Skip to comments.The Flight from Fact: Palestine in the Hands of Palestinian From Time Immemorial
Posted on 08/14/2002 7:18:09 AM PDT by carton253
The Palestinian problem is often asserted to be the heart of the matter, which must be dealt with before any real Middle East peace or any solution can occur.
The heart of the matter however, is not the Arab refugees or the Palestinian Arab refugees or the rights of the Palestinians or even Palestine. Were the Jewish-settled independent state on any area within reach of the Arab world no matter how remote or barren the location, there might well be another problem. And very likely there would also be another group of effendis (Arab landlords) to sell land to the Jews. There would be landless peasants anxious to better their lot who would migrate into the area of Jewish development. Perhaps they too would be goaded into claiming that the Jews displaced them from their land since time immemorial. But the chances of the dhimmi Jews gaining independence among Arabs in an Arab country, where Islam is the state religion are not even arguable. Even in the Jews own Holy Land it took two thousand years and millions of Jewish lives to accomplish the political rebirth of Israel.
The Arabs believe that by creating an Arab Palestinian identity, at the sacrifice and well-being and the very lives of Arab refugees, they will accomplish politically and through guerrilla warfare what they failed to achieve in military combat: the destruction of Israel the unacceptable independent dhimmi state. That is the heart of the matter.
All the myths surrounding the Arab Palestinians are based on the same premises:
1. The Palestinian people have had an identity with the land
2. That identity has been present for thousands of years.
3. The alien Jews returned after 2000 years in 1948 to displace the Palestinian Arabs in the new Jewish state.
4. The Arabs were there first it was Arab land.
5. The Jews stole the Arabs land.
6. The Jewish terrorists forced the peaceable Arabs to flee from Palestine.
7. Palestine is Israel, and Israel constitutes all of Palestine. In 1948 Palestine became Israel.
8. Only Jews immigrated into Palestine, while Arabs were natives there for millennia.
9. There are no places for the homeless Palestinian refugees to go.
10. The Jews were living in quality and tranquility with the Palestinian Arabs before Israel became a state, just as Jews had lived traditionally in peace and harmony throughout the benevolent Arab world.
11. The Arab Palestinians, like other Arabs, have nothing against Jews only Zionists.
Contrary to those Arab propaganda claims:
1. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Arabs or Arabic-speaking migrants were wandering in search of subsistence all over the Middle East. The land of Palestine proper had been laid waste, causing peasants to flee.
2. Jews and Zionism never left the Holy Land, even after the Roman conquest in AD 70.
3. The traditional land of Palestine included both areas east and west of the Jordan River (Transjordan or Jordan).
4. The Arabic-speaking masses in Palestine what few there were though of themselves as Ottomans or Turks, as Southern Syrians or as Arab People but never as Palestinians even after effendis and the Mufti tried to incite nationalism and even after T.E. Lawrence had made Herculean attempts to inject the Arabic-speaking residents of Palestine with nationalism.
5. Imbued with religious prejudice, the Muslims of Palestine erupted into anti-Jewish violence often, and at the call of the Muslim leaders, long before Israel.
6. Those anti-Jewish, apolitical acts were later, by the British, ascribed as Nationalism.
7. The bulk of all Arab peasantry in the area East Palestine, Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, and others were rendered landless by feudal-like societal structures, natural disasters, extortionate taxation, and corrupt loan sharks. Yet the Jews were cynically charged with creating landless Arabs in Palestine. The British gave state domain lands, allocated for the Jewish National Home to those landless Arabs who claimed they were being displaced by Jews in Western Palestine.
8. All the land outside the limited Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine was treated as Arab land: more than 80% -- including even part of Western Palestine was diverted to the Arabs. (Winston Churchill signed a white paper in the early 1920s that single handedly divided Mandate Palestine into two parts giving the larger part to the Emir Abdullah and creating Transjordan)
9. The overwhelming bulk of Palestine called Eastern Palestine or Transjordan became the Arab independent state within Palestine, despite the fact that all Palestine had been designated as a Jewish National Home.
10. The homelands to which Arab refugees moved in 1948 included lands that many Arab refugees had only recently left in order to gain economic advantages of the small Jewish region within Palestine. Those homelands where many Arab refugees of 1948 originated included the greater part of Palestine Jordan today to which the Jews claimed historic rights. Jordan was no less a Palestinian state than was the Jewish-settled fraction named Israel.
11. Those who were deprived the Arab refugees of homes among families and within their own Arab nation are the Arab-Muslim leaders.
12. The Arab refugees-émigrés, who by tradition been migrating into the Jewish-settled areas, were accepted as citizens of Palestine-cum-Jordan, because Jordanians acknowledge that their country is Palestinian soil.
