Sunday, July 7, 2013

Was there, in British Mandate Palestine, a ‘nationally conscious’ ‘Palestinian Arab people’?

Was there, in British Mandate Palestine,
a ‘nationally conscious’ ‘Palestinian
Arab people’?

by Francisco Gil-White__________________________________________________
  Where did the name ‘Palestine’ come from?
  Where is ‘Palestine’?
  The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) denies that ‘Palestine’ exists!
  Who are ‘the Palestinians’?

In Part 1 we saw that historian Nathan Weinstock finds it “understandable” that, in 1929, Arab mobs attempted to exterminate the Jews in British Mandate ‘Palestine.’ And why does he? Because “the Zionist leaders,” he explains, “clearly allied with the British” against the “national consciousness” of the “Palestinian anti-colonialist movement.” This is the standard anti-Zionist representation: a population designated as the Arab Palestinian people, equipped with a “national consciousness,” was living in a place called ‘Palestine’ when Zionist Jews came to dispossess them at the point of a British imperialist gun.[1]

It’s a hypothesis. Can it be right?

Not if it produces automatic absurdities. As you may also recall fromPart 1, Lieutenant Colonel John Patterson, an offended eyewitness, accused at the time that his own superiors in the British military were inciting the Arabs to attack the Jews with terrorism because they needed an excuse to renege on their treaty obligation to create a Jewish national home in British Mandate ‘Palestine.’[2] No, says Nathan Weinstock: the reason the British “encouraged” genocidal, anti-Jewish Arab violence was to produce a “distraction from the [Arab] anti-imperialist struggle.” You may ignore Nathan Weinstock’s explanation because Nathan Weinstock has stipulated to the crime: he himself concedes that the British “encouraged” (his words) Arab mob terrorism against the Jews.[3] Under the normal rules of logic, this refutes his claim that the Zionist Jews and the British were allied against the Arabs.

But Nathan Weinstock can be invoked to refute Nathan Weinstock in other ways, too.
On the question of the reality of ‘Palestine,’ Weinstock himself remarks on “how vague the borders of Palestine were,” and points out that, in the 19th century, “Herzl [founder of the Zionist movement]...referred to Sinai as ‘Egyptian Palestine.’”[3a] In addition, he says:
“When the first Zionist immigrants arrived in the Holy Land, Palestine did not exist as a distinct political entity. The territory which corresponded to this name was composed, roughly speaking, of the western provinces of the region which was traditionally known as ‘Syria.’ There were no borders to delimit it precisely. In fact, the definitive borders of the country, which covers about 17,000 square miles, were established by a series of agreements and treaties concluded between 1906 and 1922. The vagueness of the word ‘Palestine’ in the 19th century is illustrated by the vocabulary of the first Zionists, who used the expressions ‘Syria’ and ‘Palestine’ interchangeably.”[4]

So ‘Palestine,’ says Weinstock, “did not exist as a distinct political entity” and in fact the territory Weinstock would like to call ‘Palestine’ “was traditionally known as Syria.” The vagueness in the location of ‘Palestine’ was such that nobody was sure whether ‘Palestine’ was a part of ‘Syria’ or synonymous with ‘Syria,’ so they tended to use the terms without much discipline. And Weinstock is right: ‘Palestine’ didn’t get borders that stuck until 1922 -- and it was the British colonialists (imperialist foreigners from Europe, mind you), who arbitrarily drew those borders. This does not look like an impressive defense of the view that ‘Palestine’ had any political or cultural reality, which perhaps explains why Weinstock’s next sentence reads like special pleading: “A good case can be made, however, that, even then, there existed a specific Palestinian [Arab] identity.”
A “good case can be made,” can it? How curious, then, that Nathan Weinstock should have neglected to make it. Because, speaking as an author, when I think I have a good case and I've got my fingers on the keyboard I cannot resist the urge to type it out for my readers. It is hard to imagine an author who has a good case for something and decides not to show it -- particularly when we are talking about a hotly contested point. So here’s a hypothesis: perhaps, in truth, one cannotmake a “good case” that “there existed a specific Palestinian [Arab] identity,” and so, lacking an actual demonstration, Nathan Weinstock has insisted a bit ‘abstractly,’ shall we say, on the supposed correctness of his claim.

I think I can convince you that my hypothesis about Nathan Weinstock is a good one. In order to convince you, I shall lay out what I believe is a solid demonstration that there was no such alleged “Palestinian [Arab] identity,” possessing a “national consciousness,” and that any historian looking at the facts, as Weinstock has, cannot honestly conclude otherwise.

I shall begin with the name, ‘Palestine.’ After all, if there is such a thing as a Palestinian people, it is or was attached to a territory named Palestine that exists or existed. If, however, as Arab historian Philip Hitti testified in 1946 before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not,”[4a] then it would be absurd to speak of a real Palestinian people. I will therefore first examine the reality of ‘Palestine’ as an indirect way of assessing the reality of the ‘Palestinians.’ Then I will examine the question of ‘Palestinian identity’ directly.
Where did the name ‘Palestine’ come from? 

The ancient Romans gave the name ‘Syria-Palestina,’ in the second century, to land that previously had included the Roman province of Judea (land of the Jews), and before that independent Judah (land of the Jews). Why the name change? Because the Romans were wiping out the Jews: exterminating them. Why? Because the Jews were defending the oppressed masses whom the Romans daily brutalized.[5]

At the time of the name change from Judea to ‘Syria-Palestina,’ the Roman Empire had brought to completion a great genocide of the Jewish people, which lasted some 150 years. This required, naturally, many episodes of mass killing, but historians usually make reference only to the biggest three: the ‘First Jewish War,’ the ‘Diaspora Revolt,’ and the ‘The Second Jewish War.’ A historian of Western antisemitism, James Carroll, writes:

“...[in] the climactic war of 66-73 CE [‘First Jewish War’], ...Jerusalem was laid waste and hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed, (Josephus and Tacitus put the number of Jewish dead in this first war at around 600,000; in the second ‘Jewish war’ sixty years later, the tally of Jewish victims is put at 850,000)... Whatever the actual totals. . .the vast number of victims were killed without the mechanized methods that make modern wars so lethal, which is why analogies between Rome and the worst of twentieth-century dictators [i.e. to Adolf Hitler] may not be misplaced here. . . .if the [Roman] legions had had machine guns, bombs, railroads and [poison] gas at their disposal, who is to say any Jew would have survived the second century?”[6]

Well, in fact very few Jews did survive the second century. As historian Robert Wolfe explains,

“There were close to 1 million Jews in Egypt alone at the start of this period, yet hardly any remaining by the end of the 2nd century CE. The large Jewish communities in Syria and Turkey were likewise decimated. . . By the end of the 2nd century CE, only 750,000 Jews remained in Judah, home of something like 4 million Jews prior to the Roman onslaught.”[7]

Just as most Jews in Hitler’s occupied Europe were exterminated, adds Wolfe, “most Jews within the Roman empire had been either killed or enslaved” by the end of the second century.

