Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Palestine pound: A little revisionist history

From the Los Angeles Times' blog Babylon and Beyond:

As part of a statehood bid they plan to bring before the U.N. this September, Palestinians are pushing for the creation of a new Palestine Central Bank and the introduction of new currency.

But Jihad Al-Wazir, 48, governor of the Palestinian Monetary Authority, which hopes to soon evolve into the first central bank, says work is needed before reintroducing the Palestinian pound.

“We do not expect that in September we would wake up the next day and find the Palestinian pound all over the place,’’ he told the Los Angeles Times recently. “That’s not going to happen. The way it looks now, people would like it in the first week and enjoy the fact that the pound is back, but would they put it in their pocket and use it the next day? That would be the challenge.”

Well, there was indeed currency called the Palestine pound. Here's what it looked like in 1939:

Yikes - look at all that Hebrew! And that Jewish shrine on the front - in Bethlehem!

But wait, there's more! Here's what the Palestine Pound looked like in 1948:

In fact, these were the last Palestine Pound notes made, as Israel migrated to the Lira (Israeli pound). The last place that the Palestine pound was legal tender was in - Israel.

Do you think this is the pound note Al Wazir wants to "re-introduce"?

Al-Wazir, by pretending that he might bring the Palestine pound back, is implying that there was once an entity called "Palestine" that issued its own currency, rather than using British currency (equal to one pound sterling) of Mandate Palestine.

Incidentally, before 1948, the Palestine pound was also legal tender in Transjordan. Perhaps it should be re-introduced there as well.