13. All other adjacent Arab states refused to grant the dignity of citizenship to those whom they called their Arab brothers. The migrants had left their nearby Arab homelands to share the new prosperity in the Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine, that fraction of the original Jewish homeland retained by the Jews.
As we have seen, it is only in the Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine that the population distribution is relevant. The charge that Arab Palestinians were excluded from their homeland has been levied against the Jewish people, based upon the false assumption that Jews were allowed to settle, unrestricted, throughout their Jewish National Home of Palestine, and thus Israel was equivalent to all of Palestine. Since the land of Israel mainly the Jewish inhabited land in1948 accounted for less than a fourth of the land originally designated Palestine, and if the rest of Palestine is inhabited by Jordanian/Palestinians in an Arab state carved out of the Palestinian Jewish National Home where Jews are forbidden by law from settling how, then can Arabs be said to be excluded from a Palestinian Homeland.
The situation-changing effect of a detailed analysis of the composition and distribution of the population of Western Palestine, and of the nature of immigration and in-migration into that area, is of immense significance; yet these data have heretofore been almost entirely ignored. There was neither map nor measure readily available to identify accurately the population or territory actually involved in the Jewish-settled areas that constituted the land where 98% of all Jews in Palestine would live until after 1948 a fraction of Western Palestine. There are been no relevant recognition of the British land restrictions against Jews, which limited Jewish settlements to only a portion of Western Palestine.
The land in the Jewish National Home was treated largely as Arab Land. The Jews immigration was brutally restricted while illegal Arab immigration was freely permitted that was in fact the British system of immigration. To appease Arab discontent, the British violated the international League of Nations Mandate, by facilitating Arab settlement into Jewish settled land, and by treating the Jews only on sufferance in their Jewish National Home. No real measure of in-migrants or immigrants was ever taken, because the prevalent erroneous assumption was and still is that those Arab migrants had always been there. The omission of such information facilitated the myth of today.
The situation that subsequently evolved brings to mind once more this parable:
In the state of Georgia, there is a population of nearly 600,000 farmers 500,000 white farmers and 85,000 black farmers. The white farmers are sprinkled on land throughout the state. The black farmers have been permitted to dwell and buy land in a small, generally undeveloped, and abandoned coastal country of that state; they have toiled to drain and reclaim its swampland and have begun to build up its sandy wastes.
Although, the majority of the states land is state domain, the whites exert pressure and utilize violence in order to keep the Georgia administration from selling to the blacks that state territory which is their right. The Georgia government passes spuriously based legislation that has the effect of impeding the sales of state domain land to the black would-be settlers, and enacts restrictions on entry into Georgia in order keep out the blacks. The only land left available to them is the outrageously overpriced land that the whites sell to the blacks, most of which has become dunes and swampland.
Meanwhile, white migrant workers throughout Georgia, and from neighboring states as well, begin flooding into the area that has been promised to and allocated by federal legislation for black settlement. Having been hired by the blacks to assist in development, those white migrants are then designated by the government of Georgia to be the original settled inhabitants of the area. Then the white so-called original settlers charge that the blacks are dispossessing the whites, and must be kept out, although all the states surrounding Georgia as well as the majority to territory inside Georgia are dominated by whites, all in areas where KKK persecution and violence against blacks have been occurring with regularity. The white farmers resent the prosperity and equality accruing to those whom they regard as their slaves and therefore claim that the previously deserted land was expropriated from whites, insisting that the blacks farms belong to the whites from time immemorial.
Would any reasonable jury today respect such a claim?
And yet, so buried by layer-upon-layer of propaganda is the actual historical situation of Arabs and Jews in the Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine that just Arab demands have been given acceptance by many who, while in search of justice, lack the facts.
What happened in Rhodesia and South Africa is a model for what the Arabs want to do to Israel. The Arabs obviously want to make Israel Rhodesia III, though clearly won't allow any of the descendants of those westerners who built the nation from nothing to survive. I sincerely hope that the Israelis fight to win, unlike those in Rhodesia and South Africa, and that the rest of the western world finally wakes up. I have little hope of the latter (with the exception of the US), but a great deal of hope for the former (after all, the Jews of Israel, unlike citizens of Rhodesia and South Africa, have no where else to go).
Cinnamon Girl, thank you for recommending this book to me. I loved it...
Although I knew most of this, it has indeed been buried in a sea of misinformation and the revision of history.
Thank you for that and for pinging the list...
Next book in my list is Bay Ye'or's Islam and Dhimmitude: A Clash of Civilizations. Should prove interesting.
Joan Peter's research is faultless.
It isn't. I'm sorry but it isn't faultless.
