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When covetousness postures as magnanimity, and identity theft masquerades as civic virtue, there can be but one word for it: chutzpah.
There they go again. I just heard somebody advance the increasingly familiar claim (of late) that the self-styled "Palestinians" have "already made" their major (and apparently sole) concession: that of "accepting a Palestinian state on [only] 22 percent of Mandate Palestine." (How gracious.)
But such a construction could come only from one who is either
[That's a delicate way of saying something most indelicate: to wit, that the speaker is either a know-nothing of the first water, who never got round to doing his homework before spouting off – or an impudent liar who does know the facts and is contemptuously relying on his listener's ignorance, gullibility, sloth or witlessness. Either way, not a very nice thing to say, alas – but, then again, not a very nice thing to be. So, what else can a sincere person do but call the game?]
The Palestine Mandate – characterized by legal scholars as an International Legislative Act, and designated in international law (like all of the post-WWI mandates) as a "sacred trust of civilization" – was created originally by the Great War's victorious Principal Allied Powers (acting jointly as an entity), who assigned to it, as "Mandatory" [regent, guardian, trustee and tutor], the government of Great Britain – under the legal supervision of the Powers' designee, the League of Nations: which proceeded thereupon to ratify the Mandate unanimously – and for the salient and solitary purpose of lawfully restoring the Jewish Commonwealth in the place of its well established birth and broadly acknowledged history.* I repeat (and I stress):
That restoration was the Palestine Mandate's entire and irreversible raison d'etre – it had no other.
Accordingly, the Mandate alludes directly – and explicitly – to "Jews," to "the Jewish People," to "the Zionist Organization," to "a Jewish agency," etc., at least 15 times throughout the text of the Preamble and body of its Charter. It doesn't so much as mention the word "Arab" or, for that matter, the name of any other, specific, non-Jewish, nationality or ethnicity anywhere in the document; not once. [Read it for yourself.] And if you think such a starkly conspicuous configuration was, in any sense or to any degree, a legal 'oversight' on the part of the Powers that ordered the Mandate – or on the part of the existing world community that solemnly endorsed it without a single dissent – then may I suggest, with all due respect, that whatever that stuff is you've been smoking is rotting your brain.
Civil and property rights, as well as the free choice (and peaceable practice) of religion, were protected for all – as provided for in the Mandate Charter – but Palestine's political development was slated – expressly, exclusively and in-perpetuity – a Jewish national undertaking and benefit.
Mandatory Palestine, which was intended – in its entirety – to be the Jewish National Home – embraced all the territory from the Mediterranean Sea to Mandatory Mesopotamia, i.e., to what are today the western borders of contemporary Iraq and Sa'udi Arabia. [Yes, you read that right; it's not a typo.] The River Jordan was to have been the central artery – the aorta, if you will – of that single, mandated country: Palestine. The large, transJordanian portion of the Mandate (that is, Palestine east of the River) was, however – and unlawfully –
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a Palestinian Arab state: not only by history and by geography, but also by demography, and indeed by "law" – and has been one for some 62 years (albeit, like virtually all Arab states, a racist one). Consider:
Each and every one of the foregoing, irrefutable facts is readily and independently verifiable, so the reader need not rely on this observer's shamelessly partisan rhetoric. By any reasonable reckoning – and quiet though the matter's kept – the Kingdom of Jordan is in actuality a Palestinian Arab state; and a state, moreover, of Palestinian Arabs. . . . No, it isn't free (what Arab state is free?) – but it surely is independent, and it is, for the foreseeable future, theirs (notwithstanding the dubious and disputable legitimacy of the acquisition's provenance).
Granted, of course, that the truth may not always be convenient or easy. And granted, as well, that the truth may not always be popular or politically correct (or even familiar). But the one thing that the truth always is . . . is the truth.
In truth, it is Israel who is stuck with the piddling twenty-two percent of Mandate Palestine. And without the heartland (i.e., West Bank) provinces of Judea and Samaria, she would be left with even less than twenty-two percent of the Mandate that was originally promised – forever, and in its entirety – to the Jewish People by the world community of nations.
So, why do the Palestinians need two states in Mandate Palestine (and both of them "ethnically cleansed" of Jews)? If one independent sovereignty is enough for the Jews, why isn't one enough for the Palestinians?
BUT THERE IS SOMETHING more to be examined here, and – except for those with politically correct axes to grind – there is plainly not a straying smidgeon of sense to be found in any longer ignoring it. Indeed, there comes a point in time, at which – in the immortal words of a certain W.C. Fields – "You simply have to take the bull by the tail and stare the facts full in the face."
