Middle East Myths - The Myth of Palestine
Sunday 20th Jul 2003
Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda and Information, said that a big lie that is told often enough and long enough will eventually be accepted as truth. With cooperation from the world's media, coupled with ignorance, apathy, and anti-Semitism among the nations, Israel is being presented as a giant Goliath killing little Davids who are only armed with stones. There would be peace in the Middle East if only Goliath Israel would agree to little David's demand for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. This is one of the many lies constantly repeated to the uninformed West. The purpose of this presentation is to expose some of the myths (read that big lies) regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.
history of palestine palestine history history of israel and palestinians.
Myth #1 - The Myth of Palestine
In an article entitled, "The Lesson of Palestine," printed in the Middle East Journal, October 1949, Arab activist, Musa Alami, wrote, "how can people struggle for their nation, when most of them do not know the meaning of the word? … The people are in great need of a "myth" of imagination. The myth of nationality would create "identity" and "self-respect."
The Arab world has certainly demonstrated great skill in the "myth" of imagination. They have done such a good job that they have convinced much of the world that their "myths" are facts. Perhaps their biggest myth is the myth of Palestine. The Arab world would have us believe that the Palestinians have been in "Palestine" from "time immemorial" but were displaced by the Jews when Israel became a state in 1948. But what are the facts?
While we are not certain of the exact dates, Joshua conquered the Land God promised the Jews in the 13th century BCE. King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel around 1000 BCE. King Solomon built the Jewish Temple about 960 BCE. This was almost 1000 years before the beginning of Christianity and 1600 years before the rise of Islam. As Prime Minister Barak has noted, "When Jesus came to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts, he didn't come to a church or a mosque, he came to the Temple." It is not the Church Mount or the Mosque Mount that is fought over, it is the Temple Mount. It was the Temple Mount centuries before Christianity tried to make it the Church Mount and Islam tried to make it the Mosque Mount.
However, not to be confused with facts, in a personal audience I had several years ago with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who was appointed by Arafat, he boldly declared that the Arabs had been living in the Land for 10,000 years. Based on conservative Bible chronology, that means the Arabs have been living in the Land before the Almighty created Adam and Eve.
How did Israel become Palestine and who are the Palestinians? The second Jewish war with the Romans took place in 132-135 CE. Led by Rabbi Akiva and Simon bar Kochba, the Jewish uprising was crushed by the Roman Emperor Hadrian who sought to de-Judaize Jerusalem and make it a pagan city. Hadrian renamed Jerusalem "Aelia Capitolina" in honor of Jupiter. He changed the name of Judea and gave it the name of the Jews ancient enemy, the Philistines. He called it -- Palestine.
Over time, Palestine was ruled by the Roman Byzantines (312-637) [Persian interrupt 614-629], Omayyad Arabs (638-750), Islamic Abbassid's (750-1099), Crusaders (1099-1291) [Saladin the Kurd interrupt 1187-93], Mamluks (1291-1516), Ottoman Turks (1517-1917), and the British Mandate (1917-1948). None of these rulers established a sovereign state in the Land and Jerusalem was never the capital of any empire since the time of King David. Palestine was a forgotten desolate, wasteland, but historical records show there was always a Jewish presence in the Land.
The revival of modern Jewish life in the Land began in the 1880's with the arrival of Russian refugees from the Russian pogroms. A second wave of immigration, also from Russia, was in 1905. This was followed by later immigrations resulting in a growing Jewish population in the Land. When the Jews came to the Land, they found a malaria infested swamp in the north and an uninhabitable desert in the south. It was as if the God of the Bible had kept the Land hidden away in obscurity until the rightful owners -- the Jews returned to claim it.
The Jewish pioneers did not steal the Land from the Arabs. They purchased the Land at highly inflated prices from absentee landlords living outside the Land. As the Jews worked the Land, it began to prosper. While there were Jews and Arabs living in the Land, there were many poor migrant Arab farm workers in the surrounding Arab countries who needed work. When they heard that the Land was prospering under the hand of the Jews, they migrated to Palestine to get work from the Jews. Furthermore, the British allowed many thousands of Arabs into Palestine illegally while barring the Jews from entering the Land. For the most part, the Arab Palestinians are these peasant farm workers and illegal aliens. "Palestinians" have never been a distinct people, they have never had a sovereign land called Palestine, Jerusalem has never been their capital, there is no Palestinian language or culture, and there is no Palestinian people. It is a myth created after the Jews liberated Jerusalem in 1967.
Before the birth of the State of Israel, Arab leaders themselves denied the existence of an Arab country called Palestine. In 1937, Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi said, "There is no such country [as Palestine]! 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. 'Palestine" is alien to us; it is the Zionists who introduced it." In 1946, a distinguished Princeton professor and Arab historian said, "There is no such thing as Palestine in Arab history, absolutely not."
All who lived in the Land, Jews, Arabs, and Christians, were called Palestinians. In fact, the Jerusalem Post was called the Palestinian Post. Under the British Mandate, the Palestinian Jews were given a state. But before this state came into existence, Colonial Secretary, Winston Churchill, in 1922, took away seventy-seven percent of the geographic area promised to the Jews and created Transjordan as a state for the Palestinian Arabs. Israel would be for the Palestinian Jews and Transjordan (now Jordan) for the Palestinian Arabs.
Israel became a state in the War of Independence in 1948. At that time, approximately 600,000 Arabs fled to become refugee pawns in the hands of neighboring Arab states. Some number of Arabs stayed to become Israeli citizens. While we certainly sympathize with the plight of the Arab refugees, their problems could easily be solved if their Arab brothers cared enough to assimilate them as the Jews did their own 800,000 immigrants who were kicked out from the Arab countries.
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