Now, the Jewish population before the Roman genocide was not a marginalized minority but one of the largest and fastest-growing populations in the Mediterranean, with multitudes of sympathizers and defenders among non-Jews.[8] This means that the first and second century Roman extermination of the Jews may well have been, in proportional terms, a bigger Catastrophe even than the Nazi crime. So James Carroll should hardly be appealing to the Roman lack of “machine guns, bombs, railroads and gas,” as if there were a need to explain why the Roman Final Solution was smaller than the Nazi version; because it wasn’t smaller.

This horrific mass killing of Jews began with Augustus’ massacres at the turn of the first century and came to a close with the defeat of the Jewish Bar Kochba revolt in the second century, under Emperor Hadrian. In A History of the Jews, Paul Johnson summarizes how this last chapter played out:

“Fifty forts where the rebels had put up resistance were destroyed and 985 towns, villages, and agricultural settlements [also were]. [The ancient Roman author] Dio [Cassius] says 580,000 Jews died in the fighting ‘and countless numbers of starvation, fire and the sword. Nearly the entire land of Judea was laid waste.’ In the late fourth century, St. Jerome reported from Bethlehem a tradition that, after the defeat, there were so many Jewish slaves for sale that the price dropped to less than a horse.

[The emperor] Hadrian relentlessly carried through to completion his plan to transform ruined Jerusalem into a Greek polis. He buried the hollows of the old city in rubble to level the site. Outside the limits he removed the debris to get at and excavate the rock below to provide the huge ashlars for the public buildings he set up on the leveled site... The city he built was called Aelia Capitolina. Greek-speakers were moved in to populate it and the Jews were forbidden to enter on pain of death.”[9]

After finishing this great extermination of the Jewish people, emperor Hadrian was attempting to cleanse remaining Jews from their own land. To this effect he forbade entry to Jews and changed the name of the Jewish capital (which he had pulverized) to Aelia Capitolina. Something else that Hadrian did was...change the name of the place from Judea to ‘Syria Palestina.’

So, the name ‘Palestine’ was invented by the Romans as part of an effort to wipe out the Jewish people and erase any connection between them and their homeland. I think this is rather interesting.

The Roman exterminators chose ‘Palestine’ in order to allege that this was the land of the Philistines (that’s what ‘Palestine’ means: land of the Philistines), as opposed to the land of the Jews.[10]

It is significant that the land which the Philistines at one time occupied is much smaller than any of the definitions of ‘Palestine’ -- even the Roman.[10a] And it is also significant that the Greeks, from whom the use of the name ‘Palestina’ is supposedly taken, did not call this general area ‘Palestina’ when they ruled it. When the Ptolemaic Greeks ruled this general area they called it ‘Syria and Phoenicia,’ and scholars refer to this Ptolemaic possession as ‘Coele Syria.’[10b]

But the most important question for us is this: can this name, picked by the ancient Roman exterminators of the Jews, be applied for cultural or ethnic reasons to any Arabs? The answer is no. The Philistines, who no longer exist, were not Arabs. In fact, the Philistines were not even Semites, having been most closely related to the Greeks. Perhaps even more significantly, since the very name ‘Palestine’ fell into ambiguous use/disuse for a long time, it is quite impossible that a group of Arabs lived there who defined themselves as ethnic ‘Palestinians’ across the ages.

So, to see where ‘Palestine’ might be found, with respect to the claimsof modern Arabs, we must turn to the question of how and when this name came back into use, in recent times. I turn to this next.
Where is ‘Palestine’?__________________________________________________________
“The name Palestine was revived after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and applied to the territory in this region that was placed under the British Mandate for Palestine.”[11]

As anti-Zionist historian Nathan Weinstock himself told us above, “the definitive borders of [Palestine]...were established by a series of agreements and treaties concluded between 1906 and 1922.”

It was the British colonialists who gave ‘Palestine’ its borders in 1922. The way this happened contains an important lesson.

“In June 1922 the League of Nations [the highest international authority, precursor to the United Nations] passed the Palestine Mandate. The Palestine Mandate was an explicit document regarding Britain’s responsibilities and powers of administration in Palestine including ‘secur[ing] the establishment of the Jewish national home,’ and ‘safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine.’”[12]

Rather than honoring their treaty obligations about “secur[ing] the establishment of the Jewish national home,” and “safeguarding the civil and religious rights of all the inhabitants of Palestine,” the British fomented genocidal Arab mob violence against the Palestinian Jews (see Part 1). As mentioned, Lieutenant Colonel John Patterson accused at the time that the British wanted to create such awful anti-Jewish conditions that they could appear to be scuttling the project for a Jewish national home under duress.[2]
The British did something else, too. Having arbitrarily drawn borders around a first piece of land, baptized with the name ‘Palestine’ in 1920, the British Empire soon decided that this was not really ‘Palestine,’ after all, and redrew the borders in 1921-22.

click on a map to enlarge

The 1920 definition of ‘Palestine’ included what is present day Israel plus what eventually became the Kingdom of Jordan (see maps above). The second definition of ‘Palestine’ that was made official in 1922 lopped off what was now called ‘Transjordan’ (later to become Jordan) -- and this was well over half of the territory, mind you -- leaving as ‘Palestine’ just the territory of present-day Israel (including the disputed territories of West Bank and Gaza).

“The [1922 British] White Paper stated that the Balfour Declaration could not be amended and that the Jews were in Palestine by right, [but] it partitioned the area of the Mandate by excluding the area east of the Jordan River [now ‘Transjordan’] from Jewish settlement.”[12a]

The British changed the definition of ‘Palestine’ in 1921-22 in order torestrict Jewish settlement to a smaller territory. You see, according to its treaty obligations with the League of Nations, the British had to allow Jews to settle in a territory called ‘Palestine,’ where the Jews would make for themselves a national home; so, one way for the British Empire to pretend to stay within the letter of the Palestine Mandate (and Balfour Declaration) and still reduce Jewish opportunities for settlement in the Middle East was to reduce the boundaries of the place called ‘Palestine.’ This is what the British did, and they indeed forbade Jews from settling in Transjordan.

Such sudden, arbitrary changes in the boundaries of ‘Palestine’ undermine the view that there was much reality to ‘Palestine’ to begin with. And the narrowing of the boundaries of ‘Palestine,’ with its restriction of Jewish settlement, is consistent with Lieutenant Colonel John Patterson’s hypothesis that the British were trying to destroy Zionism. What all of this is not consistent with, once again, is historian Nathan Weinstock’s interpretation that, “clearly,” as he claims to see it, the Zionist and the British were allied against the Arabs.

By the way, an interesting contrast impresses itself on the mind when studying these events. Precisely because the name ‘Palestine’ was associated, in international law, with the creation of a Jewish national home, most Westerners speaking in the first half of the 20th century used the words ‘Palestine’ and ‘Palestinian’ in reference to Jews. The Jews themselves spoke this way. Hillel Kook (alias Peter Bergson), a Zionist leader, expressed himself thusly: “I am a Hebrew. My allegiance is to the Hebrew nation. My country is Palestine.”[13] What one cannot find, by contrast, as late as the late 1940s, is much recognition on the Arab side that a place called ‘Palestine’ even existed. In fact, quite a few Arabs went out of their way emphatically to deny that such a place existed.