As conceptual and revolutionary phenomena, the Palestinian Arab nationalism of the past 40 years and the purported (and incessantly hyped) 'Palestinian nationality' are in substance nothing more (or less) than the superstructure of a massive worldwide hoax, a political masquerade of historically unprecedented scope and intellectually matchless gall – the sociological equivalent of "Piltdown Man," but vastly more brazen and infinitely more insidious. There has never been any more reality to the notion of a 'Palestinian nation' than there was to that of an Iraqi 'nation'; both are empty and preposterous propositions.
However, at least the latter was less fraudulent than it was fanciful. The former has never been anything but fraudulent – bogus as the Emperor's New Clothes. Ponder, if you care to, the intentions implicit in the naked broodings of early Palestine Arab agitator and propagandist, Musa Bey al-Alami: "How can people struggle for a nation when most of them do not know the meaning of the word? The people are in great need of a 'myth' to fill their consciousness and imagination... [Adopting]...the [nationality] myth...[will forge an] identity...[and] self-respect..." [Musa Bey al-Alami, "Ibrat Filastin" ["The Lesson of Palestine"], Middle East Journal, Oct. 1949]
The adoption and development of that myth is what has come to constitute the now-four-decade history of the Palestinian 'national' movement. That myth has incorporated the flagrant and persistent bearing of false witness against the State of Israel and the Zionist cause, alongside the impudent and malicious slandering of the Jewish People's good name, the calculated extortion of its material patrimony and the attempted usurpation of its very selfhood – identity theft, indeed, of the highest order and lowest intent.
In search of a point of reference, one might begin by noting the observations of the originally appointed UN Security Council mediator during the 1948 Pan-Arab War to Abort Israel's Independence, the charismatic Swedish diplomat, and President of the Swedish Red Cross, Count Folke Bernadotte, in his posthumously published  journal: "The Palestinian Arabs had [at the time of the General Assembly's Partition-qua-Independence Resolution, 11-29-47] no [separate] will of their own. Neither have they ever developed any specifically Palestinian nationalism. The demand for a separate Arab state in Palestine is consequently ...weak." [Folke Bernadotte, To Jerusalem (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1951), p. 113]
For a longer and broader perspective, however, the remarks of the eminent scholar of Islamic history and culture, and Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, Bernard Lewis, are most pertinent and constructive here:
From the end of the Jewish state in antiquity [AD 135] to the beginning of British rule [December of 1917], the area now designated by the name 'Palestine' was not a country and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries; it was a group of provincial subdivisions, by no means always the same, within a larger entity...
[It] was only with the British Mandate that, apart from the brief...interval of the Crusades [the Kingdom of Jerusalem], Palestine appeared on the stage of history as a separate entity." [Bernard Lewis, "The Palestinians and the PLO, A Historical Approach," Commentary, January 1975, p. 32]
Indeed, notes Lewis, "under Roman, Byzantine and Islamic rule, Palestine was politically submerged." [Bernard Lewis, "Palestine: On the History and Geography of a Name," International History Review, January 1980]
Consider, too, the declaration, on 31 May 1956, of the Arab League's Ahmed Shuqeiri – an Acre lawyer, later to become the first PLO Chairman (handpicked by Egyptian dictator, Gamal Abdel Nasser), whereupon Shuqeiri's tune, to the Council of the Arab League in November 1966, would change [to: "The Kingdom of Palestine (i.e., Jordan) must become the Republic of Palestine"] – directing his pre-PLO remarks, at the time, to the Security Council: "It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."
[After soaking the blessed soil of Judea in blood: in order to finally crush the spunky, three-year-long Bar Kokhba Revolt of AD 135, and then forcibly exiling the survivors from Judea, the Romans – hoping, against history, to blot out the ubiquity and, by then, already long-legendary tenacity of the country's Judaic attachment – had indeed re-named the land "Syria Palaestina" – a designation we shall soon revisit.]
Observe, again, the formal statement in May 1947 of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee (AHC) addressing itself to the General Assembly: "Palestine was part of the Province of Syria.... Politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity." Said the foremost modern Arab historian, Lebanese-born, Prof. Philip Khuri Hitti [1886-1978] – Chair of Princeton's Department of Oriental Languages and Literature, and subsequent founder (also at Princeton) of America's first Program in Near Eastern Studies – upon testifying in 1946 before the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry, "Sir, there is no such thing as 'Palestine' in history, absolutely not."
