At the basis of the Israel-Palestinian conflict lies the Palestinian rejection of any Jewish rights to the land of Israel itself. They view the Jews as imperialist interlopers who are not indigenous to the area and who, if worn down by conflict and delegitimization, will eventually pack up their bags and leave. This is one of the main reasons for the Israeli demand, as expressed by Binyamin Netanyahu at every session of the peace talks, or talks about the talks, for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, i.e. as the national homeland of the Jewish People.
It is therefore something of an eye-opener to learn that no less than Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti himself, a Nazi sympathiser and supporter who encouraged Hitler to continue the Holocaust into Israel itself, admitted that the Jews did not steal Arab land but bought it legitimately (h/t Rob Harris).
Yet, here is the incredible testimony of The Mufti of Jerusalem on January 12, 1937 when he documents in testimony for the British Peel Commission that the Jews did not steal land from the Arab Palestinians but by the year of 1920, the time of the “Occupation” meaning the British Palestine Mandate, the Jewish people had already purchased 1,500,000 dunams of land in the Land of Israel which is 375,000 acres.
The Mufti also testified that the land was not bought by “forcibly acquired-compulsory acquisition of land”. That kind of ruling behavior was the action of the Ottoman rulers and not the Jews. Also the Mufti admitted that any evictions done were by absentee landlords who chose to sell “land over the heads of their tenants, who then were forcibly evicted”, and that the majority of these tenants were not Palestinians but Lebanese.
Consider the fact that the entire surface area of the Land of Israel is a total of 5,472,140.225 acres. This is the total surface area of Israel. A majority of it is not usable land for housing and farming, much less for infrastructure as roads. By the year of 1920, the Jewish people had already purchased almost 10% of the surface area of the entire Land of Israel as incorporated in the British Mandate for Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. Consider what has been purchased since!
The above post is reposted from Middle East historian David Meir-Levi’s article in Front Page Magazine back in November 2011, (via Yosef Hartuv) so I don’t know why this didn’t make greater waves at the time – or how I missed it! Here’s more:
The cornerstone argument in the Arab narrative against Israel is that the Zionists in the 19th and early 20th centuries came to the Land of Israel and stole Arab land. This is a very simple assertion, easy to visualize, seemingly logical and amenable to a brief presentation: after all, Zionists did come from Europe to what was then Palestine, and the Arabs were already living there. So obviously when the Jews came they took Arab land.
…the evidence supporting the Israeli narrative and contradicting the Arab narrative is vast and thoroughly vetted. For an excellent compilation and analysis of this evidence, see Kenneth Stein, The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939 (University of North Carolina Press, 1984, reviewed here and here).
However, there is one testimony from an unimpeachable source stating that the Jews stole no land, but rather bought land in vast quantities from willing sellers who were the legal owners of the land that was sold. This unimpeachable source is so unarguably innocent of any pro-Israel or pro-Jewish or pro-Zionist sentiment that there can be no rational question regarding the veracity of his testimony. That source is the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Hajj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini (1895 to 1974).[…]
The Peel Commission report had some very salutary things to say about the Zionists and their impact on the land and on Arab society and economy. One of the most important for debunking Arab anti-Israel accusations is:
“The Arab population shows a remarkable increase since 1920, and it has had some share in the increased prosperity of Palestine. Many Arab landowners have benefited from the sale of land and the profitable investment of the purchase money. The fellaheen (Arab peasants) are better off on the whole than they were in 1920. This Arab progress has been partly due to the import of Jewish capital into Palestine and other factors associated with the growth of the (Jewish) National Home. In particular, the Arabs have benefited from social services which could not have been provided on the existing scale without the revenue obtained from the Jews…Much of the land (being farmed by the Jews) now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamp and uncultivated when it was purchased…There was at the time of the earlier sales little evidence that the owners possessed either the resources or training needed to develop the land.” The land shortage decried by the Arabs “…was due less to the amount of land acquired by Jews than to the increase in the Arab population.” (Chapter V in the report).[…]
The selections from the interview presented below can be found on line here and here.Sir Laurie Hammond, a member of the Peel Commission, interviewed the Mufti about his insistence to the Commission that Zionists were stealing Arab land and driving peasants into homelessness. He spoke through an interpreter.
