The Invention of Palestine


by Michael Freund

What a remarkable breath of fresh air.

For the first time in recent memory, a prominent American politician has had the courage to speak some unvarnished truths about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

In video footage released on December 9, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told the Jewish Channel, a cable TV network, that the Palestinians are an “invented people.”

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state – it was part of the Ottoman Empire,” the former speaker of the House of Representatives said.

“I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community,” Gingrich declared.

Whatever one might think of Gingrich’s stance on various other political matters, in this case there can be no disputing the historicity of his remarks.

Palestine and the Palestinians are in fact a modern invention, a fiction created with the aim of dismantling Israel and undermining its claim to its ancient patrimony.

Indeed, prior to the 1947 UN partition plan, even Palestinian Arab leaders openly affirmed this to be the case.

Take, for example, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, who testified in 1937 before the Peel Commission, which was established by the British government to investigate the outbreak of Arab violence in British-ruled Palestine. Abdul-Hadi told the commission, that, “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.”

A decade later, in May 1947, the representative of the Arab Higher Committee told the UN General Assembly much the same.

Palestinian nationalism only gained steam in subsequent decades, as the Arab states found it to be a useful proxy tool in their ongoing war against the Jewish state. They cultivated a Palestinian national consciousness and identity in order to create a narrative of Arab victimhood and Israeli aggression, which suited their political agenda.

Thanks to the left and the media, the Palestinians’ claims to the Land of Israel became amplified and even accepted by a large percentage of people around the world, many if not most of whom do not know the first thing about the history of the Middle East. Sadly, even many Jews are no longer cognizant of or familiar with the historical record and have come to accept Palestinian assertions as true.

But as Gingrich correctly pointed out, there has never in all of history been a Palestinian state.

His comments echoed similar remarks made by the late Golda Meir. In an interview with the Sunday Times on June 15, 1969, Meir said, “There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state?”

Furthermore, she noted, “It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”

To our ears, such assertions may sound jarring because they are so at odds with what has come to be accepted as the conventional wisdom. But that is merely because we have succumbed to decades of pro-Palestinian propaganda and indoctrination.

Needless to say, the reaction to Gingrich’s remarks by the Palestinians and their supporters was predictably swift and vitriolic. The PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi accused Gingrich of “ignorance and racism,” while Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called his assertions “despicable” and “the lowest point of thinking anyone can reach.”

Neither, of course, dared to challenge Gingrich with evidence, presumably because they have none in their favor. They know he is on to something, and so they resort to name-calling and venom in an effort to delegitimize the opinions he expressed.

But we cannot allow them to succeed. The brouhaha surrounding Gingrich’s statements provides an important opportunity for pro-Israel activists to right the historical record and begin to undercut decades of successful Palestinian propagandizing.

We must seize on this opening to remind people of what many have forgotten: Palestine is a myth with no basis in historical reality. Last Saturday night, during a Republican presidential debate, Gingrich was asked about his comments regarding the Palestinians. Refusing to back down, he reiterated that what he said had been factually correct, and added that, “Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth.”

Here’s hoping others will follow in his wake.

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Mr. Cohen
3 years 9 months ago

From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine
by Joan Peters, has been attacked by liars and hypocrites, including Arabs,
Muslims and their traitorous Jewish Liberal allies, but it has not been debunked.
The enemies of Israel are afraid of that book because it tells the truth,
so they do everything they can to slander it.

I also recommend Churchill and the Jews by Martin Gilbert
for all true pro-Israel activists.
For those who do not have time to read the book, read these quotes instead:

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 5, page 46:
Negotiations with the Arab leaders beyond Palestine were being carried out
by T. E. Lawrence, who informed [Winston] Churchill on 17 January [1921]
that he had concluded an agreement with Hussein’s* eldest son, Emir Feisal,
under which, in return for Arab sovereignty in Baghdad, Amman and Damascus,
Feisal “agreed to abandon all claims of his father to [West] Palestine**.”
* Sherif Hussein of Mecca
** West Palestine means Israel and East Palestine means Jordan.

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 8, page 91:
This comment from Winston Churchill appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle
dated 1929 September 12, one day after he said it:

“The Jews have developed the country, grown orchards and grain fields
out of the desert, built schools and great buildings, constructed irrigation
projects and water power houses and have made Palestine a much better place
in which to live than it was before they came a few years ago.
The Arabs are much better off now than before the Jews came,
and it will be a short time only before they realize it.”

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 8, page 92:
The 1929 September 13 edition of the New York Times printed an article
which quoted Winston Churchill saying:

“To Jewish enterprise, the Arab owes nearly everything he has.
Fanaticism and a sort of envy have driven the Arab to violence
and for the present the problem is one of proper policing
until harmony has been restored.”