What's more, the late Dr Hitti opposed usage of the word, "Palestine," on maps – because he believed that it was "associated in the mind of the average American, and perhaps the Englishman too, with the Jews." (As, of course, it was: in both instances – and with a plenitude of good reason.)
Note, as well, the yet earlier, indignant admonitions of local Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul Hadi, speaking in opposition to a Jewish Palestine independent of, and apart from, the Arab world. Testifying in 1937 before Britain's "Peel Commission" – the Palestine Royal Commission – he fumed: "There is no such country [as Palestine] ! 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented! There is no 'Palestine' in the Bible."
[Well, not quite true: actually there is "P'leshet" – or
"Philistia," Land of the "Philistines" (in King James' English)
– about which, and whom, more, shortly.
IN ANY EVENT, THERE is surely no "Palestine" (or anything linguistically resembling or approaching the word) in the Qur'an – which refers to the region one time only – and not by name, but strictly, in the Arabic language, as "al-Arad al-Muqaddash": "the Holy Land" – and then simply because it was holy to the Jews and the Christians, whom Muhammed sought to convert to Islam. . . . one way or another. Nor does the Qur'an ever once mention Jerusalem by name, or even by the later-vintage, free-standing, Arabic title or appellation, "al-Quds": "The Holy" – which handle was eventually adopted by the Arabs, again, purely because the city had been already holy to Christians and Jews, on which parties the 'Prophet' (who, outside of his dreams, never so much as set foot there in his lifetime) had focused his initial sanguine, if cockeyed, designs for conversion.
Then too, of course, if – as implied by the exasperated Hadi – the Bible is to be regarded as authoritative, then there is no ignoring the fact that it's laced with (indeed, drenched in) allusions to the "Land of Israel," to "Jews" and to (ahem)... "Zion."
Of course, Muhammad himself (Peace be upon him – and Lord knows, he needs peace, wherever he may be, about now – blood-basted bully-boy that he was, in life) had no problem with the proposition that The Land is indeed the "Everlasting Possession" of the Jews, to whom it was explicitly and repeatedly promised (and if you will, in writing), and given, by the Will, and Infinite Grace, of the eternally faithful Allah (Blessed be He). Clearly, that oft-repeated assertion in the Bible is not among those which the "Messenger of God" insisted were "corrupted" or "distorted" – and, in fact, as it happened, said selected Messenger passed on to his final reward centuries before any Arab or Muslim ever presumed to contest the truth of that acknowledged bequest or the permanence of the legacy.
No, Muhammad's quarrel with the Jews had nothing to do with the latter's right to Canaan – the Promised Land – but, rather, with their decision to take a pass on his "offer": to forsake their own ancient and venerated faith for his trendy new one. ('Thanks – but, no, thanks; and mazal tov! on your new-&-improved, but we're actually quite satisfied with our old-&-clunky, such as it may be; thank you just the same, though, for that ever-so-splendid, ever-most-munificent offer; thank you most graciously; thank you most earnestly; thank you most sincerely; thank-you-very-much indeed,' etc, etc.) You get the idea; it wasn't about the Jews' right to the Land – or the inalienable character of the franchise. [Sura V: 12, 20-21]
History recounts that the august Messenger, alas and alack, took their declining of his conversionary proposal with all the equanimity of the badly jilted lover in your standard, garden variety, contemporary slasher flick – an ultimate disappointment with obstinate Jewry that Prophet Muhammad seems to have shared with a comparably disenchanted Martin Luther a thousand years on.
Clearly, the Islamic objection: in effect, to the Almighty's sterling and steadfast fidelity to His own Word with respect to the Children of Israel in relation to the Land of Israel (if, indeed, such an challenge may truly be said to be, in any meaningful sense of the word, Islamic, i.e., "in submission") – is at best an apocryphal reservation, of distinctly later origins than the Messenger himself.]
It is hard, moreover, in all candor, not to be struck by the startling observation, and glaring (albeit nearly universally overlooked) fact that people of 'Palestinian nationality' never have chanced to produce, develop or 'discover' a name of their own for themselves or for their vauntedly beloved country. The words, "Palestine" and "Palestinian," are, after all, not, in reality, Arabic names at all. (Nor, for what it's worth, does the Arabic language actually contain a character associated – in even so much as a single one of its many, far-flung dialects – with the P sound.)
