Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Flight from Fact: Maddening Realities

Cross-posted by Maggie at Maggie's Notebook

Jerusalem, Old City. View from the Mount of Olives

The cry of Arabs and Arab-supporters is: The Jews are occupying our/their homeland.

The cry of Israeli's and Israel-supporters is: We/they have a right to exist, as this is also our homeland.

On the surface, and to the masses, the above are the central issues in the "Israeli-Arab" conflict.

While I consider it an "absolute" that Jews have a right to exist in the League of Nations mandated, OR less-than mandated, tiny Jewish state of Israel, because the League of Nations DID make the mandate, this gets a big pftttt from Arab-supporters.

Today's Arab-supporters' argument, in the main, is that the land has always belonged to the Palestinians. It is well known this is glaringly untrue, and it makes a knowingly dishonest argument. That ineffectual argument then leads to...and Israel is occupying, Palestine, nauseum.

Both Arabs and Jews inhabited the ancient area of Palestine. This we know. So starting from the Mandate and the fact that Israel is officially a State, I have transcribed a few pages of Joan Peters' book, From Time Immemorial.

After rereading portions of her work, I continue to see the Israeli-Arab conflict as hopeless for the West to resolve. Here's a few of my thoughts before going into the transcription:

You'll read below an interview Peters had with an Arab "youth" as well as some lines from an Arthur Miller play. From these, we can see today, in 2009, not much has changed except one gut-wrenching fact: the Arab hatred toward the Jews is more alive, more emboldened, and has deepened with the support of Iran and Syria into a seething, roiling call-to-action to complete the destruction of the Jews in ages-old decree that is just taking a few years to accomplish.

Knowing what we know today, there is no reason to believe that there will peace for the Jews or a homeland for the "Palestinian refugees." Nothing has changed since the 1920's when a plan for a Jewish homeland was first conceived, except that the Arab vitriol is now expressed with rockets, missiles, suicide bombers and misguided, if not evil, public opinion.

Arabs will have no chance to live in peace until they demand a change in their constitutions and charters eliminating the government sanctioned calls for the destruction of Israel, and placing them into the trash heap of Middle Eastern rhetoric, forever.

After the changes on paper, comes the daunting task of finding something else to live for other than hating the Jews:
- at home, teaching children that Jews are not to blame for their circumstances
- at school teaching skills, rather than scriptures to incite hatred
- in Mosques,
- at prayer five times a day, no more catastrophy and holy hell for the Jews
- finding a heaven without the 72 virgins promised for the life of a jew
- creating industry, other than smuggling and jihad
In my opinion, there is one way to bring this about. With the U.S. in the lead, we stand against every country that advocates death to Israel. But, of course, we will not BECAUSE OF OIL.

And so, because the free world will not stand for a people's right to exist, the maddness continues because it can.


Below is the transcription of, From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters (1982). My trade paperback is 442 ponderously footnoted pages, plus 118 pages of notes organized to correspond with each page of text, in support of that text, plus an additional 45 pages of bibliography.

The following can be found beginning on page 392 and continuing through 398:
All emphasis is mine. Within the Joan Peters' quotes, the red text is mine.


1) In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth centuries, Arabs or Arabic-speaking migrants were wandering in search of subsistence all over the Middle East. The land of "Palestine" proper had been laid waste causing peasants to flee. Dozens of supporting ancient quotations about the waste lands of Palestine can be found here with footnotes. In other words, there were no thriving Arab populaces in Palestine.

2) "Jews and "Zionism" never left the Holy Land even after the Roman conquest in A.D. 70. The Romans drummed many of the Jews out of the Holy Land, fleeing into Arabia and founding the Arabic-now-holy-city of Medina. Read more about Jewish

3) The traditional land of "Palestine" included areas both east and west of the Jordan River.

4) The Arabic speaking "masses" in "Palestine" - what few there were - thought of them themselves as "Ottomans or Turks," as Southern Syrians or as "Arab people" - but never as "Palestinians," even after effendis [Turks, Turks with authority] and the Mufti [a professional jurist who interprets Muslim law] tried to incite "nationalism," and even after T.E. Lawrence had make herculean attempts to inject the Arabic-speaking residents of "Palestine" with nationalism.

5) Imbued with religious prejudice, the Muslims of Palestine erupted into anti-Jewish violence often, and at the call of the Muslim leaders, long before Israel [existed].

6) Those anti-Jewish, apolitical acts were later, by the British, ascribed to "Nationalism."

7) The bulk of all "Arab" peasantry in the area - East Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, and others - were rendered "landless" by feudal-like societal structures, natural disasters, extortionate taxation, and corrupt loan sharks. YET, the Jews were cynically charged with creating "landless" Arabs in "Palestine."