“...the Arab historian Philip Hitti testified in 1946 before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that ‘There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.’ Earlier, in 1937, a local Arab leader appearing before the Peel Commission similarly declared, ‘There is no such thing [as Palestine]. ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented.’ ...During the [illegal] Jordanian occupation of the West Bank and the Egyptian occupation of Gaza [at the conclusion of the War of 1948, in which the Arabs had proudly attempted to exterminate the Israeli Jews[14]], the [so-called] Palestinian Arabs had [likewise] not claimed a distinct peoplehood or sued for self-determination.”[15]

Consistent with all the preceding, the Arab body given the most exalted UN official recognition as a ‘government-in-exile’ for the ‘Palestinian Arabs,’ the ‘Palestine Liberation Organization,’ would, in the late 1960s, rather comically deny that Palestine exists. This story is so full of useful lessons that I will delay the punchline a bit, that we may better appreciate all the minor epiphanies decorating the setup.

The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) denies that ‘Palestine’ exists!_________________
The original PLO Charter, elaborated in 1964, states in article 24 that:
“This Organization does not exercise any territorial sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or in the Himmah Area.”[16]

Notice: when it was formed in 1964, the PLO went out of its way to state that the West Bank and Gaza (1) were not ‘Palestinian’ lands, (2) rightfully belonged to Jordan and Egypt, respectively (this was false: Jordan and Egypt were illegal squatters), and (3) were of no interest to the PLO. Isn’t it curious that the ‘international community’ has forced down Israel’s throat a ‘Palestinian state’ precisely in those territories,the West Bank and Gaza, that the founding constitution of the Palestine Liberation Organization explicitly declared, in a special article, werenot ‘Palestinian’?
I think this is curious. There is more.

The PLO took the extraordinary step of re-writing its charter in 1968 in order to redefine what ‘Palestine’ supposely was, and since then it hasbeen demanding the West Bank and Gaza as part of ‘Palestine.’ The text of this 1968 (and still current) PLO Charter says:
Article 1: Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people.
Article 2: Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.[17]

Of course, these two articles also appear in the original 1964 Charter, but the new 1968 Charter makes absolutely no reference to the PLO renouncing sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza. It is from this moment in time, therefore, that the PLO has been laying claim to these territories.

I must point out something: as we saw above, the British changed the definition of ‘Palestine’ during the British Mandate, and yet the PLO does not explain which of the two definitions it is adopting. One can understand this, however, because it is embarrassing: the Palestine Liberation Organization is choosing, for the definition of its supposedly ‘ancestral’ homeland, one of the two arbitrary definitions of ‘Palestine’ that the foreigner infidel British colonialists introduced. And yet this is supposed to be Nathan Weinstock’s “Palestinian anti-colonialistmovement.” I point out, too, that of the two arbitrary definitions of ‘Palestine’ during the British Mandate, the PLO has chosen the smallerone, and also the least legitimate, for having been redrawn arbitrarily and unilaterally (and hence illegally) by the British.
Curiouser and curiouser...

Further, the PLO Charter affirms that ‘Palestine’ is “an indivisible territorial unit” (see above), but the PLO’s preferred British definition of ‘Palestine’ in fact constitutes a division, by a foreign power, of an earlier ‘Palestine.’ Shouldn’t the PLO be protesting the British division, which reduced ‘Palestine’ to less than half its size? On the other hand, it is true that such a complaint would be hypocritical, because the PLOitself divided Britain’s division of ‘Palestine’: the PLO’s 1964 definition is smaller even than the smaller British definition (and hence smaller than the PLO’s 1968 definition). So... Why, if the PLO itself is apparently not sure where ‘Palestine’ is, and itself has produced the most drastic division of ‘Palestine,’ does the PLO insist that this is “an indivisible territorial unit”?

Every way we turn: absurdity. But there’s more.

Look at the problem this way: Why did the PLO change its charter in 1968 in order to enlarge the definition of ‘Palestine’ so modestly? If the PLO was going to risk the ridiculous spectacle, just four years after having been founded, of redrawing the boundaries of its supposed ancestral homeland, then it should have asked at least for the 1920British definition of ‘Palestine,’ because this was the largest and legally least problematic definition. No? But the PLO changed the charter merely to add the West Bank and Gaza...

Now, this was the most embarrassing move possible because in the1964 (and founding) Charter, the PLO had gone quite out of its way to explain, in a special article, that the West Bank and Gaza were not part of ‘Palestine.’ So why not keep the slightly smaller definition of ‘Palestine’ of 1964? This one avoided a ridiculous spectacle and a major embarrassment, and moreover did not require the political absurdity of the PLO’s pretending to oppose Western colonialists while adopting the Western colonialist definition of the PLO’s supposed ancestral homeland! And yet, no: the PLO took the extraordinary step of re-writing its charter, in 1968, in order to chose the ridiculous spectacle, the major embarrassment, the political absurdity, and... the weakest legal case.
Is there any logic to the PLO’s decisions? There is.

To discover this PLO logic the trick is to notice, glinting like a needle in the haystack of tangled and nested absurdity, the following consistency:

1) In 1964, the PLO’s definition of ‘Palestine’ corresponded, exactly, to the borders of the state of Israel.

2) In 1968, the PLO’s definition of ‘Palestine’ corresponded, exactly, to the borders of the state of Israel.

The only difference is that in those two dates the borders of Israel were not the same: in 1964 Israel did not control the West Bank and Gaza, and in 1968 it did. What happened between 1964 and 1968? The Six Day War of 1967. In this conflict, the Jordanians, who had been illegally squatting on the West Bank since the war of 1948, and the Egyptians, who had been doing the same on the Gaza strip, were kicked out of these territories when the Israelis defeated another proud attempt by the Arabs to exterminate the Israeli Jews.[17a] The Israeli Jews offered the territories back in exchange for a mere promise of peace, but the Arabs would not do even this, so they didn't get the West Bank and Gaza back.[17b] Which was just as well, because:
1) these territories never belonged to the Jordanians and Egyptians;[18]

2) the Jews indisputably had an international legal right to settle on these territories;[18a];

3) three years earlier the Palestine Liberation Organization had explained, explicitly, in its founding charter, that these territories were not part of ‘Palestine’ (see above); and

4) as it turns out, in the long run the State of Israel cannot survive without controlling the West Bank and Gaza (this is the expert opinion of a secret Pentagon study done immediately after the 1967 Six Day War, which the US did not show to the Israelis even as it pressured them -- at the very same time -- to return these indispensable territories!).[18b]

And that will do for epiphanies. Let us now move directly to the punchline: since it was the West Bank and Gaza changing hands in 1967 that caused the PLO to re-write its charter in 1968, so that these previously excluded territories could now be included in the PLO definition of ‘Palestine,’ then we have found the PLO’s logic:
The PLO will lay a claim, as ‘Palestine,’ to the precise boundaries of the territory controlled by the Jewish state.

The PLO’s definition of ‘Palestine’ is essentially this: ‘wherever the Jews are in the Middle East.’ This emphatically cannot be submitted -- not even in principle -- as the definition of the ancestral “homeland of the Arab Palestinian people.” That would be absurd. Since the PLO nevertheless says this, I conclude that the PLO does not really believe that ‘Palestine’ exists. They are just pretending.

