Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.
Sun Jul 17, 2011 7:09 pm Lies, Distortions, Omissions and Half-Truths...
Lies, Distortions, Omissions, & Half-Truths…The Real Injustice Regarding Palestine
by Gerald A. Honigman
You've read or heard it numerous times before--one version or another of Mohammed Daraghmeh's AP report of July 15th, 2011. Some excerpts…
Negotiations with Israel on the terms of Palestinian statehood have been frozen since 2008. As an alternative, the Palestinians have decided to seek U.N. recognition of an independent "Palestine" in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem, the areas captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
Time after time, for almost a half a century, a similar story has been handed out to millions of readers all over the world: poor, stateless, victimized "Palestinians" still waiting for a share of justice to come their way.
Repeat the lie, distortion, and half-truth enough times--and depend on the ignorance (innocent or otherwise) of the masses--and they will become the unchallenged mantras regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict. And largely, they indeed have…
"Palestine" does not deserve to be born this coming September--if indeed ever at all. And the reason for this is the same as it's always been. It's predicated on a set of seminal lies.
To begin with, I'll let one of the Arabs' own chief spokesmen from a while back introduce the first point. Here's PLO executive committee member Zuheir Mohsen, on March 31, 1977, in the Dutch newspaper Trouw…
"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..."
As many of us have countered over the decades, the national competition going on in the area of the Mandate of Palestine after the breakup of the centuries old Ottoman Turkish Empire was between Jews and Arabs--not between Jews and "Palestinians." This is no small point…
Look, much of what follows here has been restated many times. But the truth is the truth, and the answers to the repeated anti-Israel slurs remain the same…so sorry, dear readers, for the necessary repetition.
To insinuate or claim that Arabs were simply ignored when the question of the division of former Turkish-ruled lands came to the fore is an outright lie. Whether the sinner is the above AP writer, the Arab League he speaks of, the United Nations, or an American President, the plain fact is that when the former empire of the Turks was split apart after World War I, much of the land in question was divided up into Mandates.
On April 25, 1920, the original Mandate of Palestine was given over to Great Britain. The latter had made promises to different peoples--Kurds, Arabs, Jews, and so forth--in return for support in the war. While these promises were potentially conflicting, given a true spirit of accommodation and compromise, there was room for all peoples to get a share of the justice pie. Unfortunately, this was not to be (since Arabs claimed it all), but the official guiding statement back then went something like this in diplomatic circles…
"Armenia for the Armenians, Arabia for the Arabians, Judea for the Jews, and Kurdistan for the Kurds. "
President Wilson's famous "Fourteen Points" endorsed this line of thinking a bit earlier as well.
As Zuheir Mohsen noted above, so-called "Palestinians" were simply Arabs by another name. Indeed, as the Minutes of the Permanent Mandates Commission and other official documentation and correspondence between world leaders pointed out, many if not most Arabs in the Mandate were indeed newcomers themselves.
To insinuate that somehow Arabs got cheated out of justice on this issue completely ignores the fact that--whether Arabs and their rah-rah squads want to hear this or not--in 1922 almost 80% of the Mandate's territory was indeed handed over to Arab nationalism when the Emirate of Transjordan was created. Emir Abdullah attributed this to "an act of Allah" in his memoirs, and the Brits' East Bank (of the Jordan River) representative, Sir Alec Kirkbride, wrote extensively about this in his own account, A Crackle of Thorns.
Thus, right from the get-go, the lions' share of the territory--which Arabs claim they received no justice in--was handed over to them.
Now, it's true that there are many divisions in the so-called "Arab World," and--as I like to point out--because of those divisions, Arabs have seen fit to stake out sole claims to everywhere that they conquered, colonized, settled, forcibly Arabized, etc. and so forth (continuing to this very day in places like the Sudan).
So, while the typical Arab during the Mandate period thought in "Greater Syria" or Pan Arab terms (certainly not "Palestinian"…the "Palestinians" back then were the Jews), there were local rivalries for control of the area.
