PALESTINE SINCE THE ROMANS.
So, we have the situation in the Middle East today- the situation as we have known it for many years. How did it all begin? Let us look at a little potted history of the area, known for for nearly 2,000 years as Palestine and, since 1948, as Israel.
Israel became a nation in about 1440 BC (at Mount Sinai), two thousand years before the rise of Islam. They arrived in this land forty years later in about 1400 BC. We will skip the next fifteen hundred years or so and rejoin them in about 70 AD when the Romans took over the whole land, flattened Jerusalem, burnt down the Temple and killed and exiled a large part of the Jewish population of the area.
At that time, however, the Romans did not expel all the Jews and in 139 AD, the descendants of those who remained, under the command of Bar Kokhba, again rebelled against Rome. The Roman army came in again and this time they killed many thousands of Jews, flattened Jerusalem again and built a new Roman city on the ruins, calling it Aelia Capitolina. They then expelled all the Jews, who had survived the slaughter....
"Of their forts the 50 strongest were razed to the ground, 985 of their best known villages were destroyed.....Thus the whole of Judea became desert, as indeed had been foretold to the Jews before the war. For the Tomb of Solomon, whom these folks celebrate in their sacred rights, fell into it's own accord into fragments, and wolves and hyenas, many in number roamed howling through their cities"
(Dio Cassius, History of the Romans, lxix, 12-14 cited by DeHass, History, pp 55-56).
One story has it that the Roman Procurator in charge of the captured Jewish territories called for historians and asked them who were the worst enemies of the Jews in their history.
The historians replied, "the Philistines";
Thus, the Procurator declared that the Land of Israel would from then forward be called "Palaestina" to dishonor the Jews and obliterate their history.
During the Biblical Period, it was the site of the ancient Canaan and the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and later of the independent Jewish kingdom of Judea.
In A.D. 135, the Roman emperor Hadrian changed the name of the province from Syria Judea to Syria Palaestina, which is the Latin version of the Greek name, and it became an administrative political unit within the Roman Empire.
In approximately A.D. 390 Palaestina was further organised into three units: First, Second, and Third Palaestina.
Palaestina Prima consisted of Judea, Samaria, the coast, and Peraea which the governor residing in Caesarea.
Palaestina Secunda consisted of the Galilee, the lower Jezreel valley, the regions east of Galilee, and the western part of the former Decapolis with the seat of government at Scythopolis. Palaestina Tertia included the Negev, southern Jordan — once part of Arabia — and most of Sinai with Petra the usual residence of the governor.
Palestina Tertia was also known as Palaestina Salutaris. This reorganization reduced Arabia to the northern Jordan east of Peraea.
Roman administration of Palestine ended temporarily during the Persian occupation of 614-28, then permanently after the Arabs conquered the region beginning in 635.
The new Arab rulers divided the province of ash-Sham (Syria) into five districts, of which Palestine (in its modern sense) comprised two.
Jund Filastin was a region extending from the Sinai to south of the plain of Acre. At times it reached down into the Sinai. Major towns included Rafah, Caesarea, Gaza, Jaffa, Nablus, Jerico, Ramla and Jerusalem. Initially Ludd (Lydda) was the capital, but in 717 it was moved to the new city of ar-Ramlah (Ramla). Much later, it was moved to Jerusalem.
Jund al-Urdunn was a region to the north and east of Filastin. Major towns included Tiberias, Legio, Acre, Jerico, Beisan and Tyre. The capital was at Tiberias. Various political upheavals several times led to readjustments of the boundaries. After the 10th century, the division into Junds began to break down and the establishment of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem completed that process.
After Muslim control over Palestine was reestablished in the 12th and 13th centuries, the division into districts was reinstated, with boundaries that were frequently rewritten.
Around the end of the 13th century, Palestine comprised of several of nine "kingdoms" of Syria, namely the Kingdoms of Gaza (including Ascalon and Hebron), Karak (including Jaffa and Legio), Safad (including Safad, Acre, Sidon and Tyre) and parts of the Kingdom of Damascus (sometimes extending as far south as Jerusalem).