This was our quarry, remember? I promised that I would show you how, in the late 1960s, the Palestine Liberation Organization had denied that ‘Palestine’ existed. QED.
And the following observation is merely for the pleasure of savoring an additional --  delicious -- political absurdity. The formula that obviously determines the PLO definitions of ‘Palestine’ -- ‘wherever the Jews are in the Middle East’ -- could, in principle, be submitted for consideration as the definition of the homeland of the Jewish people. So one way to interpret what the PLO says with its behavior is that, according to the PLO, ‘Palestine is the homeland of the Jewish people.’ This takes the cake.

Now, as a test of the analysis so far, we should ask: Do we have other reasons to believe that the PLO’s logic really is, simply, just to lay claim to whatever land the Jews are on? We do.

The 1968 PLO Charter states the objectives of the PLO as follows. Article 9 says that “armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.” That’s worth chewing on for a second, because the PLO could have written the same thing like this: “it is required that Palestine be liberated in the act of killing people.” Killing which people? This is relatively obvious. Article 15 of the PLO Charter states that it is “a national duty to repulse the Zionist imperialist invasion from the great Arab homeland and to purge the Zionist presence from Palestine,” and article 22 declares that “the liberation of Palestine will liquidate the Zionist and imperialist presence.”[19] In other words, the PLO, which organization asserts that ‘Palestine’ may be ‘liberated’ only in the act of killing people, explains that its goal is purging and liquidating -- that is to say, exterminating -- “Zionists.” Doesn’t this agree perfectly with how the PLO, behaviorally, chooses to define ‘Palestine’ as ‘the territory that Jews live on’?

The PLO’s goal is the extermination of the Israeli Jews, not the liberation of nonexistent Palestine.

Now you understand why the PLO says ‘Palestine’ is “an indivisible territorial unit.” It is such for the purposes of ‘liberation,’ not geographical definition. Since the PLO explains that it will ‘liberate’ ‘Palestine’ by killing Jews, “indivisible territorial unit” simply means that it must all be ‘liberated’: not one Jew will be left standing.

You can also appreciate now why the PLO never laid a claim to Transjordan (included in the 1920 British definition of ‘Palestine’): because the British had forbidden Jewish settlements in Transjordan:there were no Jews there. What’s the point of ‘liberating’ Transjordan, for the PLO, if they won’t be killing Jews in the process?
All of the absurdities, resolved.

So, here’s what we’ve learned about the name ‘Palestine’:

1) In the first instance, ‘Palestine’ was given a definition to assist the goals of a Roman anti-Jewish genocide, when the Romans were cleansing Judea of Jews;

2) In the second instance, ‘Palestine’ was given a re-re-definition by the British in order to restrict Jewish immigration as part of a broader British policy to scuttle the movement to create a state where the Jewish people could live free of the threat of extermination; and,

3) In the third instance, ‘Palestine’ was given two different definitions by the leaders of the ‘Palestinian movement,’ both consistent with the following formula: ‘Palestine’ is the land on which the Jews live, in the Middle East, and which the Arabs will ‘liberate’ by exterminating these Jews.

The nonexistence of ‘Palestine’ can certainly explain why even the leaders of the supposed ‘Palestinian movement’ cannot agree on its borders. But what explains the undeniable consistency in the political logic of the various definitions of this fictitious entity, ‘Palestine’?
Who are ‘the Palestinians’?__________________________________________________________
In 1985 historian Arnold Blumberg published Zion before Zionism:1838-1880 in order to document a period that is often neglected in the historiography of this place, and which occurred right before the great Zionist migrations began. His summary of the composition of the population is as follows:

“No census was taken, but the best estimates point to a maximum of 300,000 inhabitants living within the sanjaks of historic Palestine in 1841. The majority of the population were Sunni Moslem. In the far north there were concentrations of Shi’ite Moslems and Druse. Other major Druse settlements were near Haifa. In a land which never totally loses any of its historic ties, the presence of a small Samaritan remnant living among the Moslems at Nablus piqued the interest of observers. They lent additional color to the religious mosaic of the land. The four cities holy to Judaism in Palestine, Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and Tiberias, had substantial native Jewish populations. Small Jewish communities also subsisted in most of the larger towns and even in the villages of the Galilee. At Bethlehem and Nazareth, Christian Arabs constituted a majority of the inhabitants.”[20]

It is difficult to discern in the above a ‘Palestinian people.’ If anybody insists that the place described above really should be called ‘Palestine,’ then the ‘native Palestinians’ were all of those people. And quite a few Jews, mind you, were represented among the native Palestinians.

Even if one wanted to claim -- though it would have zero justification -- that the Arabs in ‘Palestine’ were the real ‘Palestinian people,’ this still would not work for reasons having to do entirely with the Arabs themselves: some were Muslim (some Shiite, some Sunni), some Druze, some Christian. They did not have a common identity.

But the Sunni Muslims were the majority so, in a desperate move, and likewise without justification, one might try to say that the ‘real Palestinians’ are the “Arab Palestinian people” of which the PLO pretends to speak, and that this means just the Sunni Muslims. Again, this will not work for reasons having entirely to do just with the Sunni Muslims themselves. Consider what historian Arnold Blumberg writes about them:

[Quote from Arnold Blumberg begins here]
Although such modest commercial and political power as existed was concentrated in the walled towns, the bulk of the Moslem population lived in the unwalled villages and the nomadic encampments of rural Palestine. In a country having no rain through the late spring, summer, and early fall, most of Palestine was marginal desert. Farmers either depended upon the few fresh water springs or rivulets which flowed all year, or dug deep wells free of the infiltration of brine.
The village peasants were usually tenants, subsisting on a share-crop basis by contract with great effendi landlords. The effendis, living in town houses within the walled cities, had only a casual contact with their tenants, entrusting day-to-day negotiations to resident stewards.

Huddled on hilltops for security, peasant villages maintained farms on terraced lower slopes and in the valleys only by means of irrigation. The hardest working Arab peasant, however, knew that the fruits of his labor might be torn from him in an instant. Across all the land roved scattered bands of Bedouin tribes. Each band moved independently with its sheep, goats, horses, and camels, but stayed within an enlarged territorial range shared with a clan descended from a common ancestor.

To the Bedouin, the Turkish sultan and his pashas were distant shadows having little relevance to life. The Bedouin viewed the world from the perspective of the friendships and enmities of his clan. Ancient blood feuds, whose origins could be traced through centuries, were freshly etched on the communal memory and made endemic warfare part of nomadic life. Complex clan loyalties existed within an even larger matrix of blood loyalties, since almost the entire native Arab Moslem population, whether nomadic Bedouin or settled villagers, remembered that they wereYeminis or Kais. The Yeminis recalled that their ancestors had been warriors from the southern Arabian peninsula. The Kais, whose residence in Palestine was dated to the Moslem conquest of the land in the seventh century, traced their roots to tribes having hoary blood feuds with the Yeminis. Thus, for example, the great clan of Abu Gosh, whose village dominated the mountain heights through which ran the trail from Jaffa to Jerusalem, had to be paid handsomely to permit pilgrims to make the ascent. As Abu Gosh was Yemini, however, adherents of theKais could not even pay for transit across their lands, but had to make long detours.
The Bedouin...resented any peasant villager who attempted to fence a water source. Their response was to destroy such walls and to seize any foodstuffs hoarded by villagers in defiance of the Bedouin’s claim to free movement across the land. Peasants, huddled on their hilltops, rarely had the will or the military skill to defend themselves.

