45 thoughts on “Gingrich’s Big Lie About Palestine – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. No other country in the world has leaders running for the top position and competing over who takes it up the you know what from a foreign country harder in hopes of securing domestic votes. And even scarier, the context of the blue versus red state position (yep, we’re still divided over here in the US based on, basically, those lines) has moved so far-right, that now Presidential candidates are doing insane things like promising to:
    (1) declare where the capital of a foreign state will be;
    (2) declare that the capital will be outside of the foreign state’s borders (or, e.g., if we declared the capital of Mexico to be Austin, Texas);
    (3) annex illegal occupied territory and settlement blocs, completely slapping the UN in the face several times, the world body, and tearing asunder any remaining notion of international law and order;
    (4) make John Bolton the Secretary of State (you might as well make Bibi Netanyahu the head of CentCOM); and,
    (4) become horribly complicit in Israel’s many international crimes instead of just playing the supplier and protector.

    It’s time to clean out all ~600 members of Congress and to start over. It’s basically the only way other than hoping that some nationalist will come along to silence this traitor.

      1. Forget arithmetic, your socio-political commentary is far more valuable, as you’ve demonstrated in your reaction to our uber hypocrite and mendacious charlatan, Lizard Gingrich.

        1. Thank you. I pray everyday that the people within the artifice of nations and imagined boundaries will eschew these politicians and demagogues and realize how better off we’d be without their lies, cruelty and selfish means of governance.

          One day, they will be the cattle.

  2. RE:“Is what I said [about the Palestinians being an ‘invented people’] factually true? Yes,” Gingrich said during a candidate debate… “Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth.”

    MY COMMENT: Then why, pray tell, did the Zionists establish a newspaper in 1932 and name it “The Palestine Post”? Why did they dream up that name?


    (excerpts) ‘The Jerusalem Post’ is an Israeli daily English-language broadsheet newspaper, founded on December 1, 1932 by Gershon Agron as “The Palestine Post”
    …According to the Historical Jewish Press, ‘The Palestine Post’ was established “as part of a Zionist-Jewish initiative”, and “Zionist institutions considered the newspaper one of the most effective means of exerting influence on the British authorities”…
    …In 1950, two years after the State of Israel was declared, the paper was renamed ‘The Jerusalem Post’

    SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jerusalem_Post

    1. There wasn’t any country named Palestine,it was the name of the area.Which both Jews and Arabs lived,calling themselves Palestinians.

      1. That’s not true. Before establishment of Israel in 1948 only Jews living in Palestine were called “Palestinians”. Arabs – never.

        It is quite interesting that Hannah Arendt – who was quite critical of Jewish leadership – in her “Eichmann in Jerusalem” (published in 1964!) referred to Zionists negotiating with Nazis in the late 1930’s as “Palestinian envoys”.

        So, Gindrich is not quite correct – today’s Palestinians did not invent the name, they stole it….

        1. We’ve been over this before, but the United States is still required to recognize Palestinian nationality under the terms of Article 30 of the Treaty of Lausanne and the Anglo-American Palestine Mandate Convention as a matter of inter-temporal law. The Jews have no exclusive claim to Palestinian national origin. The British authorities summed it up this way

          Further, it is contemplated that the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status.

          Israel was created through its own act of secession, but the Arabs remained Palestinians.

          Newt seems to have forgotten that the US was one of the Allied Powers that invented Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Jordan, and Palestine (which it officially recognized in 1932).

        2. Oh please. This is ludicrous nonsense. I find your comment borderline racist & that is a comment rule violation here.

          And I want you to stop the argument about Palestine & who owns the term. Neither you nor I nor Jews nor anyone else outside contemporary Palestine do. And none determine who has a right to use it or not use it. As a non-Palestinian you have even less right to an opinion than Palestinians.

          1. For the record – I do recognize Palestinian national identity and their right for self-determination with their right to call themselves whatever they want.

            However, that does not mean that I cannot question their origin and their historical claims. This does not make me a racist.

            This by no means a unique situation.

