Debunking the “indigenous Palestinians” myth

I’ve written about this subject before, and no doubt I’ll be writing about this thorny subject again in the future. But the constant attempts by the Palestinians and their gullible or evil  supporters to undermine Jewish rights in Israel and to steal Jewish history, together with the onslaught on Jewish indigenous rights at the UN and similar institutions, make it imperative to counter these lies with our own declaration of the truth and reclamation of our natural and indigenous rights to the Land of Israel.

The recent demand by the Palestinians for an apology from Britain for the Balfour Declaration is a perfect opportunity to rebut their claims of indigenous heritage in Israel (aka Palestine). Three articles I came upon recently thoroughly refute these lies.

A scholarly analysis by Sheree Roth in the Middle East Forum examines whether the Arabs were indigenous to Mandatory Palestine. The article is quite long but well worth the read. here is a short excerpt:

A number of analyses address the subject of Arab immigration to Palestine: Joan Peters’ From Time Immemorial,[4] Arieh Avneri’s The Claim of Dispossession,[5] and Fred M. Gottheil’s essay, “The Smoking Gun: Arab Immigration into Palestine, 1922-1931.”[6] But, William B. Ziff’s little remembered The Rape of Palestine, published in 1938, adds an important first-hand source to these recent studies. None of the modern authors used Ziff as a source, so this is new information to present-day analysts.

Ziff (1898-1953) was born in Chicago and co-founded the Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, which specialized in technical magazines in such subject areas as aviation, radio, and photography. Active in Zionist politics, his Rape of Palestine was considered by the British Foreign Office “a violent and offensive book,” and for years afterward, the British monitored the Zionist writings and speeches of this “unscrupulous gangster,” fearful that his audiences were “lapping this poison up.”[7]

The thrust of Ziff’s book is on British policy in Palestine during the mandate period, but what is especially interesting today are his comments on the migration of Arabs and the squelching of Jewish immigration by the British…

“Indigenous” Pre-20th Century Foreigners

Ziff notes that foreigners already peopled the land:[8]

Arabs Attracted to Jewish Settled Areas

Ziff reports that Jews invested large sums of money to “facilitate” Jewish immigration and encourage Jewish settlement in Palestine […]

Ziff describes this pattern:

Not until the Zionists had arrived in numbers did the Arab population begin to augment itself. The introduction of European standards of wage and life acted like a magnet on the entire Near East. Abruptly, Palestine became an Arab center of attraction. By 1922, after a quarter century of Jewish colonization, their numbers mushroomed to 488,000. Today they are over a million.

If the English contention were accurate, we should expect to find an exodus of Arabs from areas where Jews are settled into purely Arab regions. But exactly the opposite is true: It is precisely in the vicinity of these Jewish villages that Arab development is most marked. Arab Haifa, profiting by the Zionist boom, grew from 1922 to 1936 by 130%, Jaffa by 80%, and Jerusalem by 55%. The Arab rural settlement in the Tel Aviv district increased by over 135%. The all-Arab city of Nablus, which held 33,000 before the war, has fallen to less than 12,000. Safed which had 20,000, dropped to less than 9,000.[12] […]

British Obstruction of Jewish, Not Arab, Immigration

Peters and Avneri describe how the British obstructed Jewish immigration while facilitating or ignoring Arab immigration. Ziff adds details about immigration certificates, labor visas, taxation, and Hadassah aliyahs…

Hunting down Jews

Though guards kept watch to prevent the entry of “illegal” Jews, Arabs from anywhere entered without any passport investigation. The Peel Commission admitted that Arabs from Syria and Transjordan “are free to enter … Palestine without special formality.” Illegal Arab immigrants were also known to work on road and house construction in Petach Tikvah and Haifa.

Only Ziff mentions the British practice of hunting down “illegal” Jews:

Illegal Arab Immigration

Ziff also writes about futile attempts by Jews to bring the problem of illegal Arab immigrants to the attention of British authorities:

The increase in Arab population due to immigration was no secret. Another important testimony came from Robert Kennedy, the future U.S. attorney general, who traveled at age twenty-two in 1948 to Palestine and reported from there for the Boston Post.He also noted the influx of Arab immigration into Palestine:

While Ziff’s book has lain dormant, his insights regarding the waves of Arab immigration into Palestine substantiates the assertions of later scholars. During the mandate period, Arabs from many lands flowed freely into Palestine while Jewish immigration was severely limited. The truth remains that the native Arab population in Palestine was relatively small before the first Jewish settlers made it an attractive and prosperous place.

Keep all the above facts in mind as you study a Treasury of Photographs of Empty Palestine, compiled by former Yediot editor Zeev Galili. The article below is from 2009 but I only found it now (via Zvi):

Hundreds of rare photographs from the 19th Century reinforce the conclusion emerging from the British Expedition’s map * The photographs were painstakingly collected by Eli Shiller, a Land of Israel researcher, and they can be viewed on the internet * This too is the opportune time to determine which of the terrorist leaders is actually a Palestinian

When I published the article on “The Great Map of the Empty Land”, I had difficulty in finding photographs that would support the conclusion arising from that map.

