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‘Historic Palestine’ – A Misleading Anachronism

rylah

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“Historic Palestine” is a commonly-used term when discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict. The phrase suggests that a nation known as Palestine existed in the past, with the word “historic” giving the impression that this nation has deep roots in the region and thus has a natural claim to be revived in the form of a modern state called Palestine. By referring to the land thus without mentioning Jewish history, it also subtly suggests that a Jewish presence is foreign to the region.

This article discusses the origin and evolution of the usage of “Palestine” as a place name and how current notions of “Historic Palestine” are all based on a false understanding of the geographic and political history of the region.

Historic Palestine in today’s usage typically refers to the territory that now comprises Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Here are several recent prominent examples of usage of the term:

  • Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, stated in an opinion piece published in the New York Times in May 2019 that the Palestinians recognized Israel on the “1967 border, equivalent to 78 percent of historic Palestine.”'Historic Palestine' – A Misleading Anachronism Which “historic Palestine” was Erekat referring to and does Israel really comprise 78% of this “historic” territory?

  • The Columbia Journalism Review published an article in January 2019 titled “Palestinian citizens of Israel struggle to tell their stories” in which the author claimed that “Historic Palestine under Ottoman and British control had a thriving Arabic press.”[ii] Was Palestine ever a territory under Ottoman control?

  • A June 2019 article in The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs about Trump’s “Deal of the Century” for Middle East peace states that the deal could leave the “New Palestine” in charge of “about 12 percent of historic Palestine.”[iii] What land area was used to arrive at this figure?

  • President Abbas noted the following in his address to the United Nations in November 2012: “The two-state solution, i.e. the State of Palestine coexisting alongside the State of Israel, represents the spirit and essence of the historic compromise embodied in the Oslo Declaration of Principles, the agreement signed 19 years ago between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Government of Israel under the auspices of the United States of America on the White House Lawn, a compromise by which the Palestinian people accepted to establish their state on only 22% of the territory of historic Palestine for the sake of making peace.”[iv] Is this 22% number accurate?


(Comment)

It's an extensively informative article.

But there's a very simple basic question - why do all lectures on this "Historic Palestine" narrative,
the pictures, stories and all discourse - always start at some late point , 30-40 years into Zionist enterprise, after the land and its economy has been already progressively rejuvenating,
drying the vast swamps, building new cities?

And of course, thus dodging the preceding Arab pogroms,
that destroy the alleged "disturbed peaceful co-existence" propaganda...
 
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rylah

rylah

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Did Israel “occupy” Palestine?

As with most issues related to this thorny topic this is, at best, a half truth. Please read this entirely to the end.

Below you are three maps.

Map 1 depicts Ottoman Turkish rule over the area today known as Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip in the South.
Map 2 depicts the ‘British Mandate of Palestine’, instituted after Ottoman Turkey was defeated, and collapsed after WWI.
Map 3 depicts only the issue of when the Arabs (today known as Palestinians) gained political control over this land.

By posting these maps I hope to address this abiding but inaccurate idea that Israel has “occupied Palestine” since 1948.

As the first two maps show, in modern history this area was colonised by the Ottoman Turks, and then by the British Mandate. There was no “state of Palestine” in this area, and in fact there never has been - go as far back as you like. In the Ottoman Empire (Map 1), the entire area north of Jerusalem was known as the Province of Beirut (Sidon) and Jerusalem to the South was known as the Mutasarriflik (authority) of Jerusalem. Then, after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI, the British Mandate (Map 2) clearly shows a division on either side of the River Jordan.

As the key in Map 2 indicates, everything to the left of the River Jordan (known today as the West Bank of the River Jordan) was an area “remaining for Jewish National Home”, and everything to the right of the river (marked Transjordan) was “separated and closed to Jewish settlement”, as is written on the map. There was no “state of Palestine” for Jews to “occupy” at this stage. This was land captured after WWI from a colonial empire (Turks), by a colonial empire (the Brits). It was then administered by the British according tho the 1918 Anglo-French Modus Vivendi, and demarcated by the British as a homeland for the Jewish people, in line with the Balfour Declaration 1917.

It took until 1948 for Israel to be created on the West Bank of the River Jordan, as a homeland for Jews after the Holocaust. What occurred was a typical British colonial partition plan, just like the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan (which was created in exactly the same fashion, as a homeland for Muslims). A consequence of this partition was population expulsions from both sides of the River Jordan (Jews and Arabs) and mass migration according to the new political reality. I am not denying injustices occurred at this stage, just as happened with the partition of India and Pakistan.