By the middle of the 14th century, Syria had again been divided into five districts, of which Filastin included Jerusalem (its capital), Ramla, Ascalon, Hebron and Nablus, while Hauran included Tiberias (its capital).
At the beginning of the 16th century, Palestine was captured by the Ottoman Turks, who remained in control until World War I.
(Material courtesy of Wikipedia )
“In the twelve and a half centuries between the Arab conquest in the seventh century and the beginnings of the Jewish return in the 1880’s, Palestine was laid waste. Its ancient canal and irrigations systems were destroyed and the wondrous fertility of which the Bible spoke vanished into desert and desolation.”
Carl Hermann Voss, The Palestinian Problem: Today, Israel and its neighbours. 1953.
“Filastin is the westernmost of the provinces of Syria. In its greatest length from Rafh to the boundary of Al Lajjun (Legio) it would take a rider two days to travel over; and the like time to cross the province in its breadth from Yafa (Jaffa) to Riha (Jerico). Zugar (Segor, Zoar) and the country of Lot's people (Diyar Kaum Lot); Al Jibal (the mountains of Edom) and Ash Sharah as far as Ailah---Al Jibal and Ash Sharah being two separate provinces, but lying contiguous one to the other---are included in Filastin, and belong to its government.” 10th century Arab source:
“Nothing there to be scene but a little of the old walls, which is yet Remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and Weedes much like to a piece of Rank or moist Grounde.”
A “simple English Visitor” of the 16th century. (Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statement page 86).
"A house of robbers, murderers, the inhabitants are Saracens...it is a lamentable thing to see thus such a town. We saw nothing more stony, full of thorns and desert…a vast and spacious ruin"
A Franciscan Pilgrim, 1697, (DeHass, History, p337, citing The Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statement, 1925, p197).
Palestine (is) "lacking in people to till it's fertile soil."
(Thomas Shaw, Travels and Observations, London 1767, p331).
“The population of Jerusalem (is) less then 14,000; Hebron has 900 men, and Bethlehem has only 600 adult men." Count Constantine F. Volney, 1793.
"Jews! Unique nation of the world! For thousands of years the tyranny of the world has succeeded in depriving you of your ancestral lands but it has not eradicated your name, nor your national existence... Legitimate heirs of the Land of Israel!... Hurry! The moment has arrived to claim the return of your rights among the nations of the world. You must claim for yourselves a national existence as states among states, and your unencroachable right to bow down before God according to your faith, publicly and forever." Napoleon Bonaparte's "Appeal to the Jews," at Mount Tabor before his defeat at Acre, 1798.
Jaffa, "has all the appearances of a poor village, and every part of it that we saw was of corresponding madness.". J. S. Buckingham, 1816
Ramle, "where, as throughout the greater part of Palestine, the ruined portion seemed more extensive then that which was inhabited.". (J. S. Buckingham, Travels in Palestine , 1816)
(There is not) "a single boat of any description on that lake (Tiberius)"., (J. S. Buckingham, Travels in Palestine, p 146, 1816)
"The ancient city of the people of God is about to resume a place among the nations, and England is the first of Gentile kingdoms that ceases "to tread her down." Ashley, member of the British Government, in his diary 1838.
"There exists at the present time among the Jews dispersed over Europe, a strong notion that the time is approaching when their nation is to return to Palestine. . . . It would be of manifest importance to the Sultan to encourage the Jews to return and settle in Palestine because the wealth which they would bring with them would increase the resources of the Sultan's dominions; and the Jewish people, if returning under the sanction and protection, and at the invitation of the Sultan, would be a check upon any future evil designs of Mehemet Ali (of Egypt) or his successor. . . . I have to instruct Your Excellency strongly to re-commend (to the Turkish Government) to hold out every just encouragement to the Jews of Europe to return to Palestine.".
Lord Palmerston, British Foreign Secretary, 1840 to the British Ambassador in Constantinople.
Population of Jerusalem, Turkish Census 1844
“Outside of the gates of Jerusalem, we saw, indeed, no living object, heard no living sound. We found the same void, the same silence as we should have found before the entombed gates of Pompeii or Herculaneum…complete, eternal silence reigns in the towns, the highways, in the country.”
