Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Fayyad invokes "Historic Palestine"

PA prime minister Salam Fayyad has controversially attended the Herzliya conference on Israel's security. In his speech, he stated the oft-cited position that the Palestinian Arabs "only want to live in dignity on 22% of historic Palestine."

We have gone into detail a number of times about the fact that "historic Palestine" certainly includes significant portions to the east of the Jordan river.

But to make it easy for Fayyad, I would like to ask him which tribes were part of "historic Palestine" and which were not?

According to Robinson and Smith in their survey of Palestine in the 1830s and 40s, the tribes around the Jordan Valley at the time included the the Ka'abineh, the Rashaideh, the Ta'amirah, the Mas'udy, the 'Abbad, the Amir, the 'Abbadin, and the Mushalikhah, the ' Adwan, Ibn Ghiiniim, Beni Hasan, the Baharat, the 'Ajarimeh, Beni Sukhr, and Beni Hamideh. Some were to the east and some to the west. Which ones are "Palestinian?"

The Palestine Exploration Fund's survey of eastern Palestine in the 1880s mentions that the Adwan tribe is the strongest tribe east of the Jordan, along with their rivals the Beni Sakhr, and the Hameidi (who would sell their corn in Jerusalem.)

However, the Adwan clan is mentioned in a recent study as being "Palestinian." And the earlier Robinson/Smith study talks about Adwan members who were in Jericho.

So a reasonable person would conclude that the Arab tribes from a mere 150 years ago often fought with and allied with each other depending on the political atmosphere of the day, were often nomadic (many tribes had originally come from as far away as Yemen,) did not think of the Jordan as any sort of political boundary, and did not consider themselves "Palestinian" in the least (the Beni Sakhr stretched up from the eastern part of the Jordan valley to the Hauran area of today's Syria.)

So, Mr. Fayyad, which tribes were "Palestinian"? Specifically, are the Adwans your people? And if they are - why do you say that "historic Palestine" is strictly to the west of the Jordan, using a country boundary that simply didn't exist until the 20th century?

If you care so much about your historic rights, why do you ignore the illegal Jordanian usurpation of your "historic" land?

More to the point - why is the definition of "Palestinian" land, since 1964, always exactly congruent with land controlled by Jews?