Tuesday, May 13, 2008



by Eli E. Hertz

The Palestinians claim that they are an ancient and indigenous people fails to stand up to historic scrutiny. Most Palestinian Arabs were newcomers to British Mandate Palestine. Until the 1967 Six-Day War made it expedient for Arabs to create a Palestinian peoplehood, local Arabs simply considered themselves part of the 'great Arab nation' or 'southern Syrians.'

"Repeat a lie often enough and people will begin to believe it." -- Nazi propaganda master Joseph Goebbels

"All [that Palestinians] can agree on as a community is what they want to destroy, not what they want to build." -- New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman

There is no age-old Palestinian people. Most so-called Palestinians are relative newcomers to the Land of Israel

Like a mantra, Arabs repeatedly claim that the Palestinians are a native people. The concept of a 'Stateless Palestinian people' is not based on fact. It is a fabrication.

Palestinian Arabs cast themselves as a native people in "Palestine" –– like the Aborigines in Australia or Native Americans in America. They portray the Jews as European imperialists and colonizers. This is simply untrue.

Until the Jews began returning to the Land of Israel in increasing numbers from the late 19th century to the turn of the 20th, the area called Palestine was a God-forsaken backwash that belonged to the Ottoman Empire, based in Turkey.

The land's fragile ecology had been laid waste in the wake of the Arabs' 7th-century conquest. In 1799, the population was at it lowest and estimated to be no more than 250,000 to 300,000 inhabitants in all the land.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Arab population west of the Jordan River (today, Israel and the West Bank) was about half a million inhabitants and east of the Jordan River perhaps 200,000.

The collapse of the agricultural system with the influx of nomadic tribes after the Arab conquest that created malarial swamps and denuded the ancient terrace system eroding the soil, was coupled by a tyrannous regime, a crippling tax system and absentee landowners that further decimated the population. Much of the indigenous population had long since migrated or disappeared. Very few Jews or Arabs lived in the region before the arrival of the first Zionists in the 1880s and most of those that did lived in abject poverty.

Most Arabs living west of the Jordan River in Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza are newcomers who came from surrounding Arab lands after the turn of the 20th century because they were attracted to the relative economic prosperity brought about by the Zionist Movement and the British in the 1920s and 1930s.

This is substantiated by eyewitness reports of a deserted country –– including 18th-century reports from the British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, French author and historian Count Constantine Volney (Travels through Syria and Egypt, 1798); the mid-19th-century writings of Alphonse de Lamartine (Recollections of the East, 1835); Mark Twain (Innocents Abroad, 1867); and reports from the British Consul in Jerusalem (1857) that were sent back to London.

The Ottoman Turks' census (1882) recorded only 141,000 Muslims in the Land of Israel. The real number is probably closer to 350,000 to 425,000, since many hid to avoid taxes. The British census in 1922 reported 650,000 Muslims.

Aerial photographs taken by German aviators during World War I show an underdeveloped country composed mainly of primitive hamlets. Ashdod, for instance, was a cluster of mud dwellings, Haifa a fishing village. In 1934 alone, 30,000 Syrian Arabs from the Hauran moved across the northern frontier into Mandate Palestine, attracted by work in and around the newly built British port and the construction of other infrastructure projects. They even dubbed Haifa Um el-Amal ('the city of work').

The fallacy of Arab claims that most Palestinians were indigenous to Palestine –– not newcomers - is also bolstered by a 1909 vintage photograph of Nablus, today an Arab city on the West Bank with over 121,000 residents. Based on the number of buildings in the photo taken from the base of Mount Gerizim, the population in 1909 –– Muslim Arabs and Jewish Samaritans –– could not have been greater than 2,000 residents.

Family names of many Palestinians attest to their non-Palestinian origins. Just as Jews bear names like Berliner, Warsaw and Toledano, modern phone books in the Territories are filled with families named Elmisri (Egyptian), Chalabi (Syrian), Mugrabi (North Africa). Even George Habash –– the arch-terrorist and head of Black September –– bears a name with origins in Abyssinia or Ethiopia, Habash in both Arabic and Hebrew.

