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Palestinians: What is Fact, What is Fiction

Palestinians: What is Fact, What is Fiction

I wanted to take an factual look at the Palestinians, their claim of having lived in the area for centuries along with the claim that they should be the righteous inheritors of the Ottoman land that was once part of Syria. The very land the British upon seizing renamed Palestine. Do the historical documents and archaeological finds back up their claims, or is this a narrative?

Right from the start, there was a huge problem, almost like a black hole of nothingness, there is simply nothing prior to 1900 regarding a subgroup of Arabs living in the land with their own distinct culture and customs. I am not saying there is a small quantity, there is not one historical mention to be found in any Islamic, Ottoman or Western-based historical references.

And it goes deeper than this, when you look at the census taken, not one prior to 1900 mentions a Palestinian, there is not one documented eyewitness account concerning them, in fact there is a total opposite that is shown, and to this date, and this is important, there has never been one Archaeological find found that supports the narrative of a Palestinian as a subgroup of Arabs.

Lack of historical evidence.

When I have asked for reasons of a lack of any historical mention of the Palestinians, all I got in return was claims of Islamophobia, trying to rewrite their history or outright attacks, but when you press they themselves can’t give you any historical data. Went to Wikipedia, even though this many times has erroneous data in it, you can at least start with the references and go back, yet there say this about the origins of the Palestinians:

The timing and causes behind the emergence of a distinctively Palestinian national consciousness among the Arabs of Palestine are matters of scholarly disagreement. Some argue that it can be traced as far back as the 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine (or even as early as the 17th century), while others argue that it did not emerge until after the Mandatory Palestine period. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinians#Palestinian_history_and_nationalism) 

Turns out even the Arabs themselves can’t agree on the historical data, further, if you look at what many of the leaders have said, you see even the Palestinians themselves are giving mixed claims:

Professor Azmi Bishara-Professor Azmi Bishara(Arabic: عزمي بشارة)– a “Palestinian Arab”
“There is no “Palestinian nation”, The word “Palestine” itself is a colonial invention used by the Romans in order to erase the Jewish identity of Judea and Israel!

What we basically have in dealing with the historical aspects of a Palestinian a two-pronged attack, to first delegitimize any Jewish or Hebrew claim to the land, then to create a historical account that will aid in this effort, you have to figure out how to separate the two. 

Many times you find the two are so intertwined that it is near impossible. But to claim the Jews today have no historical connection to the Jews of old ignores the fact that Geneticist in studying ancient remains have extracted DNA from those remains from prior to the fall of Judea to the Romans and the scattering them of most of the Jewish inhabitants. [1]

Arch of Titan

Roman’s carrying away Items from Jerusalem

Further, there are historical artifacts from the Arch of Titus, to the coins he printed that bear this fact in mind, to the Stella’s that mention the Hebrews of old. This includes the wealth of historical writings outsides of the Torah or Bible, the historians of old, the census from the Romans, the graveside outside of Jerusalem that has Jews of old and new buried there, it dates back over 3,000 years and has been used continuously since then.

There has been an unbroken Jewish presence in the land for over 3,000 years, so to claim they were not there, with the depth of historical writings, first-hand accounts, archaeological claims is just silly, the attack is coming against this evidence is to try to lessen its importance, if you do then you can free up the claims of the Palestinians, the lack of historical proof will not be important. 

What the Arabs say:

So who are the Palestinians? I think we should first hear from them themselves. In an interview during a conflict in Gaza on Egyptian TV  they were interviewing a minister of Hamas, he said the Palestinians were Egyptians, Syrians, and Saudi’s:

This is not a lone voice, if it was I would question this, but if you look at what many other Arabs have said, you see this as well:

Walid Shoebatt, who was a former PLO terrorist, acknowledged the lie he had been fighting for when he asked, “Why is it that on June 4th, 1967, I went to bed as a Jordanian and woke up as a Palestinian? We considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Then, all of a sudden, we were Palestinians.”

-Zuheir Mohsen (Arabic: زهير محسن)- top PLO member responsible for Damur massacre.Zuheir Mohsen
“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. For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva, and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”

This was admitted by Professor Philip Hitti, an Arab historian who declared, “There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not.” This is further confirmed by the Saudi Arabia Representative at the United Nations. “It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria.”

