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Newt Is Right: The Palestinians Are an Invented People

December 14, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

Frontrunner-of-the-month GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich caused a stir at Saturday night’s Iowa debate when he affirmed his previous characterization of “an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and were historically part of the Arab community.”

For once, Gingrich is correct.

The label “Palestine” was used historically to refer to the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (and beyond); the term had no political import.  During the first half of the 20th century, “Palestinian” referred largely to Jews living in Palestine.  The Palestine Post, for example, was printed in Hebrew and English, and in 1950 was renamed The Jerusalem Post.

The British, who controlled Palestine after WWI, divided it in two in 1923, giving 75% of the land—the area that is now Jordan—to Palestinian Arabs, and the remaining 25% to Palestinian Jews.  But that wasn’t good enough to satisfy regional Arabic despots.

In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan to create side-by-side Jewish and Arab states out of the 25% that was left of the original Palestine, west of the Jordan River.  The Arab regimes surrounding Palestine rejected the deal; this resulted in the 1947-1948 Civil War and the creation of the Jewish state.

During the subsequent 1948 Arab-Israeli War, started against Israel one day after it declared statehood, Arab governments encouraged hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs to flee their homes in order to facilitate the onslaught of the invading armies of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen against Israelis.  These regimes promised to return to Palestinian Arabs the property they had left once Israel was defeated; however, Israel won, and refugees were forced to relocate outside of Palestine.

As Gingrich noted, plenty of Muslim countries could have given Palestinian Arab refugees a state, but none did.  The countries to which refugees scattered—chiefly Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan—suppressed any burgeoning sense of Palestinian identity to a far greater degree than Israel ever did.

Strangely, Palestinian Arab refugees did not protest after the Arab-Israeli war when Egypt and Jordan grabbed the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jerusalem—the same territories that the United Nations had set aside to serve as their home state.  To this day, Palestinian Arabs insist on being granted, not the territory set aside for them in 1923 in present-day Jordan, not the territory taken over in 1948 by Egypt and Jordan, but one tiny sliver of land in the Middle East that has served as a refuge for Jewish Holocaust survivors and a base for Jews to call their home state.

The “Palestinian people” was a fiction created post-WWII to facilitate the insertion of a fifth column inside Israel to demand endless, untenable land concessions and eventually encroach upon the entire Jewish state.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 1977, former Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Zuheir Mohsen admitted, “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.”

How much clearer can it get?  How much more nakedly could the founders of the Palestinian strategy reveal their modus operandi?

That the Palestinian people are invented is not in question.  The only question is whether they should be awarded their own state.  Anyone who cares about the security of Israel, the only free nation in the region, should answer with a resounding no.

Back to Saturday’s debate: Moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Gingrich if he thought his comments were dangerous.  Gingrich replied, “Is what I said factually correct?  Yes.  Is it historically true?  Yes…  [E]very day, rockets are fired into Israel…  Hamas does not admit the right of Israel to exist, and says publicly, ‘Not a single Jew will remain.’ The Palestinian Authority ambassador to India said last month… ‘Israel has no right to exist.’”

He continued: “The Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on a historically false story.  Somebody ought to have the courage to go all the way back to… the context in which Israel came into existence…  ‘Palestinian’ did not become a common term until after 1977.  This is a propaganda war in which our side refuses to engage.”

In response to Gingrich’s defense, hapless Mitt Romney floundered all over the place, claiming that, although he mostly agreed with Gingrich, it was a “mistake” to call the Palestinians an invented people (though they are), Gingrich had made it “more difficult for [Israelis] to sit down with the Palestinians” (though it’s already impossible), and Gingrich had decided to “throw incendiary words into a place which is a boiling pot” (though the situation is already hopeless).

Despite his ideological missteps, character flaws, and general unsuitability to be our nominee, I’m happy to give credit where credit is due, and in this case it goes squarely to Gingrich.  As he summed up, “It is helpful to have a president of the United States with the courage to tell the truth, [like] Ronald Reagan, who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire and who overruled his entire State Department in order to say, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’  Reagan believed the power of truth restated the world and reframed the world…  I will tell the truth, even if it’s at the risk of causing some confusion… with the timid.”