Another consequence was that one area remained in dispute (the West bank of the River Jordan), just as Kashmir remains till this day in dispute between India and Pakistan. It is important to remember that at this time in history there still was no, and never had been, a “state of Palestine” just as today there is no internationally recognised “state of Kashmir”, and never has been in that sense.
Other new states *were* created in the region by British colonialism however, including Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. All these states were populated primarily by Levantine Arabs. Interestingly, 60% of Jordan today is of the Palestinian-Arab group and only 40% of Jordan is Bedouin Arab (the difference between those two groups is not even as pronounced as the difference between the English and Scots).

Why this is relevant is explained by Map 3. Look to the 1967 image in Map 3 (forgive the bad colouring) it depicts Jordan as having control over the West Bank of the River Jordan (Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip in the South). There still was no “state of Palestine”. In 1967 Egypt, Jordan and Syria attacked Israel and lost, terribly, in six days. It was only after this war that Israel gained control of the West Bank of the River Jordan, and the Gaza Strip. She has secured the West Bank ever since, and Gaza was given to Palestinian-Arabs unilaterally by Israeli PM Ariel Sharon in 2005, before it succumbed to the terrorist group Hamas.

This is where Map 3 becomes very relevant. Because as Map 3 depicts, the first time in history a group of Arabs known through their entirely modern colonial identity (inseparable from the British Mandate) calling themselves Palestinians, gained any form of political control over this land (even though, as stated, 60% of Jordan is Palestinian too, including the Queen of Jordan). And it was Israel that ceded this political control to the Arabs of the West Bank of the River Jordan (today known as Palestinians) in 1994, due to the Oslo Accords.

Before Oslo, Arabs from the West Bank of the River Jordan (today known as Palestinians) had never had political control of this land. The modern identity of Palestinian became a national identity in the 1960s, primarily through Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), and especially after the Arab Kingdom of Jordan lost control of the West Bank to Israel. Before this, the ‘people’ or nation in this area were Levantine Arabs. These Levantine Arabs were granted three other states by the British (Syria, Jordan and Lebanon), as well as many other Arab states in the region. Whereas Jews only have one state (Israel).

All four of these states were arbitrarily created by the British and French after WWI, not just Israel. And mass-migration occurred in both directions, not just Arabs out of Israel, but Jews out of Arab lands too. All four involved expulsions (primarily of Jews going one way and Arabs going the other). But only one of these states gave Palestinian-Arabs citizenship (20% of Israel today is Arab). The three Arab states created by Britain (and in fact all other modern Arab states) are yet to provide naturalisation schemes and citizenship by birth right to the masses of Palestinian-Arabs stranded in their territories till this day. One can observe this in the refugee camps (effectively now townships) in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. These Palestinian-Arabs are pointedly and consistently refused citizenship by their host Arab states. Meanwhile, 20% of Israel’s citizens are Arabs, they sit in the Knesset and they partake in almost all Israeli affairs.


Summary:
I am *not* opposing the creation of a state of Palestine (though I do remain open also to other solutions for the Palestinian-Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza, that re-involve Jordan and Egypt respectively, if this breaks the deadlock). My point, simply put, is this: when the evolution of the area is properly considered, and not used to score cheap political points or indeed for Europe to grind her ancient antisemitic axe, the truth is that this is a land dispute born of colonialism, no different to Kashmir. It is not a typical “occupation” by one state over another, and it is misleading to frame the conversation in terms of a typical “occupation”, and then to use this emotive basis as a launch pad for “debate”.

The “state of Palestine” has never existed. What has happened is that a land dispute over a colonial partition has dragged on. It is also very clear that too much media focus is placed on Israel’s behaviour, and hardly any on the surrounding Arab dictatorships or absolute monarchies who have failed Palestinian-Arabs over and again. Nor is much of a media focus placed on the Palestinian Authority, which has consistently rejected every formal peace offer made, to a point where they no longer have anything to play for, nothing to negotiate and have become such an embarrassment that even Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt have urged them to consider President Trump’s latest proposal (which by historic standards is far less than what the 1947 UN partition plan offered, which Arabs rejected).