Palestinian nationality is an entity defined by its opposition to Zionism, and not its national aspirations.

What unites Palestinians has been their opposition to Jewish nationalism and the desire to stamp it out, not aspirations for their own state. Local patriotic feelings are generated only when a non-Islamic entity takes charge –– such as Israel did after the 1967 Six-Day War. It dissipates under Arab rule, no matter how distant or despotic.

A Palestinian identity did not exist until an opposing force created it –– primarily anti-Zionism. Opposition to a non-Muslim nationalism on what local Arabs, and the entire Arab world, view as their own turf, was the only expression of 'Palestinian peoplehood.'

The Grand Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a charismatic religious leader and radical anti-Zionist was the moving force behind opposition to Jewish immigration in the 1920s and 1930s. The two-pronged approach of the "Diplomacy of Rejection" (of Zionism) and the violence the Mufti incited occurred at the same time Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan and Iraq became countries in the post-Ottoman reshuffling of territories established by the British and the French under the League of Nation's mandate system.

The tiny educated class among the Arabs of Palestine was more politically aware than the rest of Arab society, with the inklings of a separate national identity. However, for decades, the primary frame of reference for most local Arabs was the clan or tribe, religion and sect, and village of origin. If Arabs in Palestine defined themselves politically, it was as "southern Syrians." Under Ottoman rule, Syria referred to a region much larger than the Syrian Arab Republic of today, with borders established by France and England in 1920.

In his book Greater Syria: The History of an Ambition, Daniel Pipes explains:

"Syria was a region that stretched from the borders of Anatolia to those of Egypt, from the edge of Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea. In terms of today's states, the Syria of old comprised Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, plus the Gaza Strip and Alexandria."

Syrian maps in the 21st century still co-opt most of Greater Syria, including Israel.

The Grand Mufti Al-Husseini's aspirations slowly shifted from pan-Arabism –– the dream of uniting all Arabs into one polity, whereby Arabs in Palestine would unite with their brethren in Syria - to winning a separate Palestinian entity, with himself at the helm. Al-Husseini was the moving force behind the 1929 riots against the Jews and the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt against two non-Muslim entities in Palestine –– the British and the Jews. He gathered a large following by playing on fears that the Jews had come to dispossess, or at least dominate the Arabs.

Much like Yasser Arafat, the Grand Mufti's ingrained all-or-nothing extremism, fanaticism and even an inability to cooperate with his own compatriots made him totally ineffective. He led the Palestinian Arabs nowhere.

The 'Palestinian' cause became a key rallying point for Arab nationalism throughout the Middle East, according to Oxford historian Avi Shlaim. The countries the British and French created in 1918-1922 were based largely on meridians on the map, as is evident in the borders that delineate the Arab states today. Because these states lack ethnic logic or a sense of community, their opposition to the national aspirations of the Jews has come to fuel that fires Arab nationalism as the 'glue' of national identity. (see details on the ramifications of British and French policy, which plague the Middle East to this day in the chapter "The European Union.")

From the 1920s, rejection of Jewish nationalism, attempts to prevent the establishment of a Jewish homeland by violence, and rejection of any form of Jewish political power, including any plans to share stewardship with Arabs, crystallized into the expression of Palestinianism. No other positive definition of an Arab-Palestinian people has surfaced. This point is admirably illustrated in the following historic incident:

"In 1926, Lord Plumer was appointed as the second High Commissioner of Palestine. The Arabs within the Mandate were infuriated when Plumer stood up for the Zionists' national anthem Hatikva during ceremonies held in his honor when Plumer first visited Tel Aviv. When a delegation of Palestinian Arabs protested Plumer's 'Zionist bias,' the High Commissioner asked the Arabs if he remained seated when their national anthem was played, 'wouldn't you regard my behavior as most unmannerly?' Met by silence, Plumer asked: 'By the way, have you got a national anthem?' When the delegation replied with chagrin that they did not, he snapped back, "I think you had better get one as soon as possible."

