UPDATE: There have been numerous reports today of incidents of Palestinians attacking and injuring IDF and police personnel throughout Judea and Samaria–and at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem.
News media around the world–as well as fellow U.S. Republican presidential hopefuls –are on fire today with criticism of Newt Gingrich’s comment that “the Palestinians are an invented people.”
Your humble servant thought it might be useful this morning to briefly explore this comment beginning with an exact transcription of what Mr. Gingrich exactly said (the interview is available on youtube at this link):
“Well I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state and I believe that the commitments that were made at a time–remember that there was no Palestine as a state; it was part of the Ottoman Empire and I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs who are historically part of the Arab community . . .”
An interesting question to consider is exactly when did the Arabs living in the area of “Palestine” begin to call themselves “Palestinians”? Was it after the term “Palestine” was artificially created by Hadrian in 135 CE to punish the Jews for the three Jewish-Roman wars? No. Was it after the Muslims overran “Palestine” in the early seventh century and ruled the land for some 500 years? No. Was it during the rule of the Crusaders, Saladdin, Khwarezmians, and Mamluks? No. Was it during the Ottoman Turkish reign from 1516-1919? No. Was it during the time of the British Mandate? No. Was it during the Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967? No.
The first time the word “Palestinian” entered the lexicon to refer to the Arab people in so-called “Palestine” was not until after the 1967 war–and even then there is evidence it was not initially created by the Arabs in “Palestine” but by the Soviet propaganda machine describing the aftermath of the 1967 war.
In fact before 1948, the word “Palestinian” was exclusively used to refer to Jewish residents of “Palestine” and between 1948 and 1967 the word “Palestinian” was largely used by academicians to refer to those Jews who had lived in “Palestine” prior to 1948 and subsequently become Israelis. Your humble servant’s father-in-law considered himself a “Palestinian” until 1948, and he carried a “Palestinian” driver’s license, health card, and identity card. In 1948, he became an Israeli.
More than this, to have even referred to an Arab as a “Palestinian” prior to 1967 was considered a gross insult. The common refrain was “We are not Jews, we are Arabs.” And again, why would the Arabs have been so offended? Because to be a “Palestinian” meant that you were Jewish. Consider the facts that until 1950, the name of the Jerusalem Post was The Palestine Post; the journal of the Zionist Organization of America was New Palestine; Bank Leumi was called the Anglo-Palestine Bank; the Israel Electric Company´s name was the Palestine Electric Company; the symphony orchestra in the land of Israel was the Palestine Symphony Orchestra; the anthem of Zionism was Palestine, My Palestine.
To the Arabs, “Palestinian” meant “Jew”–and thus, they insisted on being called “Arabs”.
The so-called “Palestinians” of today are intent on stealing everyone’s history–claiming that they are the descendants of the Canaanites, the Philistines, and yes–even the Jews. The only problem with their contorted version of events is that the Canaanites and Philistines had entirely ceased to exist by 500 BCE. And the Jews, who have maintained a continuous presence in the land of Israel for over 3300 years, saw our numbers dwindle to as few as 5000 in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
S0 where exactly did the “Palestinians” come from? Their main surnames tell the story: Al Masri, Al Metzarwah (Egyptian), Al Husseini, Al Urdondi (Jordanian), Al Suri, Al Nashashibi (Syrian) Al Haurani (Hauran, Syria), Al Lubnani (Lebanese), Al Tarabulsi (Tarabulus-Tripoli in Lebanon), Al Iraqi (Iraqi), Al Saudi, Al Husayni (Saudi Arabia). To a “Palestine” that was largely a desolate depopulated Turkish backwater came migrating Arabs throughout the latter part of the 19th and early part of the 20th century–with considerable Arab migration taking place in the 1930s as Arabs sought employment in British ruled “Palestine”.
In sum, Newt Gingrich was exactly correct in his assessment of the so-called “Palestinians”. They are an invented Arab people whose entire cultural and social identity as a people sprang into being after 1967.
Addendum: Gingrich’s main adversary in the race for the Republican nomination asserted last night that Gingrich had made Netanyahu’s task more difficult by calling the Palestinians “invented”. What hokum. No matter what anyone calls the Palestinians, the Palestinians do not want peace–and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous.
THIS DAY IN ISRAELI HISTORY
On December 11, 1961, following 14 weeks of testimony with 100 prosecution witnesses (90 of whom were Nazi concentration camp survivors) the three judges in the trial of Adolf Eichmann found Eichmann guilty of the primary crimes he was accused of. Four days later, on December 15, they sentenced him to death by hanging.