The British gave state lands, allocated for the "Jewish National Home," to those "landless" Arabs who claimed they were being "displaced by Jews" in Western Palestine.

8) All the land outside the limited Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine was treated as "Arab" land: more than eighty percent - including even part of Western Palestine - was diverted to the Arabs.

9) The overwhelming bulk of Palestine called "Eastern Palestine," or "Transjordan," became the Arab independent state within Palestine, despite the fact all "Palestine" had been designated as a "Jewish National Home."

10) The "homelands" to which Arab refugees moved in 1948 included lands that many Arab refugees had only recently left, in order to gain the economic advantages of the small Jewish region within Palestine. Those "homelands" where many Arab refugees of 1948 originated included the greater part of "Palestine" - Jordan today - to which the Jews claimed historic rights: "Jordan" was no less a "Palestinian state" than was the Jewish-settled faction named "Israel."

11) Those who deprived the Arab "refugees" of homes among families and within their own Arab nation are the Arab-Muslim leaders.

12) The Arab "refugees-[immigrants]," who by tradition had been migrating into the Jewish-settled areas, were accepted as citizens of Palestine-cum-Jordan, because Jordanians acknowledge that their country is "Palestinian soil."

13) All other adjacent Arab states refused to grant the dignity of citizenship to those whom they called their Arab brothers. The migrants had left their nearby Arab homelands to share the new prosperity in the Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine, that fraction of the original Jewish homeland retained by the Jews.

14) is only in the Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine that the population distribution is relevant. The charge that "Arab Palestinians were excluded from their homeland" has been levied against the Jewish people, based upon the false assumption that Jews were allowed to settle, unrestricted, through out their "Jewish National Home" of "Palestine," and thus that Israel was equivalent to all of "Palestine."

Since the land of Israel - mainly the Jewish-inhabited land in 1948 - accounted for less than a fourth (1/4) of the land originally designated "Palestine," and if the rest of "Palestine" is inhabited by Jordanian Palestinians in an Arab state carved out of the Palestinian "Jewish National Home" - where Jews are forbidden by law from settling - how, then, can Arabs be said to have been "excluded" from a "Palestinian homeland?"

The situation-changing effect of a detailed analysis of the composition and distribution of the population of Western Palestine, and of the nature of immigration and in-migration into that area, is of immense significance; that these data have heretofore been almost entirely ignored. There was neither map nor measure readily available even to identify accurately the population or territory actually involved in the Jewish-settled areas that constituted the land where ninety-eight percent [98%] of all Jews in "Palestine" would live until after 1948 - a fraction of Western Palestine. There has been no relevant recognition of the British land restrictions against Jews, which limited Jewish settlement to only a portion of Western Palestine.

The land in the "Jewish National Home" was treated largely as "Arab Land." The Jews immigration was brutally restricted, while "illegal" Arab immigration was freely permitted - that was in fact, the British "system" of immigration. To appease Arab "discontent," the British violated the international League of Nations Mandate, by "facilitating" Arab settlement onto Jewish-settled land, and by treating the Jews only "on sufferance" in their "Jewish National Home." No real measure of Arab in-migrants and immigrants was ever taken, because the prevalent erroneous assumption was, and still is, that those Aarab migrants had "always been there." The omission of such information facilitated the myth of today.

The Arabs swarmed into the Jewish-settled areas of Western Palestine, took the places that Palestinian Jews were clearing for Jewish refugees, and then charged the Jews with "displacing Arab natives" in the Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine. The Arabs found benefits they had never known before, cannot claim to have been victims. The Arabs demand for "justice" is seen instead to be "injustice," as (footnote page 394)

The Arab habit of "migrating" had nothing to do with persecution, dictatorship, or certain death. Those in-migrants and immigrants among the Arab "refugee" population had been wrongly regarded immediately upon their arrival in Western Palestine as "existing" settled inhabitants "for millennia" within the Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine; they were actually continuing in 1948 their traditional pattern of shifting to where they thought "their brethren were better treated." For the instant "refugees," life was better in the UNWRA camp setting, than for landless impoverished laborers anywhere in the Arab world.

Many counted as refugees were, more realistically, itinerant workers from neighboring countries; many who became "refugees" fleeing from Israel, ostensibly "Palestinians on their plots of land from time immemorial," were in actuality those who had recently gone into Israel, where they were treated as the instant "natives," when Israel was still the "Jewish-settled area of Western Palestine." The fact that they had earned better wages and found improved living conditions among the Jewish settlements, was not a strong enough motivating factor to restrain the Arab leave-taking in 1948.