"Filastin," "Filastini," and "Filastiniyya" [fuhl-AHSS-tin, fuhl-ahss-tin-NEE, fuhl-ahss-tin-NEE-yuh] are Arabic-language corruptions of
[whence cometh the long-familiar, English-language rendering of "Philistines," a name which every schoolkid – and adult – would once have associated (and correctly so) with other names like "Goliath," "Delilah," etc., etc.].
"P'lishteem"/"Philistines" was the term of understated derogation and quiet contempt which the ancient Israelites first used, during the period of the Judges [between the Exodus from Egyptian bondage (completed with the return to the Promised Land, Canaan) and the epoch of the Davidic Monarchy], to designate the aggressive and often piratical, nonsemitic, Sea Peoples (the Shekesh, the Denyen, the Tjeker, etc) of the Aegean Islands and possibly Crete or Mycenean Greece: who, having been driven out of that region a century earlier, had ultimately muscled their way onto, and occupied, the southern stretch of Canaan's western maritime plain [which we have come to know as the Gaza District] during the first half of the 12th century Before the Common Era.
There, and then, upon mastering and acquiring a technological monopoly on, the new metal, iron – and having grasped not only its significant potential for agriculture and industry but also its enormous military advantages over bronze – the P'lishteem had existed as a pentapolis: a loose federation of five coastal and subcoastal Mediterranean city-states, after being repulsed in multiple earlier attempts to invade the nearby, larger and culturally sophisticated, Egypt during the waning days of the XIXth Pharaonic Dynasty.
Behold. . . .
<Heb. - n:
<Heb. - vt:
"to invade,""to trespass,""to intrude";
<Heb. - adj:
<Heb. - n:
<Heb. - n/sg:
<Heb. - n/pl:
<Heb. - n/pr: ~
"intruderland," "trespassersplace," "district of the invaders,"etc
Gnaw on that soup bone for a while, Rover.
The pursuit of a warlike way of life, coupled with a determined
drive eastward from the coast, brought the P'lishteem/Philistines into
a turbulent and uneasy, off-and-on coexistence with the settled
Israelites, who were established somewhat inland and directly athwart
their path – until, having effectively forced the political
union of the heretofore largely autonomous, southern Hebrew tribes,
the Philistines were defeated and subdued by the second of the
Israelite kings: David. The Philistines subsequently lost their
independence to the Assyrian Empire and were ultimately absorbed as a
people by the Israelites during the period commonly known as the
"Divided Kingdom" [House of Israel in the North, House of Judah in the
South] – all of these events having been completed nearly a
thousand years before the advent of Christ, and some 14-15 centuries
before the birth of Muhammad.
BUT ENOUGH OF THE ANCIENTS. (The past is, after all – as they say – prologue.) Fast-forward to the final third of the twentieth century:
Who ever heard of a 'nation' that didn't have its own name for itself? Hel-l-o-o-o-o... ?! Granted, there are, occasionally, peoples who may perhaps be labeled one thing or another by their neighbors or by the wider world [an "exonym," it's called], but even they, nonetheless, characteristically also retain their own handle for themselves [their "autonym," if you will] – at least amongst themselves – a name typically derived from their own mother tongue; yes?
Not the "Palestinians."
Indeed, quite the contrary: "Palestinian" apparently suits them just fine, and (to hear them tell it, these days) always has. Likewise the name of their 'motherland': And how is one to regard the fact that the Palestine Arabs have never managed to devise, derive or somehow stumble over their own, mutually-shared designation for the land they now so earnestly claim as their very own since time-out-of-mind?
(What in the name of Pinocchio's Nose is wrong with this picture?)
No doubt, Mr P.T. Barnum would have had a trifle something to say to a credulous world about that little oversight? And can you say "s-c-a-m"? Can you say "s-u-c-k-e-r"?
Again, these latter-day 'Philistines' – whose map of their purported homeland turns out to be curiously identical, in its entirety, to that of the Land of Israel [minus the Jews, of course, whom they seek to replace] – these contempo P'lishteem have inadvertently chosen, as it were, a Hebrew moniker for themselves and for the dearly contemplated real estate of their fondest reveries; fancy that. And one, moreover, which denotes a forcible interloper. [The fraud, it seems, is not merely transparent, but also, indeed, transparently clumsy.]
