Sunday, May 19, 2013

Myth vs. Fact


Taken from: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/myths3/MFroots.html#2 

MYTH
“Palestine was always an Arab country.”
FACT
The term “Palestine” is believed to be derived from the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the 12th Century B.C.E., settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what are now Israel and the Gaza Strip. In the second century C.E., after crushing the last Jewish revolt, the Romans first applied the name Palaestina to Judea (the southern portion of what is now called the West Bank) in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. The Arabic word Filastin is derived from this Latin name.

The Hebrews entered the Land of Israel about 1300 B.C.E., living under a tribal confederation until being united under the first monarch, King Saul. The second king, David, established Jerusalem as the capital around 1000 B.C.E. David’s son, Solomon, built the Temple soon thereafter and consolidated the military, administrative and religious functions of the kingdom. The nation was divided under Solomon’s son, with the northern kingdom (Israel) lasting until 722 B.C.E., when the Assyrians destroyed it, and the southern kingdom (Judah) surviving until the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.E. The Jewish people enjoyed brief periods of sovereignty afterward until most Jews were finally driven from their homeland in 135 C.E.
Jewish independence in the Land of Israel lasted for more than 400 years. This is much longer than Americans have enjoyed independence in what has become known as the United States. In fact, if not for foreign conquerors, Israel would be more than 3,000 years old today.
Palestine was never an exclusively Arab country, although Arabic gradually became the language of most of the population after the Muslim invasions of the seventh century. No independent Arab or Palestinian state ever existed in Palestine. 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.”
Prior to 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 echoed this view in a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947, which said Palestine was part of the Province of Syria and the Arabs of Palestine did not comprise 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.”
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.


Taken from: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/mandate3.html

The British Mandate


The Mandate system was instituted by the League of Nations in the early 20th century to administer non-self-governing territories. The mandatory power, appointed by an international body, was to consider the mandated territory a temporary trust and to see to the well-being and advancement of its population.

In July 1922, the League of Nations entrusted Great Britain with the Mandate for Palestine. Recognizing "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine," Great Britain was called upon to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine-Eretz Israel (Land of Israel). Shortly afterwards, in September 1922, the League of Nations and Great Britain decided that the provisions for setting up a Jewish national home would not apply to the area east of the Jordan River, which constituted three-fourths of the territory included in the Mandate and which eventually became the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

And so it came to pass that the British turned the matter over to the UN which decided to end the British Mandate over what was left of “Palestine” (after the creation of the country of Jordan) and to divide the remaining land among the Arabs and Jews, based on the demographic reality within the country. (Areas with a majority of Jewish population would go to the Jews while areas with an Arab majority would go to the Arabs).  

The proposal called for the Jews to get:

  • a narrow strip of land along the Mediterranean coast, including Tel Aviv and Haifa
  • a piece of land surrounding the Kineret (Sea of Galilee), including the Golan Heights
  • a large piece in the south, which was the uninhabitable Negev Desert

The Arabs were to get:

  •  the Gaza Strip
  • a chunk of the north, including the city of Tzfat (Safed) and western Galilee
  • the entire central mountain region of Judea and Samaria (today known as the West Bank) till the River Jerusalem was to be under international control.
On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted for this partition plan . Of those voting, 33 nations voted yes, including USA and USSR; 13 mostly-Arab nations voted no; 11 nations abstained.

As disappointed as the Jews were with the portion allotted for the Jewish state, they felt that something was better than nothing after all the waiting and the pain.However, the Arabs rejected the UN resolution. The next day Arab rioting began, and two weeks later volunteers from surrounding Arab countries began arriving into Palestine to fight the Jews.

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