The French poet, Alphonse de Lamartine 1846.
“The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population...such a people may be found in the Jews; for their affections are centred here: and they own no willing subjection to any European crown...
I have now the honour to propose for consideration- viz- to persuade Jews in large quantities to settle here as agriculturalists on the soil: by the special proclamation from HM the Sultan, offering the special advantages to that effect.
James Finn, Palestine’s British Consul, writing to Lord Clarendon in the Foreign Office in 1857
“Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent. The Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee sleep in the midst of a vast stretch of hill and plain wherein the eye rests upon no pleasant tint, no striking object, no soft picture dreaming in a purple haze or mottled with the shadows of the clouds. Every outline is harsh, every feature is distinct, there is no perspective -- distance works no enchantment here. It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land.
Small shreds and patches of it must be very beautiful in the full flush of spring, however, and all the more beautiful by contrast with the far-reaching desolation that surrounds them on every side. I would like much to see the fringes of the Jordan in spring-time, and Shechem, Esdraelon, Ajalon and the borders of Galilee -- but even then these spots would seem mere toy gardens set at wide intervals in the waste of a limitless desolation.
Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies.
Where Sodom and Gomorrah reared their domes and towers, that solemn sea now floods the plain, in whose bitter waters no living thing exists -- over whose waveless surface the blistering air hangs motionless and dead -- about whose borders nothing grows but weeds, and scattering tufts of cane, and that treacherous fruit that promises refreshment to parching lips, but turns to ashes at the touch.
Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert;
Jericho the accursed, lies a moldering ruin, to-day, even as Joshua's miracle left it more than three thousand years ago;
Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the leader's presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang Peace on earth, good will to men, is untenanted by any living creature, and unblessed by any feature that is pleasant to the eye.
Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village; the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was the pride and the glory of Israel, is gone, and the Ottoman crescent is lifted above the spot where, on that most memorable day in the annals of the world, they reared the holy cross.
The noted Sea of Galilee, where Roman fleets once rode at anchor and the disciples of the leader sailed in their ships, was long ago deserted by the devotees of war and commerce, and its borders are a silent wilderness;
Capernaum is a shapeless ruin;
Magdala is the home of beggared Arabs;
Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth, and the "desert places" round about them where thousands of men once listened to the leader's voice and ate the miraculous bread, sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by birds of prey and skulking foxes.
Palestine is desolate and unlovely. And why should it be otherwise? Can the curse of the Deity beautify a land?
Palestine is no more of this work-day world. It is sacred to poetry and tradition -- it is dream-land.
“Innocents Abroad” Mark Twain 1867
'A desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds. A silent, mournful expanse. We never saw a human being on the whole route. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.'..."
Mark Twain, "Palestine" in 1867
It was only starting in 1878 that harsh conditions forced many groups to immigrate into Palestine: "Circassian, Algerians, Egyptians, Druses, Turks, Kurds, Bosnians, and others. 141,000 settled Muslims living in all of Palestine (all areas) in 1882, at least 25% of those 141,000 were newcomers who arrived after 1831 from the Egyptian conquest."
(Ernst Frankenstine, Justice for my people, London, Nicholson and Watson, 1943 p. 127).
“Contrary to these arguments which plague the schools of the West Bank, today's Palestinians are immigrants from many nations: "Balkans, Greeks, Syrians, Latins, Egyptians, Turks, Armenians, Italians, Persians, Kurds, Germans, Afghans, Circassians, Bosnians, Sudanese, Samaritans, Algerians, Motawila, Tartars, Hungarians, Scots, Navarese, Bretons, English, Franks, Ruthenians, Bohemians, Bulgarians, Georgians, Syrians, Persian Nestorians, Indians, Copts, Maronites, and many other"
(DeHass, History, p. 258. John of Wuzburg list from Reinhold Rohricht edition, pp. 41, 69).
"The Arab Muslims took the land from the Byzantines, later came the Abbasids who entrusted the land to Iranians, who trusted mercenaries, at first Persian, then Turk, Circassian, Kurd -- any race but the Arabians" (Hograth, Arabs and Turks).