This pattern of movement had been seen earlier, in 1936, when another "Arab Revolt" had begun. Then, some of the Arab immigrants who had never been reported as "entering" the country suddenly appeared in the British record as "requesting to return to their countries." The British, knowing full well the broad-scale illegal Arab immigration into the Jewish-settled areas of Western Palestine, had ordered colonial officials not to discourage those who volunteered to go "at their own request," because "next week they might not want to go;" when the anti-Jewish attacks and the terrorizing riots and strikes died down, the Arabs would want to stay where they might continue to prosper.

Although many of the affluent Arabs and their followers had been leaving since the United Nations resolution for "Palestine's" partition in November 1947, not until the British abdicated and the Jews gained real equality and independence did the greater part of the "refugee flight" from Jewish-settled areas (Israel) take place. That flight, aided and instigated by Arab leaders, was motivated by several powerful facts. The leaders of the Arab world were involved in an intricate series of intra-Arab power thrusts; "Palestine" could perhaps further their respective personal and dynastic ambitions. The motivations and attitudes by which the Arab leaders could goad, direct, and expedite the Arab masses were built-in: the time-honored subjugation of dhimmi [Jews and Christians under Islamic rule] Jews and the advantages gained therefrom, as well as the deeply imbued belief in Arab-Muslim superiority, gave potency to the Arab leaders' warnings and exhortations.

For centuries, Muslims had been able to incite the Arabic-speaking masses to anti-Jewish attacks by invoking the racially prejudiced "holy words" and by spreading inflammatory fabrications about the Jews. In 1948, two prime related factors were at play:
First, the Arab masses believed that, with independence, the Jews would turn the tables on the Arabs and would take retribution from them for the persecution that the Jewish dhimmi had suffered at Arab hands in the past. The few "acts of reprisal" by outraged Jews, in response to the Arab hands in the past. The few "acts of reprisal" by outraged Jews, in response to the Arab violence designed to prevent the Jews' statehood, were novel and unexpected. For so long, the dhimmi had exhibited "incredible restraint." Word of the Jews' counterattacks was broadcast far and wide, embellished, and vastly exaggerated. For numerous Arabs, among most of whom migration was an easy and deep-rooted tradition, the inclination was to move.

Second: the implication of a dhimmi-run country in the Middle East, however small in size, was anathema to an Arab-Muslim group; it was one thing for Arabs to exercise their "right" to take advantage of dhimmi property and development, but it was an utterly different matter to be under the rule of such dhimmis.
Paradoxically, despite the distaste for the existence of a dhimmi development, the Arabs had subordinated their emotions for the advantages of living in an area of greater prosperity under British sovereignty. They had followed the Jews into the Jewish-settled areas of Western Palestine from other areas of the country, from mother lands, to be near the Jews.

If the Arab numbers hadn't been swelled by in-migration and illegal immigrations, the Jews' majority in their own "National Home" would have been far greater, the number of Arab refugees in 1948 would have been far lower, those who were in fact refugees fleeing to lands outside Jordanian Palestine might have been granted their right to citizenship according to international precedent, and the illusion of a "native Palestinian Arab displacement by Jews" could not have achieved a semblance of credibility.

Young Israelis and young Arabs don't know the realities of their own, and each other's, histories. The older Israelis remember; they say they knew, but never thought of proving it - or that any of it was calculable [the number of Arabs and Jews]. A prominent Palestinian, born in Jerusalem and specializing in the Arab world, described, as we sat in his office, the "scandal" in the "thirties,"when British officials were caught giving "thousands of genuine Palestine citizenship papers" to illegal Arab immigrants. He also recalled that in his "mother's house the servants changed every week, and every week the Arab helpers came from someplace else outside of Palestine."

The "young" Arabs that Peters speaks of below, would today be 38 - 46 years old.
Today's twelve-or-twenty year old "Arab Palestinian people" were not yet born when the Arab exodus from Israel occurred. Most have no notion themselves of the prior history of in-migration and immigration to the Jewish enclaves of settlement within Western Palestine. They do, however, know that to verbalize out loud the thought that it was their Arab "brothers" who kept them in a suspended state of animation called "refugeehood" would bring ostracism and perhaps worse. The Arab-Palestine "Liberation" Organization "eliminates traitors," as the PLO's United Nations "observer" Terzi declared in 1978.