Only those who reject the right of Israel to exist, and view her as an “occupying” power, would so consistently overplay their hand in this way. This is what I believe Arabs and Muslims have been doing. And this is why I believe it is so important to reframe this entire debate. Finally, before the usual voices respond with rage, I too used to completely boycott Israel. Until, that is, that I chose to look into this complicated issue with an open mind and open heart, and allowed the facts and not emotion to guide me. The result to date, is my above view.

***Please hit the "Support Now" button to help me grow this page. (For laptops, it's located immediately under this post. For mobile's, it's at the top of the page, under my profile banner.) Thank you***

 
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MJB12741

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Not only does Israel allow the Palestinian occupation to continue but even grants the Pali's their own Jew free land so they can thank Israel with rocket missiles. Shame on those Zionists for not treating the Palestinians like their own Arab brothers in Arab countries do. LET THERE BE PEACE ALREADY!
 

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I do NOT know the history of that land, so I cannot comment intelligently.

I have heard the following. I cannot attest to its accuracy.

1. The Arabs say that they were already living in that area when Jewish people started arriving in ever increasing numbers after World War I.

2. Some Jewish leaders (in Europe) in the 19th century thought that the idea of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine was NOT a good idea.

3. Jewish people did have a homeland there until the Romans drove them out 2,000 years ago.

4. Because of the unbelievable inhumanity of the German madman in the 1930s & first half of the 1940s, the whole world was sympathetic to the creation of a Jewish homeland after World War II.

5. England offered land in Uganda. The offer was rejected by Jewish leaders.

6. The United Nations partitioned Palestine. I do NOT know who was at fault for the failure to implement the U.N. plan. I have read that Israeli leaders admitted later that they did, indeed, deliberately used "severe" methods to drive out Arabs from certain areas.

7. When the Arab armies invaded Israel, they were told that Israel did not have an air force. Israel had, however, four old fighter planes. When the Arab forces saw those planes in action, they fled the battlefield.

8. The new state of Israel literally made the desert bloom. And new cities arose.

9. Some Israeli leaders say that the nation's biggest mistake was to keep the West Bank instead of returning it to Jordan after the last war.

That is all that I "know" or think I know about this controversial topic.
 

Sunni Man

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The zionist Jew had to post two very lengthly posts to state his case for the existence of today's Israel.
Bottom line: The Israeli jews stole the land from the Palestinian people and now make up convoluted reasons why it wasn't theft. .. :cuckoo:
 

MJB12741

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The zionist Jew had to post two very lengthly posts to state his case for the existence of today's Israel.
Bottom line: The Israeli jews stole the land from the Palestinian people and now make up convoluted reasons why it wasn't theft. .. :cuckoo:
OMG! I didn't know that. Well gee Sunni, will you educate those Zionists by showing your documentation as to when the Palestinians were the rightful owners of the land with their titles & deeds. Ya'll come back now, ya hear? 'Atta boy.
 

MJB12741

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Oh no. Sunni has left us. What can we do to get him back here? Let us pray he returns to us.
 

Sunni Man

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^^^^ Perfect example of when the Juden are unable to defend their side of the debate. They resort to personal attacks. .... :cool:
 

MJB12741

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^^^^ Perfect example of when the Juden are unable to defend their side of the debate. They resort to personal attacks. .... :cool:
HUH??? I am trying to help you educate those Zionists to the truth. Are you not for the truth? All we need to put those Zionists in their place is for you to tell us when the Palestinians were the rightful owners of the land with their titles & deeds. Why is this so difficult for you?
 
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rylah

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^^^^ Perfect example of when the Juden are unable to defend their side of the debate. They resort to personal attacks. .... :cool:

Why, did you manage to actually make any sound counter argument,

beside the usual "I said so"...? :45:
 

Sunni Man

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The zionist Israeli's stole the land, destroyed all the original records, and then issued titles & deeds to each other for property that never belonged to them. .. :cool:
 
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MJB12741

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The zionist Israeli's stole the land, and then issued titles & deeds to each other for property that never belonged to them. ... :cuckoo:
Oh no! Now you are saying the Palestinians have no right to the land without any titles or deeds. So they just stole it???
 
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rylah

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The zionist Israeli's stole the land, destroyed all the original records, and then issued titles & deeds to each other for property that never belonged to them. .. :cool:

That's actually what the Jordanians did.

Never asked yourself why with all these threats to reveal original Ottoman deeds,
there's not a singe lawsuit filled in all these years?

Why are Muslims so afraid of making this legal precedent,
and actually make those archives available?

