This article is a preface to an intended series of short articles showing the lie to the Arab (and now, European) claim that the Jewish State has no right to exist in a Muslim Arab Middle East and the claim that “Palestinians” are victims of a (foreign) Zionist colonial enterprise. This is article A.
All information in this synthesised article is the intellectual property of Efrat ben Ze’ev, Jacob de Haas and Moshe Gil.
During World War I Great Britain aimed to consolidate its influence in the Middle East, both through military engagement and by seeking local allies.
In the 1915 Hussein–McMahon correspondence, Britain promised its Arab allies that it would “recognize and uphold the independence of the Arabs in all the regions lying within the frontiers proposed by the Sharif of Mecca.” What connection the Sharif of Mecca had with land east of the Jordan was never made clear.
However, it is important to remember that Hussein did not represent all Arabs and many remained loyal to the Ottomans until 1918. Present day revisionists gloss over this point if they mention it at all.
At the same time, the British Balfour Declaration of 1917 made a more explicit promise to the Zionists, declaring that “His Majesty’s government view[s] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”
What this shows is threefold. Firstly, it shows that the Arab agreement with Great Britain was for the personal glory and benefit to the scion of an important family in Mecca. There was no cultural, religious or social connection in what became Transjordan to the history of the Jews in the region since the entry of Abraham into Egypt and later Canaan around 1800 BCE. Britain was, in effect, granting a fiefdom to a “mate”, to the head of a hamula (clan).
On the other hand, Britain’s agreement with the Jews was the culmination of 2000 years of the Jewish search for a homeland to put behind them the ravages and humiliations of being foreigners in an often hostile diaspora. It was the culmination of a yearning to be gathered in as one people in the land of their forefathers. How could they know what unimaginable horrors further awaited the Jews of Europe.
And thirdly, it immediately renders false/empty the oft-put argument by those Arabists who would delegitimise the State of Israel, that the Jewish state was formed because of European guilt for the Holocaust. Again, such a line of argument is embarrassed by the facts that Jews lived continuously in Judea and Samaria prior to the Arab invasion and colonisation of the Near East, and the fact that the Jews had always lived and breathed Jerusalem as their eternal Jewish capital some 1500 years before the advent of Islam. That, together with the fact that it was in 1882 that Jewish Zionists began arriving in the Holy Land from Eastern Europe, makes the linking of holocaust guilt and the establishment of the State of Israel a hollow claim.
But I digress.
By late 1917 Britain had conquered Palestine.
In 1920, dreams of a unified Arab kingdom in the Levant died with the collapse of King Faisal’s regime in Syria. Arab nationalists in the region now turned their efforts to blocking the Zionist project.
By 1922 the League of Nations had granted Mandates to Britain over Iraq, Palestine, and Transjordan and to France over Syria and Lebanon. The history of the modern Middle East had begun.
The stated aim of a Mandate, unlike a colony, (another delegitimising myth deflated!!) is to prepare a local population for self-rule through a process of state building.
To that end, the Jews worked with the Mandate Government to develop Public Works Office to a forestry ministry, local municipalities, legal courts, police stations, prisons, hospitals, a survey and mapping system, a railway network, a coastal road, a modern port, and airports.
The Arabs, for their part, established the Supreme Muslim Council and placed Hajj Amin al-Husseini as “Head of Islam in Palestine”.
Despite enhanced growth on all fronts by the Jewish population of Mandated Palestine in preparation for self-rule, such rapid growth did not characterize the Arab population. The Arab Palestinian elite were divided along clan (hamula) and geographical lines and they could not agree on appropriate collective strategies to benefit the wider Arab Muslim community. This internecine squabbling led to the result that any Arab institutions that were formed in the Mandated territory, remained weak and dysfunctional.
This has remained as true in 1920 as it is almost exactly 100 years later in 2015. And so has the propensity to shift blame for everything onto others.
Between 1936 and 1939 the Arabs now attacked the British authorities as well Jewish residents of the yishuv.
In 1937, the Peel Commission recommended a partition of Palestine. The Arabs rejected this. Concerned by the economic disruption being caused to England’s business interests, the British then scrapped the partition plan and limited Jewish migration. They also deposed Hajj Amin al-Husseini as Mufti and declared the Arab Higher Committee illegal.
Al-Husseini fled to Nazi Germany where he actively pursued the German solution to the “Jewish problem” as a resolution to Jewish migration in the Middle East. It didn’t happen.
And so, in the years until 1948, the Arab community of Palestine did nothing to consolidate its position either in terms of unifying around a national leadership, in developing civic works in preparation for self-rule, or in preparing for a countrywide war which, by that time, was clearly coming.
And then, Britain, having made promises to both Arabs and Jews based entirely on political and financial interest, promises which to a degree contradicted each other, pulled out of the Middle East and let Arab and Jew begin a series of wars which have continued for over 67 years (and counting).
The point of this article, the first in what I hope will be a short series establishing Jewish indigenous rights (as a race, a people, a religion, a culture) to Judea and Samaria in what is now the State of Israel, is to highlight three things at this stage: Arabs and Islam were (very) late comers to the area between the river and the sea, that demonstrated Jewish settlement in that area goes back just over 3,000 years, and that the Israeli-Palestinian “problem” is nothing more than an exceptionalist/subjugating ideology unable to live in peace with others not cut from the same religious cloth.
The above is a very long sentence. But then, it is about a very long history.