A peasant, if he was to survive Bedouin depradations and the claims of hostile villagers, subsisted within a network of alliances, contracts and traditions governing the rights of farmers and shepherds to share the same water and land.
Thus, groves of citrus fruit and olives might subsist if the farmer was willing to buy their survival and to defend them by watchful guards. The Bedouin had long since destroyed the native forests which had once covered the land. The hillsides, eroded to bedrock and deprived of top soil, were mute witnesses to a land subjected to man’s rapine.

What the Bedouin did not take by force or by threat, Turkish soldiery took in the name of naked extortion. Far worse than the regular Turkish troops, who were at least under some discipline, were the bashi-bazouk or howari irregular troops. These Arab conscripts, though springing from peasant villages themselves, had no scruples about seizing the poultry, cattle, or farm produce of a village belonging to strangers to whom they were unrelated by ties of blood or alliance.[21]
[Quote from Arnold Blumberg ends here]

I cannot perceive in the above that the Sunni Muslim majority in ‘Palestine’ in the mid-19th century had a common identity in the least. Nathan Weinstock’s imagined “national consciousness” does not exist here. The place was divided by complexly cross-cutting tribal, clan, and lineage identities, constant warfare between nomads and peasants, extortion by roving irregular and regular mercenaries, and considerable oppression by the landowning class against the peasants. The most stable identities appear to have been Yeminis and Kais, and these did not bind the Sunni Muslims in ‘Palestine’ but divided (still divide?)them into a stable political enmity.

For such a small and underpopulated place, ‘Palestine’ contained quite a few different social identities, but one identity for which simply no evidence appears to exist in mid-19th century ‘Palestine’ is ‘Palestinian.’

As if this were not enough, the dramatic population changes that followed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in fact weaken still further (this is possible) the case for a ‘Palestinian identity’ as the modern enemies of Israel defend it. I turn to this next.
Arnold Blumberg explains the population changes in Palestine after 1880:
“ the last year before the great Jewish immigration began. ...The Turks had begun the systematic colonization of non-Palestinian Moslems, notably Circassians and Algerians, in 1878. After 1880, the forces of nascent Jewish nationalism, foreign Moslem colonization sponsored by the Turks, and spontaneous Arab immigration prompted by the new prosperity of Palestine changed the demographic face of the land.”[22]

So, an area that was mostly depopulated, with barely 300,000 inhabitants in the year 1841, now received a huge influx of population. This was not, as many think, a Jewish influx. It was partly a Jewish influx, yes, but it was also a Muslim influx, as we see above. The two main causes of the Muslim influx, the Ottoman Turkish policy of “foreign Moslem colonization,” as well as the reasons behind the “spontaneous Arab immigration,” are quite interesting for us.

First, the policy of the Ottoman Turks to flood Palestine with non-Palestinian Muslims had a point: defeating Zionism demographically. Historian Bat Ye’or explains:
“Millions of Muhagir (émigrés), Muslims fleeing the new Christian states in the Balkans after defeats in the 19th century, abandoned the former Ottoman provinces of Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania, Bosnia-Herzegovinia, Thessalia, Epirus, and Macedonia. The sultan resorted to the traditional policy of Islamic colonization and, determined to counter the Zionist movement, settled the refugees in Judea, Galilee, Samaria and Transjordan. These were the same Muslims who had combated the rights, emancipation, and independence of Christian dhimmis(semi-slaves of the Muslims) in Europe [for an explanation ofdhimmis, see Part 1 -- FGW]. The sultan had sent some of them to Anatolia, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine where they were given collective land grants under favorable conditions according to the principles of Islamic colonization imposed on [non-Muslim] natives ever since the beginning of the Arab conquest. Circassian tribes fleeing the Russian advance in the Caucasus were sent into the Levant at the same time; most of them were settled around Armenian villages in Mesopotamia where they soon began to massacre the local people. Other Circassian colonists settled in historic Palestine -- today’s Israel, Cisjordan [West Bank] and Jordan -- establishing villages in Judea, and near Jerusalem such as Abou Gosh, or in Kuneitra on the Golan. Today their descendents intermarry. In Jordan they make up the king’s guard.”[23]

So, the Turkish Sultan resettled vast numbers of Muslims in Palestine. He resettled them in other places too but it is interesting that resettlement in Palestine was important to him as he was “determined to counter the Zionist movement.” Officially, the Sultan was charging handsomely for cooperating very weakly with some Jewish resettlement schemes, and you may compare this to the British policy, which also combined very heavy underhanded sabotage with a public face of supposed official support.

Let us now turn to the “spontaneous Arab immigration” into Palestine. It may have been “spontaneous” in the sense that it was not part of the Turkish Sultan’s deliberately anti-Zionist policy to resettle foreign Muslims in ‘Palestine,’ but there was nothing random about it: the Jews attracted them. As Blumberg states, this immigration was “prompted by the new prosperity of Palestine,” which prosperity was a gift on the land brought by the Zionist Jews.

Historian Nathan Weinstock explains the effect that the Zionist Jews had on the land:
“[B]eyond all question, the Jewish pioneers did drain the marshes, did reclaim unproductive soil and afforest the hills, and did make them green again through the judicious use of advanced techniques based on rational and intensive irrigation.”[24]

This assessment is mainstream but it is significant to see that even an anti-Zionist historian cannot but admit that the Zionist Jews lovingly transformed “a land subjected to man’s rapine” into something closer to the Biblical “land flowing with milk and honey.”
In A History of Israel, historian Howard Sachar notes that the British Peel Commission, which was established to study a partition plan for ‘Palestine’ in 1937 (following the ‘Arab Revolt’ of 1936), produced a proposal that…
“...filled 404 pages, contained elaborate maps and statistical indices, and ranked as one of the major documents of British foreign policy. First summarizing the views expressed by Arabs and Jews, the report then detailed the accomplishments of the Jewish National Home, not the least of which was an economy vigorous enough to have stimulated a 50 percent growth of the Arab population since 1921. There was no question that Arabs, fellahin and landlords alike, were enjoying unprecedented affluence in Palestine. The Arab charge that Jews had obtained too large a proportion of the best soil could not be substantiated, for much of the citrus land originally had been sand or swamp...”[25]

Even the British -- who had been the ones fomenting anti-Jewish Arab mob violence in order to derail the Zionist project, in addition to reducing the size of ‘Palestine’ and reducing drastically the allowed rate of immigration, later also turning back ships full of Jewish refugees escaping Hitler’s massacres -- could not but admit in the Peel Commission document that the Zionists were transforming the land for the better. This Jewish-propelled prosperity caused so many Arabs to immigrate to ‘Palestine’ that there was, as Howard Sachar observes, “a 50 percent growth of the Arab population” just between the years of 1921 and 1937!