And the purpose of this elaborate shell game? – the foundation upon which this bogus super-structure of Palestine Arab 'nationality' is constructed? Two years before he was compelled to depart this vale of tears directly – and on very short notice – as expedited by the hit squad dispatched to his luxurious Cannes villa by the rival, Baghdad-based, Abu Nidal faction on 15 July 1979, the late, Tul-karem-born, Zuhe'ir Mohse'in ["Military" Commander of Al-Sa'iqa (the major, Syrian/Baath-based PLO constituent group), and member, PLO Executive Council; aka the "Butcher of Damour" (Leb.)], ever-so-graciously let the cat out of the bag, as it were, by admitting – during an unguarded moment of candor and bravado – what should have been obvious to anyone paying even minimal attention to the abiding, readily accessible and ultimately unimpeachable facts of history:
The 'Palestinian people' do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation.
Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism. For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with well defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa – while I as a "Palestinian" can undisputedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Be'er-sheva and Jerusalem.
However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan. Yes, the existence of a 'separate Palestinian identity' serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state will be a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel. [Zuhe'ir Mohse'in, as quoted in the Amsterdam daily, Dagblad de Verdieping Trouw, 3-31-77]
But how, quite – and when – did the game all come about? Hugh Fitzgerald concisely renders the gist of the sordid tale:
Before the Six-Day War [of June 1967, which brought Israel into possession of the disputed territories], not a single Arab spokesman, at the U.N. or anywhere else, and not a single Arab document, referred to the local Arabs as "the Palestinian people." They appeared, as if by magic – summoned by the public relations advisors sors to Arafat – after the war had made clear that the Arab dream of going for the kill had been dashed, and that a different, long-term effort was necessary.
The intention of that effort was to persuade former supporters of Israel in the Western ern world that Israel had won territory to which it had no legal, moral or historic claim. Since the area had been known in the West as "Palestine," then the local Arabs would become the "Palestinian people."
As the older and better-educated generations died out, the young, the naive, the uninformed would come to think something along the simple-minded lines of: "well, there's a place called Palestine, and there're these people who are called 'the Palestinian people', so of course they must be the ones whose land it is." It was at that level that the "Palestinian people" was created... [emphasis added]
[Hugh Fitzgerald, dhimmiwatch.org 3-18-06]
And what is there to be said for the creators of that "people"?
No collection of assassins, cutthroats, liars, extortionists, con artists, poseurs, calculating clerics, political pimps, street-corner punks and pseudointellectuals with such brazen, collaterally transparent and cartoonish pretensions to the character and dignity of a legitimate national movement would ever be given the time of day – let alone, enjoy the magnitude of consideration, of courtesy, of outright favor, that all of the Palestinian terror organizations, both secular and religious (and that includes the "Palestinian Authority," itself), consistently and routinely receive as tribute from the fawning diplomatic, media and academic circuses of the West – were it not for one unruly, obstreperous and abiding fact:
The existing sovereign state to which this particular assemblage of pond-scum presents a direct threat just happens to be the world's one and only Jewish state. That's the reason, friends – and it's just that simple. What's more, the aforesaid scum know perfectly well that that's the reason.
And everybody else knows it too.
But then, our fallen little world has always had a problem with its Jews, hasn't it?
"A NATION," WROTE AURELIUS AUGUSTINE, "is an association of reasonable beings united in a peaceful sharing of the things they cherish. Therefore," continued the man known to world literature and Church history as "St. Augustine": "to determine the quality [i.e., the essence] of a nation, you must consider what those things are."
Even leaving aside the manifest unreasonableness and obvious non-peaceableness of the party in question, the inescapable truth is that the painstakingly fabricated entity composed of those local ethnic Arabs who, since the late-1960's, have (with the indulgence of the world community) styled themselves "Palestinians" is not a nation at all, but, rather, an "anti-nation" – a thoroughgoing counterfeit, constructed wholly ex nihilo: whose entire purpose, direction, life's meaning and motive energy have been, from the very beginning, unmistakably derived from the fixed, compulsive, consummately pathological desire to destroy an existing nation.
Which brings this observer ultimately to the only significant remaining unanswered question in the matter: Will you, inquiring reader – who now know the game is afoot – let them get away with it?
[*] International legal scholar and Jerusalem attorney Howard Grief's forthcoming and long-awaited book, The Legal Foundation and Borders of Israel Under International Law, a major undertaking and the present era's perhaps definitive work on the subject – due out this year, and which may be on the shelves by the time you read this – explores the matter exhaustively, with clarity, precision and accessibility. Ask for the English-language version by title or by author.
Michael Zebulon was once the youngest Eagle Scout on the East Coast, but has lived most of the past half-century since then on the other coast. He is an actor, a narrator and – as the spirit moves – a writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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