Still, in terms of the bigger picture, the issue over Palestine involved a division of rights between Jews and Arabs--not between Jews and a thousand different brands of Arabs (of which "Palestinians" are just another)…unless a thousand different brands of Jews were also allowed to stake claims in the region as well.
As just one example, more Jews originated from (and pre-dated the Arab conquest of) Morocco than Arabs who got to have multiple states in the age of nationalism on the Arabian Peninsula. And while we're at it, instead of demanding just one state for thirty-five million truly stateless Kurds (question: do they get to have a special U.N. session this coming September as well?), those folks could easily demand several states if they played the same game Arabs have been engaged in for over six decades now.
To add insult to injury, after getting some 80% of the land--the original 1920 Mandate of Palestine--they and much of the rest of the world claim Arabs received nothing of, in 1947 Arabs were next offered about half of what was left after what would later emerge as Arab Jordan was created.
In other words, Arab nationalism--in its various stripes--would have wound up with 90% of Palestine.
Arabs rejected this because, in their eyes, Jews were entitled to nothing--despite the fact that about one of half of Israel's population consists of Jewish refugees from "Arab" lands.
While Jews don't insist on the luxury of making such multiple demands for their own many various stripes, Arabs demand that the world cater to their own. Yet whose fault is it if the world caves in?
By the way, in case you didn't know, the name "Palestine" was bestowed upon Judaea after the Jews' second revolt for freedom against the Roman Empire. Open the url to my book to see what an actual Iudea (Judea) Capta coin looks like--the ones issued earlier by Rome after the first revolt…
Hadrian got so upset--especially after Shimon bar Kochba's destruction of the entire 22nd Roman Legion--that when he finally squashed the 2nd revolt, he renamed the land Syria Palaestina, after the Jews' historic enemies, the Philistines. Not only were the latter not Arabs, they were not even Semites. They were the invading "Sea People" coming from the area around Crete who settled along the coast near present day Gaza.
Despite their fairy tales, Arabs, for the most part, only came into the picture some six centuries later when Muhammad's successor Caliphal armies burst out of the Arabian Peninsula waging jihad and conquering, slaughtering, enslaving, etc. and so forth countless millions of non-Arab peoples in the process--and again, going on to this very day.
There never ever was an Arab nation known as "Palestine."
When Arabs ruled the land, they did so as part of their own imperialist, colonialist policies. Damascus was the seat of their first empire, the Umayyad Caliphate, and Baghdad was the seat of their second empire, that of the Abbasid Caliphate.
Imperialism, colonialism, settlements, and so forth are only nasty in Arab eyes when they're not the ones indulging…Yet, ironically, their record on this issue is among the nastiest that exists. Consult with scores of millions of subjugated non-Arab peoples in the region if you have any doubts about this…Copts, black Africans in the Sudan and elsewhere, Kurds, Imazighen/"Berbers," Assyrians, native kilab yahud (Jew dogs), and so forth. My own book documents all of this extensively.
Look at that above excerpt again from the July 15th article.
Like he does elsewhere in that same piece, note what's missing. While Daraghmeh is quick to point out that Israel took those territories mentioned in the '67 war, his whole article is slanted to make one believe that those territories were "Palestinian" lands and that Israel was the aggressor in that war.
Sorry folks, this was simply not the case…but one would never know it in this and too many other accounts like it.
Israel fought a defensive war for its life in June 1967, and the territories it wound up with were repeatedly used by Arabs to launch aggression against it from. Borders have changed all over the world because of such things…including America's.
He dares mention east Jerusalem, when the reality is that Arab Transjordan seized it during its own attack on a re-born Israel in 1948 and proceeded to destroy dozens of ancient synagogues, taking other drastic measures to de-Judaize the area as well.