The injustices done to the "Arab Palestinian refugees" have been perpetuated by the Arab world, which has also masked and denied the "Palestinian state" that exists. By fanning intolerance toward Jews as "infidels" into violence against Israel as "the enemy," the PLO, or "Palestinian revolutionaries," have taught the twelve-year-old Arab, born in a refugee camp, that his oppressor is Israel. He knows not about the Arab effendi or sheikh who may have stolen his grandfather's or his father's land, through graft or usury; he knows nothing of the thousands of his Arab brothers who had, in the years before 1948, been "landless peasants, streaming into the newly reclaimed wastelands of the Jewish-settled areas from the very countries where some are still in camps; he has not learned that the Arab world's oil wealth has been used to keep his hatred directed against Israel, by keeping him and his family from the dignity of citizenhip in the "brother" country where he is encamped. Moreover, he does not know what many Arabs have admitted: that the Arab world, which has rejected its responsibility for his plight, must eventually undertake it.

Peters recounts an interview she had with an Arab refugee youth:
Youth: I come from Palestine - some say Israel, but the Jews came only 30 years ago...Jews came from Europe...from Russia - it'snot our fault...Dayan came from England...Begin from, I odn't know, Switzerland...Why they leave the United States? Why they leave England: The East is for Arabs.
Peters: Isn't Jordan also Palestine?

Youth: No, Jordan is used to be Palestine but when English finished up, they gave it to Hussein...A million, maybe a million and half Palestinians, all the merchants live in Jordan. Bedouins live way outside on the desert...

Peters: If Jordan has a majority of Palestinians, and is "Palestine," then isn't Jordan a Palestinian country?

Youth: No, because we can't get rid of Hussein - he's in CIA. The United States protects him - he's killed 10,000 Palestinians in '69, '70...We refuse citizenship.

Peters: In Israel or in Jordan?

Youth: Both of them

Peters: Why?

Youth: If we took citizenship we wouldn't get back our land - we'd forget.

Peters: But Israel is only a small part of Palestine - what will you do with the Jews in Israel?

Youth: It takes time, twenty, thirty, forty years, but we try to get our land - we get rid of them. We have to believe in something, you know?
Keep in mind, the following was written in 1982. The "older" population in 1982 would be, today, 60 or older, and likely the latter:
Israelis too are confused and troubled. The older Jewish population can remember the violence, the Arab in-migration, and the influx of Arabs from surrounding borders. But many young Israeli "Palestinian" Jews react with anxiety, empathy, and concern about their alleged culpability, in response to widespread perceptions about the Israeli "occupation" of the West Bank and the myth of the "three-or-four million Arab Palestinians excluded from their homeland inhabited by them since time immemorial." For so long the propaganda has reiterated that "Jews displaced Arab natives" in "Palestine," without even any factual framework for evaluating such allegations, that many Jews feel they must bear that guilt. It is not a new syndrome.

Arthur Miller caught it well in his play Incident at Vichy, a treatment of the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime in France and its mass arrests of Jews during World War II. In an exchange between two Jewish prisoners, Leduc, a psychiatrist, and Lebeau, a painter:
Leduc: You feel guilty, then?

Lebeau: A little, I guess. Not for anything I've done but...I don't know why.

Leduc: For being a Jew, perhaps?

Lebeau: I'm not ashamed of being a Jew.

Leduc: Then why feel guilty?

Lebeau: I don't know. Maybe it's that they keep saying such terrible things about us, and you can't answer. After years of it, you...I wouldn't say you believe it, do a little.
Goebbels, Nazi exponent of Hitler's "Big Lie," averred that if a lie were repeated often enough and long enough, it would come to be perceived as truth. What he did not add was that the victim of the lie may also grow to believe it.

Arab propaganda has attempted to sell several other false ideas. The numbers of Arab refugees have been distorted, just as the numbers of "settled existing Arab natives since time immemorial" were twisted and misrepresented. Even by by the Arabs' own refugee count in 1948, higher than the highest United Nations calculations by 150,000, the number of Arab refugees was, by remarkable coincidence, almost identical to the number of Jews - 600,000 to 800,000 - fleeing or expelled from Arab countries into Israel in 1948.

The Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 came mainly from the coastal areas where the Jews' settlement was heavy - the same areas into which so many Arabs had recently arrived. This might explain why the United Nations was moved to describe, as eligible for refugee status, any Arab who had lived in Israel for the minimal two years.

End Peters


Related conversations based on From Time Immemorial:
The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict Over Palestine
The Myth of Moslem-Jewish coexistence in "Palestine"
How Feudal Arab andowners who exploited their peasantry became Nationalist Leaders

Maps of Mandated Lands and Final Borders
The Angst of Supporting Israel

1 comment:

  1. There isn't an inch of ground, from Gaza to Mongolia, from India to Moosejaw, Canada that the islamists would EVER allow a Jew to live on. As for us infidels, we're occupying muslim land too according to the World Caliphate mandate.

    p.s. they'll have to take my plot of land