There were a total of about 340,000 people in Palestine in 1878. Aaron T. Wolf’s Hydropolitics along the Jordan River published by the United Nations University Press,
"in 1880 there (are) 200,000 people living in ‘Southern Syria,’ of which 25,000 (are) Jews." Turkish Ottoman Government Statistics 1880.
“Come to Galilee…these unpeopled deserts, these rusty mounds of barrenness that never, never, never do shake the glare from their harsh outlines…that melancholy ruin of Capernaum…we reached Tabor safely…we never saw a human being on the whole route.
“Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now…the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang, “Peace on Earth, good will to men,” is untenanted by any living creature…Bethsaida and Chorazin have vanished from the earth and the ‘desert places’ round about them…sleep in the hush of a solitude that is inhabited only by birds and skulking foxes.
“Stirring scenes occur in the valley of Jezreel no more. There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent- not for thirty miles in either direction.
“Palestine sits in sack cloth and ashes…desolate and unlovely…It is a dreamland.”
Mark Twain. The Innocents Abroad 1881. (Writing about his pilgrimage in 1867)
(On the internet you can access INNOCENTS ABROAD by Mark Twain.
Chapters 45 to 54 are his account of a visit to theHoly Land in 1867)
"The population and wealth of Palestine has not increased during the last forty years," The American consul in Jerusalem, 1880
Many Arabs were attracted to the area by the prosperity brought by the Jews. Forty Jewish families, for example, settled in Rishon Le Tsiyon. By 1889 more than 400 Arab families had settled around them. This repeated itself in many Jewish areas. (A. Druyanov) Remember, this all happened before the census of 1893. The Arab population must have been a fraction of that before the rush.
"No national union and no national spirit has prevailed there. The motley impoverished tribes which have occupied it have held it as mere tenants at will, temporary landowners, evidently waiting for those entitled to the permanent possession of the soil" Sir John William Dawson, 1888, (Modern Science in Bible Lands - New York 1890 - pp. 449-450).
“…since the Jews never gave up their title to Palestine, the general “law of dereliction” (does) not apply in their case; “for they never abandoned the land. They made no treaty; they did not even surrender. They simply succumbed, after the most desperate conflict, to the overwhelming power of the Romans...”
Dr. W.E. Blackstone, quoting the foremost authorities on international law, 1891.
“I traveled through sad Galilee in the Spring and I found it silent…as elsewhere, as everywhere in Palestine, cities and palaces have returned to dust…This melancholy of abandonment…weighs on all the Holy Land.” Pierre Loti, La Galilee (Paris 1895)
In the area where organized Jewish settlement began- where 98% of the Jews would live until independence- the entire non-Jewish population in 1893 came to 93,600, of which 37,893 were Christians. (Which left 55,707 Moslem Arabs) The Jewish population at the time was 59,431.
Vital Cuinet’s 1895 survey.
Population of Jerusalem, Calendar of Palestine 1895
"All that this remarkable movement now requires is the public recognition and protection of the Sovereigns of Europe . . . the Jewish State is successful, which it must be according to the Bible, for the Jews are then to be a blessing to the nations." William H. Hechler, British clergyman and friend of Theodore Herzl, in a letter to the German Kaiser, 1898
"I have been able to notice that the emigration to the land of Palestine of those Jews who are ready for it, is being prepared extremely well and it is even financially sound in every respect. . . . I am convinced that the settlement of the Holy Land . . . will soon bring blessing to the land.". Kaiser, Wilhelm II, in reply: 1898.
“The estimated total population of Jerusalem is 60,000. Of these, 7,000 are Moslem, 13,000 are Christian and 40,000 are Jews.” Travel guide to Palestine, Karl Baedeker, 1906
“The number of Jews has greatly risen in the last decade, in spite of the fact that they are forbidden to immigrate or to possess landed property.” Ditto 1906
“The Jews of the Orient are at home. This land is their only fatherland. They don’t know any other.” Farid Kassab, a famous Syrian author, 1906
“ (I) held conversations with some of the leading sheiks, and they all expressed pleasure at the advent of the Jews, for they considered that with them had come ‘barakat’ – blessing, since the rain came in due season.” Dr. Moses Gaster, 1907.