But it took the Palestinians more than 60 years to heed Plumer's advice, adopting Anthem of the Intifada two decades after Israel took over the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 –– at the beginning of the 1987 Intifada.

Under the Mandate, local Arabs also refused to establish an 'Arab Agency' to develop the Arab sector, parallel to the Jewish Agency that directed development of the Jewish sector (see the Chapter "Rejectionism").

In fact, the so-called patriotism of indigenous Muslims has flourished only when non-Muslim entities (the Crusaders, the British, the Jews) have taken charge of the Holy Land. When political control returns to Muslim hands, the ardent patriotism of the Arabs of Palestine magically wanes, no matter how distant or how despotic the government. One Turkish pasha who ruled Acco (Acre) between 1775 and 1804 was labeled Al Jazzar, The Butcher, by locals.

Why hasn't Arab representative government ever been established in Palestine, either in 1948 or during the next 19 years of Arab rule? Because other Arabs co-opted the Palestinian cause as a rallying point that would advance the concept that the territory was up for grabs. "The Arab invasion of Palestine was not a means for achieving an independent Palestine, but rather the result of a lack of consensus on the part of the Arab states regarding such independence," summed up one historian. Adherents to a separate Palestinian identity were a mute minority on the West Bank and Gaza during the 19 years of Jordanian and Egyptian rule - until Israel took control from the Jordanians and the Egyptians in 1967. Suddenly a separate Palestinian peoplehood appeared and claimed it deserved nationhood - and 21 other Arab states went along with it.

Palestinianism in and of itself lacks any substance of its own. Arab society on the West Bank and Gaza suffers from deep social cleavages created by a host of rivalries based on divergent geographic, historical, geographical, sociological and familial allegiances. What glues Palestinians together is a carefully nurtured hatred of Israel and the rejection of Jewish nationhood.

Eli E. Hertz is president of Myths and Facts, Inc.

This article was published March 31, 2008 on the Myths and Facts website 

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



by Diana Muir

1st Part of 2
"A land without a people for a people without a land" is one of the most oft-cited phrases in the literature of Zionism -- and perhaps also the most problematic. Anti-Zionists cite the phrase as a perfect encapsulation of the fundamental injustice of Zionism: that early Zionists believed Palestine was uninhabited,[1] that they denied -- and continue to reject -- the existence of a distinct Palestinian culture,[2] and even as evidence that Zionists always planned on an ethnic cleansing of the Arab population.[3] Such assertions are without basis in fact: They both deny awareness on the part of early Zionists of the presence of Arabs in Palestine and exaggerate the coalescence of a Palestinian national identity, which in reality only developed in reaction to Zionist immigration.[4] Nor is it true, as many anti-Zionists still assert, that early Zionists widely employed the phrase.

Origins of the Phrase

Many commentators, such as the late Arab literary theorist Edward Said, erroneously attribute the first use of the phrase to Israel Zangwill, a British author, playwright, and poet.[5] In fact, the phrase was coined and propagated by nineteenth-century Christian writers.

In 1831, Muhammad Ali Pasha, the ruler of Egypt, wrested control of Greater Syria from direct Ottoman control, a political change which led the British Foreign Ministry to send a consul to Jerusalem. This development catalyzed the popular imagination.

The earliest published use of the phrase appears to have been by Church of Scotland clergyman Alexander Keith in his 1843 book The Land of Israel According to the Covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.[6] Keith was an influential evangelical thinker whose most popular work, Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Religion Derived from the Literal Fulfillment of Prophecy,[7] remains in print almost two centuries after it was first published. As an advocate of the idea that Christians should work to encourage the biblical prophecy of a Jewish return to the land of Israel, he wrote that the Jews are "a people without a country; even as their own land, as subsequently to be shown, is in a great measure a country without a people."[8] Keith was aware that the Holy Land was populated because he had traveled to Palestine in 1839 on behalf of the Church of Scotland and returned five years later with his son, George Skene Keith, believed to be the first photographer to visit to the Holy Land.