The Jews were producing jobs in ‘Palestine,’ and this attracted many Arab immigrants. It is not redundant to repeat it. (By the way, quite a few demographic analyses of British Mandate Palestine grossly underestimate the extent of Arab immigration because they -- irrationally -- refuse to even consider the massive illegal immigration of Arabs that was going on.[25a])

You may recall that, about the period covering the late 19th and early 20th centuries, historian Nathan Weinstock stated that “a good case can be made... that, even then, there existed a specific Palestinian [Arab] identity.” And yet historian Nathan Weinstock did not have the courage to present this case. Perhaps it is now obvious why. Where is the “Palestinian [Arab] identity”? I cannot find it. What I see is a population of Muslims, some Arab, some not, who immigrated into this territory in the last century at the same time that many Jews also immigrated. The Jewish and Arab immigrants completely altered this place because it had been basically empty in 1841, before Zionism and the opposing Turkish policy of resettling Muslims in Palestine began in tandem. In ‘Palestine,’ essentially, everybody is an immigrant. So from the point of view of where people come from, this country belongs to the immigrants -- Muslim (Arab or not) and Jewish -- who began overwhelming the natives starting in 1878, when the Turkish Sultan began his policy of resettling non-Palestinian Muslims in 'Palestine', shortly in advance of the Zionist migrations, which began in 1880.

But if other arguments relevant to ownership are put forward, the Jewish immigrants have a better claim to ‘Palestine.’ After all, it wasthe Zionist Jewish immigrants who lovingly improved what was a ravaged and abandoned land, making it flourish with their hard workbecause they loved it; and it was the Zionist Jews who called themselves ‘Palestinians’ and who accepted a legal UN vote in 1947 that would partition ‘Palestine’ to create, side by side, a Jewish and an Arab state. The Arabs by contrast hotly denied that they wanted an Arab state precisely on the territory where (thanks to US threats against Israel) they will now apparently get one, and moreover denied that ‘Palestine’ even existed; following the 1947 vote at the UN, the Arabs launched the War of 1948, an attempted extermination of the Israeli Jews (launched without any shame for the fact that the European Holocaust had just ended, not three years earlier[14]).

This War of 1948 was won by the Israeli Jews, who in consequence ended up paying with the blood of their young sons and daughters in arms, and with the blood of many civilians whom the Arabs attacked (as the Arab offensive was terrorist[26]), for the right to establish their country. One consequence of this conflict was that many of the immigrant Arab and other Muslim families that had resettled in ‘Palestine’ as part of the Turkish Sultan’s policy of opposing Zionism, or because they had been attracted by the economic boom created by the Zionists, ended up displaced from the brand new homes they had only very recently established in ‘Palestine.’ This is often referred to as the ‘Palestinian refugee problem,’ by way of trying to suggest that the immigrants who lost their brand new homes were ‘ancestral Palestinians’ -- but they weren’t.

Anti-Zionists have represented Israel’s War of Independence differently. According to them, this war was only one episode in a wrongful dispossession of the allegedly ancestral ‘Palestinian Arabs’ by the Zionist Jews. And this brings us to the next question: Do the Arabs who claim a grievance against the Israeli Jews -- however we may choose to call these Arabs -- have a case? Were they in any way unjustly dispossessed of their lands? The next piece in this series will examine these issues.

