Thursday, April 1, 2010

History lesson for Arab spokesmen.


by Assaf Wohl



[Sheik Kamal Khatib is deputy head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement of Palestine. He has denied any Jewish connection to the Temple area, saying, "Our position is that the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount are not holy to the Jews and it is forbidden for them to pray there." The Islamic Movement preaches strict adherence to Islam and social isolation from Israel (read: Jews). Like Hamas, it gains support by providing social services.]

These are Simon the Hasmonean's words, now directed at Sheikh Kamal Khatib and his comrades:

"Not a foreign land we took and not with foreign possession but a land that belong to our ancestors that was occupied without a trial. And when we had the opportunity, we took our land back."

While speaking at an Islamic Movement ceremony to mark the "Nakba," you, Mr. Khatib, said: "I emphasize this to the members of the Jewish people. We, the Palestinians, are here. We are the past, present, and future of this land." And as I consider myself to be a member of the Jewish people, which you addressed, allow me to respond to your words.

Someone should have brought you up to date on this matter, Mr. Khatib. You may be able to sell your dubious merchandize in Gaza or on Tel Aviv's Shenkin Street, but not to someone who studied history for more than 15 minutes. Or perhaps this was some kind of sense of humor, when you happened to speak at the location of two magnificent communities from the Second Temple era, Kfar Kana (today it's Qana) and Zippori, while calling on me to recognize your right to this land.

If you visit the Louvre, the British Museum, Chicago's Oriental Institute, or any other place where historical facts speak, the ancient artifacts would surely shake their head with sadness upon hearing your words.

You should visit your brothers in Egypt. I am certain that they would be delighted to present to you the Merneptah Stele (also known as the Israel Stele,) which dates back to 1208 B.C. and commemorates Egyptian ruler's Merneptah's war against the tribes of Israel he encountered in Canaan.

Do you understand, Mr. Khatib? More than 3,000 years ago, there were Israelites at Canaan. And it isn't me who's claiming it, but rather, an Israel-hater called Merneptah. By the way, this Merneptah also claims that he exterminated Israel. Yet at this time, he is the one who happens to be lying in a museum, while we just celebrated our renewed independence.

But why go so far? At the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the capital of the sovereign State of Israel, you can take a look at the Tel Dan Stele and read about the "House of David." Very surprisingly, this inscription was not found in Lithuania or in Poland, but rather, in the Galilee; and in this inscription too, the king of Aram boasts of victories over Judea and Israel. Look around Mr. Khatib, can you spot any Arameans around here?

Learn from history

Not far from there, in the very same Jerusalem, you can find the Shiloach inscription, made by the slaves of Judean King Hezekiah. Just like any other Israeli, I can read it easily because, wonder of wonders, it's written in the Hebrew language. There you go, Hezekiah and I are linked through culture, religion, and language, despite the 2,700 years separating us. This, Mr. Khatib, will not be changing. And even if you turn the entire Temple Mount into dust, you won't be able to find even one inscription written in Arabic that dates back to the period before 638 A.D. — the year of the Muslim conquest of the land of Israel. Yes sir, Muslim conquest, I'm not confused — 1,600 years after David, the King of Israel, was at the throne.

So, Mr. Khatib, go out there and learn from Merneptah and from the king of Aram. Learn about the destiny of the Assyrian kings, Rome's rulers, Hitler, and his good friend, your very own Mufti al-Husseini. All of them wanted to exterminate us. Take a look at them, and take a look at us.

Therefore, stop. Stop bringing disasters upon your public. After all, if the hatred within you could be directed for the purpose of producing electricity, you would be able to light up the Gaza Strip for 60 years. Did you reach any achievements whatsoever with that holy fury of yours?

Well, Mr. Khatib, by taking the path of deceit and blood you won't make it anywhere. At most, you'll end up in Gaza.


Let me remind Arab Knesset members who the real immigrants in Israel are

I recently watched the television interview with Knesset Member Zahalka, where the Arab MK got carried away with stories, arguing that Defense Minister Ehud Barak "listens to classical music, but killed 1,400 children..." The issue of classical music seemed to greatly bother Zahalka and he repeated it several times.

But I am not interested in discussing Barak's favorite symphonies or the question of whether it was professionally appropriate for interviewer Dan Margalit to be dragged into a loud debate (which in retrospect was revealed to be a superb PR asset.) Just before he left, Zahalka called Margalit "an immigrant." This comes on top of Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi's statement that the Jews are immigrants, and some of them are fascists.

It is noteworthy that both Zahalka and Tibi have a Ph.D. Yet whatever their areas of specialty are, history of the Land of Israel is certainly not one of them. Two such intelligent people are unaware of the basic history of the country where they reside. After all, Kfar Qara, where Dr. Zahalka resides, was only established in the 18th Century under the auspices of the Arab occupation of Eretz Yisrael. Meanwhile, Arabs only arrived at Taibe, where Dr. Tibi hails from, in the 17th Century from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, as attested to by the last names of some residents.

Do they truly believe that the "Palestinians" nobody heard of until the 20th Century, truly grew from the land? Don't they know that under Arab villages in the Galilee one can find synagogues from the Second Temple period? Don't they know that by the end of the 19th Century, only about 140,000 non-Jews resided in the Land of Israel, while by 1948 this number grew tenfold, mostly because of Arab immigration to Eretz Yisrael?

"This neighborhood used to be Sheikh Munis," Zahalka yelled before leaving the Tel Aviv studio, thereby revealing the truth. As it turns out, the appetite of Zahalka and his voters is not confined to the territories. Yet the village of Sheikh Munis, where Tel Aviv University is located today, was only established in the 19th Century, when the Land of Israel was being conquered by Ibrahim Pasha. This took place about 2,500 years after the Shiloh inscription was written in Jerusalem, using the same Hebrew I use to write my column.

And so, the "immigrant" tales are baseless even when compared to the Brothers Grimm fairytales. So why then do Arab Knesset members blatantly lie to the cameras? Aren't they scared to be condemned publicly?

Counting on Jewish ignorance

No, they are not scared. Lies, manipulations, and deception are fundamental pillars in Arab dialectic. First of all, because Arab representatives create fear and hatred through them. Continuing to fan the flames of the conflict is a vital interest for them. After all, the conflict preserves their status as MKs and makes them popular among their voters.

In addition, the Arab MKs realize that the vast majority of Jews will not be able to respond to the "immigrant" argument. And not because it's a winning argument. Rather, because Israeli Jews are interested in iPhones and in reality shows, and no longer have any interest in the history of the people or land of Israel. The people of Israel today wish to study business administration, rather than history or Biblical studies. The dispensers of Arab propaganda lies are counting on it, and rightly so.

And so, a few final words for MK Zahalka. Please read the words of Pharaoh Merneptah, who noted the existence of Israelites in Canaan about 3,225 years ago. This will enable you to conclude that, in historical terms, you are the guest here.

I have no problem with you staying, and I insist that as opposed to the Jews in Arab states you enjoy equality. But how about a little respect to the old timers? After all, you are no more than a little dot in continuous Hebrew history in Eretz Yisrael.

Therefore, with all due respect (which I don't hold for provocateurs such as yourself,) you better keep something important in mind. Historical figures such as King David, Judah Maccabee, and even Bar Kochba were the masters of the land here long before Ibrahim Pasha was even born. So don't try to fool me, Zahalka. I'm not an idiot.

Assaf Wohl is a columnist for Yediot Ahronot, Israel's leading daily.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.


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