In July 1853, British statesman and social reformer Lord Shaftesbury wrote to Foreign Minister George Hamilton Gordon, Lord Palmerston, that Greater Syria was "a country without a nation" in need of "a nation without a country... Is there such a thing? To be sure there is: the ancient and rightful lords of the soil, the Jews!"[9] Shaftesbury elaborated in his diary that these "vast and fertile regions will soon be without a ruler, without a known and acknowledged power to claim dominion. The territory must be assigned to some one or other. There is a country without a nation; and God now in his wisdom and mercy, directs us to a nation without a country."[10] A subsequent Shaftesbury biography sold well and exposed a wider audience to the phrase.[11]

The year after Shaftesbury's first use, a writer in a Presbyterian magazine told readers that, "Surely the land without a people, and the people without a land, are intended soon to meet and mutually possess each other"[12] and, in an 1858 essay, yet another Scottish Presbyterian, Horatius Bonar, advocated the "Repatriation of Israel... [in which] we have a people without a country, as well as a country without a people."[13]

Following an 1881 trip to the Holy Land, American William Eugene Blackstone, another Christian advocate of restoring a Jewish population to Palestine, wrote that this "phase of the question [of what to do with Jews subject to tsarist persecution] presents an astonishing anomaly -- a land without a people, and a people without a land."[14]

Anglicans also favored the concept. In 1884, George Seaton Bowes, a Cambridge University clergyman, advocated the return of Jews to Palestine and also used the phrase, "a land without a people... [for] a people without a land."[15]

John Lawson Stoddard, a Bostonian from a privileged background, grew rich traveling to faraway lands and then giving stereopticon lectures upon his return. In an 1897 travelogue, he exhorts the Jews, "You are a people without a country; there is a country without a people. Be united. Fulfill the dreams of your old poets and patriarchs. Go back, go back to the land of Abraham."[16]

By the late nineteenth century, the phrase was in common use in both Great Britain and the United States among Christians interested in returning a Jewish population to Palestine.[17] Christian use of the phrase continued into the first decades of the twentieth century. In 1901, American missionary and, later, Yale professor, Harlan Page Beach wrote approvingly of the idea that the Jews will one day, "In God's good time, inhabit the land of their forefathers; otherwise we can offer no valid explanation of a people without a land and a land without a people."[18] In her 1902 novel, The Zionist, English writer Winifred Graham (1873-1950) has her Jewish hero stand before the Zionist congress and advocate for the return of "the people without a country to the country without a people."[19] Augustus Hopkins Strong, a prominent American Baptist theologian, used the phrase in 1912[20] and, on December 12, 1917, the lead article in The Washington Post, written by a Christian journalist, used the phrase.

The first use of the phrase by a Zionist did not come until 1901 when Israel Zangwill, probably echoing Shaftesbury's wording, wrote in the New Liberal Review that "Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country."[21]


Jewish Nationalism in Context

Although the image of Palestine as a "land without a people" was most commonly advanced by Christian proponents of a Jewish return to Palestine, it would be wrong to ascribe the perception of Palestine as a land without a people only to Christians. In the context of the nineteenth century and the many nationalist movements that captured the Western imagination, the notion of a Jewish restoration in Palestine seemed logical, even without religious motivations. In 1891, William Blackstone sent an open letter, known today as the Blackstone Memorial, to U.S. president Benjamin Harrison: "Why shall not the powers which under the treaty of Berlin, in 1878, gave Bulgaria to the Bulgarians and Servia to the Servians now give Palestine back to the Jews? ... These provinces, as well as Roumania, Montenegro, and Greece, were wrested from the Turks and given to their natural owners. Does not Palestine as rightfully belong to the Jews?"[22] Nineteenth-century Westerners associated peoples or nations with territory, and so to be a land without a people did not imply that the land was without people, only that it was without a national political character.

