Thursday, October 21, 2021

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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refugeeHaifa, October 24, 1947 - An Arab resident of this mixed-ethnicity city in the north of Palestine feels such a powerful, protective attachment to his place of birth and upbringing that he will soon run away rather than defend it from usurpers, and will instead allow different usurpers to attempt conquest, sources close to the man announced today.

Amr Habash, 22, prepared this week to move out of Haifa in advance of an anticipated offensive by Syrian and Lebanese soldiers and irregular militia troops who will try to push the Jews into the sea or otherwise slaughter them. Habash, who helps run his family's fishing enterprise, has voiced such love for his ancestral homeland that he has never once referred to it as  distinct political entity, and plans to spend however long necessary in areas already under foreign Arab rule until he can return to the city and live under either the same or different foreign Arab rule, depending on how the war goes.

"Amr just loves this place to pieces," acknowledged his uncle Faisal. "I can just tell that his bond with the land is so strong, he would rather skedaddle to Beirut or Damascus than stand and fight the Jews for possession of it. Not everyone feels as he does, even though we can all sense the trouble ahead."

The United Nations General Assembly is set to vote next month on a proposal to divide what remains of the British Mandate of Palestine between two new countries: one Arab state and one Jewish. Experts agree that any such plan stands slim chance of approval by the UN, and even if it clears that hurdle, faces rejection by the Arab states surrounding Palestine, which refuse any sovereign Jewish presence even in that tiny sliver of land. Britain gained control of Palestine in 1917 from the Ottoman Empire, which in turn captured it from the Mameluks in the thirteenth century (the semi-independent kingdom of Egypt controlled it briefly in the nineteenth century), who formed but the latest in a long series of invasions and conquests that included Seljuks, Fatimids, Ummayads, European Crusaders, Byzantines, Romans, and Parthians, among others. The last time the place now called "Palestine" enjoyed sovereign rule occurred in the first century CE, when it was a Jewish vassal state of the Roman Empire. Some Jews remained in the land after Roman suppression of revolts and exile of most Jews, who began to return en masse in the nineteenth century; the British Mandate, granted under the League of Nations, will expire in May of next year.

That return has sparked resistance from the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, who refer to it as "southern Syria." Their formidable attachment to the land has prompted talk of leaving to make space for the armies of Lebanon, Transjordan, Syria, and Egypt to sweep in and get rid of those uppity Jews, who should know better than to assert anything above second-class status under Islamic rule. In the unlikely event of an Arab defeat, the hordes of voluntary refugees plan to spend generation after generation as stateless political tools of the same powers that promised to rescue them from the threat of  Jewish state even as everyone knew none of those powers intended to relinquish conquered territory to the people they were "helping."


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