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Friday, June 17, 2011

The 'peace pieties'

Barbara Lerner cuts down the myths of the 'peace pieties' - four maximalist demands that the World doesn't understand and therefore deems to be reasonable. I urge you to read the whole thing, but I find the fourth one most interesting, because it's rarely said outside the Orthodox Jewish and Evangelical Christian worlds (and I don't believe Lerner fits either of those two categories).
So far, so good, translation-wise. But to truly free ourselves from the destructive snares of a so-called peace process that has brought us and the Israelis 44 years of increasing terror attacks and propaganda-war defeats, we must all, finally, reject peace piety #4, the foundation stone of the whole corrupt process. It is the“two states for two peoples” idea, and to the best of my knowledge, only two NRO writers — David Pryce-Jones and I — have unequivocally rejected this piety of pieties, arguing that creating a separate Palestinian state would be a terrible blunder under any circumstances. The fundamental mistake here, as I see it, is buying into the myth that the Palestinians are a separate people, with a claim on the Holy Land that, if not superior to that of the Jews, is at least equal to it, because Palestinians are a native Middle Eastern people and Israeli Jews are not. In fact, the truth is the opposite.
She goes on to explain who the 'Palestinians' are, why they don't deserve a state, and why their getting one will not bring peace to the Middle East or to any other part of the World.
Palestinians are native people, but they are not a people: a separate, centuries-old human group, distinguishable from other human groups by virtue of their common genes and/or language, religion, culture, history, or form of government. Obvious examples of Middle Eastern peoples include the Persians, Egyptians, Coptic Christians, Kurds, Berbers, Jews, and Arabs.

Palestinians have no comparable uniquenesses. They are Arabs, and they do not differ from their Sunni Arab brothers in any of the ways listed above. When the ancient state of Israel was partially re-created in 1948, there were no “Palestinians.” Arabs in Israel called themselves “Arabs,” or adopted the nationality of whichever Arab state claimed sovereignty over the part of Israel they lived in at the time — Jordan, Egypt, or Syria. Walid Shoebat, an Arab born in 1960 in Beit Sahour, a village near Bethlehem, put it this way: “We considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Then all of the sudden we were Palestinians — they removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all of the sudden we had a Palestinian flag.” In other words, Shoebat and millions of other Arabs with little or no real connection to the Biblical Holy Land became “Palestinians” in 1967, after Israel defeated the second of three all-out military assaults by the combined armies of Egypt and a slew of Arab nations created after World War II.

Defeat on the battlefield didn’t make most Egyptians or other Arabs abandon their goal — destroying the Jewish state — but it did make them change tactics. Henceforth, they became champions of “Palestinian rights,” mounting an all-out diplomatic and propaganda war against Israel. After their third military defeat, in 1973, they relied on that, and terrorist assaults — rather than massed armies — to destroy Israel over time. The very name “Palestinian” is an in-your-face irony. It’s a foreign name — derived from the Latin name Emperor Hadrian gave the state of Israel after he defeated the Jews’ last attempt to regain their independence from Rome in 135 a.d. When the Ottoman Turks conquered the area in 1516, the name disappeared, and it didn’t reemerge until the British replaced the Turks after World War I. Like everyone else, they called the Arabs “Arabs,” but they used the English version of the old Roman name, “Palestine,” to denote an area much bigger than Biblical Israel. Tasked with dividing this area between Arabs and Jews, they gave three-quarters of it to the Arabs, creating the new Arab state of Jordan, and, in effect, left the Jews, the Arabs, and the rest of us to fight it out over Biblical Israel.

Today, three-quarters of the people of Jordan call themselves Palestinians, along with most Arabs in Israel, and millions of other Arabs throughout the Middle East and far beyond it. Nearly 2,000 years after the Romans created the name, all Arab rulers and the Arab people as a whole embrace it with fervor, and why not? Relentless Arab propagandists have been so successful in selling it to the world that nearly all Westerners accept it without question. But, because there is no “p” sound in Arabic, most Arabs can’t pronounce it. They call it “Falastin.”

