Thursday, April 04, 2019

  • Thursday, April 04, 2019
  • Elder of Ziyon
I sometimes see endless Twitter discussions on whether Palestinians are a people, or whether pre-Israel Palestinian Arabs were a people.

Some note that it is hard to deny that Palestinians are a people today, regardless of history, so therefore the history of whether they were a separate people beforehand doesn't matter too much.

However, history matters. Knowing the history of how they became "Palestinian" is key to understanding today's Middle East.

Up until 1947, Arabs in Palestine were simply Arabs, for the most part. The word "Palestinian" referred almost exclusively to Jewish residents of Palestine.



Even the 1964 PLO Charter used the phrase "Palestinian Arab" repeatedly to distinguish from Palestinian Jew, which is what people still thought of when they heard the word "Palestinian" in 1964.

So how did they become "Palestinians?" How did they become a people?

A group becomes a people when they have something in common with each other. The arbitrary boundaries of the British Mandate, which lasted less than three decades, was not enough to make Arabs of Palestine feel "Palestinian." 

They identified with their clans, with their villages, with their religion and with their Arab identity, but being "Palestinian" was not an important part of their identity at all (with rare exceptions.) For the most part, Arabs moved freely throughout the Arab world as droughts or wars or economic incentives impelled them to. Arab clans tenaciously held onto their origins, usually in Arabia or Yemen, and their tribes often stayed together as they moved from one Arab land to another. 

Even today, if you pick a popular Palestinian surname and look up their family history in Arabic, you will see where they originally came from. You will not find very many who say they originated in Palestine. Usually they trace their history back to Arabia or Yemen, although there are plenty whose names originate in North Africa.

Only in 1948 did Palestinian Arabs start to have something in common with each other - and that was because of how they were treated by their fellow Arabs, not Jews.

As mentioned, Arabs often came to Palestine for economic reasons. Tens of thousands of Syrians moved in during the 1920s because of a drought in the Hauran region. Demographic studies show that the biggest increase in Arab populations during the years before 1948 were invariably in Jewish areas, where the industry and jobs were. But many would travel back to Lebanon or Syria as needed. 

During the 1936-9 riots, many wealthier Arabs moved to Lebanon to escape the troubles with their extended families. 

In short, since Arabs in Palestine felt that they were simply Arabs and not Palestinian, it was relatively easy for most to make the decision to leave during the 1948 war to be with their fellow Arabs they assumed would take them in the way they have throughout history as they migrated across the Arab world. The ones who stayed and fought for their homes were not unified as Palestinian Arabs but simply because they had ties to their villages, and there was no central command to speak of because Arabs in villages in Palestine didn't feel much affinity with Arabs of other villages. 

But this time, for the first time as far as I can tell, the Arab migration was not welcomed by their fellow Arabs. 

The reason is simple. Arabs were deeply shamed by losing the war to the hated, lowly Jews who had been second class citizens in Arab societies forever. Palestinian Arabs reminded the rest of the Arab world of their shame. Instead of integrating the refugees, they kept them separate. They blamed the West for allowing Israel to be born and they insisted that the West - i. e., the UN - pay for the Palestinian Arabs to be housed and educated.

Most importantly, the Arab League recognized that the refugees could be a huge weapon against Israel, because if they would return there would be no more Jewish state. 

Every Arab from Palestine became a pawn.

There was another important reason why the Arab nations wanted to use Palestinians as cannon fodder against Israel. They knew that they had a restless, homeless and stateless population in their midst and they didn't want them to blame their hosts for their problems. They created a myth of a Palestinian people displaced by Jews in order to direct their hate towards Jews and Israel - and away from the Arab leaders who refused to naturalize them (except for Jordan.)

