Dedicated to the late Saeb Erekat, who declared: “I am the son of the Natufians. … I have been there [in Jericho] 5,500 years before Yehoshua Bin-Nun.”
In the artificially conceived world of the imagined “Palestine,” there is an alternative constructed history—the result of an ideological creationism I will term “Palestinianism.” This flies in the face of all known history and the known evidence—literary, archaeological or otherwise recorded—is denied, then altered, and finally, repackaged. Moreover, when events cannot be denied, a totally obverted version of the occurrence and why it happened is then presented, as when the Palestinian Authority tweeted out this Christmas in direct denial to what is recorded in the book of Matthew: “Merry Christmas from the birthplace and land of the son of Palestine Jesus Christ.”
The Christian Scriptures has it that his birthplace was the province of Judaea in the town of Bethlehem in the Land of Israel. Why would the P.A. leadership presume they could be so blatant in their propaganda messaging?
Moreover, the truth is a total disconnect from this effort by proponents of Palestinianism. Faced with simple and plain proof that what is being purported is not factual, a vigorous campaign of maligning and deprecation will take place. I would suggest, too, that the only reason any of the claims put forward by this Palestinianism are accepted is a latent anti-Jewish emotional approach to Judaism, Jewish national identity and its political framework: Zionism.
In this imaginary Palestine, Nov. 29—the day the Arabs of Mandate Palestine, the geopolitical entity that originally was to become the reconstituted Jewish National Home, rejected a partition that further stole more of the Jews’ historic homeland and inaugurated an intra-communal war—becomes the International Day of Solidarity for a “Palestinian people.”
In Jerusalem—the city the Jews have considered their capital for 3,000 years and wherein they worshipped at two temples, a city where archaeological artifacts proving that connections are discovered year after year—Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, an imam of Al-Aqsa, can say, “It is our duty to clarify our strategic position, that Al-Aqsa is for Muslims alone, and the Jews have nothing to do with it.” Jews who enter the compound are “intruders … aggressor[s].” There is a Temple denial effort.
As part of their political self-imagination, they promote, as American-born Israeli writer David Hazony has noted, an “aspirational sovereignty.”
They quote UNSC 242 from November 1967, but neglect to mention that neither “Palestine” nor “Palestinians” is mentioned in the text. The resolution calls for peace that will allow “every state in the area [to] live in security,” yet no Palestine state existed then or ever in history. Moreover, it allows for “the establishment of demilitarized zones.” Could that apply to administrating Judea and Samaria, legally?
P.A. spokespersons and their supporters whip up charges of Israel as an “apartheid state.” The reality, however, is that if there is any genuine separation in place, it is that which disallows Jews to worship at their holiest site, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. P.A. law denies Israelis the right to purchase property in its territory.
Another imaginary charge is that of ethnic cleansing. When the war the Arabs launched—one of aggression in violation of U.N. decisions—ended in 1949, there were no Jews left in Jerusalem’s Old City, its neighborhoods of Shimon HaTzaddik, Nahlat Shimon, and its environs of Atarot and Neveh Yaakov, the Gush Etzion Bloc’s four kibbutzim and the Dead Sea kibbutz of Bet HaAravah. Between the years 1920-1947, Jews had been ethnically cleansed by the Mufti’s terrorist gangs from Hebron, Bethlehem, Shechem, Gaza and other locations as the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sham’a and Shiloach.
And in a follow-up, the Christian exodus from “Palestine” is blamed on Israel’s military administration and their end is in sight with Israel tagged as making war on Christians. Yet somehow, Islamic militancy is overlooked, as is the persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East while a Palestinian Liberation Theology has developed. Again, all imagined as what is real are the attacks on Christians, usually women, on their businesses and their expression of faith.
Palestinianism is a project of national and cultural identity theft, determined to rob Jews of our history, our religious essence and our rights. That is the first blow we suffer from Arabs projecting themselves as Palestinians. Engaging in such deceit should undermine their own claims, their moral justification and their ability to make gains although too many diplomats, intellectuals, media people and politicians are willing to let them get away with it all. And that is the second blow. Even the outright anti-Semitism of the P.A. is ignored.
Even the P.A. is an imagined government. Hamas rules in the Gaza Strip, and if “democratic” elections would be ever held, they would overthrow the Fatah faction. This is a modern-day reincarnation of the deadly Qays and Yaman internecine strife in the Arab world.
Palestinianism was always disintegrating because it very well may be that their identity is imagined. While, as noted here, “Palestinians have always had to adjust their ways to the demands and political needs of outside powers,” cannot we consider that they lack a resilient “inside”? If we compare their history to the Jews, and our 1,800 years of exile and persecution, there is no true comparison. And yet, they consistently fail to maintain national progress and success. Indeed, as D.R. Divine analyzed there, the Arabs of this region existed more to fight among themselves:
No uniform process of legitimizing a single source of political power existed for any Palestinian. … Palestinians opposed one another, their rivalry rooted in the different social networks to a large extent sustained by the presence of Ottoman power.
Indeed, their declared “democracy” is a repressive regime against their own as-it-were citizens. No personal freedoms, no true liberties. No transparency in governmental institutions on the one hand, and on the other, embezzlement and other instances of authoritarian rule. There is no genuine concern for the populace; rather, they are seen as throwaways to be exploited for an imagined goal which, based on the experiences of this past century of strife, is simply to deny Jews our national rights.
Foreign diplomats, human-rights activists, religious leaders and all others concerned about the Arabs living in the territory of the historic Jewish national home should temper their enthusiasm and realize the limitations of their efforts in pursuing the goal as a second (after Jordan) Arab-dominated state in the region of Palestine. Supplementing and encouraging a national imagination can do no good.
Yisrael Medad is an American-born Israeli journalist and political analyst.