Daniel Pipes, whose credentials as a defender of Israel require no elaboration, wrote this in the New York Review of Books in 1986(!):
It has become open season on Joan Peters's From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine, although Yehoshua Porath's review [NYR, January 16] is one of the more restrained of the attacks upon it made in the past fifteen months or so. Mrs. Peters has brought this upon herself to a large extent, for, as I wrote in my review of the book in The New Republic of April 23, 1984, "many of its valuable points are buried in passages of furious argumentative overkill," and too much of its more than 600 pages is given over to very conventional polemics. Since then, some patient researchers have found numerous examples of sloppiness in her scholarship and an occasional tendency not to grasp the correct meaning of a context from which she has extracted a quotation. All in all, her book is markedand marredby an over-eagerness to score a huge and definitive polemical triumph, which has caused her too often to leave prudence and responsibility behind.
But the fact remains that there is an original and significant argument at the heart of her book [...]
I am not mentioning this to rain on your parade, but you should know there are problems with Peters' research before you get blindsided in a discussion with a well-prepared PLO sympathizer.
It is unfortunate that Peters has not seen fit to publish an updated, revised edition of her book which would fill in gaps in the demographical data and correct errors. The story isn't as simple as she makes it out to be.
For my part, during the same time that I was finding out how indeed hundreds of thousands Palestinian Arabs were dispossessed and treated badly by the Israelis, I also learned of the 1400 years persecution of Jews by Muslim Arabs, starting with Moe Ham Head his own self and culminating in the 1948 war of extermination and the expulsion of the Jews from Arab countries. The same Arab genocidal mindset that continues to this day and is so twisted and perverse that it accuses the other side of the crime it is planning and implementing. So my compassion for the Arabs ... let's say it has its limits.
It takes nothing away from the accomplishments of the Israelis to admit that real injustices against Palestinian Arabs were committed (some of whom had indeed been living there for many generations). That is how nation-states are born - in blood and tears - and Israel has tragic history like all other nation-states (but much less than most of them).
And I think you did mention it to rain on my parade... but that's all right, I have a big umbrella :) The more information I get, the better. I will certainly take your "warning" into consideration...
I don't think Joan Peters is saying that there were not Arabs who were ejected from the land... as I read the book, her main take is on the number of Arabs who claimed they were being forced from the land, etc.
As for countries being born... you are right. No countries are innocent in their birth. No countries are innocent in their growth.
I remember an Australian teacher outraged over the many broken treaties the American government made with Native Indians. He was right... not a glorious chapter. But, I didn't hear him mention Australia's treatment of native peoples in Australia while he was railing against our past.
The parties (namely the EU and UN) seeking to scapegoat Israel and the Jews for the Arabs misery are not misinformed, but rather have calculated the specific agenda to destroy the state of Israel. These parties must be taken to account based on the long held practices and precedents set by international law.
And as I recently posted, the debate on whether Arab-terrorists may be freedom fighters concedes legal authority to their actions. Before answering whether Palis are justified in fighting "occupiers" it must be determined whether they are being "illegaly occupied". The history of events surrounding the West Bank and Gaza make the Pali claim dubious under international law. Simply stated, legal title to this territory vested under Israel's soveriegnty upon the unlawful actions of Israel's Arab neighbors, who used the territory to repeatedly launch invasions against Israel (four hostile attacks upon Israel between 1948 and 1967-- any of which gave Israel the right to annex the disputed territory).
To say we yield to Arab demands because of oil can't be the whole story. For the West has been yielding long before oil. To bottom line it into Anti-Semitism seems to just scratch the surface of the problem.
To read the history of the Jews under the Mandate period and watch the British break their own law to make sure that the Jews did not immigrate to a land that Britian itself set aside for that purpose... flabbergasts me. To watch leaders like Chamberlain, Roosevelt, etc. dance around the issue that Jews were dying under Hitler is devestating. Even when the facts of the death camps were known, even then the British would not let the European Jews migrate to Palestine. They preferred the Arabs who were fighting on the Nazi's side. What is that!
Even today, the Palestinians aren't Israel's main enemies... but the West who allow the Palestinians carte blanche to do whatever they want to the Israelis and then hold Israel to a different standard. The EU and UN prefer the Arabs and signal their hatred for the Jews in their condemnations and resolutions.
You are right... it is not misinformation... it is calculated. It is calculated to deny a people the right of existence.
I would like to have your opinion on why EU and the UN have chosen this path...
That quote, in fact, came from Ronald Sanders, who together with Daniel Pipes offered a qualified defense of Peters' book in response to a negative review from Yehoshua Porath.
The back-and-forth between these three people can be read at the second link above.
tictoc is now looking for a napkin to wipe the egg off his face.