Unlike Arabs, who were allowed to become citizens of Israel (20% of the country--the freest Arabs anywhere in the region), no Jew was permitted to live in either Transjordan or, after it seized the area west of the Jordan River, Judea and Samaria, aka the "West Bank"…including east Jerusalem, the location of Judaism's holiest of sites. Jews had thousands of years of history and indeed owned land and lived in those "occupied territories" until their massacres by Arabs just a bit earlier. Would the world even know of places like Bethlehem, Hebron, Bethel, or Jerusalem without their Jewish connections? The reality is that, in international law, Israel has a stronger claim to these disputed lands than Jordan had.
And reality # 2 is that Arabs are not entitled to a second state in Palestine. They may want it, but they are not entitled to it.
Jews from Romania may not get along with Jews from Algeria…but that does not mean that they have to have different states for each. Now think about that a bit regarding what Arabs demand due to their own rivalries in the Arab state which already exists on most of "Palestine's" soil, Jordan.
Daraghmeh writes of Netanyahu's rejection of a full withdrawal from the "occupied territories" but, like most others, never mentions the fact that those territories had been illegally occupied by Jordan and Egypt after their invasion of Israel in 1948--and remained so until Arabs started the '67 war with a blockade of Israel. They were non-apportioned territories of the original 1920 Mandate--and all peoples were allowed to live there--not just Arabs. That Arabs disagree is shocking not. They don't believe anyone but themselves have any rights anywhere in the region which they simply call "purely Arab patrimony."
Not that folks like this Associated Press reporter and the Arab League he writes about care, but after the '67 war, all the architects of UNSC Resolution 242 agreed with Netanyahu…Israel was never to go back to the indefensible armistice lines of 1949, which made it a mere 9 to15 miles wide at its waist. It was to get secure and real political borders instead. Hence the need for a reasonable territorial compromise--a la Netanyahu--not the full withdrawal President Obama, the Arabs, and their oil-addicted sycophants demand.
Daraghmeh probably has to travel farther than the width of Israel just to get to work-- yet portrays Jews like Netanyahu as extremists, trying to deprive others of basic rights, simply because they demand a reasonable compromise on issues critical to their own survival.
Before ending this long analysis, just one more AP goodie…
Towards the end of the article, Daraghmeh mentions Hamas…"which is considered a terrorist organization by the West."
While he inadvertently admits in those remarks that, contrary to "the West," in the Arab World those who deliberately target school buses, disembowel pregnant mothers, blow up shopping malls, ice cream parlors, pizzerias, and restaurants, slit the throats of children, and create museums honoring such exploits (complete with fake Jewish body parts hanging from ceilings) are heroes engaging in legitimate military actions, this sentence also speaks volumes.
Israel certainly has its work cut out for it right now. But, that's nothing new…
I pray that G_d grant her leaders who will measure up to the tasks which lie ahead. One of those certainly includes demanding that the sole resurrected state that the Jews finally received must not be sacrificed for the sake of any 22nd one for Arabs.
And that's why yet another state for Arabs in "Palestine" should not be born.
Regardless of all the attempts at whitewashing--attempting to create (largely via bribery) Mahmoud Abbas Fatah good cops to contrast with Hamas bad cops, there is no doubt that the vast majority of Arabs, whom the world demands that Israel cave in to, want it dead. Poll after poll confirms this.
Now united, both "moderate" Fatah's Abbas and Hamas openly declare that they will never recognize Israel as the State of the Jews. They preach nothing but murderous Jew-hatred in Arabic to their own people (regardless of what some might say to a gullible West), and insist on inundating Israel--after a total withdrawal to the '49 armistice lines--with jihadi real and alleged refugees. Recall that there were more Jewish refugees from "Arab" lands who fled the war Arabs started in 1948 than vice-versa.
Given this dominant rejectionist, self-centered, and subjugating Arab mindset, with such folks, there can be no accommodation. And yet another state created for them is uncalled for.
There are scores of millions of truly stateless, more deserving non-Arab peoples in the region whose own rights must at last be addressed first--rights deprived of them mostly by those very same Arabs demanding the suicide of Israel.