Syrian dictator Hafez Assad (father of the present dictator) told PLO leader Yasser Arafat, “You do Hafez Assadnot represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian people, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria.”
(And there was a good reason Assad said this, prior to the Treaty of Serves when the Ottomans surrendered their sovereignty over their Middle East Holdings to the League of Nations, what today is Israel and the West Bank, it was part of the Ottoman Syrian territory).

What about the Census:

Jewish woman from what today is Israel in the 1800'sAs was stated earlier, there is not a historical mention of a “Palestinian” to be found in historical source, be it either Ottoman, Islamic, or Western sourced, that is unless you are speaking of the Jews (i.e. – in 1750 Immanuel Kant referred to the Jews as: “Palestinians living among us”), in fact if you had gone up to any Arab prior to 1960 and called them a Palestinian you may have gotten attacked, you would have insulted them and called them a Jew. In the 1968 revised Palestinian charter they even refer to Jews as Palestinians:

Article 6:

The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians.

So what about the census was taken before? Well the first problem comes in that the Ottoman Empire had a Fatwa against taking census, none were taken prior to the 1800’s, and even the ones they took after, they were full of double counts where people were counted across borders more then once, they simply were not proficient in doing this when they first started, and it is understandable, it was their first try at it.

And the Census we see in Britannia, and other sites? Well turns out they are educated guesses, (if they aren’t, then please show the actual census), the historians have taken the world of the Arabs there that they have been there for thousands of years, so they have backwards projected the growth taking in normal population growths, but what if this is based on false data? Were they there all this time, or were they migrants?

There was one census taken in 1697, the Catholic Church wanted a census taken, they were taking one for most of Europe, so they asked permission to conduct one is what they then called the Holy land, today Israel, Judea, Samaria (Jordan changed the name of Judea and Samaria in 1948 to the West Bank, after they invaded and illegally occupied the area), the census was taken with Ottoman oversight. The arguments that they were not accurate hold no water, if that was the case the Ottomans would have rejected the census, instead, they lifted the ban on their fatwa due to they realized they had no clue of the demographics of their territories. Here is that census:

“Palaestina ex monumentis veteribus illustrata” – a detailed geographical survey of Palestine in 1696 written in Latin by Adriaan Reland published by Willem Broedelet, Utrecht, in 1714.
Residents of the REGION mainly concentrated in cities: Jerusalem, Acre, Safed, Jaffa, Tiberius, and Gaza.
In most cities, the majority of residents are Christians, Jews and others, very few Muslims who generally are Bedouin, who came to serve as Seasonal workers in agriculture or building.

Nablus: 120 Muslims, 70 Samaritans
Nazareth: 700 people – all Christians
Umm al-Fahm: 50 people-10 families, ALL Christian
Gaza: 550 people- 300 Jews,250 Christian(Jews engaged in agriculture Christians deal with the trading and transporting the products)
Tiberius: 300 residents, all Jews.
Safed: about 200 inhabitants, all Jews
Jerusalem: 5000 people, most of them (3,500) Jews, the rest- Christian (1000), Muslim (500)

What we see is a very sparsely populated area, if this s the case why we were told there were hundreds of thousands of Arabs living in the land? We are shown from backward projections as proof, but this brings up the question, “If there were, where are the archaeological finds, the grave-sites, the historical documentation? Seems all of this is missing?” What is more, there are documented eyewitness accounts of people that visited the land, with hundreds of thousands of people living in the land, I am sure they would have seen them, right? Well not so fast, let’s look at these eyewitness accounts:

Eye Witness Accounts:

“There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction… One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee… Nazareth is forlorn… Jericho lies a moldering ruin… Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation… untenanted by any living creature.”
– Mark Twain, “The Innocents Abroad”, 1867 –

Jerusalem 1800's, outside the walls“There are many proofs, such as ancient ruins, broken aqueducts, and remains of old roads, which show that it has not always been so desolate as it seems now. In the portion of the plain between Mount Carmel and Jaffa, one sees but rarely a village or other sights of human life. There some rude mills here which are turned by the stream. A ride of half an hour more brought us to the ruins …”
– B. W. Johnson, in “Young Folks in Bible Lands”: Chapter IV, 1892 –

“The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil”.