Thus began the Palestinian people. Their leaders and Arab leaders agreed that they needed an identity, and they insisted that by being kept separate, they would keep the Palestinian Arab identity intact. Becoming citizens of Arab countries would mean that this nascent Palestinian identity would disappear and a major weapon against Israel would disappear along with it. As PLO leader Ahmed Shukairy said in 1966, when Palestinian identity was still in a nascent stage:


“The Arab states will not integrate the Palestine refugees because integration would be a slow process of liquidating the Palestine problem." Ahmed Shukairy. chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. declared in an interview today.

“Consequently. the refugees don’t want to be integrated.” he continued. “If there are no Palestinian people. there is no Palestinian cause. We can't conceive of a Babylonian cause today because there are no Babylonians. But we start from the premise that we will achieve the liberation of Palestine soon."

The Arab record towards Palestinians is pretty bad. Palestinian Arabs have been slaughtered, deported, and given few rights.  But they have been taught that they are loyal Arabs and the only people they must blame for their predicament is Jews.

UNRWA is a big part of this. In the beginning, UNRWA tried to relocate Palestinian Arabs in countries like Iraq and it worked to have them become productive citizens of their host countries. Arab nations resisted and soon UNRWA used its own money to hire thousands of Palestinian Arabs themselves - who  then imposed their own agenda on UNRWA, its mission and its textbooks. This is why Palestinians, and only Palestinians, are still considered "refugees" decades after all other of the millions of WWII-era refugees have been resettled elsewhere.

Even if you want to blame Israel for the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Arabs, the only people to blame for their continued misery for seventy years are the Arab nations themselves. The world refuses to recognize this or even demand that Arab nations take care of their "guests" the way every other nation is expected to.

Palestinians themselves want to become citizens of their host countries. When Egypt and Lebanon briefly changed the rules of citizenship allowing many Palestinians to become naturalized, tens of thousands of Palestinians jumped at the opportunity. Even Hamas leaders became Egyptian citizens!

There can never be peace without the Arabs taking responsibility for the Palestinians in their midst. The myth of an ancient Palestinian people is one roadblock in the way of treating them like every other refugee population. This is why the truth matters - the truth is essential to getting everyone closer to a real peace.





We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

EoZTV Podcast

Podcast URL

Subscribe in podnovaSubscribe with FeedlyAdd to netvibes
addtomyyahoo4Subscribe with SubToMe

Support EoZ by shopping!

search eoz

comments

Speaking

follow me

Follow by Email

translate

Share on Whatsapp


E-Book

For $18 donation








Sample Text

EoZ's Most Popular Posts Ever

Hasbys!

Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

Donate!

Donate to fight for Israel!

Monthly subscription:
Payment options


One time donation:

subscribe via email

Follow EoZ on Twitter!

Tweets

Compliments

The Jerusalem Report:"A seemingly indefatigable one-man operation, armed only with a computer, chutzpa and stamina."

Algemeiner: "Fiercely intelligent and erudite"

Omri: "Elder is one of the best established and most respected members of the jblogosphere..."
Atheist Jew:"Elder of Ziyon probably had the greatest impression on me..."
Soccer Dad: "He undertakes the important task of making sure that his readers learn from history."
AbbaGav: "A truly exceptional blog..."
Judeopundit: "[A] venerable blog-pioneer and beloved patriarchal figure...his blog is indispensable."
Oleh Musings: "The most comprehensive Zionist blog I have seen."
Carl in Jerusalem: "...probably the most under-recognized blog in the JBlogsphere as far as I am concerned."
Aussie Dave: "King of the auto-translation."
The Israel Situation:The Elder manages to write so many great, investigative posts that I am often looking to him for important news on the PalArab (his term for Palestinian Arab) side of things."
Tikun Olam: "Either you are carelessly ignorant or a willful liar and distorter of the truth. Either way, it makes you one mean SOB."
Mondoweiss commenter: "For virulent pro-Zionism (and plain straightforward lies of course) there is nothing much to beat it."
Didi Remez: "Leading wingnut"