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 8, page 92:
As for the Arabs of Palestine, [Winston] Churchill wrote
[in year 1929], they had been brought, as a result of the
Jewish presence there:
“Nothing but good gifts, more wealth, more trade, more civilization,
new sources of revenue, more employment, a higher rate of wages,
larger cultivated areas, a better water supply; in a word,
the fruits of reason and modern science.”

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 11, page 131:
[Winston] Churchill was emphatic that the partition [of Palestine]
would be a mistake.
The small Jewish State envisioned in the Partition plan, he argued [in 1937]:

“Can be ravished by its enemies, defeated in war,
annexed to other powers or suffer any of the other incidents
that are common to small States in the fortunes and chances of war.”

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 10, page 115:
[Winston] Churchill did not accept that the Jews were a foreign race
[to the Holy Land]. He said [in 1937] it was the Arabs who had
been the outsiders, the conquerors.

Churchill and the Jews chapter 10, page 116:
Winston Churchill said this in 1937:

“When the Mohammedan upset occurred in world history, and the great hordes
of Islam swept over these places, they broke it [Palestine] all up,
smashed it all up.
You have seen the terraces on the hills which used to be cultivated,
which under Arab rule have remained a desert.”

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 13, page 154:
“One result of this particular appeasement policy [towards the Arabs and Muslims]
was an upsurge in official British pressure against Jewish refugees
from Germany and Austria who were trying to reach Palestine without
Palestine certificates, the essential documentation without which
they would not be allowed to enter.
With Lord Halifax’s approval, British diplomatic pressure was put
on five governments, those of Greece, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Bulgaria
and Romania, not to allow illegal immigrants to transit their
countries en route for Palestine.”

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 14, page 157:
At the same time [in year 1939], at least 500 Arabs had been killed
by their fellow Arabs because they had advocated good relations
with the Jews, and were unwilling to oppose continued Jewish immigration.

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 15, page 168:
After stressing, as he [Winston Churchill in year 1940] had done
several times before in the House of Commons; that the Jewish settlers
had made “tremendous strides in recent years, while there was no prospect
that the Arabs would ever abandon their primitive methods of cultivation.”
Churchill told his War Cabinet colleagues that it was a “striking fact”
that the Arab population had shown the largest increase in those areas
where land had been purchased by Jews.

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 17, page 194:
Determined to keep Jews from Palestine, on 12 May [1942] Haj Amin
[al Husseini, the Mufti* of Jerusalem] asked Hitler to press the
Bulgarian government not to allow the [Jewish] children to leave.
His intervention was effective. On 27 May [1942], Clifford Norton
reported from Berne that the Bulgarian government
“have now decided, under German pressure,” to close the Bulgarian
Turkish frontier “to all Jews.”
* NOTE: A mufti is an Islamic scholar and interpreter of Islamic religious laws.

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 18, page 205:
Speaking of the Arabs [in year 1944], Churchill remarked that:
They [the Arabs] had done very little [to help fight Nazi Germany],
and in some instances had made things difficult for us.

Churchill and the Jews, chapter 26, page 292:
Churchill said [in year 1955]:
“You ought to let the Jews have Jerusalem; it is they who made it famous.”

Charlie Hall
3 years 9 months ago

“From Time Immemorial:The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict
over Palestine (chapter 2, page 14) by Joan Peters, 1984, JKAP Publications”

We also do ourselves no good by citing Peters’ thoroughly debunked work.

Charlie Hall
3 years 9 months ago

“They disdain the rule of law in their daily lives, but we still expect our legal arguments to be heard?”

Israel’s government disdains the rule of International law with its continuing willful violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Of course its arguments will not be heard!

Charlie Hall
3 years 9 months ago

“Palestine was divided into two parts.
The part east of the Jordan River (78%) for Arabs.
The part west of the Jordan River (22%) for Jews.
The Palestinian Arabs already have a state; it is called Jordan.”

Jordan is the one Arab state that really IS at peace with Israel and you want to destabilize it? STOO-PID!

In addition, your history isn’t even correct. Trans-Jordan was never administratively part of the Palestine Mandate. The Hashemites marched an army in and took it before the Mandate took effect; Trans-Jordan then became a separate Mandate. Furthermore, the Palestine Mandate itself does NOT say that Palestine is to be the Jewish National Home, it says that the Jewish National Home is to be “in” Palestine.

We rightfully complain about Arab distortions of history. The correct response is to tell the truth, not to respond with our own distortions, no matter how self-righteous they make us feel.

Isaac Betech
3 years 9 months ago

Mr. Cohen
Could you please provide any source of the Islamic law mentioned?