'The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track, suitable for transport by camels or carts. No orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached the Yavneh village. Houses were mud. Schools did not exist. The western part toward the sea was almost a desert. The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.'"
[The British] Palestinian Royal Commission quotes an account of the conditions on the coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea in 1913
"Due to immigration, especially Arabs from Yemen and Jews from Europe, the population of Palestine rose to 722,000 by 1915." Aaron T. Wolf’s Hydropolitics along the Jordan River published by the United Nations University Press, .
“The people west of the Jordan are not Arabs, but only Arab speaking... In the Gaza district they are mostly of Egyptian origin; elsewhere they are of the most mixed race...they (the Arabs of Palestine) have little if any national sentiment...they hide their weapons at the call of patriotism.” British Peace Handbook No. 60, 1918.
"The resources of the country (Palestine) are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. One of the most amazing things until recent times was that the Palestinian used to leave his country, wandering over the high seas in every direction. His native soil could not retain a hold on him.... At the same time, we have seen the Jews from foreign countries streaming to Palestine from Russia, Germany, Austria, Spain, and America. The cause of causes could not escape those who had a gift of deeper insight. They knew that the country was for its original sons [abna'ihi-l-asliyin], for all their differences, a sacred and beloved homeland. The return of these exiles [jaliya] to their homeland will prove materially and spiritually an experimental school for their brethren who are with them in the fields, factories, trades and all things connected to the land." Hussein Ibn-Ali, Sheriff of Mecca, Mecca's Al Qibla, in 1918,
The Muslim religious leader, the Mufti, was openly friendly, even taking a prominent part in the ceremony of laying the foundation stone of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1918.
“Jewish nationalism has been continuous.. (it is) the oldest nationalist movement in history.” British government Peace Handbook No. 162, 1920.
Population of Jerusalem 1922
“There is an "uncontrolled influx of illegal immigrants from Egypt, TransJordan and Syria".
The Hope Simpson Report , 1930
“…30,000-36,000 people from (Hauran) district entered Palestine in 1934.”
The Syrian Governor of Hauran, 1934
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. . . . Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it." — Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Local Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937
"Far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied until their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up (increase) the Jewish population".
Winston Churchill 1939
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not" — Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian to Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry, 1946
Population of Jerusalem 1948
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria." — Ahmed Shukairy, United Nations Security Council, 1956
"From the end of the Jewish state in antiquity to the beginning of British rule, the area now designated by the name Palestine was not a country and had no frontiers, only administrative boundaries . . . . "-- Professor Bernard Lewis, Commentary Magazine, January 1975.
(1918 British officer T.E. Lawrence -dubbed Lawrence of Arabia – and the Arab forces of Emir Faisal capture the Palestinian city of Damascus from the Turks." The Daily Telegraph [Sydney], October 1, '1997)
Up until 1948 about the only people who called themselves Palestinians were Jews. (The
“Palestine Post” was a Jewish newspaper) At the time most Arabs rejected the term. After 1948 Palestinian Jews called themselves Israelis and the term Palestinian dropped out of common use until after 1967.
“An indoctrination of the ‘myth’ of Palestinian nationality would create ‘identity’ and ‘self-respect’
Musa Alami, the Lessons of Palestine, 1949
Population of Jerusalem 1967
"The Palestinian people does 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 today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. 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." Zuheir Muhsin, executive committee member of the PLO, March 31, 1977, in the Dutch newspaper Trouw:
“Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian State is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel.”
Zuheir Muhsin, quoted in the Dutch daily Trouw March 1977
"When I was 16 I falsified my age. I claimed I was 18 and I joined the British Army. I served from April '42 until March '47. Now there were about 30,000 Jewish volunteers from Palestine serving in the British Army during World War II and also a few hundred Arabs. And there was a point where the British authorities permitted the volunteers from Palestine to wear a shoulder patch saying " Palestine". As far as I know, virtually all- if not all- of the Jewish volunteers went and got that shoulder patch. Not the Arabs. "We are Arabs!" they said. "We are not Palestinians!"
