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Emet m'Tsiyon

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingrich Told the Truth!!! Never a "palestinian people" in History

EXPANDED & REVISED 12-13-2011&1-18-2012

There never was a "palestinian people" in all history, and the present day sub-set of Arabs fashionably called "palestinians" have no special tie to the ancient Philistines, a people who disappeared with the Babylonian Conquest when the bulk of them were deported to Mesopotamia as were many or most of the Jews.

We know that before the 1960s nobody was talking about a "palestinian people" distinct from Arabs but somehow ethereally connected with them. Before the founding of the PLO in 1964, the Palestinian Arabs were typically Pan-Arabists. George Habash was the leader of an outfit called the Arab National Movement before the 1967 Six Day War. After that war, he founded the PFLP, the "popular front for the liberation of palestine." That is, even after founding of the PLO in 1964 many or most Palestinian Arabs saw themselves primarily as Arabs. So even after January 1, 1964, when the PLO was founded at a conclave in Cairo, the "palestinian people" continued to stress their Arab identity. Indeed the PLO charter stresses this pan-Arab identity of the "palestinian people" in its very first article.
Palestine Liberation Organization Covenant, Article One:
Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinian Arab people and an integral part of the great Arab homeland, and the people of Palestine is an integral part of the Arab nation.
Gingrich pointed out that the "palestinian people" was an "invented people" [see video of Gingrich's interview here; transcript here].
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 [commitments made from 1917 through 1922 by Britain, other major powers & the League of Nations]. . . remember 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, and were historically part of the Arab community. [links to video and transcript above]
Gingrich stressed that those later known as "palestinians" were part of the "Arab community" which is how they saw themselves and --I believe-- still see themselves. The PLO Covenant [or Charter] agrees with Gingrich. It is a clearly pan-Arab document, as we see above.

Further, many knowledgeable observers agree with Gingrich but I would like to address the issue by describing the political maneuvers of Haj Amin el-Husseini [also spelled al-Husayni]. Husseini was the chief Palestinian Arab leader from 1921 up to about 1950. In this capacity he was also a Nazi collaborator, as were other Arab nationalists. But Husseini was the most prominent Arab Nazi collaborator and a participant in the Holocaust of the Jews. A number of important books and articles have been published in recent years describing and detailing Arab-Nazi relations. But first a little on Husseini's career.

The British mandatory authorities in the Jewish National Home, to which Western powers gave the territorial name "Palestine," not used during rule by the Ottoman Empire, appointed Husseini to be Mufti [chief Muslim religious judge] of Jerusalem in 1921, also creating a new post for him near the end of that year at the newly created Supreme Muslim Council. He became notorious for promoting atrocities against Jews in the Land of Israel during the mandatory period [1920-1948]. He too was an Arab nationalist, a pan-Arabist, rather than a "palestinian nationalist" as he is so often mistakenly described today.

On this issue, I found some interesting documentation in a new book on Nazi-Arab collaboration. The authors write that while the Germans were winning the war --up to early 1943, the Battles of el-Alamein [1942] & Stalingrad [1943] -- Husseini and his comrade and rival, Rashid Ali al-Gailani [former prime minister of Iraq], vied for German recognition of one them as leader and absolute chief of "the Great Arab Empire" which they hoped that the Germans would help establish. They were both in Berlin for the bulk of the war. The authors write:
In June 1942, Al-Husseini brought up a new element. During a discussion with Ettel [a Nazi official], he claimed to be the president of a secret organization baptized "Arab Nation". This league had been founded in his time by Hussein, the sherif ofMecca [great-grandfather of Abdullah, present king of Jordan] and leader of the revolt against the Turks during the First World War. In their demand for independence, he explained, the Arabs attributed [to him, Husseini] the leadership role in this organization, which counted members and trusted persons in all of the Arab countries. Al-Gailani was also part of it and had only been prime minister of Iraq because of this recognition in fact of his [Husseini's] position. Al-Husseini stated to Ettel that he intended to have his role as leader recognized by the Germans. Thus he would fulfill his project of making himself uncontested leader of the Arab world.
[Martin Cuppers & Klaus-Michael Mallmann, Croissant fertile et croix gammee (Paris: Verdier 2009; trans. from German), p 131. The book has also been translated into English]
Now this "secret" organization may have been fictitious, a device for Husseini to advance his own ambitions. But those ambitions were not fictitious. The ambitions were seeing himself as the pan-Arab ruler. In this regard also see the record of his meeting with Hitler on November 28, 1941. Hitler actually fed or played up to Husseini's aspirations for pan-Arab leadership for himself. Hitler promised that when the Germans had conquered the Middle East, Husseini would be
. . . the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world. [here]
So the chief leader of the Palestinian Arabs was in fact motivated by pan-Arab ambitions, not by narrow "palestinian" aspirations. All this supports Gingrich's position.
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12-15-2011 Prof. Richard Landes, a historian at Boston University, defends Newt Gingrich's assertion that the "palestinians" are an "invented people" [ici in French]
12-15-2011 "palestinian Media Watch" [PMW] presents facts supporting Gingrich's position.
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Daniel Pipes has a useful account of the development of the "palestinian people" notion [here], also go to the two links in his article. I have some reservations about Pipes' account. He ascribes the origin of the "pal ppl" notion to the year 1920. I say on the contrary that the Arab leadership in Israel recognized the existence of a country called "palestine" in that year, mainly because the Greater Syria that they aspired to be part of was rendered impossible by the French overthrow of Faisal the Hashemite's Syrian kingdom in July 1920 and the French-British division of what the Arabs called bilad ash-Sham --a traditional Arab geographical concept-- called Greater Syria in English. Neither Syria nor palestine are indigenous Middle Eastern geographical terms but were used by ancient Greek writers. Syria included the Syria, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon of today. "Palestinian" as an adjective for southwestern Syria was used by Herodotos, although Judea was the usual Greek and Latin name for the country, after Alexander's conquests and probably before then. But the Arab leadership/elite in Israel did not recognize or consider itself as a "palestinian people" in 1920. Rather they called "palestine" an Arab country. Consider the slogan "Palestine for the Arabs" which the Arab leadership issued on a decorative stamp in the 1930s [see Kimmerling & Migdal, The Palestinians, in Hebrew edition if not in English ed.].
1-18-2012 Robert R Reilly wrote an excellent piece for Crisis magazine in which he not only confirms Gingrich's assertion but expands his scope to include the Muslim religious motives which keep Arabs from recognizing and making peace with Israel [here]. See our post here for Quranic background to Reilly's article. While several verses in the Quran agree with the Biblical account that the Land of Israel [called Holy Land in the Quran] was divinely assigned to the Jews, these verses and other humane and universalistic verses are abrogated either by other verses in the Quran or by later Muslim teachings, hadiths, the sunna, etc.

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  • Nice and fantastic post... thank you very much to do this and thanks for sharing this with us.

    By Anonymous pay per head, at 6:28 AM  

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