            For example, Greeks point out that contemporary Macedonians have no connection to Alexander the Great and the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. That in itself does not make Greek racist or bigoted in any way. They just want to preserve their national history and culture. This also does not stop Macedonians to call themselves Macedonian and have their own little country.

          2. that does not mean that I cannot question their origin and their historical claims. This does not make me a racist.

            As far as I’m concerned you’ve completely contradicted yrself & rendered yr credibility nil. If you accept their national identity, accept they should have a state then there’s no reason to question their origin or historical claims. If you insist on doing so then you don’t accept their national ID.

            I’m completely bored by this entire line of discussion. Which means lay off it.

          3. Re:However, that does not mean that I cannot question their origin and their historical claims.

            Whenever modern-day geneticists wish to establish a Middle Eastern origin for Jews from elsewhere, they point out that many Palestinian Arabs and Jews shared a common male ancestor within the last 80-100 generations. The Palestinian elites (Husayni, Khalidi, Nashashibi, ‘Abd al-Hadi, and Tuqan families) and the tribes were all well established in the 19th Century and are mentioned in Western Consular and missionary society reports from that period, See for example historical background documents in British Foreign Office Confidential Prints FO 424 and Arab Bureau Papers FO 882.

        3. RE: “Before establishment of Israel in 1948 only Jews living in Palestine were called “Palestinians”. Arabs – never.” ~ Sanych

          SEE: “The Story of Palestinian Nationhood Thwarted After the League of Nations Recognized It”, by Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 03/16/10

          (excerpt)…But because of the rise of the League of Nations and the influence of President Woodrow Wilson’s ideas about self-determination, Britain and France could not decently simply make their new, previously Ottoman territories into mere colonies. The League of Nations awarded them “Mandates.” Britain got Palestine, France got Syria (which it made into Syria and Lebanon), Britain got Iraq.
          The League of Nations Covenant spelled out what a Class A Mandate (i.e. territory that had been Ottoman) was:

          “Article 22. Certain communities formerly belonging to the Turkish Empire have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognised subject to the rendering of administrative advice and assistance by a Mandatory [i.e., a Western power] until such time as they are able to stand alone. The wishes of these communities must be a principal consideration in the selection of the Mandatory.”

          That is, the purpose of the later British Mandate of Palestine, of the French Mandate of Syria, of the British Mandate of Iraq, was to ‘render administrative advice and assistance” to these peoples in preparation for their becoming independent states, an achievement that they were recognized as not far from attaining. The Covenant was written before the actual Mandates were established, but Palestine was a Class A Mandate and so the language of the Covenant was applicable to it. The territory that formed the British Mandate of Iraq was the same territory that became independent Iraq, and the same could have been expected of the British Mandate of Palestine. (Even class B Mandates like Togo have become nation-states, but the poor Palestinians are just stateless prisoners in colonial cantons)…

          ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.juancole.com/2010/03/map-story-of-palestinian-nationhood.html

        4. RE: “Before establishment of Israel in 1948 only Jews living in Palestine were called “Palestinians”. Arabs – never.” ~ Sanych

          SEE: Mr. Gingrich, Grab a Pen: It’s Time for Your History Lesson, by Ashraf Ezzat, Dissident Voice, 12/16/11

          (excerpts)…since Mr. Gingrich likes to see his ranting about the Palestinians as factually correct history…I would like to introduce Professor Ze`ev Herzog to Mr. Gingrich.
          Prof. Ze’ev Herzog teaches in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University. He took part in the excavations of…[numerous]. He is the author of books on the city gate in Palestine and its neighbors and on two excavations, and has written a book summing up the archaeology of the ancient city…
          …After decades of extensive and arduous archeological excavations and search, Prof. Herzog and many other Israeli archeologists, such as Prof. Israel Finkelstein et al, reached a robust conclusion that somehow resembled Prof. [Shlomo] Sand’s thesis of the invention of the Jewish people…
          …Here is a summary by Prof. Herzog, from his famous article “Deconstructing the Walls of Jericho” published in Ha’aretz Magazine, Friday, October 29, 1999 that explains why the harmonious picture of the historicity of the Promised Land collapsed:

          Following 70 years of intensive excavations in the Land of Israel, archaeologists have found out: The patriarchs’ acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land. Neither is there any mention of the empire of David and Solomon. Those who take an interest have known these facts for years, but Israel is a stubborn people and doesn’t want to hear about it
          This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal territory…

          ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://dissidentvoice.org/2011/12/mr-gingrich-grab-a-pen-its-time-for-your-history-lesson/#more-40250

        5. RE: “Before establishment of Israel in 1948 only Jews living in Palestine were called “Palestinians”. Arabs – never.” ~ Sanych

          SEE: Gingrich, Israel and the Palestinians, by Uri Avnery, Counterpunch, 12/16/11

          (excerpts)…FROM ITS very beginning, the Zionist movement has denied the existence of the Palestinian people. It’s an article of faith.
          The reason is obvious: if there exists a Palestinian people, then the country the Zionists were about to take over was not empty. Zionism would entail an injustice of historic proportions. Being very idealistic persons, the original Zionists found a way out of this moral dilemma: they simply denied its existence. The winning slogan was “A land without a people for a people without a land.”
          So who were these curious human beings they met when they came to the country? Oh, ah, well, they were just people who happened to be there, but not “a” people. Passers-by, so to speak. Later, the story goes, after we had made the desert bloom and turned an arid and neglected land into a paradise, Arabs from all over the region flocked to the country, and now they have the temerity – indeed the chutzpah – to claim that they constitute a Palestinian nation!
          For many years after the founding of the State of Israel, this was the official line. Golda Meir famously exclaimed: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people!”
          A huge propaganda machine – both in Israel and abroad – was employed to “prove” that there was no Palestinian people. A lady called Joan Peters wrote a book (“From Time Immemorial”) proving that the riffraff calling themselves “Palestinians” had nothing to do with Palestine. They are nothing but interlopers and impostors. The book was immensely successful – until some experts took it apart and proved that the whole edifice of conclusive proofs was utter rubbish…
          …The name “Palestine” was mentioned by a Greek historian some 2500 years ago. A “Duke of Palestine” is mentioned in the Talmud. When the Arabs conquered the country, they called it “Filastin”, as they still do”…
          …For centuries, Palestine was considered a part of Greater Syria (the region known in Arabic as ‘Sham’). There was no formal distinction between Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians and Jordanians. But when, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the European powers divided the Arab world between them, a state called Palestine became a fact under the British Mandate, and the Arab Palestinian people established themselves as a separate nation with a national flag of their own…

          ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/16/gingrich-israel-and-the-palestinians/

          1. I promised myself not to write any more on this topic, but the volumes of your writings compel me to return here.

            Your posts actually confirm my earlier statements while providing an appearance of contradiction.

            In ancient times there was a region inhabited by Philistines – roughly where the contemporary Gaza is today. Your “Greek historian” – Herodotus – could have written about it. It is also important to understand that his original writings did not survive and were translated and re-written over the ages – with corrections. For example, King James Bible in its translation of the old Testament also uses the term Palestine, which does not exist in the original text.

            The simple fact is that Emperor Hadrian renamed Judea to Palestine in 135 CE. When Arabs came to the region in the seventh century the place was called Palestine.

            You correctly wrote “There was no formal distinction between Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians and Jordanians”. Exactly! They were an Arab nation with the same customs, language, laws, tradition, and, for most part, religion. Palestinians of today claim that they were a nation from the time of dinosaurs. The quote from your generous copy and paste show that this is not true.

            And when you wrote “a state called Palestine became a fact under the British Mandate” I would like to know what you were smoking, because there was an area – a region – called Palestine, which included today’s Jordan, but there was never a state called Palestine.

            And, yes, counterpunch is such an authoritarian source….

          2. If you want to argue with articles in Counterpunch pls don’t do it here. And pls stay on topic. The comment threads are not a place for discussions about Philistines, Herodotus, etc.

          3. waitasecond!

            dickerson3870 posted three big excerpts from three different sources. I responded to the ones that I found relevant to the discussion (I don’t see how the issue of Exodus or patriarchs is relevant here). Yet, you comment that I should not have responded and should have taken my comments elsewhere?!?


