the name was used was in 70 A.D. when the Romans committed genocide against
the Jews, smashed the Temple and declared the land of Israel would be no more.
From then on, the Romans promised, it would be known as Palestine. The name was
derived from the Philistines, a Goliathian people conquered by the Jews
centuries earlier. It was a way for the Romans to add insult to injury. They
also tried to change the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, but that had
even less staying power.
Palestine has never existed -- before or since -- as an autonomous entity. It
was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the
Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British
agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their
There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian
culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by
Palestinians. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (another
recent invention), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. Keep in mind that the Arabs
control 99.9 percent of the Middle East lands. Israel represents one-tenth of 1
percent of the landmass.
But that's too much for the Arabs. They want it all. And that is ultimately what
the fighting in Israel is about today. Greed. Pride. Envy. Covetousness. No
matter how many land concessions the Israelis make, it will never be enough.
What about Islam's holy sites? There are none in Jerusalem.
Shocked? You should be. I don't expect you will ever hear this brutal truth from
anyone else in the international media. It's just not politically correct.
I know what you're going to say: "Farah, the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the
Rock in Jerusalem represent Islam's third most holy sites."
Not true. In fact, the Qur'an says nothing about Jerusalem. It mentions Mecca
hundreds of times. It mentions Medina countless times. It never mentions
Jerusalem. With good reason. There is no historical evidence to suggest Mohammed
ever visited Jerusalem.
So how did Jerusalem become the third holiest site of Islam? Muslims today cite
a vague passage in the Qur'an the seventeenth Sura, entitled "The Night
Journey." It relates that in a dream or a vision Mohammed was carried by night
"from the sacred temple to the temple that is most remote, whose precinct we
have blessed, that we might show him our signs. ..." In the seventh century,
some Muslims identified the two temples mentioned in this verse as being in
Mecca and Jerusalem. And that's as close as Islam's connection with Jerusalem
gets -- myth, fantasy, wishful thinking. Meanwhile, Jews can trace their roots
in Jerusalem back to the days of Abraham.
A round of violence in Israel erupted when Likud Party leader Ariel Sharon tried
to visit the Temple Mount, the foundation of the Temple built by Solomon. It is
the holiest site for Jews. Sharon and his entourage were met with stones and
threats. Can you imagine what it is like for Jews to be threatened, stoned and
physically kept out of the holiest site in Judaism?
So what's the solution to the Middle East mayhem? Well, frankly, I don't think
there is a man-made solution to the violence. But, if there is one, it needs to
begin with truth. Pretending will only lead to more chaos. Treating a
5,000-year-old birthright backed by overwhelming historical and archaeological
evidence equally with illegitimate claims, wishes and wants gives diplomacy and
peacekeeping a bad name."
There were no states or nationalities in the Middle East, certainly not among
Sunni Muslims, until the Brits and French redrew the map after WWI. There never
was, historically, any "Palestinian" Arab identity- and this area never had
political sovereignty. After the Roman Empire, it was part of the Byzantine
Empire. After the Islamic Conquest, it was part of, first, the Umayyad Empire;
then the 'Abbasid Empire; then the Tulunid Empire; then it went briefly to the
Byzantines, then the Saljuqs, then the Crusaders (the only time it was an
independent political entity, by the way, between the end of Jewish sovereignty
in the ancient world and the renewal of Jewish sovereignty in the modern one-
the Kingdom of Jerusalem, not "Palestine"); Ayyubid Empire; Mamluke Empire; and,
finally, the Ottoman Empire.
At no time was there a country called "Palestine." Occasionally the geographic
region the Romans had designated as "Palestine" was used as a geographic term in
the medieval Arabic geographies, but it had no political meaning whatsoever. As
has already been noted, under the Ottomans the area was divided among 3
different administrations- the Province of Beirut; the Province of Damascus; and
the Sancak of Jerusalem (comprising roughly today's southern coastal plain and
the hills of Judea).