The map – which was drawn up by a British Expedition that made a comprehensive survey at the close of the 19th Century – proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that the people arriving in the First Aliyah (1882) found a desolate and empty land, exactly as the author Mark Twain and many other tourists had described.

Galili links to the site which compiled the photos – click on the link and you will indeed find a treasure trove. The photos within prove (in case anyone had any doubt) that the land was indeed empty until the Jews arrived to make it flourish.

On the main road from Shechem (Nablus) to Jerusalem, 1913

What is now East Jerusalem by David Roberts, 1842

There are many more photos at the site. Go and feast your eyes, learn some history and refute those lies that Palestine – aka Israel – was full of Palestinians (who didn’t actually exist until 1964).

The third article, and in a way the most powerful because it is written in layman’s terms, and is also very current, was written this week by Jewish activist and blogger David Collier. He writes about “the science of hating Zionists” and explains why most anti-Zionism is antisemitic. This article fits in with my post’s theme because, by in order to explain the antisemitic underpinning of anti-Zionism he has to explain what Zionism actually is, and therefore to refute the claims of Palestinian indigenous rights.

The Palestinian right of return. An inalienable right. A hereditary condition, with Palestinian ‘nationhood’ passing from parent to child.

In this manner, 70 years later, the struggle, even the violent struggle, is framed as a movement of National liberation rather than a struggle for personal freedoms. The Arab who was born in Lebanon, whose parents were born in Lebanon, does not strive for freedom in Lebanon, but rather to experience the liberation of his ‘homeland’. A land neither he nor his parents ever trod. This movement of national liberation has full time support from a long list of anti-Zionist activists.

Let us go back in history

I was in Rome in August, and saw the Arch of Titus. The arch is almost 2000 years old. Constructed to commemorate Titus’ victories, including the siege of Jerusalem. There embedded into the south panel are representations of the spoils taken from the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

So, let us rewind 2000 years. The Romans had sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the 2nd temple. Jews were forbidden entrance to their holy city. The final rebellion in a new uprising to regain their independence (133–135 CE) was crushed.  These Jewish people, were fighting a struggle that was clearly a movement of national liberation.

So, we have two movements of national liberation. One following the Roman military actions the other the current Palestinian cause. (Remember, up to this point our journey was not to question the validity of the narrative).

Contradiction and a mirror of Zionism

Now let us return to the real world and realise that the anti-Zionist position only recognises one of these liberation movements.  What we can call ‘Palestionism’. We call it this because this movement seems to have mirrored the creation of its own narrative on the Jewish experience.  The Palestinians have a ‘diaspora’, they have an ‘expulsion’, they are a persecuted people, claim to have been in the land for ‘millennia’, they suggest the invaders were ‘European’, their fight was against the greatest empire in the world, they use the Nakba as their ‘Holocaust’, they seek to return to their ‘promised land’, Jerusalem is their holy city and so on. It is almost a carbon copy of the Jewish narrative (minus of course much of the historical and factual support).

David Collier continues in this vein, taking Palestinian claims point by point and refuting them by comparing them to the parallel Jewish claims. He unpacks the Palestinian claims, proves that they are untrue, and then goes on to challenge the anti-Zionists by asking why they blindly accept Palestinian claims but dismiss identical Jewish claims. Of course the only possible reason for their dismissal of Jewish claims is plain old antisemitism.

It’s an excellent read and the facts are easily absorbed.

Read and learn – from all three articles, and make sure you have the facts handy when you encounter antisemitic anti-Zionists (or anti-Zionist antisemites for that matter).

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8 Responses to Debunking the “indigenous Palestinians” myth

  1. Pingback: Debunking the “indigenous Palestinians” myth – 24/6 Magazine

  2. Reality says:

    A very very good post.I suggest you publish this in British Newspapers

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you. I’m blushing but I can’t take full credit. I just regurgitate what I read elsewhere.

      And if I sent it to the papera what are the chances they’d print it?

      (Rhetorical question).

  3. Howard Jones says:

    Read: “Palestine: The Original Sin” by Meir Abelson

    • anneinpt says:

      Howard, thank you for your excellent suggestion. I edited your comment because you left it half finished.

      I had vaguely heard of the article/monograph you mentioned so I googled it and the author. I’ve read through a bit and Abelson has written it all before me, and so much more thoroughly and eloquently.

      Again, thank you.

  4. Dan Livni says:

    Great article Anne.

  5. Dan Livni says:

    Great article for you Anne.
    Uncovered: U.K. intel encouraged Arab armies to invade Israel in 1948
    Intelligence obtained by the French secret services in the Middle East sheds new light on Britain’s role in the Arab-Israeli War of Independence.
    By Meir Zamir
    Sep 14, 2014

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