Footnotes and Further Reading
[1] “...the Palestinian anti-colonialist movement was deformed by racism. The distorted national struggle expressed itself in anti-Jewish slogans (‘Palestine is our country and the Jews are our dogs’), followed up by attacks upon Jewish passers-by and store-owners, and eventually in mob violence akin to the all-too familiar pogrom [ = unprovoked racist attack against unarmed Jews, with the semi-unofficial assistance of the (in this case British) authorities]. These attacks cannot, however, in any way be assimilated to straightforward anti-Semitic outrages which had their source in classical European coordinates of the Jewish problem, but should be seen as a deformed expression of national consciousness, all the more understandable as the Zionist leaders clearly allied with the British while the latter encouraged this distraction from the anti-imperialist struggle.”
SOURCE: Weinstock, N. 1979. Zionism: False Messiah. London: Ink Links Ltd. (pp.166-167) [my emphasis]
[2] The following account of the 1920 anti-Jewish racist riots in Jerusalem is from Kenneth Levin, who quotes at length from eyewitness John Patterson:
"The British, in the [WWI] postwar years, were attempting to maintain their Middle East territories with very limited forces and were indeed concerned with minimizing local unrest. But, of course, this does not account for [British] Mandate [in 'Palestine'] officers working as agents provocateurs and stirring up anti-Jewish violence or for British authorities failing to quell Arab riots when they were fully able to do so. Nor does it explain the [British] Military Administration's preventing local Jewish units -- elements of the Jewish Battalions -- from coming to the defense of the Jews of Jerusalem. [The Jewish leader Vladimir Zeev] Jabotinsky, who tried to organize defense, was arrested by the British and sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment. He was soon released by only in the context of an amnesty extended also to the rioters. The British chose to construe the Jewish units' attempts to defend the Jews of Jerusalem as an intolerable breach of military discipline and disbanded the units.
Liuetenant Colonel John Patterson, a non-Jewish British officer who had commanded the Zion Mule Corps in Gallipolli [a Jewish force that fought with distinction on the British side during WWI], was subsequently appointed commander of the 38th Jewish Battalion and led the battalion in the [WWI] Palestine campaign [during which the British wrested control of 'Palestine' from the Ottoman Turks]. Patterson wrote extensively of the anti-Jewish depredations to which his [Jewish] troops, and the Jewish population of Palestine, were subjected by the British military’s forces in Palestine under Allenby (the Egyptian Expeditionary Force) and later by the Military Administration. These depredations emanated both from the command structure and, in the wake of evident command tolerance, from the rank and file. With regard to Arab attacks on the Jews in April, 1920, in Jerusalem, Patterson, referring to the assault as 'the Jerusalem pogrom,' noted the Military Administration's encouragement of the violence, its failure to intervene to stop it, its blocking of intervention by Jewish troops, its attempts to use the Arab assault as an excuse to curb Zionist programs, and its scapegoating of Jabotinsky.
Patterson wrote, for example, of the events of April, 1920, 'A veritable 'pogrom,' such as we have hitherto only associated with Tsarist [Czarist] Russia, took place in the Holy City of Jerusalem in April, 1920, and as this was the climax to the maladministration of the Military Authorities, I consider that the facts of the case should be made public...
'The Balfour Declaration [which gave Britain the responsibility of establishing a Jewish homeland in British Mandate 'Palestine']...was never allowed [by the Military Administration] to be officially published within the borders of Palestine; the Hebrew language was proscribed; there was open discrimination against the Jews; the Jewish Regiment was at all times kept in the background and treated as a pariah. This official attitude was interpreted by the hooligan element and interested schemers in the only possible way, viz., that the military authorities in Palestine were against the Jews and Zionism, and the conviction began to grow [within Arab circles] that any act calculated to deal a death blow to Zionist aspirations would not be unwelcome by those in authority...
'Moreover, this malign influence was sometimes strengthened by very plain speaking. The Military Governor of an important town was actually heard to the presence of British and French Officers and of Arab waiters, that in case of anti-Jewish riots in his city, he would remove the garrison and take up his position at a window, where he could watch, and laugh at, what went on!
'This amazing declaration was reported to the Acting Chief Administrator, and the Acting Chief Political Officer, but no action was taken against the Governor. Only one interpretation can be placed on such leniency.'
Patterson, as quoted in Chapter 5, wrote elsewhere of the Arab attacks, 'There can be no doubt that it was assumed in some quarters that when trouble, which had been deliberately encouraged, arose, the Home Government, embarrassed by a thousand difficulties at its doors, would agree with the wire-pullers in Palestine, and say to the Jewish people that the carrying out of the Balfour Declaration, owing to the hostility displayed by the Arabs, was outside the range of practical politics.'"
SOURCE: Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (pp.203-204)
[3] “...the Palestinian anti-colonialist movement was deformed by racism. The distorted national struggle expressed itself in anti-Jewish slogans (‘Palestine is our country and the Jews are our dogs’), followed up by attacks upon Jewish passers-by and store-owners, and eventually in mob violence akin to the all-too familiar pogrom [ = unprovoked racist attack against unarmed Jews, with the semi-unofficial assistance of the (in this case British) authorities[1a]]. These attacks cannot, however, in any way be assimilated to straightforward anti-Semitic outrages which had their source in classical European coordinates of the Jewish problem, but should be seen as a deformed expression of national consciousness, all the more understandable as the Zionist leaders clearly allied with the British while the latter encouraged this distraction from the anti-imperialist struggle.”
SOURCE: Weinstock, N. 1979. Zionism: False Messiah. London: Ink Links Ltd. (pp.166-167)
[3a] Weinstock, N. 1979. Zionism: False Messiah. London: Ink Links Ltd. (p.108)
[4] Zionism: False Messiah. (p.51)
[4a] “...the Arab historian Philip Hitti testified in 1946 before the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry that ‘There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.’ Earlier, in 1937, a local Arab leader appearing before the Peel Commission similarly declared, ‘There is no such thing [as Palestine]. ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented.’ ...During the [illegal] Jordanian occupation of the West Bank and the Egyptian occupation of Gaza, the [so-called] Palestinian Arabs had [likewise] not claimed a distinct peoplehood or sued for self-determination.”
SOURCE: Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (p.288)
[5] To learn more about the Roman Final Solution against the Jews in the first and second centuries, why it happened, and why you never heard about it, read chapter one of The Crux of World History: Vol. 1. The Book of Genesis: The Birth of the Jewish People (2005, Francisco Gil-White), entitled:
CHAPTER 1. The Roman ‘Final Solution’ in the first and second centuries; why it happened, and why you never heard about it.
[6] Carroll, J. 2001. Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (p.90)
[7] Wolfe, R. 2003. The origins of the messianic ideal. New York: J-Rep. (PP.58-59)
[8] Robert Wolfe puts the Jews at 10% of the Roman Empire. This, of course, is a relatively uncertain estimate. The lowest estimate I have seen is William Horbury’s at 8-9%. Some estimates say higher than 10%.
Wolfe, R. 2003. The origins of the messianic ideal. New York: J-Rep. (p.59)
Horbury, W. 1991. "The Jewish dimension," in Early Christianity: Origins and evolution to AD 600. In honor of WHC Frend. Edited by I. Hazlett. London: SPCK. (p.40)
Concerning the rapidly growing size of the Jewish population, consider the following, from historian of Judaism Shaye Cohen:
“Many gentiles, both men and women, converted to Judaism during the last centuries bce and the first two centuries ce. Even more numerous, however, were those gentiles who accepted certain aspects of Judaism but did not convert to it. In polytheistic fashion they added the God of Israel to their pantheon and did not deny the pagan gods. Throughout the Roman empire various practices of Judaism found favor with large segments of the populace. In Rome many gentiles observed the Sabbath, the fasts, and the food laws; in Alexandria many gentiles observed the Jewish holidays; in Asia Minor many gentiles attended synagogue on the Sabbath… The phenomenon of [the so-called] ‘God-fearers’ implies… [that a]ncient Judaism was visible and open to outsiders. Gentiles were able to enter synagogues and witness the Jewish observances. Josephus insists that Judaism has no mysteries, no secrets that it keeps hidden from curious observers (Against Apion 2.8, & 107). This claim is not entirely true, but it is essentially correct.”
SOURCE: Cohen, S. J. D. 1987. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. (pp.55-56)
The Jews were extremely popular with the pagan masses of the first century, when Christianity began spreading like wildfire by selling itself as an improved form of Judaism. To learn more about why Judaism was so popular, read chapter one of The Crux of World History: Vol. 1. The Book of Genesis: The Birth of the Jewish People (2005, Francisco Gil-White), entitled:
CHAPTER 1. The Roman ‘Final Solution’ in the first and second centuries; why it happened, and why you never heard about it.
[9] Johnson, P. 1987. A History of the Jews. New York: Harper & Row. (pp.142-143)
[10] “. . .the Philistines came from Caphtor (possibly Crete). They are mentioned in Egyptian records as one of the Sea Peoples that invaded Egypt in about 1190 BC after ravaging Anatolia, Cyprus, and Syria. After being repulsed by the Egyptians, they occupied the coastal plain of Palestine from Joppa (modern Tel Aviv–Yafo) southward to the Gaza Strip. The area contained the five cities (the Pentapolis) of the Philistine confederacy (Gaza, Ashkelon [Ascalon], Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron) and was known as Philistia, or the Land of the Philistines. It was from this designation that the whole of the country was later called Palestine by the Greeks.”
SOURCE: "Philistine." Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
[Accessed August 23, 2005].
[10a] To see a map of the remarkably small territory of the Philistines, visit:
[10b] Historian of the Greek Ptolemaic empire in Egypt, Günther Hölbl, writes as follows:
"Ptolemaic Syria, officially known as the province of 'Syria and Phoenicia' and by modern scholars as Coele Syria, was over the long term the second largest foreign possession of the Nile empire next to Cyrenaica. Aside form the value of this area as a military buffer-zone, the Ptolemies thus also had access to the very valuable cedar trees of Lebanon and controlled the caravan trails, the so-called spice route, which began in Saudi Arabia and ended in Coele Syria. The country itself was rich in agricultural products such as grain, oil and wine."
SOURCE: Hölbl, G. 2001. A history of the Ptolemaic Empire. New York: Routledge. (p.23)
[11] “Where did the name Palestine come from?”; Early History, Palestine Origin; Palestine Facts.
[12] British Mandate of Palestine |  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[12a] “How did the Arab territory of Transjordan come into being?”; British Mandate Transjordan; Palestine Facts.
[13] Rapoport, L. 1999. Shake heaven and earth: Peter Bergson and the struggle to rescue the Jews of Europe. Jerusalem and New York: Gefen. (p.192)
[14] Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League: “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”
SOURCE: Source: Howard M Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, (New York: Knopf, 1979), p. 333
[15] Levin, K. 2005. The Oslo syndrome: Delusions of a people under siege. Hanover, NH: Smith and Kraus. (p.288)
[17a] To see that the extermination of the Israeli Jews was a point of Arab pride, visit:
Although Israel suffered terrorist attacks from its Arab neighbors during these years, when they staged a full-scale military provocation, the US refused to help. From from "IS THE US AN ALLY OF ISRAEL? A Chronological Look at the Evidence"; Historical and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White.
[17b] Israel has, more than once, returned territories that her Arab neighbors lost during attempted exterminations of the Israeli Jews. The 1967 war would have been another case in point because the Israelisoffered the West Bank and Gaza back in exchange only for a promise of future peace, but the Arabs refused to give even this, so the Israelis, who had not asked for a war of extermination against them, ended up in control of the West Bank and Gaza.
"It was not clear how military victory could be turned into peace. Shortly after the war's end Israel began that quest, but it would take more than a decade and involve yet another war before yielding any results. Eshkol's secret offer to trade much of the newly won territory for peace agreements with Egypt, Jordan, and Syria was rejected by Nasser, who, supported by an emergency resupply of Soviet arms, led the Arabs at the Khartoum Arab Summit in The Sudan in August 1967 in a refusal to negotiate directly with Israel."
SOURCE: "Labour Rule After Ben-Gurion: Troubled victory" "Israel." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2003.  Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 2 Nov, 2003
[18] The Jordanian/Egyptian occupation of the West Bank and Gaza territories was illegal because the UN had designated these territories in 1947 for the creation of a ‘Palestinian Arab state’ in a vote that passed legally at the UN but that the Arabs, who preferred to attempt an extermination of the Israeli Jews than create a ‘Palestinian Arab state,’ rejected. In 1964, as we've seen in the main text, the PLO would further correct the UN by explaining in its founding charter that these territories originally slated for a ‘Palestinian Arab state’ were not Palestinian.
Below is the map of the 1947 UN partition.