What the "Palestine" apologists ignore, is that the Palestine Mandate, which was
created by the League of Nations at the San Remo conference solely for the
purpose of establishing the Jewish National Home and awarded to Britain under
those terms (which she violated), included all of the area which Britain then
quite illegally separated into the Mintaqa (region) of Eastern Palestine or
Transjordania- today's Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (which also, incidentally,
does not allow Jews to be or become citizens- although, unlike the Saudis, the
Jordanians permit Christians).
Could someone please explain convincingly why, in addition to already getting
4/5 of the only "Palestine" which has ever existed since Roman times, the very
same Arabs- ethnically, religiously, culturally, and even tribally and familialy-
should get yet another country in this tiny area?
The "Palestine" crowd were singularly unperturbed when the areas allocated by
the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 to an Arab state were swallowed up by Egypt and
Jordan. One heard literally not a peep out of them. It seems that the only thing
to which they object to is the exact same thing for which this whole extremely
modern identity of "Palestinian" was invented: as a negation of Israel and the
Jews. This is why the Arabs of the area have always rejected a state at every
opportunity- most recently at Camp David in 1999; their goal is not to establish
a state for themselves, but rather to destroy Israel.
If Israel did 1/10 of what the Palestinian Authority accuse it of doing (and
their imagination is quite fecund, and not restrained by any over-scrupulous
respect for truth- witness the Jenin "massacre"), it is still, morally,
light-years ahead not only of any country in the Middle East, Africa, or Asia,
but also of countries such as France when they have been confronted with wars
which were not existential.
Yet my reader, and the other anti-Semites of this world have never been
perturbed by real massacres and genocides, true viciousness and injustice. No,
the only country in the Middle East where Arabs can freely vote and speak out
against their own government- where even terrorists don't get the death penalty-
that's the place that their ilk can't abide.
As Golda Meir once said, "Israel is the Jew among nations."
The "Palestine" lovers are so concerned with a right to a state for a completely
new and unprecedented nationality, whereas for some reason the right to
self-determination for the world's oldest nationality extant-- one which has
acted, by any moral barometer, with infinitely more compassion, civilization,
and care for human life than the new-fangled murderous one he is
championing--seems to be extremely limited if it exists at all. That is the
classic definition of anti-Semitism: one standard for everyone else, and then an
impossible one for the Jews.
A warped moral equivalence: a favorite trick of the left, something they did all
the time during the Cold War (US no better than Soviets with their gulags, etc.)
and that they do today (US and al-Qa'ida are morally equivalent). To quote
Tolkien from the Lord of the Rings, when the Ent, Treebeard, muses that he might
lash out like Saruman if his home were threatened: "The difference is that you
never plotted to cover the whole world with your trees..."
The allied forces in Afghanistan have been in situations vaguely resembling the
situation of Israel in the Arab-populated parts of the Unallocated Portions of
the British Palestine Mandate (what the "Palistine" lovers so revel in
fallaciously referring to as "the occupied territories"): I say vaguely, because
the Allies in Afghanistan don't have innocent populations of women, children,
etc. a twenty-minute drive away from downtown Kabul. Never would the Allies have
done what Israel did in Jenin, solely out of mercy for the terrorists' families:
namely, launch a ground offensive. According to the official figures of the
Palestinian authority, 59 people- mostly armed terrorists- were killed in that
operation; the ones who weren't armed terrorists were murdered by the terrorists
when they blew up the entire street, which they had booby trapped. Israel lost
If the "Palestine" lovers don't understand that Israel could have leveled the
whole place several times over without ever losing one of its own, then they
clearly are even more ignorant of Israel and its abilities than I already know
them to be. No other country in the world- including the US, UK, Denmark, etc.-
acts with such reverence for the life of those who wish to destroy them, even at
the high cost of its own precious sons.
In short, whatever else its shortcomings, Israel has acted with a restraint and
decency unparalleled in the face of unprecedented barbarity and brutality.
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