I wrote the following response to a comment left on the “Letter to the Editor” page on World Net Daily’s website. The comment was written by an “R. E. Mustaine.”
R. E. Mustaine holds that the proof with which he concludes that the Palestinian Arabs have had their land stolen by Israel, can be found in a map inside an encyclopedia he owns that was published pre-1948. Evidently Mr. Mustaine suffers from a clear confusion and lack of knowledge of the Jewish biblical and modern historical connection to Palestine.
From biblical times, when this territory was the state of the Jews, to its occupation by the British army at the end of World War I, Palestine had never existed as a distinct political entity but was rather part of one empire after another, from the Romans, to the Arabs, to the Ottomans.
There is not, nor has there ever been, a distinct “Palestinian” culture or language. Further, there has never been a Palestinian state governed by Arab Palestinians in history, nor was there ever a serious Arab-Palestinian national movement – until 1964 – three years BEFORE the Arabs of “Palestine” lost the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza as a result of invading and attacking Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War (which the Arabs started). Even the original so-called leader of the “Palestinian” people, Yasser Arafat, was Egyptian. In short, the so-called Arab “Palestinians” are a manufactured people – a people with no history and no authenticity – whose sole purpose for existence is to destroy the Jewish State.
The map that R. E. Mustaine refers to is merely an image of the territory of the Palestine Mandate which was never a nation, let alone even a political entity of any kind. Under a League of Nations mandate explicitly meant to pave the way for the creation of a Jewish national home, the British established the notion of an independent Palestine for the first time and delineated its boundaries.
They named the lands east and west of the Jordan River – including the country of Jordan which the British created in 1923 — the Palestine Mandate. It is from this time that the Arabs living in this area get the name Palestinians. Of course, at that time the Jews living in the Palestine Mandate were called Palestinians too.
Jews would be permitted only west of the Jordan river. In effect, the British had “chopped off” 75% of the originally proposed Jewish Palestinian homeland to lay the seeds of what would become in 1946 the Arab Palestinian Nation of “Trans-Jordan,” meaning “across the Jordan River.”
The Palestinian Arabs now had their “Arab Palestinian” homeland. The remaining 25% of “Palestine” (now WEST of the Jordan River) was to be the Jewish Palestinian homeland. However, sharing was not part of the Arab psychological makeup then nor now and the Arabs were determined to get all of that remaining 25%.
U.N. Resolution 181 partition plan was to divide the remaining 25% of Palestine into a Jewish Palestinian State and a second Arab Palestinian State (Trans-Jordan being the first) based upon population concentration. The Jews accepted it, the Arabs rejected.
According to British government statistics (Survey of Palestine, 1946, British Mandate Government), prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, 8.6% of the land area now known as Israel was owned by Jews; 3.3% by Arabs who remained there; 16.5% by Arabs who left the country. More than 70% of the land was owned by the British Government.
According to the Peel Commission, published in 1937, at the end of World War I, some of Palestine’s land was owned by absentee landlords who lived in Cairo, Damascus and Beirut. About 80% of the Palestinian Arabs were debt-ridden peasants, semi-nomads and Bedouins. Analyses of land purchases from 1880 to 1948 show that 73% of Jewish plots were purchases from large Arab landowners.
On a list in an article “Our Fathers On The Take”, published in the weekly Fasl al-Maqal, owned by Arab-Israeli parliament deputy Azmi Beshara, the weekly’s editor-in-chief, Awad Abdel Fatah reported that the names of Arabs who sold land to Jews came from an official document dating back to the British mandate in Palestine, which the paper received from official sources in Jordan. Mussa al-Alami, who headed the Palestinian delegation to the London Conference of 1939, sold 90 hectares (222 acres) to Jews in Bisan, now the north Israeli city of Beit Shean, according to the list. Ragheb al-Nashashibi, mayor of Jerusalem from 1920-1934 and head of the National Defense Party, sold over 120 hectares (296 acres) of land in Jaffa, outside Tel Aviv. Nashashibi also sold land in east Jerusalem upon which Hebrew University was later built. Yaakub al-Ghussein, who headed the Arab Fund created to gather money to support the Palestinian cause, sold land to Jews in Jaffa and what is now the Gaza Strip for 4,000 Palestinian pounds, equivalent to British pound sterling at that era. And the other elite Muslim and Christian families, including the Abdel Hadi, Bseiso, and Fahum clans, were also represented on that list. According to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Jews paid more than $20 million at 1936 rates to Arab landowners, mostly estate holders. In 1944, Jews payed between $1000 and $1100 per acre in Palestine, mostly for arid or semi-arid land; in the same year, rich black soil in Iowa was selling for about $110 per acre.
Nevertheless, in 1947, confronted with a determined Jewish struggle for independence, Britain returned the mandate to the League’s successor, the United Nations, which in turn decided on November 29, 1947, to partition mandatory Palestine into two states: one Jewish, the other Arab.
The state of Israel was created by an internationally recognized act of national self-determination; an act, moreover, undertaken by an ancient people in its own homeland.
As is well known, the Arabs rejected the partition plan when they rejected UN Resolution 181 — a resolution that would have created the very first Palestinian nation in the history of the world and it was aborted by the effort of the Palestinians and of the surrounding Arab states to destroy the Jewish state at birth.
Five Arab armies invaded the new state of Israel. In the ensuing war, thousands of refugees fled. Jews fled Arab nations for Israel, and Arabs fled Israel for Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. The Jewish refugees became full citizens of Israel. The Palestinian refugees became pawns. Israel came into possession of the West Bank and Gaza only because she was attacked again by five Arab armies in 1967.
It’s ethnocentric to claim that only a certain ethnic group has rights to own land, as is the claim made by the Arabs, and a claim insinuated by R. E. Mustaine. Why are Arabs the only ones entitled to self-determination?
No nation, other than the ancient nation of Israel and later again in 1948 with the rebirth of the nation of Israel, has ever ruled as a sovereign national entity on this land. A mighty Jewish empire extended over this entire area before the Arabs -and their Islam – were even born. The Jewish people have one of the most legitimate Birth Certificates of any nations in the world. Every time there is an archaeological dig in Israel, it does nothing but support the fact that the Jewish people have had a presence there for well over 3,000 years. The coins, the pottery, the cities, the pottery, the ancient texts all support this claim. Yes, other peoples have passed through, but there is no mistaking the fact that Jews have always had a continual presence in that land for over 3,000 years. This predates and certainly dwarfs any claims that other peoples in the regions may have. The ancient Philistines are extinct. Many other ancient peoples are extinct. They do not have the unbroken line to this date that the Jews have. And if you want to talk religion, fine. G-d GAVE the Land of Israel to the Jewish people. And G-d does nothing by accident.
So, R. E. Mustaine, you’ll have to come up with something REAL to prove how a non-existing homeland was stolen other than a map of a region in an old encyclopedia. The facts on the table PROVE that the land wasn’t stolen from the Arabs; that’s a certainty.