Monthly Archives: October 2019

From Arab ummah to homeless Palestinian: why, when and how

The name Palestine was specifically created at the San Remo Conference in April 1920, as a mandated state, to be the Jewish National Home.

The connection (legal and ethnological) between “Jews” and “Palestine” existed because both Palestine and the Jewish national Home were created for each other at the same time under international law. This understanding was supported explicitly by Article 7 of the Mandate for Palestine (a LEGAL document) which stated:

“The Administration of Palestine shall be responsible for enacting a nationality law. There shall be included in this law, provisions framed so as to facilitate the acquisition of Palestinian citizenship by Jews who take up their permanent residence in Palestine (emphasis mine).”

No such right or obligation existed in favour of foreign Arabs.

As an aside, Palestine was named “Palestine” by the British and the Zionist leaders of the time simply because that was the name that the Zionist programme adopted in 1897 in Basle and was the name of the area most prevalent at the time…. Would that they had listened to loyal Herzl supporter Israel Zangwill’s preference to call the area Judea instead. Perhaps today the “Judeans” would be fighting the Jews of Israel…😊

So, today’s “Palestinians” therefore have the Jews to thank for even their “national” name and aspirations of “peoplehood”!!

That Palestine was implicitly and explicitly tethered to Jews was also explicated in stamps of the period which supported the abbreviation “E.I.” for Eretz Israel and was supported by Herbert Samuel, British High Commissioner, who stated that he “…was aware that there was no other name in the Hebrew language for this land except Eretz Israel.

It is interesting that the Arabs challenged the use of the word “Palestine” on stamps and other Mandate documentation as an “…offense to the Arab nation…”. This challenge was rejected on legal grounds (Article 82, 1925 Law Reports of Palestine) because it was adjudged to be a political sentiment and not one of legal ruling.

It is important to note here that the failed legal challenge referred to offense being given to the “…Arab nation…” and NOT Palestinians who were Muslims and Arabs. The concept of the ‘ancient and indigenous’ Arab “Palestinian”, as the Arabs now want to call themselves had not yet been invented.

What is equally important to know is that the nationality law I referred to in paragraph 2 above was explicated in Article 129 of the Treaty of Sevres which stated that

“Jews…who are habitually resident, on the coming into force of the present Treaty, within the boundaries of Palestine…will ipso facto become citizens of Palestine…”

What that meant was that Palestinian citizenship was to be granted to foreign Jews on entry into Mandated Palestine.

As Feinberg (1979) pointed out, Arabs living outside Palestine had no legal right to opt for Palestinian nationality even though there was an illegal mass influx of hundreds of thousands of Arabs into the country during the years of the British administration. Census figures show that of 565,000 Arabs in the Mandated territory in 1920, that number swelled to around 1,225,000 in 1947.

In other words, the principle of nationalities was applied to the Jewish people and not to the local Arab inhabitants in the specific case of Palestine per the Balfour declaration, the Treaty of Sevres and the Mandate for Palestine.

However, in the first of many British about-faces which led to the current intractable conflict, the Churchill White Paper of 1922 abruptly changed the term “nationality” to be as broad as possible and no longer recognised the former connection existing between Palestinian nationality and the Jewish nation. In turn, this now meant that Palestine in its entirety was no longer the exclusive Jewish National Home, but a home to be shared with the Arabs.

As most readers in this field know, the Jews accepted this startling re-interpretation of the Balfour Declaration, the Treaty of Sevres and Article 7 of the Mandate for Palestine.

For all that, it was customary throughout the Mandatory period to call all the Jews who lived in Palestine between 1920 and May 1948 by the distinctive name of “Palestinians”.

The non-Jewish Arab residents of Palestine were referred to as Arabs rather than Palestinians.

The Arabs referred to themselves as Syrians as exemplified by the all-Arab Palestine (not “Palestinian”!!!) Arab Congress of February 1919 which supported the country’s inclusion in an independent Syria and where they denied any specific “Palestinian” national identity.

This was explicitly stated by their leading spokesman George Antonius in his testimony before the Palestine Royal Commission of 1937 where he ties the future of the Mandate Arabs to the Arab nation of Syria:

“It is very important to note that the sacrifices made…were common and shared in common by Syrians and Palestinians…There was no distinction between Syria and Palestinian (Moslem and Christian)…. The country was one, it acted as one, and its future was one.” (emphasis mine)

In case the reader does not fully appreciate the import of what Antonius is saying regarding the concept of the Arabs in Mandated Palestine as always being that of an Arab identity and NOT a “Palestinian” one, Antonius explains:

“I want to emphasize…that Palestine has always been an integral part of Syria and that what was common to Syria is common to Palestine (Note: NOT “Palestinians”!!!)…The country is one in every way… and what we see in Palestine is not a local movement…but [one of] the Arab world which it followed in common without any distinction between its component parts” (emphasis mine).