Dov Chaikin, Jewish resident of Jerusalem, quoted in "The Forsaken Promise"
Population of Jerusalem 1983, Israel Central Bureau; Jerusalem Municipality Report).
ROME, July 19, 1998,
I live in Rome and I am a clergyman (Imam) of the Italian Islamic Community. I consider myself a good friend of Israel and am trying my best to help Moslems free themselves from anti-Zionism and to develop a positive attitude toward Jews in general and towards Israelis in particular.
I believe that Israeli Arabs live in a privileged position: they are the only Arabs in the Middle East who live in a democratic State. The comparison between the positive way that Israel treats them and the terrible way that refugees from "Palestine" were treated by their so-called Arab "brothers" is incredible.
I believe that "Palestinian identity" is something completely artificial: it was forged as a propagandistic tool against Israel. The strange fact is that, at least here in Europe, I have never heard an Arab from the Land of Israel ("Palestine") say: "I am Palestinian."
Maybe this reflects the fact that here in Italy these Arab brothers live in a democracy, while in the Moslem Middle East every word that comes out of ones' mouth is monitored by dictatorial Arab authorities. Almost all of the Arabs here in Europe say "I am Jordanian, and, thank God, I have nothing to do with Arafat [Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Husseini] and his gang."
Please remember that the so-called hero of "Palestinian independence," the pro-Nazi Grand Mufti of British Mandate Palestine, Haj Amin al-Husseini, never claimed that "Palestinians" are to be an independent people: all of his official declarations state that "Palestine must be recognized as a integral part of Syria."
The real "Palestinian State" is Jordan, and from a linguistic, ethnic, religious and cultural point of view there is nothing that can be identified as "typically Palestinian" and "non-Jordanian."
You asked me if I "know that the dictatorial Jordanian regime is more corrupt than what we now have in in 'Palestine.'" You further state that the "Palestinian Authority is the best of all Arab governments."
Frankly speaking, this makes me really wonder which world you are living in. I doubt that there is in today's world a more corrupt and criminal organization than the "Palestinian Authority." Arafat [Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Husseini ] and his mob travel around the world asking for money to "help the Palestinian people." They hide this money in Swiss and Kuwaiti banks, while Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") and Gaza go hungry.
Did you forget that the leader of the Palestinian Authority is a bloodthirsty and moneythirsty criminal who murdered thousands of innocent persons? Don't you know that thousands of Arabs who regarded themselves as friend of the Jews, or only dared to criticize "the boss" were mercilessly butchered? Are you really unaware of the fact that, after signing a declaration against terrorism, Arafatians are still working hand-in-hand with Hamas terrorists?
Look at recent newspapers: you will learn that Feisal Husseini, a representative of your alleged "best of all Arab governments," took part in Gaza in ceremonies celebrating an arch-terrorist. By signing the so-called Oslo Agreement, Israel made the worst of mistakes: it legitimized a gang of killers in the eyes of worldwide public opinion. I believe that the Israeli government should have dealt with Arafat [Abdul Rauf el-Codbi el-Husseini] in the same way that it dealt with Adolf Eichmann.
A Palestinian State will be a disaster for both Israelis and Arabs. The Israelis will lose their security and the Arabs will lose their freedom of speech under a criminal government. Since I love Israel, I ask God to protect it, and to help its leaders to understand that the only way to survive is to declare the Oslo Agreement null and void.
Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
“Ever since I wrote a column last October called "Myths of the Middle East," readers from around the world have asked me what is meant by the term "Palestinian." The simple answer is that it means whatever Yasser Arafat wants it to mean. Arafat himself was born in Egypt. He later moved to Jerusalem. Indeed, most of the Arabs living within the borders of Israel today have come from some other Arab country at some time in their life. For instance, just since the beginning of the Oslo Accords, more than 400,000 Arabs have entered the West Bank or Gaza. They have come from Jordan, Egypt and, indirectly, from every other Arab country you can name.