What may be odd, viewed from the Arab perspective, is the lens through which Westerners look at the land. In Western eyes, the eastern Mediterranean is permanently overlaid with the outline of a territory called "the Holy Land," or "the Land of Israel." Because Westerners equate lands with peoples, even post-Christian Westerners expect to find a people identified and coterminous with the Holy Land. Muslims, however, neither perceived Palestine as a distinct country, nor Palestinians as a people. In Ottoman times, the Holy Land and its moderately valuable agricultural districts were subject to rule from Beirut or Damascus, where many of the wealthy Arab families who owned land in Palestine lived. During this period, Arabs thought of the Holy Land as an integral part of Syria, Bilad ash-Sham.[23] The Muslim perception of Syria and Palestine as distinct countries developed in the twentieth century.[24] In Arab eyes in the pre-World War I period, all of Bilad ash-Sham, including portions Christians and Jews saw as the Holy Land, was an integral part of Arab domains and not a separate entity.

Advocates of a Jewish return to Israel, when they thought about the Arab inhabitants at all, assumed the existing Arab population would continue in residence after a Jewish state was established. This outcome appeared workable since all nation-states include ethnic minorities among their citizens.

Attack on the Slogan

Opponents of Zionism began to attack the slogan shortly after the Balfour Declaration was issued. In 1918, Ameer Rihami, a Lebanese-American, Christian Arab nationalist, wrote that "I would even say ... 'Give the land without a people to the people without a land' if Palestine were really without a people and if the Jews were really without a land." He argued that Jews needed no homeland in Palestine because they enjoyed everywhere else "equal rights and equal opportunity, to say the least."[25] It was an attitude not limited to Arab nationalists. One early twentieth-century academic Arabist wrote, "Their very slogan, 'The land without a people for the people without a land,' was an insult to Arabs of the country."[26] American journalist William McCrackan said, "We used to read in our papers the slogan of Zionism, 'to give back a people to a Land without a People,' while the truth was that Palestine was already well-peopled with a population which was rapidly increasing from natural causes."[27]

Proponents of a binational state in Palestine employed the phrase when debating mainstream Zionists. Robert Weltsch, editor of the prestigious German Zionist weekly Juedische Rundschau, wrote in August 1925, for example, "We may be a people without a home, but, alas, there is not a country without a people. Palestine has an existing population of 700,000."[28]

Anti-Israel propagandists seized upon the phrase following the 1964 founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).[29] In his speech at the United Nations on November 13, 1974, PLO leader Yasir Arafat said, "It pains our people greatly to witness the propagation of the myth that its homeland was a desert until it was made to bloom by the toil of foreign settlers, that it was a land without a people."[30] Likewise, in its November 14, 1988 "Declaration of Independence," the Palestinian National Council accuses "local and international forces" of "attempts to propagate the lie that 'Palestine is a land without a people.'"[31] Hanan Ashrawi, a PLO spokeswoman and former dean of the faculty of arts of Birzeit University, suggests that the phrase shows that Zionists "sought to deny the very existence and humanity of the Palestinians."[32] Salman Abu Sitta, founder and president of the Palestine Land Society, calls the phrase "a wicked lie in order to make the Palestinian people homeless."[33]

Edward Said cited the phrase to deny Israel's right to exist on the grounds that the Zionist claim to the land was made on the false premise that Palestine was "a land without people."[34] Many Said disciples furthered the argument.[35] Perhaps the best known is Rashid Khalidi, who writes that, "In the early days of the Zionist movement, many of its European supporters -- and others -- believed that Palestine was empty and sparsely cultivated. This view was widely propagated by some of the movement's leading thinkers and writers, such as Theodore Herzl, Chaim Nachman Bialik, and Max Mandelstamm, with Herzl never even mentioning the Arabs in his famous work, The Jewish State. It was summed up in the widely-propagated Zionist slogan, 'A land without a people for a people without a land.'"[36]