Antonius thus emphasizes, in 1937, the Arab concept of qawmiyya, pan-Arabism, and NOT the sudden and mysterious appearance of the wataniyya (state-based nationalism) the PLO later dreamed up for an Arab group undifferentiated in any nationalistic way from ANY of their immediate neighbours. I attempt to highlight below the significance of this difference in the quest to further expose the myth of a ‘Palestinian’ “nation”.

There isn’t much more to be said on this point though I must point out that Arabs who lived in Palestine during the Mandate were indeed called “Palestinian Arabs” in terms of their citizenship and place of residence to distinguish them from Arabs living French-mandated Syria or British-mandated Iraq….

BUT, why and when and how did the Palestinian Arabs or South Syrians or Mandate Arabs of what became the State of Israel become the ancient “Palestinians” (and “indigenous” ones to boot) of the Holy Land now replaced by “foreign Jews”???

If you haven’t fallen asleep yet, read on.

To answer the first of the questions: why. The term “Palestinian” was a switch of national identities and names for fraudulent use since no such nation ever existed. Proof of this is that not once in the literature of the ancient world does the word “Palestinian” ever appear as a proper noun to describe either a nation or a member of that nation. Additionally, the word “Palestinian” is a Hebrew root word used by the ancient Israelites with whom the Arabs never had any historic, cultural or racial affinity. Thus, this Hebrew root does not appear in Arabic, but does in other Semitic tongues such as Ge’ez (classical Ethiopic) where it is (still) called fellashas (Ethiopian Jews) after the root Pe-Lamed-Shin (פלש) of the Hebrew.

The term “Palestinian” to describe the Levantine migrant Arabs in today’s Israel was chosen as part of an overall strategy of inversion and plagiarism by the PLO out of an ancient hatred of Jews as witnessed by the Arab ploy of adopting as their national name, one that is directly traceable to a Hebrew source.

But, more importantly, the ploy was also aimed at convincing Christian nations that Palestine was really the home of ancient “Palestinians” thus hoping to win sympathy for their cause where it was no longer the Jews against 21 Arab states arrayed against them, but actually a militarily strong Jewish state visiting calumny upon a “desperate, homeless ancient Palestinian people”.

The extent to which they succeeded in co-opting a receptive Christian world can be seen in Palestinian propaganda utterings that Nazareth is an Arab city, that Abraham, Adam, Job and Moses were prophets in Islam and that Jesus was a Palestinian.

Thus, as part of the strategy of inversion and plagiarism in order to de-legitmise Jewish history in the land, and particularly after 1963 (more on this later), the PLO abrogated (that would be the most suitable word…) early Israelite history and culture and transformed Hebrew Patriarchs, prophets, judges and kings into Arab ones.

They did this at the same time as denying Jewish genealogy while at the same time adopting a name applied ethnologically and legally to the Jewish people of Palestine 1920-1948 in order to legitimise themselves using a Hebrew root word not found in Arabic.

To this end the Arabs of the PLO era even went to the extent, in some instances, of copying the very programmes and texts of the Zionist Movement, using the same language, as in the case of their so-called Declaration of Independence (from whom??) in Nov 1988 imitating the very words and style of the Israeli Declaration of Independence of May 14, 1948……

But, as Harkabi (1979) put it, the PLO declaration of independence glossed over the need to discuss the problem of the historicity of the “Palestinian” people, noting that in their report (p 130), the self-same 1937 Palestine Royal Commission referred to the Arabs in Palestine only as “Arabs” and summarised their claims under the heading of Arab Nationalism, not Palestinian nationalism.

Ten years later, the UN Partition Resolution of November 1947 divided the mandate territory into “a Jewish state’ and “an Arab state”……

It had not yet dawned on anybody in the Arab world to call the projected Arab state a “Palestinian” state. That would come later.

To summarise, the Arabs now living in what became Israel used, from 1964, identity theft and inversion of history in order to dispel the notion of Jewish historical connection and sovereign ownership over the Land of Israel.

With regards to when and how the name change happened, I think one can firstly keep in mind that Arabs who lived in Palestine during the Mandate period were “Palestinian” only in the legal sense of citizenship.

Together with this, it should be remembered that, outside of the Arab world, nobody had ever heard of the historic Arab “Palestinians”. The term surfaced in Cairo, June 2, 1964 when the Palestinian National Covenant (PNC) was adopted and the PLO was founded with the blessing of the Arab League.

It only came into fashionable broader use in 1969 when Arafat became Chairman of the PLO. After all, UNSC Resolution 242, in November 1967, called Arabs who fled what became Israel ‘refugees’ and not ‘Palestinians’ despite the fact that 3 months earlier, the Arab Summit Conference referred to the rights of the “Palestinian people”.