SIR L. HAMMOND: Would you give me the figures again for the land. I want to know how much land was held by the Jews before the Occupation.
MUFTI: At the time of the Occupation the Jews held about 100,000 dunams.
SIR L. HAMMOND: What year?
MUFTI: At the date of the British Occupation.
SIR L. HAMMOND: And now they hold how much?
MUFTI: About 1,500,000 dunams: 1,200,000 dunams already registered in the name of the Jewish holders, but there are 300,000 dunams which are the subject of written agreements, and which have not yet been registered in the Land Registry. That does not, of course, include the land which was assigned, about 100,000 dunams.
SIR L. HAMMOND: What 100,000 dunams was assigned? Is that not included in, the 1,200,000 dunams? The point is this. He says that in 1920 at the time of the Occupation, the Jews only held 100,000 dunams, is that so? I asked the figures from the Land Registry, how much land the Jews owned at the time of the Occupation. Would he be surprised to hear that the figure is not 100,000 but 650,000 dunams?
MUFTI: It may be that the difference was due to the fact that many lands were bought by contract which were not registered.
SIR L. HAMMOND: There is a lot of difference between 100,000 and 650,000.
MUFTI: In one case they sold about 400,000 dunams in one lot.
SIR L. HAMMOND: Who? An Arab?
MUFTI: Sarsuk. An Arab of Beyrouth.
SIR L. HAMMOND: His Eminence gave us a picture of the Arabs being evicted from their land and villages being wiped out. What I want to know is, did the Government of Palestine, the Administration, acquire the land and then hand it over to the Jews?
MUFTI: In most cases the lands were acquired.
SIR L. HAMMOND: I mean forcibly acquired-compulsory acquisition as land would be acquired for public purposes?
MUFTI: No, it wasn’t.
SIR L. HAMMOND: Not taken by compulsory acquisition?
SIR L. HAMMOND: But these lands amounting to some 700,000 dunams were actually sold?
MUFTI: Yes, they were sold, but the country was placed in such conditions as would facilitate such purchases.
SIR I HAMMOND: I don’t quite understand what you mean by that. They were sold. Who sold them?
MUFTI: Land owners.
SIR I HAMMOND: Arabs?
MUFTI: In most cases they were Arabs.
SIR L. HAMMOND: Was any compulsion put on them to sell? If so, by whom?
MUFTI: As in other countries, there are people who by force of circumstances, economic forces, sell their land.
SIR L. HAMMOND: Is that all he said?
MUFTI: A large part of these lands belong to absentee landlords who sold the land over the heads of their tenants, who were forcibly evicted. The majority of these landlords were absentees who sold their land over the heads of their tenants. Not Palestinians but Lebanese.
SIR L. HAMMOND: Is His Eminence in a position to give the Commission a list of the people, the Arabs who have sold lands, apart from those absentee landlords?
MUFTI: It is possible for me to supply such a list.
SIR L. HAMMOND: I ask him now this: does he think that as compared with the standard of life under the Turkish rule the position of the fellahin in the villages has improved or deteriorated?
MUFTI: Generally speaking I think their situation has got worse.
SIR L. HAMMOND: Is taxation heavier or lighter?
MUFTI: Taxation was much heavier then, but now there are additional burdens.
SIR L. HAMMOND: I am asking him if it is now, the present day, as we are sitting together here, is it a fact that the fellahin has a much lighter tax than he had under the Turkish rule? Or is he taxed more heavily?
MUFTI: The present taxation is lighter, but the Arabs nevertheless have now other taxation, for instance, customs.
LORD PEEL: And the condition of the fellahin as regards, for example, education. Are there more schools or fewer schools now?
MUFTI: They may have more schools, comparatively, but at the same time there has been an increase in their numbers.”