Shouldn't Erdogan be the fist to jump on the idea?
What do Muslims have to hide?

:45:
 

Sunni Man

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That's actually what the Jordanians did.
Never asked yourself why with all these threats to reveal original Ottoman deeds, there's not a singe lawsuit filled in all these years?
Why are Muslims so afraid of making this legal precedent,
and actually make those archives available? Shouldn't Erdogan be the fist to jump on the idea? What do Muslims have to hide?
Funniest post I've read in a long time.
Thanks for the laugh!! ... :thup:
 
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rylah

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That's actually what the Jordanians did.
Never asked yourself why with all these threats to reveal original Ottoman deeds, there's not a singe lawsuit filled in all these years?
Why are Muslims so afraid of making this legal precedent,
and actually make those archives available? Shouldn't Erdogan be the fist to jump on the idea? What do Muslims have to hide?
Funniest post I've read in a long time.
Thanks for the laugh!! ... :thup:

And you've no refute or counter argument, noted.

:cool:
 
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MJB12741

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The zionist Israeli's stole the land, destroyed all the original records, and then issued titles & deeds to each other for property that never belonged to them. .. :cool:

That's actually what the Jordanians did.

Never asked yourself why with all these threats to reveal original Ottoman deeds,
there's not a singe lawsuit filled in all these years?

Why are Muslims so afraid of making this legal precedent,
and actually make those archives available?

Shouldn't Erdogan be the fist to jump on the idea?
What do Muslims have to hide?

:45:
How sad when Israel offered to return the West Bank back to Jordan, Jordan refused so they could dump their Palestinians on Israel to deal with.
 

elektra

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Kind of an awkward attempt to validate a correct premise.

Palestine, is a correct term to use for Israel. It is correct to state that Palestine was not a country, that is true. Palestine always described a region that was within Syria. I am not saying Israel was a part of Syria in it's entire history. Historically, the Romans referred to the area they conquered as, Palestine.

Arabs are not Palestinians, I think that would be Egypt's president Nasser that dubbed them as such in 1964.

The map you have chosen is poor. I would pick one that was drawn by the League of Nations in 1922 I think the year is.

The region that is Palestine includes Jordan, the original mandate for Israel included Jordan. Trans-Jordan? Trans refers to Palestine East of the Jordan River. Hence Trans-Jordan is Easter Palestine. The Arabs have already received a huge chunk of Palestine!
 
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rylah

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Kind of an awkward attempt to validate a correct premise.

Palestine, is a correct term to use for Israel. It is correct to state that Palestine was not a country, that is true. Palestine always described a region that was within Syria. I am not saying Israel was a part of Syria in it's entire history. Historically, the Romans referred to the area they conquered as, Palestine.

Arabs are not Palestinians, I think that would be Egypt's president Nasser that dubbed them as such in 1964.

The map you have chosen is poor. I would pick one that was drawn by the League of Nations in 1922 I think the year is.

The region that is Palestine includes Jordan, the original mandate for Israel included Jordan. Trans-Jordan? Trans refers to Palestine East of the Jordan River. Hence Trans-Jordan is Easter Palestine. The Arabs have already received a huge chunk of Palestine!

2nd map in the Maajid Nawaz's tweet above?
 

elektra

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I have heard the following. I cannot attest to its accuracy.

4. Because of the unbelievable inhumanity of the German madman in the 1930s & first half of the 1940s, the whole world was sympathetic to the creation of a Jewish homeland after World War II.

6. The United Nations partitioned Palestine. I do NOT know who was at fault for the failure to implement the U.N. plan. I have read that Israeli leaders admitted later that they did, indeed, deliberately used "severe" methods to drive out Arabs from certain areas.
It was not the United Nations that partitioned Palestine. It was the League of Nations after WW I. In 1922 Palestine was divided. If you ever saw the movie, Lawerence of Arabia a bit of the history is told. After World War 1 the Allies in the Middle East who helped defeat the Ottomans who ruled that area were rewarded with kingdoms. Arabia was given to Saud. The Sherrif of Mecca, or Faisal and his sons were given Jordan and Iraq. That was after they got kicked out of Damascus by the French. The French were given the Syrian mandate by the League of Nations.

League of Nations, over 20 years before the United Nations, divided Palestine into Jordan and Israel.
 

elektra

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The Map,
Screenshot from 2020-08-03 17-37-22.png
 

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