This shows that the UN and the international community did not, as late as November 1967, consider the fleeing Arabs a nation.

But even the PNC did not talk about a completely separate “Palestinian nation” as evidenced by the introductory part of its own Covenant which repeatedly referred to “We, the Palestinian Arab People”.

As mentioned earlier, this loose focus on who the Levantine Arabs really believed they were (or wanted to be…) changed in the vocabulary they used in their Charter/Covenant as also the politics of the Middle East changed.

In 1964, the Charter spoke of the Palestinian Arab people, but by the time of their revised (sic) Charter in 1968 (after the Six Day War…) they were now talking about the Palestinian People, the Palestinian masses and the Palestinian identity. In 1964, the term used in the Charter was qawm (pan-Arabism). Four years later it had changed to watan or state nationalism…….

Startlingly, the amended (sic) 1968 Charter amended retroactively stated that Jews too could be considered “Palestinian” where Article 6 of the Covenant stated that only

“The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians.”

The Zionist invasion was considered to be the date of the Balfour Declaration, November 2, 1917.

The problem with this “revised” PLO Covenant was that all Jews who arrived in Palestine after 1917 were to be evicted and that the idea of mass transfer of Jews to their “countries of origin” was thus written into the very text of the “Palestinian National Covenant” to make it, as Harkabi (1969:47) pointed out, into “an Arab land purified of the alien population. Otherwise it would not be Arab and the Palestinians could not be its full masters” (italics in the original).

Fortunately, none of that ever happened.

Unfortunately, on 10 December 1969, United Nations terminology (with the memory of the first 1967 Oil Embargo still fresh in their minds) referred, for the first time (with considerable Arab pressure…), to the “people of Palestine” and their ‘inalienable rights’.

Then, in a quantum and inexplicable jump, in December 8, 1970, the UN declared the right of “Palestinian” self-determination in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations as demanded by the Arafat-led PLO delegation to the UN. Inexplicable because a nation does not come into being on demand, through propaganda or based largely on hate of other. A distinct nation differs from other peoples in customs and language and a distinctive culture with its own national literature, traditions and customs. The Arabs who were now calling themselves “Palestinians” differed little from Syrians, Jordanians and Egyptians and Iraq and were essentially created in an executive meeting of the Arab league in Cairo.

Finally, on November 22, 1974, the UNGA granted observer status to the terror group PLO which entitled it to participate, as Palestinians, in UNGA sessions and any international conferences convened under the auspices of General Assembly.

For its part, during these years, the State of Israel did little politically and diplomatically to stem the proliferation of this, the greatest lie and invention of the twentieth century, and thus allowed the astounding award of Israel’s inherited rights and title of sovereignty through millennia over Judea, Samaria and Gaza through lack of successful/ effective challenge of UN resolutions, to an Arab “nation” hitherto unknown in the annals of history, ancient, medieval or modern.

Arguably, in the Arab world, the end has historically always justified the (oft brutal) means.

With the PLO as proxies for an Arab League frustrated by devastating military losses to the Jews, the end point was always the removal of the Jewish state from the ME.

The means was the fraudulent identity switch and the inversion and transformation of documented Israelite history and culture in Judea and Samaria, into an Arab one.

Why do the Arabs continue to want the demise of Israel even after 71 years of failing to do so militarily?

As we will see, the major cause for the continuing conflict today was the refusal of the Arab leadership, dominated by the Husseini family in Jerusalem, to be pragmatic, as well as their intimidation of more moderate Arabs in Jerusalem into refusing any resolution whatsoever.

In 1936, in response to the Arab Revolt against the British mandatory government and repeated Arab violence against Jews, the British government appointed a commission of inquiry headed by Lord Peel to assess the cause of endemic Arab on Jew violence.

The reasons for this violence lay in the aftermath of WWI and the creation of the British Mandate as a mechanism to administer the geographical area of Palestine after the disappearance of the Ottoman Turks.

In a series of 10 letters between Sir Henry McMahon (the British High Commissioner to Egypt) and the Sharif of Mecca (Hussein al-Hashimi), McMahon promised Saudi Arabian Hussein that if he and his sons joined in the fight against the Ottoman Turks and allied with the British, they would get a self-governing Arab state. In this correspondence, McMahon never defined the area of Arab independence. Yet for Hussein, Palestine fell within this area.

Thus in 1916, Hussein al-Hashimi began fighting for the British against the Ottoman Empire with the aim of ending Turkish Ottoman rule in Arab-speaking areas.

In 1917, the Jewish Legion, five battalions of Jewish volunteers who fought against the Ottoman Empire during World War I as part of the British Army, was formed.

In 1917 too, the Balfour Declaration recognized the right of the Jews to a home in Palestine.