The Hajj Amin el-Husseini, the intractable opponent of Zionism, a Jew-hater on par with Hitler, admitted under questioning that no Arab land was stolen; no Arabs were wiped out, no villages destroyed. Rather, the Jews bought hundreds of thousands of dunam (about ¼ of an acre) of land from willing sellers, often from absentee Arab landowners.
Hitler, the Mufti of Jerusalem and Modern Islamo-Nazism.
In a similarly astonishing re-discovery, a video of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat recognizing that the two-state solution would include a Jewish state is making waves. The question remains though whether this was an admission or a mere acceptance of the current reality which he hoped to change, as The Tablet recounts (via Honest Reporting):
But newly-rediscovered footage of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat may upend his successor’s argument that Israel’s demand is an unprecedented one that no Palestinian leader could accept. In the video, apparently of a 1988 press conference in Sweden, Arafat clearly states–in English–that “the PNC [Palestinian National Council] had accepted two states, a Palestine state and Jewish state–between brackets ‘Israel.’” Watch it below:
Last month, senior Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit recounted how Arafat had recognized Israel’s Jewish character in a 2004 interview, calling it “The Arafat Precedent.” Some commentators disputed Shavit’s account, however, arguing Arafat was only offering a de facto acknowledgment of the facts on the ground–Israel’s Jewishness–not an actual affirmation. But this new footage of Arafat doing exactly that appears to vindicate Shavit’s rendering of Arafat’s view, and suggests that it is far from unprecedented for a Palestinian leader to accept Israel’s Jewish nature as part of a peace agreement.
Whether Abbas will use this new evidence as cover for a compromise remains to be seen.
We have further recognition of the Jewish ties to Jerusalem from no less than Islamic Jihad! Despite pro-forma Jordanian condemnation of Israeli “escalation of violence on the Temple Mount” (after stone-throwing by Palestinian ‘youths”, aka terrorists), the head of Islamic Jihad complained – in Tehran! – that the Jews love Jerusalem more than the Muslims do:
Jewish love for Jerusalem drew unexpected praise from the head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror organization, who told religious leaders in Tehran that the Jews show their love for the city more than Muslims do, and quoted in Hebrew from an inspirational Israeli ballad to prove the point.
Addressing a clerical conference in the Iranian capital, Ramadan Shalah lamented that Palestinians and other Muslims showed insufficient love for Al-Quds, the Arabic name for Jerusalem, according to a recording obtained Monday by Israel’s Army Radio.
Shalah contrasted the inadequate Palestinian and Muslim love of the holy city with the heartfelt attachment of the Jews, and — speaking in Hebrew and Arabic — quoted the famous Israeli ballad “Jerusalem of Gold,” penned by Zionist songstress Naomi Shemer.
“What is the meaning of Jerusalem for us?” Shalah, who leads one of the most extreme terror groups in the world and is on the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists list, asked the assembled clergy last week. “Learn from the Jews, from that accursed entity [Israel]. They love Jerusalem not just as a military matter, but as a cultural one,” he declared.
“They have a song in the Israeli entity that their army sings on June 7, when they conquered the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Haram al-Sharif [the Temple Mount, in the 1967 Six Day War],” he added, and went on to quote part of the chorus of “Jerusalem of Gold.”
“Jerusalem of gold. Jerusalem of bronze. Jerusalem of light,” he chanted, saying each phrase in both Hebrew and Arabic.
“Every Israeli child and every accursed Israeli soldier says this song in their heart,” Shalah told the crowd.
The ballad, one of the most popular Hebrew songs ever, was composed for a music festival in Jerusalem that was part of the May 1967 Independence Day celebrations. The song employs ancient references, including from the Book of Lamentations and the Mishnah, to lament that Judaism’s holiest places – especially the Temple Mount – were closed to Jews by the Jordanian authorities who controlled the eastern half of the city at the time.
The Times of Israel kindly posted a video in the article above of the beautiful song, which I post here as an antidote to all the anti-Israel haters quoted above:
And all of this brings us back to Mahmoud Abbas and his rejection of Israel as a Jewish state. With all these “glorious” precedents before him: the Grand Mufti, Yasser Arafat and the head of Islamic Jihad, what is preventing him from admitting that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people?