– British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s –

“Palestine is a ruined and desolate land”
– Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian –

“The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population”.
– James Finn, British Consul in 1857 –

In 1844, William Thackeray writes about the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem: “Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride.”

“In Judea, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that for miles and miles there was no appearance of life or habitation.”
-Penrhyn Stanley, British cartographer, 1881-

Dome of Rock -1875

In 1866, W.M. Thomson writes: “How melancholy is this utter desolation. Not a house, not a trace of inhabitants, not even shepherds, to relieve the dull monotony … Much of the country through which we have been rambling for a week appears never to have been inhabited or even cultivated, and there are other parts, you say, still more barren.”

“Outside the city of Jerusalem, we saw no living object, heard no living sound … a complete eternal silence reigns in the town, in the highways, in the country.”

-Alphonse de Lamartine, travel book, 1835-

In 1874, Reverend Samuel Manning wrote: “But where were the inhabitants? This fertile plain, which might support an immense population, is almost a solitude…. Day by day we were to learn afresh the lesson now forced upon us, that the denunciations of ancient prophecy have been fulfilled to the very letter — “the land is left void and desolate and without inhabitants.” (Jeremiah, ch.44 v.22)

So Where Did The Palestinians Come From:

We have already shown that there is no Historical Documentation prior to 1900 that mentions a “Palestinian”, there is no Census prior to 1900 that even names them, in fact, the numbers they give and the ones shown, they are not complementing each other.

Further, there has to date been not one archaeological find, in an area that is the richest in finds in the world; to have nothing, any archaeologist will tell you is impossible (could be why the Museum of Palestinian History in Gaza still sits empty with historical artifacts), we have from eyewitness accounts, no one saw them, so where did they come from?

Turns out the British asked the same question when they sent a royal naval commission over to look at the demographics, they knew if there was another war, this would be a strategic area to seize so as to cut off access to the rest of the Middle East, after studying the area, they sent back to England their findings, this is the opening sentence of that finding:

“The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880’s, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained “The Holy Land” in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants – both Jewish and Arab.
– The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 –

But there was more, you had massive Arab migration to the land as the British had stated in the 1800’s, that would explain why no one saw them, wrote about them, and there is no record of them, it would be the fact that they weren’t there.

When the Mandate was put in place the Arabs to prevent the Jews from controlling the land started to pay their citizens, encouraged others with the employment needs in what then was the British Mandate of Palestine to migrate, that is why there was such a mass of migrants in the early 1900’s, in fact, if you look at what the British were documenting on this you see the same thing stated by them:

In 1939, British PM, Winston Churchill, stated: “The Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied till their population has increased more than even all world Jewry could lift up the Jewish population.

In 1934, the Governor of the Syrian district of Hauran admitted that within just a few months, more than 30,000 Arabs left Hauran for Palestine.The British governor of the Sinai (1922-1936) reported in the Palestine Royal Commission Report that illegal immigration to Palestine was not only occurring from Sinai, but also from Transjordan and Syria.

The 1844 Ottoman Census shows a Jewish majority living in Jerusalem, Hebron, S’fat, and Gaza City. To claim that the Jews were not there prior to Israel’s establishment is simply false.

So how then did the split in land happen? Where did the claim to Samaria and Judea or the West Bank come in?

Turns out in the war of independence in 1948 the Jordanian army invaded the land, had forced all Jews out where they conquered, then moved in hundreds of thousands of Arabs, these later became the Palestinians.

There was also the fact that no quarter was given, Arab League’s Secretary-General Azzam Pasha said: “I personally wish that the Jews do drive us to this war, as this will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades”[2]   

Thus you had a foe that while inferior in numbers, where many had just experienced a genocidal act against them was willing to fight to the death to prevent this from happening to their families.  It was in this environment that the Jews fought the Arabs to a standstill, it was after this that the Jordanian government under leadership of Abdullah I bin al-Hussein, the royal family placed in leadership of Jordan by the British from Saudi Arabia, seized the West Bank, then in 1950 proceeded to annex it, Jordan’s annexation was widely regarded as illegal and void by the Arab League and others. Elihu Lauterpacht described it as a move that “entirely lacked legal justification [3]The annexation formed part of Jordan’s “Greater Syria Plan” expansionist policy,[4] and in response, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria joined Egypt in demanding Jordan’s expulsion from the Arab League.[5][6] A motion to expel Jordan from the League was prevented by the dissenting votes of Yemen and Iraq.