Have a nice day!
I will leave that fight aside because I would have to look at the numbers myself to see which set of numbers I would believe.
But, I am struck by something buried in Mr. Poraths argument that seems to contradict his opposition to Miss Peters and supports exactly what the main thrust of her book is saying.
Mr. Sanders sums up her thesis thusly: Much of Miss Peters book argues that at the same time that Jewish immigration to Palestine was rising, Arab immigration to the parts of Palestine where Jews had settled also increased. Therefore, in her view, the Arab claim that an indigenousArab population was displaced by Jewish immigrants must be false, since many Arabs only arrived with the Jews.
Mr. Sanders writing says: Yet neither he (Mr. Porath) nor any of the detractors I have read has taken on the most striking of her demonstrations in favor of her case, dealing with the phenomenon she calls in-migration that is, the movement of Arabs from other parts of Palestine into the main areas of Jewish settlement. She shows that in the years 1893 to 1947, while the Palestinian Arab population slightly more than doubled in areas where no Jews were settled, it quintupled in the main areas of Jewish settlement. How can this difference be accounted for without including Arab migration as a factor?"
Mr. Porath goes about explaining how that can be and in the meantime he proves just how that happened.
First, Mr. Porath discounts evidence that Palestine was a wasteland due to the fact that the person Mr. Sanders quoted in his review about this fact was a Zionist. Okay but there is evidence from numerous sources i.e, Mark Twain being just one observer who wrote that Palestine was in fact desolate and void of population.
Mr. Porath writes about in-migrants: It is true nevertheless that during the Mandate period, the Arab population of the coastal area of Palestine grew faster than it did in other others. But this fact does not necessarily prove an Arab immigration into Palestine took place. More reasonably it confirms the very well-known fact that the coastal area attracted villagers from the mountainous parts of Palestine who preferred the economic opportunities in the fast-growing areas of Jaffa and Haifa to the meager opportunities available in their villages.
The coastal area had several main attractions for the Arab villagers. The found jobs in constructing, and later working in, the port of Haifa, The Iraq Petroleum Company refineries, the railway, workshops, and the nascent Arab industries there. They also took part in the large-scale cultivation of the citrus groves between Haifa and Jaffa and found jobs connected with the shipment of citrus fruits from the Jaffa port. Contrary to what Mr. Pipes claims, all these developments had almost nothing to do with the growth of the Jewish National Home. The main foreign factor that brought them about was the Mandatory government. The Zionist settlers had a clearly stated polity against using Arab labor or investing in Arab industries.
First of all, Mr. Porath is in denial if he thinks that the explosion in labor had nothing to do with the Jews reclaiming the land and planting and growing citrus crops. He accounts it only to the British government. We know that government can produce jobs and may be responsible for some of the opportunities presented to Arab workers but that doesnt refute Miss Peters argument that the growth of the Arab population in Western Palestine was due to in-migrant workers and not landed Arabs who were displaced by Zionists from lands they have owned since time immemorial.
And to say that the Jews never hired Arab workers is not true. Yes, there were instances where the Jews would not work with Arabs but left the labor to Jews. But that is not true in every situation. As the land was reclaimed and Jewish immigration was stymied by British capitulation to Arab demands, the Jews were forced to work with Arabs (paying them great wages), which lead to more Arab in-migration
Such books as Israel by Martin Gilbert, The Seige By Conor Cruise OBrien, A Durable Peace by Benjamin Netanyahu and O Jerusalem state that Arabs worked for Jewish farmers and as a result their standard of living improved.
Were some landed Arabs uprooted from their homes at the birth of Israel? Without a doubt. Were 1.6 million of them uprooted no. Miss Peters says that the UNWRA stated that any Arab who lived in Israel only 2 years before the partition are refugees and should be counted as such. They are still categorized as refugees 54 years later. Jewish refugees from Arab countries who were forced out of their homes in 1948, as of 1984, could no longer be counted as refugees. Why the double-standard? Why hasnt Arab countries absorbed the refugees? In the early 1980s the Syrians put out a call for laborers. When asked why they didnt hire the refugees in Syrian camps they said no that those refugees served a political strategy against Israel.
In conclusion, we can argue about the 1890 census until we turn blue in the face and nothing will be solved. The truth is that from the time the Mandate came into force until 1948, Western Palestine flourished and industry grew. That growth was due to the Jewish efforts to reclaim the land. As the land flourished
industry grew. It is also true, that Arab in-migrants came to where the wages were higher and the standard of living was good. And those in-migrants were counted by the UNWRA and Arab propaganda as Arabs thrown off their farms by Zionist imperialists. These farms that they have owned since time immemorial.