      ( click to enlarge )

[18a] The Jews had a right to settle in the West Bank and Gaza because these territories were included even in the British-reduced definition of 'Palestine' of 1922. The Jewish families that had settled there before 1948 were killed or had to flee when the Jordanians and Egyptians occupied these territories in the War of 1948.
[18b] After the Six-Day War, the US put pressure on Israel to relinquish the territory gained, even though it knew it was indispensable to Israeli defense; from "IS THE US AN ALLY OF ISRAEL? A Chronological Look at the Evidence"; Historical and Investigative Research; by Francisco Gil-White.
[19] Translation: The Associated Press, December 15, 1998, Tuesday, AM cycle, International News, 1070 words, Clinton meets with Netanyahu, Arafat, appeals for progress, By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent, EREZ CROSSING, Gaza Strip. [Emphasis added]
Article 9. . .says that “armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.”
Article 15 says it is “a national duty to repulse the Zionist imperialist invasion from the great Arab homeland and to purge the Zionist presence from Palestine.”
Article 22 declares that “the liberation of Palestine will liquidate the Zionist and imperialist presence and bring about the stabilization of peace in the Middle East.”
[20] Blumberg, A. 1985. Zion before Zionism 1838-1880. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press. (p.19))
[21] Zion before Zionism (pp.23-24)
[22] Zion before Zionism (p.x)
[23] SOURCE: Bat Ye'or (2002) Jews and Christians under Islam: Dhimmitude and Marcionism. Published in French as Juifs et chrétiens sous l’islam, Dhimmitude et marcionisme [Commentaire, N°97, Printemps 2002]
[24] Weinstock, N. 1979. Zionism: False Messiah. London: Ink Links Ltd. (p.142)
[25] Sachar, Howard Morley - A history of Israel : from the rise of Zionism to our time / Howard M. Sachar. 1982, c1979. (p.204)
[25a] On this question, consider the following:
"Reference to Arab immigration into Palestine during the 1920s is made as well in the British mandatory government's annual compilation of statistical data on population. The Palestine Blue Book, 1937, for example, provides time series demographic statistics whose annual estimates are based on extrapolations from its 1922 census. The footnote accompanying the table on population of Palestine reads:
'There has been unrecorded illegal immigration of both Jews and Arabs in the period since the census of 1931, but it is clear that, since it cannot be recorded, no estimate of its volume is possible.'
The 1935 British report to the League of Nations noted that:
'One thousand five hundred and fifty-seven persons [1557] (including 565 Jews) who, having made their way into the country surreptitiously, were later detected, were sentenced to imprisonment for their offence and recommended for deportation.'
The number who 'made their way into the country surreptitiously' and undetected was neither estimated nor mentioned."
SOURCE: "The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931"; The Middle East Quarterly; WINTER 2003 • VOLUME X: NUMBER 1; by Fred M. Gottheil
This data is actually relatively useful. The authors of the Palestine Blue Book say that "if illegal immigration cannot be recorded, no estimate of its volume is possible." Seems a rather extreme statement. No estimate? On the contrary, I think that the data for caught illegal immigrants in the year 1935 can be used to motivate productive inferences.
Let us consider. Under what conditions would the numbers of Jews and Arabs caught immigrating illegally be roughly equal? Well, this would happen if the numbers of Arabs and Jews immigrating illegally into 'Palestine' were roughly equal, and if the British were trying to find illegal Arab immigrants about as hard as they were trying to find the Jewish. Under such conditions, the Arab and Jewish numbers of people caught would be roughly equal.
As we've seen, even anti-Zionist historians concede that the British were inciting Arab terrorist violence against the Jews, and British officer Lieutenant Colonel John Patterson accused at the time that the British were doing this in order to ruin the Zionist project (see footnote 2). Patterson's hypothesis is consistent with how the British reduced the size of Palestine to restrict the area of Jewish settlement, and also with how they kept reducing the legal immigration quotas for Jews. What follows? That it must have been British policy to try harder when it came to catching illegal immigrants who were Jewish. Assuming equal numbers of Arab and Jewish illegal immigrants, this leads to the expectation that in the sample of illegal immigrants caught, there will be more Jews than Arabs.
Now, we know that very large crowds of Jews must have been coming into British Mandate 'Palestine' illegally because the data referred to above is from the year 1935, which is two years after Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, and therefore a time when the incentive for Jews to immigrate to 'Palestine' was strong. There was a well organized Jewish effort called Ha'apala (Aliya Bet) to bring Jewish immigrants to 'Palestine' illegally, and it had begun already the year before, in 1934. So in fact we expect that there will be many more Jews than Arabs in the sample of illegal immigrants caught by the British authorities.
Unless...the crowds of Arab illegal immigrants were bigger still, andmuch bigger. Only in this case would we expect to find, in the year 1935, and knowing what British policy was, more Arabs than Jews in the sample of illegal immigrants who got caught.
And look: We learn above that in 1935, the British reported to the League of Nations that out of 1557 illegal immigrants caught, just 565 (36%) were Jews! It is a safe conclusion, from these numbers, that the crowds of Arab illegal immigrants were large indeed. So there is little question that the Arab immigrants overwhelmed the native Arab population, just as the immigrant Zionists overwhelmed the native Jewish population.
[26] To learn about the contrasting values of the attacking Arabs and the defending Jews in the War of 1948, read:
"WAS THERE A MASSACRE AT DEIR YASSIN?: The pro-PLO camp says yes; the historical documentation says otherwise"; Historical and Investigative Research; 20 November 2005; by Francisco Gil-White.