Then the British made a fatal error.

While one leading Jerusalem clan, the Nashashibis, was in favour of a more conciliatory policy with regard to Jewish migration and peaceable co-existence, their main rivals, the al-Husseinis, were agitating for violent conflict with both the Jewish community and the British.

In 1919, Haj Amin al-Husseini, member of the Jerusalem Arab al-Husseini clan, began organizing small groups of terrorists to harass and attack Palestine’s Jews. In 1920, al-Husseini instigated the anti-Jewish Passover attack: six Jews were murdered and more than 200 wounded during an Arab orgy of destruction.

The British arrested and jailed him. And it was then that they made the fatal mistake.

One year later, in 1921, newly-installed British High Commissioner Herbert Samuel, eager to appease the Arabs, released and pardoned al-Husseini and appointed him to the post of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

It was this single decision that effectively led to the origin of the single most important obstacle to peace in the Middle East: the Arab refusal to accept Jewish sovereignty and even physical presence in any part of the Land of Israel.

As a direct consequence of Britain’s empowerment of him as Mufti, al-Husseini was emboldened in pursuing the aim of violently removing the Jewish presence in Palestine. Over the following two decades, al-Husseini’s hardened anti-Semitic worldview, together with his determination to extinguish any prospect of the Balfour Declaration’s promise from being realized, made him a natural Middle Eastern ally of Germany’s Nazi regime once it launched its war of conquest and genocide in 1939.

al-Husseini was a fervent anti-Semite, the most important Nazi collaborator in the Arab world, and a political activist who worked tirelessly for the ethnic cleansing and physical destruction of the Jews in Palestine and in the Middle East as a whole.

This Mufti defined and epitomised the Mandate Arab ideology of absolute rejectionism and even genocide. In effect, the Mufti denied that the Jews had any national rights whatsoever, and especially not in the historic Land of Israel.

As an example of the influence of this vicious anti-semitism legacy on following generations of Arabs, if we fast-forward to 2013, BDS co-founder Omar Barghouti parrots the old Mufti’s claim anew: “Definitely, most definitely we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian…. will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

Once you understand this, you understand why the “Palestinians”, despite numerous opportunities to do so, still refuse to make peace despite being offered 91% of the “west bank” in July 2000 and then 95% of the “west bank” in December of the same year AS WELL AS East Jerusalem as their capital…….

So, in July 1937, the Peel Commission recommended for the first time a partition of the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state alongside an international zone, stretching from Jerusalem to Jaffa, that would remain under British mandatory authority. The Commission also recommended an exchange of land and population between the two states.

The Peel partition plan was rejected by the Arabs, but it was widely considered by the Jewish community and leadership as a possibility.

That brings us to 1947 and the Partition Plan.

By this time, and amongst onging violence, both parties rejected the 1946 recommendation by an Anglo-American committee to establish a bi-national state in Palestine under UN trusteeship.

However, while the Jewish community accepted the 1937 and 1947 partition plans, the Palestinian Arab leadership, dominated by the Husseini family, rejected both plans categorically even though it designated only 20% of Palestine to the proposed Jewish state. Furthermore, the Palestinian leadership even rejected the 1939 British White Paper, which had promised them an independent state within ten years while limiting Jewish immigration and turning the Jews into a minority in an Arab Palestinian state.

So, reminiscent of the 1964 three “No”s of Khartoum, the Arabs, influenced by an aggressive al-Husseini clan, refused partition if it meant Jews having a state in a historical homeland they had lived and worshipped in 1,800 years before the birth of Islam.

It would not be unreasonable to posit that the Jewish community in Palestine might well have aspired to obtain a larger share of the country. However, it realistically considered partition as a minimal or tolerable solution.

The Arabs could not agree to be this minimistically realistic or pragmatic even though shortly, after losing a full-blown war of aggression, they would then blame the Jews for causing them to have a “catastrophy” or “Nakba” and losing territory they could have kept had they agreed to the Partition Plan in the first place……

Since then, both sides have been engaged in a bitter conflict which will only end when an unmistakeable victory has been won.

Today, with changing Middle East allegiances and alliances as internecine Muslim hatreds draws lakes of blood, the “Palestinians” have been relegated to the back burner as BDS and other forms of lawfare have failed to make much impact on the Jewish state.

In the end, none of this matters.

The sad irony is that after 71 years of the lie being repeatedly told, the Levantine Arabs in Gaza, Judea and sSmaria, eventually came to believe the tale that their Arab League brethren had woven around them as reference to a history that never was, in order to assuage the ego of a non-existent and fractured Ummah.

Israel is here to stay, and the Levantine Arabs in Judea and Samaria can choose the future they want for their children.

They would do well to take a leaf out of the book of the Jewish state.

Shabbat Shalom