Khalidi's statement is factually wrong. Rather than check Der Judenstaat, he refers to an academic work that was inaccurate.[37] Herzl mentions the resident population of Palestine, albeit in the context of discussing possible locations for his projected Jewish state. He was prescient in his analysis of the political impact that the inhabitants were likely to have on the Zionist project. Immigration, he explained, "continues till the inevitable moment when the native population feels itself threatened and forces the government to stop a further influx of Jews. Immigration is consequently futile unless we have the sovereign right to continue such immigration."[38] To say that Herzl at the time he wrote Der Judenstaat had little interest in the existing population beyond assessing their probable impact on Zionism is fair. To state that he "never even mentioned" the Arabs of Palestine is untrue. Nor did the phrase "land without a people" ever appear in Herzl's books, letters, or diary.[39]

Khalidi is also guilty of inconsistent methodology in applying rules of grammar. He often uses "a people" in the ordinary manner, as a near-synonym for nation, writing: "The Palestinians are a people with national rights."[40] Or, "This remarkable book recounts how the Palestinians came to be constituted as a people."[41] He justified the terrorism of the second intifada by arguing that the "violence, which has broken out, has been the natural result of a people desiring its independence."[42] Khalidi misunderstands the phrase "a people" only when discussing the phrase "land without a people."[43]

Many other academics and commentators use the phrase to discredit Zionism. Radical journalist Ronald Bleier, for example, cites it as an example of a "wilderness myth" and likens it to Nazi propaganda.[44] Norman Finkelstein, an anti-Israel polemicist who, until he was denied tenure in 2007, taught at DePaul University in Chicago, also linked the phrase to a wilderness myth.[45] Lawrence Davidson, history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, calls it "ethnic cleansing at the conceptual level."[46] Jacqueline Rose, professor of English at Queen Mary University in London, calls the phrase "a blatant lie."[47] Post-Zionists such as Tom Segev and Joel Beinin, who oppose the Jewish character of Israel, have also used criticism of the slogan to further their arguments,[48] as has revisionist historian Benny Morris.[49] Even some Zionists have been induced by these attacks to misunderstand the phrase. In Commentary, Hillel Halkin suggests that photographers angled an early photo of Tel Aviv "to substantiate Zionist claims that the Jews, 'a people without a land,' were returning to Palestine, 'a land without a people.'"[50]

Diana Muir


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



by Diana Muir

2nd part of 2

A Zionist Slogan?

In the minds of many of Zionism's detractors, the "land without a people" formulation has become a defining element of Zionism's original sin. But to what extent was that slogan actually employed by the early Zionists? The official Zionist mantra of the era stated that "The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law." Zionist groups used a range of other slogans, including "Torah and Labor," "The Land of Israel for the People of Israel according to the Torah of Israel," and "Zionism, Socialism, and Diaspora Emancipation." These, along with "Jewish State," "Back to the soil," "Return to Zion," "Jewish homeland," "A Palestine open to all Jews," and, by far most frequently, "Jewish national home," were widely-propagated Zionist slogans. In a search of seven major American newspapers -- the Atlanta Constitution, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post[51] -- there were more than 3,000 mentions of the phrase "Jewish national home" through 1948. No other Zionist phrase or slogan comes close. In contrast, there are only four mentions of Zangwill's phrasing, "country without a people,"[52] all before 1906. There is no mention of its variants: "land without a people" or "country without a nation." ProQuest's Historical Newspapers database shows one additional use of the phrase before 1972: the 1947 "Text of the Statement before U.N. by Jamal el Husseini on the Arabs' Position on Palestine: Arab Statement Denounces U.N. Proposal for Partitioning Palestine,"[53] in which Husseini charges that "the Zionist organization propagated the slogan 'Give the country without a people to the people without a country.'"