If Gingrich doesn’t get the nomination—and he doesn’t especially deserve to—he may at least serve the same function that other unlikely nominees have served on various issues from Santorum (Iran) to Cain (taxes) to Bachmann (ObamaCare) to Perry (Social Security): namely, to push Mitt Romney to the right.  Based on his comments on the Palestinians, Gingrich may even serve as a model for pressuring our nominee to speak the truth.

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They’re Giving Out Statehood Like Lollipops These Days!

September 21, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

Palestine

History has taught us that the farcical “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority breaks down every single time it is forcibly initiated by the West.  The routine disintegrates because it always unpeacefully proceeds in the following manner: Palestinians make demands, and Israel agrees to them; Palestinians smell blood in the water and up the stakes, and Israel necessarily balks; Palestinians attack Israel, and Israel counterattacks; the world condemns Israel for its “disproportionate” response, and Palestinians secretly celebrate Israel’s global denigration without shedding a tear over the deaths of its own civilians; and then the whole sordid cycle starts again.

The Palestinians’ latest gambit for feigning legitimacy in the eyes of free nations is for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to request a platform for better infiltrating, isolating, and attacking Israel—I mean, “statehood”—at the United Nations’ Security Council meeting this Friday.  This entreaty would require fulfilling President Obama’s outrageous demand earlier this year that Israel return to its undefendable, pre-1967 borders and cede east Jerusalem to the Palestinians.  A usefully idiotic coalition of Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and Lutheran priests in Jerusalem have boosted the PA’s bid.

The PA’s move on Friday will almost certainly be blocked by the United States, which, as a core member of the Security Council, has veto power over any such bid.  If its statehood attempt fails, Abbas has implied that the PA will present its case to the U.N. General Assembly, whose peanut gallery of Third World dictatorships will likely approve an upgrade for the PA from “entity” to non-voting, non-member observer state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the PA’s bid for statehood as unhelpful posturing and insisted Palestinians earn concessions by returning to the peace process, not trying to circumvent it and gain statehood so they can strong-arm Israel via the U.N.

Palestinian leaders have threatened that if they don’t succeed at gaining statehood, there may be unpleasant consequences, i.e. more protests, violence, and attacks on Israel.

History has also taught us that—in addition to the peace process always failing—whenever Israel capitulates to the PA, Palestinians’ demands only escalate to unreasonable levels, and mayhem ensues over Israel’s failure to meet their impossible conditions.  In contrast, whenever Israel firmly rejects the PA’s ultimatums and warns that military force will be used against reprisal attacks, Palestinians back down.

In other words, people respond to threats.  Groups, organizations, and nations respond to threats.  Even animals are smart enough to respond to threats.  The Palestinians are no different.  If Israel resolutely rebuffs their ridiculous demands and issues threats against retaliation, the PA will surely back down as well.

Why is the PA’s bid for statehood, and the whole peace process, ridiculous?  Because only good-faith parties respond in a reasonable manner to the give-and-take process of negotiations, in which each party’s ongoing actions build up its reputation as either a credible partner or a backstabber.  The Palestinians always fail to live up to their end of the deal, yet keep getting a free pass to continue as an equal partner in the process.

Two parties cannot negotiate if one refuses to recognize the other’s right to exist, existence being an obvious precondition for negotiation.  How can the PA credibly claim to be negotiating with an entity it refuses to acknowledge as legitimate and has repeatedly stated it wishes to wipe off the map?  How can the PA purport to be acting in good faith when it maintains close ties with anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas—whose charter calls for the expulsion of all Jews from Palestine—and refuses to denounce this organization’s tactics or even label it a terrorist group?

As Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman noted, Israel has previously “shown great generosity towards the Palestinians, but it did not bring us peace…  It’s been 18 years since the Oslo Accords and we’ve tried everything…  [Ehud] Barak, in Camp David, agreed to all [Palestinian] demands.  What did we get in return?  Another intifada and more bloodshed.”

The U.S. should forcefully reject the PA’s bid, vigorously protest its request for an upgrade to non-member status, and permanently withdraw the half a billion dollars in annual aid it gives to the Palestinians.  The latter measure, in addition to preventing funds from being diverted to a political entity with a history of sponsoring terror, will signal to the PA that it has no business trying to morph into a state of semi-authenticity under the cover of the scores of reprehensible prison states unconscionably given legitimacy at the despicable U.N.

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