Monday, 2 November 2009

Busting A Middle East Myth

Next time you hear someone bashing Israel for 'stealing' the 'homeland' of the 'ancient Palestinian people', you might want to share the following declarations with them. They reveal that, far from desiring Palestine as an independent, separate home for anyone, Arabs and Muslims used to insist that the region was nothing more than part of Syria.

Though much of the world chooses to ignore it, the fact remains that Palestine was never an exclusively Arab region. No independent Arab nor 'palestinian' state ever existed in the region.

Indeed, when the distinguished Arab-American historian, Princeton University Prof. Philip Hitti, testified against partition before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, he said:

“There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.”

And this is the vital point. Before partition, Palestinian Arabs did not view themselves as having a separate identity. When the First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, the following resolution was adopted:

We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds.

In 1937, a local Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, told the Peel Commission, which ultimately suggested the partition of Palestine:

“There is no such country as Palestine! ‘Palestine’ is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria.'

The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations submitted a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947 that said, Palestine was part of the Province of Syria and that, politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity.

A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, told the Security Council:

“It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria.”

The reality is, that Palestinian Arab nationalism is largely a post-World War I phenomenon that did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six-Day War and Israel’s capture of the West Bank.

The world can cling to the lie about Israel 'displacing palestinians' from their 'homeland' all it likes. It doesn't make it true.

If you head over to Elder Of Ziyon, you'll find a great post on the same topic - including a newspaper archive that is definitely worth checking out. Just click HERE!