Despite the claims of Husseini, Said, and Khalidi, it is not evident that this was ever the slogan of any Zionist organization or that it was employed by any of the movement's leading figures. A mere handful of the outpouring of pre-state Zionist articles and books use it.[54] For a phrase that is so widely ascribed to Zionist leaders, it is remarkably hard to find in the historical record.[55]

Attendees at the 1905 Zionist congress associated the phrase with Zangwill,[56] and it appears to have passed out of use along with the rejection of his proposal to establish the Jewish homeland in British East Africa. In the rare instances where the phrase is found in a post-1905 Jewish source, it is usually as a specific reference to Zangwill[57] although sometimes it appears when a Jewish author quotes a Christian writer.[58]

Mainstream writers refer to the phrase as something used briefly and years before. In 1914, Chaim Weizmann referred to the phrase as descriptive of attitudes common in the early days of the movement.[59] Israeli writer and historian Amos Elon dated Zionist use of the phrase to 1903 but said it had faded from the lexicon by 1917.[60] The single use of the phrase in The Maccabean, the journal of the Federation of American Zionists, occurred in 1901.[61] By 1922, Christian journalist William Denison McCrackan described the phrase as no longer in use.[62]

Unless or until evidence comes to light of its wide use by Zionist publications and organizations, the assertion that "a land without a people for a people without a land" was a "widely-propagated Zionist slogan"[63] should be retired.

A Land without People?

Rashid Khalidi uses the phrase to charge Zionist leaders with believing that the land was "empty."[64] Edward Said actually alters the wording of the phrase to allege that Zionists thought that Palestine was "a land without people."[65]

But travelers such as Keith, Blackstone, Stoddard, and Zangwill (who first visited Israel in 1897 and whose own father went to live there) were well aware of the small Arab population, which Blackstone, at least, addressed when he opined that it would not pose an obstacle to Jewish restoration.[66] If some Zionists believed that Israel was literally empty, it is unlikely that they did so after Ahad Ha'Am's 1891 essay, "Truth from Eretz Yisrael," sparked debate over conditions in Palestine.[67]

Did some Jews imagine the Land of Israel as an abandoned land? Perhaps. But it seems more likely that Jews were capable of knowing on one level that there were enough Arabs in Palestine to stage pogroms in Hebron and Safed in 1834 while still referring to the land as empty. The editors of The Maccabean, for example, estimated in 1901 that there were only 150,000 Arabs in Palestine, perhaps one-third of the true number, and suggested the following year that one-third of the population was already Jewish. They nevertheless characterized Palestine in 1905 as "a good land, but it is an empty land." [68]

Zionism, with its penniless, powerless enthusiasts and grand plans to restore a Jewish commonwealth, was a movement of wishful thinkers. Herzl's treatment of the topic in The Jewish State was typical.[69] He gives the resident population passing mention and only in the context of discussion of political obstacles that lay in the path to building a Jewish state.

Arabs, of course, were recognized by Zionists and others as a people deserving of national sovereignty. As Israel Zangwill put it in the wake of World War I, "The Arabs should recognize that the road of renewed national glory lies through Baghdad, Damascus, and Mecca, and all the vast territories freed for them from the Turks and be content ... The powers that freed them have surely the right to ask them not to grudge the petty strip [Israel] necessary for the renaissance of a still more downtrodden people."[70]