            Tikun Olam all the way!

          4. If you have a problem with content someone posts you say it before you respond. Don’t take it upon yrself to further derail the thread with extraneous comments. My problem with what you did was that Dickerson was quoting a Counterpunch article by Uri Avnery. You then proceeded to argue with Uri Avnery. I don’t mind arguing with me or the content of my post. But this isn’t the place to dispute Uri Avnery unless I wrote a post about Avnery. Do that at Counterpunch or somehwere else.

    2. Since you love wikipedia, here is a link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Chesdovi

      Scroll down to the section “Palestine?”. You will see most images have Hebrew signs (only two have both Arabic and Hebrew letters).

      “Palestine Post” was strictly Jewish publication, it is now “Jerusalem Post”. During NY World Fair in the 1930’s Palestinian pavilion was hosted by Zionist organisations.

      So, prior to 1948 the word “Palestine” was strictly associated with Jews. Your friends just appropriated it in the late 1960’s.

      Does it answer your question?

        1. Randy,

          The article that you posted does not contain the word “Palestinian” without “Arab” prefix.

          This is precisely my point – Arabs in Palestine were not referred to as “Palestinians” like today.

          And please don’t bother responding untill you learn to read…

          1. Sanych,

            I guess this website tends to attract arrogant narcissists like you who think they can make their points by insulting the other posters. You lack basic reading skills–the whole point of the “Arab Palestinian” formula is to distinguish Palestine from the ummah as a separate cause. For the Palestinians, the Jews were just invaders and not “Palestinians.”

            Also, if you are going to critique other’s reading skills, you may want to enroll in some remedial training to learn how to write. The word “until” is spelled with just ONE L.

            Mostly, it’s idiots like you who have no educational background—and I am shouting out the anti-zionist characters who frequent this website–who cover for their lack of nuanced understanding of the conflict, its historical roots, etc, with emotional attacks against anyone who DARES contradict them. You know nothing, you don’t have the foggiest notion of evidence is, and you can’t spell. Go away.

          2. Randy,

            I now designate you my official spellchecker.

            As far as characters this website attract, you belong to the type who posts messages that are either illogical, irrelevant or unrelated to the subject at hand.

            Please also note that I did not call you an idiot.

          3. Funny how your idea that my posts are irrelevant or illogical reflects my view of your post. You simply do not understand reasoning. Showing people to a punch of pictures with Palestine written in English, Arabic and Hebrew on a variety of official forms does not in any way make the point you seem to think you are making. Pointing that out to you is hardly off topic–it was your comment that was off topic.

            More to the point, the Arabs used Palestine and Palestinians long before the sixties. The Palestine Liberation Army wasn’t going to help the Haganah.

            So I would just as soon “spellcheck” your comments out of existence, where they belong.

          4. None of your examples even once referred to Palestinian Arabs as “Palestinians”. None… “All-Palestine”, “Palestine Liberation”, etc. – they did not call themselves “Palestinians”.

            This is precisely my argument that the meaning of this term had changed.

            Got it? Got it? Got it?

  3. Richard,

    On Israel, there probably isn’t much substantive difference between Obama and Newt–Obama just rolls his eyes, but not much has changed.

    This election, like every other for some 20 (30?) years means precisely nothing for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The political costs far outweigh any possible gain from trying to resolve an unresolvable conflict. Unless Ron Paul wins–but that prospect makes me shudder for entirely different reasons.

    A better US policy would, of course, run along the lines of friends don’t let friends drive drunk–allies don’t let allies drive their countries, and everybody else, off a cliff in a search for perfect security.

  4. Actually, Gov. Huckabee was saying similar things about the Palestinians a year or two ago. It’s probably the routine opinion amongst the religious right Armegeddonites who are a big part of the Republicans. Newt G. may not know jack about Middle East history, but he knows what the tens of millions of Dispensationalists want to hear.