The Arabs have built 261 settlements in the West Bank since 1967. We don't hear much about those settlements. We hear instead about the number of Jewish settlements that have been created. We hear how destabilizing they are -- how provocative they are. Yet, by comparison, only 144 Jewish settlements have been built since 1967 -- including those surrounding Jerusalem, in the West Bank and in Gaza. The number of Arab settlers is based on statistics collected on the Allenby Bridge and other collection points between Israel and Jordan. It is based on the number of Arab day workers entering but not leaving Israel. The numbers were published by the Israel Central Bureau for Statistics during the administration of Binyamin Netanyahu and subsequently denied as "recording errors" by the Ehud Barak administration. Of course, the Barak administration had incentives for denying the high illegal immigration numbers, given its heavy political reliance on Arab voters. Is this a new phenomenon? Absolutely not. This has always been the case.
Arabs have been flocking to Israel ever since it was created and even before, coinciding with the wave of Jewish immigration into Palestine prior to 1948. Winston Churchill said in 1939: "So far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population."
And that raises a question I never hear anyone ask: If Israel's policies make life so intolerable for Arabs, why do they continue to flock to the Jewish state? This is an important question as we see the Palestinian debate now shift to the issue of "the right of return." According to the most liberal claims by Arab sources, some 600,000 to 700,000 Arabs left Israel in and around 1948 when the Jewish state was created. Most were not forced out by Jews, but rather left at the urging of Arab leaders who had declared war on Israel. Yet, there are far more Arabs living in these territories now than ever before. And many of those who left in 1948 and thereafter actually had roots in other Arab nations. This is why it is so difficult to define the term "Palestinian." It always has been. What does it mean? Who is a "Palestinian"? Is it someone who came to work in Palestine because of a bustling economy and job opportunities? Is it someone who lived in the region for two years? Five years? Ten years? Is it someone who once visited the area? Is it any Arab who wants to live in the area? Arabs outnumber Jews in the Middle East by a factor of about 100 to one. But how many of those hundreds of millions of Arabs are actually Palestinians? Not very many. The Arab population of Palestine was historically extremely low -- prior to the Jews' renewed interest in the area beginning in the early 1900s. For instance, a travel guide to Palestine and Syria, published in 1906 by Karl Baedeker, illustrates the fact that, even when the Islamic Ottoman Empire ruled the region, the Muslim population in the city was minimal. The book estimates the total population of the city at 60,000, of whom 7,000 were Muslims, 13,000 were Christians and 40,000 were Jews. "The number of Jews has greatly risen in the last few decades, in spite of the fact that they are forbidden to immigrate or to possess landed property," the book states. Even though the Jews were persecuted, still they came to Jerusalem and represented the overwhelming majority of the population as early as 1906.
Why was the Muslim population so low? After all, we're told that Jerusalem is the third holiest city in Islam. Surely, if this were a widely held belief in 1906, more of the devout would have settled there. The truth is that the Jewish presence in Jerusalem and throughout the Holy Land persisted throughout its bloody history, as is documented in Joan Peters' milestone history on the origins of the Arab-Jewish conflict in the region, "From Time Immemorial."
It is also true that the Arab population increased following Jewish immigration into the region. The Arabs came because of economic activity. And, believe it or not, they came because there was more freedom and more opportunity in Israel than in their own homelands. What is a Palestinian? If any Arabs have legitimate claims on property in Israel, it must be those who were illegally deprived of their land and homes after 1948. Arafat has no such claim. And few if any of those shooting, bombing and terrorizing Israelis today do either.
"What is a Palestinian?" by Joseph Farah April 25, 2001, WorldNetDaily.com . Farah is editor and chief executive officer of WorldNetDaily.com and writes a daily column.
He is also an Arab.
PALESTINE SINCE THE ROMANS.
HOA MANY ARABS FOUGHT WITH THE BRITISH ?
HOW MANY JEWS FOUGHT WITH THE BRITISH ?
THE BALFOUR DECLARATON 1917.
ZIONIST PROPOSALS 1919.
THE WEIZMANN - FAISAL AGREEMENT 1919.
THE FORSAKEN PROMISE.
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