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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The PLO's US envoy lies in the WaPo

From the Washington Post, an op-ed by US PLO representative Maen Rashid Areikat.

Areikat has said more than once that his organization intends to ethnically cleanse a half million people from their homes.

Here he takes on the idea that "Palestinians" are an invented nation, with a suite of lies:
The issue of Palestinian identity and national history has become a source of controversy, with many Americans making deeply disturbing and alarming statements. As the representative of my people to the United States, I would like to tell you what the Palestinians, as a people, are all about.

We go far back, much further than those doubting our existence can remember. Jericho, my home town, goes as far back as 10,000 B.C., making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. .... We lived under the rule of a plethora of empires: the Canaanites, Egyptians, Philistines, Israelites, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Mongols, Ottomans and, finally, the British. This has made our region rich in history, culture and heritage. Indeed, if our olive trees could speak — some are centuries old — they would have a lot to say.

This makes us very proud and appreciative of our special place in this world. That is why we are so attached to our land and to our identity.... Centuries of rule by an eclectic assortment have taught us that empires come and go but legacies and values remain. ... The fact that we outlived these empires is a testament to our resilience and strength.
Areikat is making the claim that today's Palestinian Arabs are descended from the people who lived in the same area thousands of years ago.

Yet in his next paragraph he says:
Yes, as presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said recently, we are also Arabs, the Arabs of the Holy Land. Infused with a mix of attributes from the civilizations that passed by, we are Arabs with black, brown and white skin, dark- and light-colored eyes, and the whole gamut of hair types.
The Arab conquest of Palestine occurred in the seventh century. While there was no doubt some intermixing of the Arab invaders with the existing population, it is contradictory to claim both that Palestinians are descended from the people who lived there for thousands of years - and that they are Arab. If they are Arab, it is impossible to say that they lived under the rule of the Canaanites, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks and so forth. (And if they were there for so long - aren't they Canaanites? Is he saying that they pre-date the Canaanites?

Anyway you look at this, Areikat is being a-historical.

Beyond that, there is plenty of evidence that a significant number of "Palestinians" came from elsewhere. The Nashashibis, who were prominent residents of Jerusalem for centuries, arrived in Palestine in 1469. The Al Nammaris came after the expulsion of Muslims from Spain. The Dajani family came from Arabia. These were considered among the most prominent Arab clans in the Jerusalem area.

Furthermore, a significant number of Palestinian Arabs have surnames that indicate they came from elsewhere: Hejazi from Arabia, Mughrabi from Morocco, Masri from Egypt, Haurani from Syria, Turki and Dogmush from Turkey, Yamani from Yemen, Jaziri from Algeria, Hindi from India, Kurdi from Kurdistan, Halabi from Aleppo, and many more.

No Arabs have the surname Filisteeni.

Moreover, all the major tribes that lived near Jerusalem in the 19th century came from Arabia. And the Yamani and the Qais tribes in Palestine, who engaged in a famous centuries-old feud, came from Yemen and southern Arabia, respectively.

I am not an expert, but I have yet to see a Palestinian Arab family that was able to trace their ancestry beyond the Crusades. Perhaps some of the rapidly disappearing Palestinian Christians can, but the number is diminishingly small.


Beyond that, there was a significant immigration of Arabs to Palestine that mirrored the growth of Zionism, as tens of thousands of Arabs from Syria, Transjordan and Egypt came to seek their fortunes in the 1920s and early 1930s. All of them are considered "Palestinian" today. Certainly Areikat does not think of them as any less Palestinian even though they came from other areas.

In short, very few Palestinian Arabs have been there longer than a thousand years, and I would guess that most have not been there longer than 200 years. Areikat is spinning a large lie.

Like Americans, we are a hybrid of peoples defined by one overarching identity.
As I have recently shown, that identity simply did not exist until the middle of the 20th century.

Historian Benny Morris concurs, when he wrote a few years ago that "the birth of Palestinian Arab nationalism [occurred] in the 1920s (and the start of general Arab nationalism only a few years before). But for years thereafter, Palestinian Arab nationalism remained the purview of middle- and upper-class families. Most peasants, and perhaps many among the urban poor as well--together, some 80 percent of the Palestine Arabs--lacked political consciousness or a 'national' ideology."

In other words, they identified as Arabs, as clans, as members of a village, as tribes - but never as "Palestinians."

Before World War II, Palestinians and Jews living in Palestine enjoyed times of great harmony. My grandfather shared a bakery shop with a Jewish partner, Aaron, in Jerusalem’s Bak’a Tahta neighborhood. My mother told me stories of the period of peace and tranquillity they enjoyed with Jews during this time. That period ended in 1948, however, and a conflict began.

One only has to look at the history of Palestinian Arabs attacking Jews before 1948 to see how transparent this lie is. The 1886 attack on Petah Tikva, attacks on Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall in 1911, murders of Jews in 1912, the deadly riots in 1920, 1921 and 1929, the years of terror from 1936-9. As Christian pilgrims noted, in the 19th century the biggest insult an Arab could give was to call another a "Jew."

Areikat is lying.

We agreed to confine our right to self-determination and statehood on only 22 percent of what used to be our historic homeland, and we did so for the sake of peace and with a sober realization that seeking “absolute justice” is a fool’s errand.

"22 percent of what used to be our historic homeland" is another lie. Historic Palestine was not congruent with British Mandate Palestine; it included parts of Jordan and possibly Lebanon - even by the loose Arab definition of Palestine. Here's a map of the area drawn inthe 19th century based on the work of medieval Arab geographers.


Which begs the question - why don't Palestinian Arabs claim eastern Jordan as their "historic homeland"? (And why is the Negev. never considered a part of historic Palestine, included in their definition?)

The answer, as I have noted, is that their goal has always been to destroy a state, not to build one.

And to say that the PLO is accepting a state in the territories only is also a gross misrepresentation of the official PLO position. They are not only demanding their state on every inch of territories they never controlled, but they are also demanding the right to flood Israel with Arabs. The obvious goal is to turn Israel into another Palestinian Arab state. This is why they are dead-set against "two states for two peoples"  and against recognizing that Israel is a Jewish state.

So while Areikat is charging that people are ignorant of his made-up history of "Palestinians," his own PLO is on the record as saying that the Jewish people does not exist. Talk about historic revisionism!

Beyond that, the PLO and the PA erases Israel from every single one of their maps. (Fatah logos start at about the 1-minute mark.)



To claim that they are accepting a two-state solution is to engage in wishful thinking. At best, they are accepting the temporary existence of Israel until they figure out how to get rid of it - demographically, politically, or militarily.

Areikat is a liar, and it is a shame that most people don't realize it.