  5. Everything you write about Israel & Israeli’s couldn’t be further from the truth & quite frankly it’s hard for me to believe that you would be ignorant enough to actually believe it yourself. Which suggest to me that you are purposely trying to misinform your readers. Israelis do want peace. Let me repeat that for you. Israelis want Peace. The fact that they might respond to question such as do you believe there will be peace with a no is only because they know the Palestinians not to want it. Young Palestinians learn in school that it is righteous to kill Jews. Don’t you know that? Not one thing that Israel has done, in moving towards peace has actually worked out favorably for her. Was handing over Gaza to the Palestinians a positive move? You’d think so, wouldn’t you? But obviously it wasn’t. When Barak offered Arafat and the Palestinians all that he did at Camp David and was refused the world was shocked. Weren’t you? God, you can’t possibly be stupid enough to believe the crap you write.

    1. Israelis do want peace

      Sure they want peace. Peace on their terms. Anyone would. I don’t blame them. But that doesn’t mean the Palestinians or anyone else is going to roll over & play dead in the face of Israeli demands that they get what they want. If Israelis want peace but refuse to compromise so their opponents can get their critical interests met, then they don’t want real peace. They want the peace of the victor. And that’s fake peace.

      And don’t repeat yrself ever. Say something 1x & that’s it.

      Your comment is totally off topic. This is not the venue to rail about the Palestinian education system. If you need to do that you belong elsewhere than here. Camp David too is off topic.

      Another pet peeve of mine…you might want to learn the difference between “further,” which you misused, and “farther.”

      For violating the comment rules regarding personal insults, you’ve been moderated.

    1. Canaanites are people who speak Canaantonese and adhere to Canaan culture, known for its cousine completely based on canned food and the modern invention of the phrase “yes, we can!”.

      Their capital is Cancun, which they share with .

  6. For Sanych “Palestinians”: The Ongoing Attempt to Simplify the “Others”
    Middle East Policy Council
    Lorenzo Kamel Visiting Fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies
    Harvard University August 16, 201

    Cambridge (MA) — As efforts to renew the Palestinian-Israeli peace process move ahead, the claim that Palestinians do not exist as a people has become increasingly common. Israeli Tourism Minister Uzi Landau recently asserted that Palestinians “never existed as a nation [but] suddenly everyone talks about a state.” During his last visit to Israel casino magnate Sheldon Adelson called Palestinians just “southern Syrians” or Egyptians until Yasir Arafat “came along with a pitcher of Kool-Aid and gave it to everybody to drink and sold them the idea of Palestinians.” Previously, Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz noted that the number “of Palestinians with deep roots in the area of Jewish settlement” constitutes “a tiny fraction,” while American scholar Berel Wein pointed out that pre-Zionist Palestine was almost a desert populated mainly by “Arab immigrants” that “came in great part because of the Jews.” The rationale behind such declarations is clear. If Palestinians do not exist, or are recent immigrants, why would there be a need to negotiate with them, much less permit them a state? Indeed, each of the above considerations, besides not bringing any real benefit to the interested parties, is vitiated by the transposition of values, uses and traditions which are as relevant in the West as they are negligible within the realities to which they refer. Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish used seven words to indirectly clarify most of the current “misunderstandings.” “Who are they,” he asked in his Une rime pour les Mu‘allaqāt (“A Rhyme for the Odes”) referring to he the native majority, “That’s someone else’s problem.” In many respects this was indeed a problem of “others,” of “outsiders.”

    What made the difference for the “insiders” was, besides religion, the provenance from a certain village, the belonging to a specific family clan, the use of a particular dialect, a way of dressing, a product of the earth, a religious festival (the Nabi Musa festival, for example, was a clear expression of a proto-national cohesion), a dance. Before the imposition of the nationalist ideologies and the emergence of exclusivist approaches, it was these factors, not primarily political identity, that defined “Palestinianness.” These characteristics form the “rudiments of a nation” in Anthony Smith’s sense of the concept—a set of identifiers so fundamental and so long-existing, so taken for granted, that virtually no one had any need to investigate. “The whole game of identity definition,” Meron Benvenisti noted, “reflects the immigrant’s lack of connection.

