-or why the “Palestinians” can never have any legal, moral, historical or political precedence
– shamelessly plagiarized and adapted from the work of Allen Z. Hertz
It is indeed fortunate that increasing international attention is being paid to the concept of aboriginal rights as an important legal topic in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.
The implications of such research and thinking have far-reaching consequences for the current Arab Muslim narrative of a state for the “Palestinian” people.
Because it so clearly undermines the Muslim Arab narrative of the concept of a “Palestinian” people or “nation”, it also helps to explain why the Arab states are so supportive of an economic, academic and cultural boycott of the Jewish state in their efforts to de-legitimise the Jewish state.
In other words, the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict via the subterfuge of the creation of a “Palestinian” state, has no legal, political or moral basis as this article will show. Thus, getting others to de-legitimise Israel through sanctions after both the legal and the military imperatives have failed, remains the only avenue remaining to the Arabs to ethnically cleanse an indigenous people from an Arab-colonised and occupied Middle East.
The Basic Premise
The notion of aboriginal rights is an important legal and moral adjunct to the claim of an indigenous people to a homeland where they have demonstrated demographic and cultural ties to a land for more than twenty seven centuries.
This recognition of the documented aboriginal land rights of an indigenous community backed by the highest sources of international law are what are so problematic for all those supporters of the de-legitimisation of Israel.
The notion of “peoplehood” is about much more than genetics. It is also a complex sociological phenomenon— a central pillar of the notion of nation states. It is important because the political and legal doctrines of aboriginal rights and the self-determination of peoples cannot apply retroactively.
This means that a people, without a continuous identity stretching back to the relevant historical time, cannot today make an aboriginal or other claim with respect to that earlier period before it decides to proclaim itself a “people”. The implications for the slick modern-day narrative of the “Palestinian” people are fraught with legal, moral and historical minefields.
You cannot become a “people” just because you don’t like Jews.
For 2.18 billion Christians, the Bible says that the Twelve Tribes straddled the Jordan River, as did the realm of Kings David and Solomon and their successors. Since antiquity, this homeland was known to Jews as “the land of Israel”, and as the “Holy Land” to Christians. Muslims and Islam never figured in these ancient texts.
Together with the Jewish Bible, the Christians Gospels and, later, the Muslim Koran, all refer to the Jewish people and its connection to the Holy Land. With at least 2,700 years of continuous history, the Jewish people kept a subjective-objective identity that always included demographic and cultural links to its native land.
Thus, the Jewish people, as both an abstraction and a physical entity are the aboriginal tribe and “the Arab people” is the interloping settler population, including newer waves of Arab immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries.
And before the Arab and Muslim armies invaded and colonised the Land of Israel, the “Holy Land” was home, inter alia, to the immediate ancestors of the Jewish people, including personalities like Kings David and Solomon. Of course, the “Holy Land” of the Christians (there is still no mention of Islam ….) was also home to other peoples like the Phoenicians, Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, and Philistines which have long since vanished from the world with nobody today entitled to make new claims on their behalf.
Judaism, the Hebrew language, and the Jewish people were already established in the Holy Land for about a thousand years before the 7th-century-CE ethnogenesis in Arabia of the Arab people, the birth of which was approximately concurrent with the emergence of Islam and classical Arabic.
In this regard, the Jewish people’s claim to its ancestral homeland reaches back to antiquity and thus antedates the post-classical birth of both Europe and the Islamic civilization. Conceptually, the Jewish people is aboriginal to its ancestral homeland in the same way that the First Nations are aboriginal to their ancestral lands in the Americas and the Aboriginal people are indigenous to Australia.
So if we apply the doctrine of the self-determination of peoples, which normally allocates territory by the national character of the current local population, then the self-determination of the Arab people is expressed via twenty-one Arab countries, while the State of Israel is the sole expression of the self-determination of the Jewish people.
Furthermore, if the break-up of the Ottoman Empire legitimised nation-states such as Japan, Italy, Greece, and the countries of the Arab League, then Israel and two dozen other modern countries are successor-states of the Ottoman caliphate.
This poses a huge problem of legitimacy for the current “Palestinian” narrative.
Yeah, but what of Modern history?
In 1919, there was no “Palestinian” people.