Interesting Blogs

Categories

Abbas liar Academic fraud administrivia al-Qaeda algeria Alice Walker American Jews Amnesty analysis anti-semitism antisemitism apartheid Arab antisemitism arab refugees Arafat archaeology Ari Fuld art ASHREI B'tselem bahrain Balfour bbc BDS BDSFail Bedouin Beitunia beoz Birthright book review Brant Rosen breaking the silence Campus antisemitism Cardozo cartoon of the day Chakindas Chanukah Christians circumcision Clark Kent coexistence Community Standards conspiracy theories Cyprus Daled Amos Daphne Anson David Applebaum Davis report DCI-P Divest This double standards Egypt Elder gets results ElderToons Electronic Intifada Embassy EoZ Trump symposium eoz-symposium EoZNews eoztv Erekat Erekat lung transplant EU Euro-Mid Observer European antisemitism Facebook jail Fake Civilians 2014 Fake Civilians 2019 Farrakhan Fatah featured Features fisking flotilla Forest Rain Forward free gaza freedom of press palestinian style future martyr Gary Spedding gaza Gaza Platform George Galloway George Soros German Jewry gideon levy gilad shalit gisha Goldstone Report Good news Grapel Guardian guest post gunness Haaretz Hadassah hamas Hamas war crimes Hananya Naftali hasbara Hasby 2014 Hasby 2016 Hasby 2018 hate speech Hebron helen thomas hezbollah history Hizballah Holocaust Holocaust denial honor killing HRW Human Rights Humanitarian crisis humor huor Hypocrisy ICRC IDF IfNotNow Ilan Pappe Ilhan Omar impossible peace incitement indigenous Indonesia international law intransigence iran Iraq Islamic Judeophobia Islamism Israel Loves America Israeli culture Israeli high-tech J Street jabalya jeremy bowen Jerusalem jewish fiction Jewish Voice for Peace jihad jimmy carter John Kerry jokes jonathan cook Jordan Joseph Massad Juan Cole Judaism Judea-Samaria Judean Rose Kairos Karl Vick Keith Ellison ken roth khalid amayreh Khaybar Know How to Answer Lebanon leftists Linda Sarsour Linkdump lumish mahmoud zahar Malaysia max blumenthal Mazen Adi McGraw-Hill media bias Methodist Michael Ross Miftah Missionaries moderate Islam Mohammed Assaf Mondoweiss moonbats Morocco Mudar Zahran music Muslim Brotherhood Naftali Bennett Nakba Nan Greer Nation of Islam Natural gas Nazi Netanyahu News nftp NGO NIF Noah Phillips norpac NYT Occupation offbeat Omar Barghouti Only in Israel Opinion oxfam PA corruption PalArab lies Palestine Papers pallywood pchr PCUSA Peace Now Peter Beinart Petra MB poetry Poland poll Poster Preoccupied Prisoners propaganda Proud to be Zionist Puar Purim purimshpiel Putin Qaradawi Qassam calendar Quora Rafah Ray Hanania real liberals reference Richard Falk Richard Silverstein Right of return Rivkah Lambert Adler Robert Werdine rogel alpher roger cohen roger waters Rutgers Saeb Erekat Sarah Schulman Saudi Arabia saudi vice self-death self-death palestinians settlements sex crimes SFSU shechita sheikh tamimi Shelly Yachimovich Shujaiyeh Simchat Torah Simona Sharoni SodaStream South Africa Speech stamps Superman Syria Tarabin Temple Mount Terrorism This is Zionism Thomas Friedman TOI Tomer Ilan Trump Tunisia Turkey UCI UK UN UNDP unesco unhrc UNICEF United Arab Emirates Unity unrwa UNRWA hate unrwa reports UNRWA-USA unwra Varda Vic Rosenthal Washington wikileaks work accident X-washing Y. Ben-David Yemen YMikarov zahran Ziesel zionist attack zoo Zvi

Blog Archive