    Natives don’t question their identity.” In the context of this “game of identity definition” it is relevant to mention that some scholars have suggested that the use of the term Palestine was not an exclusive prerogative of the Arabs and that therefore a more precise distinction should refer to two distinct realities: the Arab Palestinians (or Arabs of Palestine) and the Palestinian Jews.

    In this sense it was noted that from 1932 to 1950 the Jewish newspaper Jerusalem Post was called The Palestine Post. The clarification is relevant, and in fact the Jews that over the centuries did remain on the spot can be defined Palestinian Jews. The charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) itself, a document certainly not very inclined to compromise, recognized that “the Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion are considered Palestinians.”

    This means that before the emergence of insular and exclusivistic approaches, such as the avodah ivrit (“Hebrew labor,” i.e. only “Jewish hands” could work the “Jewish land”) logic, there was no urgency to define the different ethnicities in a clear-cut way.

    Moreover, even if we focus the attention on an “ethnocentric perspective” it is necessary to keep in mind that such an aspect does not alter the terms of the question in a substantial way. Referring to an overwhelming “Palestinian Arab majority,” or to an overwhelming “Palestinian majority,” as opposed to a possible “Jewish-Palestinian minority” or “Jewish minority,” is little more than a semantic disquisition. The reference to a “Palestinian Arab majority” is not a secondary one. The reference to a majority, and thus to numbers, is relevant in as much as it directly tackles the common thesis according to which that majority was indeed composed by “Arab immigrants” that “came because of the Jews.” In the context of our interest, numbers and “identity” are strictly related. In other words, answering to the question of how many the Palestinians were also helps to explain who these people were. The first official census was taken in Palestine in 1922, by the British mandated government. In that occasion a total population of 757,182 individuals was found, of whom 590,390 were Muslims, 83,694 Jews, and 73,024 Christians. The previous surveys presented obvious difficulties. The Ottoman authorities usually counted, for tax and military service purposes, almost exclusively adult males or heads of family. The various Christian denominations, like the Jewish millet and the consulates that were gradually created, kept their own records. The most reliable estimates of previous centuries reveal that in 1800 the total population of Palestine numbered 250,000 individuals, reaching 500,000 in 1890. Justin McCarthy, an acknowledged expert on the issue, indicated the number of residents in Palestine in 1860 as 411,000, the overwhelming majority of which (around 90 percent) Arabs. From a Eurocentric perspective these numbers might seem negligible. To get an idea, one has only to think that when Paris reached one million inhabitants in 1846, Jerusalem and Haifa numbered, respectively, little more than 18 thousand and a bit less than 3 thousand. It would, however, still be wrong to choose countries on the Old Continent instead of those in the Oriental Mediterranean area for a reliable comparison. It is more logical to compare Egypt at the start of the 1800s with Palestine in the same period. It is estimated that the first one had at the time a population of around three million inhabitants: today it numbers 77 million. The second, inhabited at that time by 250,000/300,000 people (therefore 225,000/270,000 Arabs), registers today little more than five million individuals. In comparison, these data demonstrate substantial “comparative convergence” between Palestine and the historically most important, as well as most populous Arabic country. Among the Arab majority of Palestine different senses of identity (connected to religious, local, transnational and family allegiances) coexisted without any contradiction between various loyalties being felt. In fact, they were identities as both distinguishable and overlapping. Not by chance, as Barnett and Telhami also noted, one of the ways in which the entire area differs from other regions “is that the national identity has had a transnational character.” It is in this “regional” context that it is worthy to explain the inconsistency of the “Arab immigrants” thesis mentioned above. The reference is to an assumption made popular by Joan Peters in her From time immemorial. In the latter, through an analysis of migratory processes registered throughout the course of the 1800s and in the period of the British mandate, the author depicted Palestinian Arabs as “foreigners” coming from “outside areas.” Following Peters’s approach, many later scholars tried to demonstrate that Palestine was a semi-desert and that the inhabitants the first Zionists encountered were nothing more than “travelers” attracted by the Jewish immigration. At least until the 1920s the growth of the Arab population — not an isolated case in the region (in Iraq, for example, between 1867 and 1905 the population went from 1 million 250 thousand to 2 million 250 thousand) — had, in reality, little to do with Jewish immigration. As Justin McCarthy noted, “the province that experienced the greatest Jewish population growth (about .035 annually), Jerusalem Sanjak, was the province with the lowest rate of growth of Muslim population (.009).” The increase in Palestine’s Arab population was mostly due to high demographic growth: a phenomenon which started already in the middle of the 1800s, thus prior both to the first wave of Zionist immigration and the first construction company founded in the 60s in Jerusalem by Yosef Rivlin. Such demographic growth was accompanied by a reduction in average mortality — placed well below the 40 years in the first decade of the XX century — prompted mostly by the innovations introduced by the Jewish component of the population. The latter, on the contrary, multiplied thanks to immigration, embodied mainly by worshipers, often persecuted, coming from other continents. This (immigration) is one of the main points which merits further clarification. Small groups did indeed immigrate in earlier years from outside Palestine. Among these was a group of Egyptians, which settled in Palestine during the years in which the region was subject to the rule of Muhammad Alì. Not long after, a small number of Bosnian, Algerian and Circassian immigrants arrived, who then settled primarily in the Galilee (their presence today is seen in the villages of Rehaniya and Kfar Kama) and at the “border” with Lebanon. Unlike the Jews who arrived in later decades during the Second and Third aliyot — the latters, through practices such as the above mentioned “Jewish Labor,” opted for exclusion and therefore the non-integration with the local Arab population — the aforementioned groups almost immediately integrated with the local majority. Most of the Arab Palestinians that Peters and many other “outsiders” defined as “foreigners,” or “former invaders,” were, in reality, people deeply rooted in what Khayr al-Dīn al-Ramli (1585-1671), an influential Islamic lawyer from Ramla, defined in the XVII century “Filastīn bilādunā” (“Palestine our country”); the fact that it was not a separate political and administrative entity did not make al-Ramli’s “Filastīn” less real. Maxime Rodinson explained the “former invaders’s myth” taking the English people as a term of reference.