And if you think most Palestinians stay in Biblical Israel today because of some passionate attachment to the land, think again. Most stay because they have no real choice. The Arab brothers who champion “Falastinian rights” champion them only in Israel, and either reject Palestinian immigrants to their own countries altogether, or keep most of those they accept in prison-like “refugee camps,” isolated, impoverished, and embittered, generation after generation. There is hope, though. A 2004 poll of Arabs in what those same relentless Arab propagandists have taught us to call “the occupied areas” of Biblical Israel found that 70 percent of them would choose to leave, if given the assistance they would need to go elsewhere.
Read the whole thing. I've been making many of the same arguments since I started this blog nearly five and a half years ago.

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At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's stipulate that Palestine is a myth. Let's further stipulate that Palestinians promoting their myth to delegitimate actual Jewish history and religion is despicable and is reason enough to cease negotiation. That said for the Arabs still residing within the Palestinian Mandate minus (Trans) Jordan there are only four practical options: a) they get a state, b) they are part of Jordan and Egypt, c) they are part of Israel, as citizens or under autonomy, d) they remain as is--stateless autonomy.

Palestine can be as fictitious as you want it to be. Nobody wants the myth of Palestine to be used as a wedge for another Holocaust. OK. But the Arabs called Palestinians are not fictitious and can't be made to disappear through force of logic. Or by voluntary emigration out of the former Mandate. And the Arab population in the Mandate has been around now minimally since the late 19th century--some percentage (not large) way before that. There they are. Populations are cheek by jowl.

You have doors a), b), c) or d). You don't have the door "one day we wake up and they are all gone".

At 5:35 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The point is the Palestinians ripped off an old Roman imperial title given to Eretz Israel. They have no original designation for the country they claim and they have no real sense of national self-consciousness. A Palestinian state would not be for long in this world. But it would be a threat to Israel and the West as long as it existed.

At 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

um, "Nobody wants" as in "no supporters of Israel". Folding the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine into Egypt and Jordan (Druze are on the Golan) could be 1) in place or 2) involuntarily ejected (good luck with that)

At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a mess and rope a dope can't make the UN or the EU or Obama other than they are. Annexation of Yesha is not an abracadabra magic beans solution, the status quo same thing--but if the Likud leadership believes that the peace process and any likely Palestinian state are daggers at the heart of Israel--maybe it's time to say so unequivocally and stop screwing around with these endless "Son of Partition I, II, III, IV etc." sequels.

At 2:42 AM, Blogger Lydia McGrew said...

I pick b or c. But remember, if the other Arab countries would take them, and if the UNRWA, funded by us Americans and others, would stop keeping them refugees in perpetuity, generation after generation, then the "practical options" would be different, wouldn't they? The reason this is an intractable situation is because of what that particular group of Arabs wants and won't stop wanting--the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of the Jews. That being the case, Israel has no choice but to keep them as an occupied people indefinitely. The most right-wing Israelis don't want that. Land-for-peace has always been a genuine offer on the one side. But it's always been a fiction in the real world, because the Arabs aren't offering peace. So if that's how they want it, that's how they're going to have to have it. Are there some innocent people there (children, especially, who don't know any better) getting caught in the mess and stateless indefinitely as a result? You bet. But that's no reason for Israel to recognize a new Arab terrorist state full of virulent enemies which, as in the case of Gaza, Israel would (sickeningly) be expected to provide for and maintain open borders with. To do so would be a fool's game. Meanwhile, the more independent the "Palestinians" are, the more their innocents suffer. In the days of real occupation, they were better off. The Gazan Arabs were better off before the expulsion of the Jews. That says a lot, doesn't it? It might not be reason enough in itself to keep a tight rein on them, but the threat they constitute _is_ reason enough. If this means they remain stateless forever, while their real persecutors--the leftists, their fellow Arabs, and the UN--keep hot the fire of their Jew hatred, this can hardly be considered Israel's fault.

At 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes yes yes, if Israel's neighboring and surrounding irrational enemies weren't irrational enemies "practical options" would be different. Oslo would have succeeded. If Obama and the EU were of different caliber lesser-evil choices would play out differently. This is the world we live in. Carl has posted earlier the OU-Israel Center's presentation of "The Preferred Option: Israeli Sovereignty over Judea & Samaria" coming up June 20 at Rechov Keren Hayesod.


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