Indeed, until that point in time (the break-up of the Ottoman Empire into Syria, Jordan Lebanon and Iraq…), no Muslim history had ever known or acknowledged a state or province called “Palestine.” No Muslim holy book had ever mentioned the sanctity of Jerusalem as a holy Muslim icon. And no Muslim Arab ruler had ever designated the Ottoman province of Damascus as the centre of the Islamic faith.
The Ottomans themselves, who ruled over the Arabs for over 400 hundred years, never had a province or sub-provincial unit called “Palestine”.
It is true that the Ottomans did, for a time, after the 7th-century-CE Arab conquest and colonisation of the modern Middle East, keep the old Roman and Byzantine Christian toponym Palaestina, arabicized as Filastin (فلسطين).
But the Paris decision-makers who presided over the break-up of the Ottoman caliphate and who created Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon were specific in their aim to establish the Holy Land to be the national home for the Jewish people estimated to be 14 million Jews worldwide, including the one million then living in the Near and Middle East.
Failure to create a national home for the Jewish people would also have meant that the Arab people would have received almost the whole of the Ottoman inheritance.
That result would have been unacceptable to Britain and America and to the principal Arab leader at the Paris Peace Conference, Prince Feisal because they significantly understood that the claim to self-determination of the Jewish people was as compelling as that of the Arab people.
In actual fact, as sole representative of the Arab nations at the 1919 Peace Conference, Feisal had specifically accepted the plan to create “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine while his father, the Hashemite King of the Hedjaz (later part of Saudi Arabia) was party to the 1920 Sevres Treaty that explicitly stipulated that there would be “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.
The historical record will always remain unchanged.………….
So who are the “Palestinians”?
The international decision to create a national home for the Jewish people, from the sea to the Jordan River, did not result in the displacement of local Arabs.
On the contrary, from 1922 until 1948, the Arab population of the national home for the Jewish people almost tripled, while the Jewish population there multiplied eight times.
The later problem of Arab refugees (about 726,000) from the national home for the Jewish people, and Jewish refugees (about 850,000) from Arab countries only emerged from May 1948, when local Arabs allied with several neighbouring Arab states to launch a war to destroy the newly independent Israel. Their declared intention was to exterminate the Jews living between the sea and the Jordan River, just as the Turks in 1922 had spectacularly succeeded in liquidating the aboriginal Greek communities of the Anatolian littoral.
Among local Muslim Arabs, the formation of a distinct, subjective-objective “Palestinian” identity did not generally occur before the second half of the 20th century, roughly around 1964, in the heyday of Egyptian pan-Arabism.
In 1950, two years after the establishment of the State of Israel, King Abdullah of Jordan unilaterally annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem with his Arab Legion which illegally entered, conquered and occupied it in the 1948-1949 War of Independence. Only Britain and Pakistan alone in the world recognised this occupation.
And so, in May 1948, when the name “Palestine” was dropped in favor of “Israel” as the name for the newly independent Jewish state it was begun to be used by the Muslim Arabs to denote their resistance to the creation of a jewish state.
Before 1948, the adjective “Palestinian” had too often been used as synonym for “Jewish.”
In other words, the name “Palestine” and many other specific features of the 1922 Palestine Mandate were too closely associated with Jews and Zionism to have offered much of a focus for Muslim Arabs. Therefore, they generally did not identify as “Palestinian” until the “Palestine” trademark had been definitely abandoned by the Jews.
That, ten, is the history of “Palestinian” “nationalism. The vast majority of “Palestinians” turn out to be Arabs who have migrated to modern day Israel through the 1920s as economic migrants from surrounding Arab lands who were lured by the bright success of the Zionist enterprise in what was marsh and/or stony desert.
For centuries prior to the break-up of the Ottoman Caliphate, there had never been a Muslim state or province by the name of “Palestine”.
After the breakup of the empire, between 1922 and 1948, the term “Palestine” was used by the British, the Americans and the the Arab representatives to designate the homeland of the Jews.
Between 1948-1967, no Palestinian state was created when Egypt held the Gaza Strip and Jordan had East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Thus, the continuing present-day Arab insistence on a “Palestinian” state is arguably one facet of a multi-faceted strategy to remove an indigenous people who are not Muslim, from a colonised and occupied Arab Muslim Middle East.
In 2014, we have only to look at the fate of the fast-dwindling Christian communities in countries of the “Arab Spring” and in Bethlehem itself today to extrapolate the end-game of a resurgent, oft-violent Islam in the twenty-first century.