    “It is ridiculous,” Rodinson clarified, “to call the English of today invaders and occupiers, on the grounds that England was conquered from Celtic peoples by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the fifth and sixth centuries. The population was ‘Anglicized’ and nobody suggests that the peoples which have more or less preserved the Celtic tongues — the Irish, the Welsh or the Bretons — should be regarded as the true natives of Kent or Suffolk, with greater titles to these territories than the English who live in those counties.” The “foreigners’ approach” is problematic on many other grounds; it is not necessary, in order to realize this, to go back to a far past. The minority whose origins were from other areas lived, in great percentage, in the context of Bilād al-Shām. “Filastīn,” in other words, was/is an integral part of the Arab world without erasing its peculiarities. Considering the movement within the region as a migratory process among reciprocally “foreign” populations, is a simplistic way to define a reality that was anything but simple.

    In Adel Manna’s words: “A Palestinian who moved to south Lebanon or a Lebanese who moved to Palestine — or a Syrian or a Jordanian, for that matter — is surely not a foreigner because he is part of the culture of the society of Bilad-al-Sham, or Greater Syria, where there were no borders between countries […] there is a big difference between them and foreigners who came from Europe, whether Christians or Jews.” Manichean temptations have always been harbingers of misrepresentations, as well as of great suffering. The “black or white” approach according to which Palestinians were/are a well defined nation, or were/are nothing more than “Arab immigrants” that “came because of the Jews,” and so people who would be relatively easy to dislocate to any other region in the Arab world, has for long been an inaccuracy diffused in the literature on the issue. An inaccuracy that, on the one hand, contributes to further radicalize the present day history of the region, and, on the other, continues to foster the long-established attempt of simplifying the local universe. As Haim Gerber once noted, “one basic claim is that the Palestinians lacked positive values in their nationalism, their ideology being confined to a fundamental hatred of Zionism […] Other historians (Zionist and other) claim that […] the people we today call ‘Palestinians’ saw themselves at the time as simply Arabs and nothing more specific […] I shall argue that not one of the historians who have dealt with these questions really got it right.”

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