What is most interesting about this, is while Egypt never tried to annex Gaza, Jordan annex the then-named West Bank (due to it being West of the Jordan River), during the whole time Egypt and Jordan controlled the land neither made any move to push for independence, in fact, Jordan gave citizenship to the people in their holdings. And that Palestinian Authorities reaction to this?

How about we let them tell you about their first charter, the 1964 Palestinian Charter article 24:

Article 24. This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields. 

What you had was in 1964 no claim for the West Bank, then in 1968, the Palestinian Authority, as if by Magic found their heritage included now the West Bank and Gaza, so what happened between 1964 and 1968 to cause this change of mind over historical right? Turns out the 6 Day War, the one that Israel expelled the Jordanians after they attacked her, and they after destroying the Egyptian Airforce in a surprise attack when the IDF destroyed their planes on the grounded, loaded to attack Israel shortly, they then set about destroying Syrian Air Force, the Jordanians were asked to stay out, they attacked after the Egyptians lied to them.

In the end they got nothing, have rejected every bid for peace, they have demanded it all, you hear from them in marches, “Free, Free Palestine from the River to the Sea, they have no intent to ever live at peace, it simply is not the Arab way, if you are now living on land the Arabs considered conquered by Arabs as holy land, they will never cease to try to take it back. They may sit back and lick their wounds, but give up, not going to happen. So what is the intent of the Palestinians and why were they created, why not let them tell us:

Zuhair Muhsin, a military commander of the PLO and member of the PLO Executive Council, clearly said, “There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity… yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel.”

Arafat explained it very well what their long-term goal was, he actually said this on Jordanian radio the very night after he had signed the Oslo 2 peace accords,

“Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”
Yasser Arafat 1993.

 

The Palestinian Claim to Jerusalem

Did Israel Steal the Ancestral Home of the Palestinians? Part 1

 

 

  1. Likhovski, Assaf (2006). Law and identity in mandate Palestine. The University of North Carolina Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-8078-3017-8.
  2. “Azzam’s Genocidal Threat”The Middle East Quarterly. Fall 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  3. Gerson, Allan (1978-01-01). Israel, the West Bank, and International Law. Psychology Press. ISBN 9780714630915.
  4. Naseer Hasan Aruri (1972). Jordan: a study in political development (1921-1965). Springer. p. 90. ISBN 978-90-247-1217-5. Retrieved 22 December 2010For Abdullah, the annexation of Palestine was the first step in the implementation of his Greater Syria Plan. His expansionist policy placed him at odds with Egypt and Saudi Arabic. Syria and Lebanon, which would be included in the Plan were uneasy. The annexation of Palestine was, therefore, condemned by the Arab League’s Political Committee on May 15, 1950.
  5. American Jewish Committee; Jewish Publication Society of America (1951). American Jewish year book. American Jewish Committee. pp. 405–06. Retrieved 21 December 2010On April 13, 1950, the council of the League resolved that Jordan’s annexation of Arab Palestine was illegal, and at a meeting of the League’s political committee on May 15, 1950, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Syria joined Egypt in demanding Jordan’s expulsion from the Arab League.
  6.  Council for Middle Eastern Affairs (1950). Middle Eastern affairs. Council for Middle Eastern Affairs. p. 206. Retrieved 21 December 2010May 12: Jordan’s Foreign Minister walks out of the Political Committee during the discussion of Jordan’s annexation of Arab Palestine. May 15: The Political Committee agrees that Jordan’s annexation of Arab Palestine was illegal and violated the Arab League resolution of Apr. 12, 1948. A meeting is called for June 12 to decide whether to expel Jordan or take punitive action against her.
  7. Harkaby, Y, The Palestinian Covenant and Its Meaning. London: Vallentine, Mitchell, 1979.

 

About The Author

Timothy Benton

Author has studied Middle East History for the last 35 years, am a lifetime student of history. Has an interest in sports, tech, history and political events. Works as a Republican political commentator who looks at events from a conservative's perspective.

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