Monday, June 04, 2007

Eastern Palestine

Encyclopedia Britannica's 1911 edition is online. It's entry on "Palestine" is especially interesting:
Except in the west, where the country is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, the limit of this territory cannot be laid down on the map as a definite line. The modern subdivisions under the jurisdiction of the Ottoman Empire are in no sense conterminous with those of antiquity, and hence do not afford a boundary by which Palestine can be separated exactly from the rest of Syria in the north, or from the Sinaitic and Arabian deserts in the south and east; nor are the records of ancient boundaries sufficiently full and definite to make possible the complete demarcation of the country. Even the convention above referred to is inexact: it includes the Philistine territory, claimed but never settled by the Hebrews, and excludes the outlying parts of the large area claimed in Num. xxxiv. as the Hebrew possession (from the " River of Egypt " to Hamath). However, the Hebrews themselves have preserved, in the proverbial expression " from Dan to Beersheba " (Judg. xx.i, &c.), an indication of the normal north-and-south limits of their land; and in defining the area of the country under discussion it is this indication which is generally followed.

Taking as a guide the natural features most nearly corresponding to these outlying points, we may describe Palestine as the strip of land extending along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea from the mouth of the Litany or Kasimiya River (33° 20' N.) southward to the mouth of the Wadi Ghuzza; the latter joins the sea in 31° 28' N., a short distance south of Gaza, and runs thence in a south-easterly direction so as to include on its northern side the site of Beersheba. Eastward there is no such definite border. The River Jordan, it is true, marks a line of delimitation between Western and Eastern Palestine; but it is practically impossible to say where the latter ends and the Arabian desert begins. Perhaps the line of the pilgrim road from Damascus to Mecca is the most convenient possible boundary. The total length of the region is about 140 m.; its breadth west of the Jordan ranges from about 23 m. in the north to about 80 m. in the south. According to the English engineers who surveyed the country on behalf of the Palestine Exploration Fund, the area of this part of the country is about 6040 sq. m. East of the Jordan, owing to the want of a proper survey, no figures so definite as these are available. The limits adopted are from the south border of Hermon to the mouth of the Mojib (Arnon), a distance of about 140 m.: the whole area has been calculated to be about 3800 sq. m. The territory of Palestine, Eastern and Western, is thus equal to rather more than one-sixth the size of England.

The West Bank is 2200 square miles, and Eastern Palestine was estimated in 1911 to have been 3800 square miles.

In other words, there is a large area of historic Palestine that is under Jordanian rule.

Why is no one upset over Jordanian occupation of ancient Palestinian lands? Why doesn't anyone want to see an independent Palestinian Arab state on the Eastern banks of the Jordan?

Every map of "Palestine" published by the PA - in their textbooks, in their logos - completely ignores a major part of historic Palestine. If there is a long and ancient tradition of Palestinian Arabs living in the eastern part, why are they being ignored? The arbitrary British boundaries separating Palestine from Transjordan are relatively recent and have no bearing on Arab history. The people who lived on the East Bank have historically been exactly as Palestinian as those who lived in the West.

Not only that, but when Jordan annexed the West Bank there was no "liberation movement" to speak of even in that part of historic Palestine. The PLO was founded in 1964, before there were any "territories."

The only areas of Palestine that Arabs have ever wanted for an independent Palestinian Arab state happen to be whichever areas Jews control at any point in time.

What a coincidence!