Discussion, Palestine is a myth

Re: "Myth of the Middle East" (WorldNetDaily)
Re: "Palestine is a myth" (Jerusalem Post, 25 October 2000)

Mr. Farah,

If this is your real name, it can be placed next to former Israeli Prime
Minister Golda Meir, who said "there was no such thing as Palestinians", to
former Prime Minister Begin who said that Palestinians were "two-legged
vermin"; to MK Michael Eitan for whom they were "drugged roaches in a
bottle"; to former Israeli Prime Minister Shamir who said they were
"grasshoppers"; to the more polite Israeli public they were "the Arabs of
Judea and Samaria"; and to the New York Times they were simply "terrorists"
or just "Arabs".

This denial of the Palestinians is a wholesale dehumanisation of a people.
The Israeli scholar Y. Porath has demonstrated that "at the end of the
Ottoman period the concept of Filastin was already widespread among the
educated Arab public, denoting either the whole of Palestine or the
Jerusalem Sanjak alone".

Zionists, like you, who deny the existence of the Palestinians, or
"Palestine", claim that when the Western Powers, after the First World War,
laid down the modern frontiers of the Middle East they did so entirely
arbitrarily. The facts show that, in establishing the boundaries of
"mandated Palestine" where they did, the Western powers implicitly
recognised the reality of Palestine as an area of special significance
whose residents were a people distinuishable from their neighbors. Equally
revealing, Palestine was also recognised as a distinct area by tourists.
Baedecker's famous guidebook, published in 1876, was entitled Palestine -
Syria. Herzl himself, in his correspondence with the Ottoman Sultan Abdul
Hamid, referred to "Palestine" and neither seems to have been confused by
the term.

The bounderies established for Palestine by the colonial powers enhanced
the already existing unity of the area. Evidently the Palestinians and
others did regard pre-British Mandate Palestine as a distinct area, as
something much more than a part of Syria or the Arab world.

In short, the Palestinians recognised it as their homeland, and others
recognised it to be so. It hardly needs stating that these facts alone
would be enough on which to base the conclusion that Palestine's residents
regarded themselves, and were regarded by others, as Palestinians.

Your arguments that touch religion are the real joke of your article.
First, there can be no trace found, outside Biblical texts, of the events
before the 10th century BC described therein. As for the "evidence" of the
Old Testament it was written by the Jewish patriarchs and therefore the
theme of an "historic right" to the land of Palestine appears only in texts
emanating from those who claim to be the beneficiaries thereof. The Zionist
Jews were not the first people who inhabited Palestine, these were the
Canaanites; they were not different with special title to an exclusive
claim on Palestine because when the Jews conquered Palestine, they were
just one group of invaders in a long line of conquerors among others
(Babylonians, Hittites, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks);
the Kingdom of David and Salomon lasted only for about 70 years, while
settled populations have inhabited Palestine for some 9,000 years.

In 1968, Jewish historian Maxime Rodinson wrote that "the Arab population
of Palestine was native in all the usual senses of the world."
Anthropologists believe that today's Palestinians are descended from the
Canaanites, the earliest recorded inhabitants of the land, and the
Philistines. Those Arabs who did migrate in the seventh century are also
considered Palestinian since 1,200 years of residence certainly qualify
them as natives of the land. The Palestinian people, despite the infusion
of other peoples, have remained the natural inhabitants of this land.

The most significant fact about the existence of the Palestinians has been
not just their displacement as a result of the 1948 war, but their
continual and systematic displacement. It is clear that the central issue
in the Arab-Israeli conflict is the Palestinians. For this reason Israel
has devoted enormous energy to expelling them from their homes, to
stripping away their identity, and to denying their existence and
importance for the resolution of the conflict.

Please correct your wrongs,

Arjan El Fassed
The Netherlands