[1] Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997), p. 101.
[2] See for example, Hanan Ashrawi, Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 6, 2003.
[3] Saree Makdisi, "Said, Palestine, and the Humanism of Liberation," Critical Inquiry, 31 (2005): 443; idem, "An Iron Wall of Colonization," Counterpunch, Jan. 26, 2005.
[4] Muhammad Muslih, The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988).
[5] Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (New York: Times Books, 1979), p. 9.
[6] Alexander Keith, The Land of Israel According to the Covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob (Edinburgh: William Whyte and Co., 1843), p. 43. An 1844 review of Keith's book in The United Secession Magazine (Edinburgh), vol. 1, p. 189, highlights the phrase with its most common wording: "a land without a people, and a people without a land."
[7] Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger Publishing, 2005 (originally published in 1826).
[8] Keith, The Land of Israel According to the Covenant with Abraham, p. 43.
[9] Cited in Adam M. Garfinkle, "On the Origin, Meaning, Use, and Abuse of a Phrase," Middle Eastern Studies, Oct. 1991, p. 543.
[10] Shaftsbury as cited in Albert Hyamson, "British Projects for the Restoration of Jews to Palestine," American Jewish Historical Society Publications, 1918, no. 26, p. 140.
[11] Edwin Hodder, The Life and Work of the Seventh Earl of Shaftsbury (London: Cassell and Co., 1887), p. 487.
[12] Anonymous review of Van de Velde, C.W.M., Narrative of a Journey through Syrian and Palestine in 1851 and 1852 (Edinburgh: Wm. Blackwood and Sons, 1854), in United Presbyterian Magazine, Wm. Oliphant and Sons, Edinburgh, 1854, vol. 7, p. 403.
[13] Horatius Bonar, The Land of Promise: Notes of a Spring Journey from Beersheba to Sidon (New York: R. Carter and Brothers, 1858), excerpted in The Theological and Literary Journal (New York), July 1858-Apr. 1859, p. 149.
[14] William Blackstone, Palestine for the Jews (Oak Park, Ill.: self-pub., 1891), reprinted in Christian Protagonists for Jewish Restoration (New York: Arno, 1977), p. 17.
[15] Sermon by C. H. Banning, cited in George Seaton Bowes, Information and Illustration, Helps Gathered from Facts, Figures, Anecdotes, Books, etc., for Sermons, Lectures, and Addresses (London: James Nisbett and Co., 1884), p. 128.
[16] John L. Stoddard, Lectures: Illustrated and Embellished with Views of the World's Famous Places and People, Being the Identical Discourses Delivered during the Past Eighteen Years under the Title of the Stoddard Lectures, vol. 2. (Boston: Balch Brothers Co., 1897), p. 113.
[17] See, for example, William Henry Withrow, Religious Progress in the Century (London: Linscott Publishing Company, 1900), p. 184; Gospel in All Lands (New York: Methodist Episcopal Church Missionary Society, Jan. 1902), pp. 199-200.
[18] Harlan Page Beach, A Geography and Atlas of Protestant Missions: Their Environment, Forces, Distribution, Methods, Problems, Results, and Prospects at the Opening of the Twentieth Century (New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1901), p. 521.
[19] Eitan Bar-Yosef, The Holy Land in English Culture, 1799-1917: Palestine and the Question of Orientalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 236.
[20] Augustus Hopkins Strong, Miscellanies (Philadelphia: Griffith and Rowland Press, 1912), p. 98.
[21] Garfinkle, "On the Origin, Meaning, Use, and Abuse of a Phrase," p. 539; Israel Zangwill, "The Return to Palestine," New Liberal Review, Dec. 1901, p. 615.
[22] Yaakov Ariel, On Behalf of Israel: American Fundamentalist Attitudes toward Jews, Judaism, and Zionism, 1865-1945 (New York: Carlson Publishing, 1991), pp. 70-2.
[23] Khalidi, Palestinian Identity, p. 163.
[24] Muslih, The Origins of Palestinian Nationalism, pp. 131-54.
[25] Ameen Rihani, "The Holy Land: Whose to Have and to Hold?" The Bookman, Jan. 1918, p. 10.
[26] Norman Dwight Harris, Europe and the East (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1926), p. 93.
[27] William Denison McCrackan, The New Palestine: An Authoritative Account of Palestine since the Great War (Boston: Page Company, 1922), p. 250.
[28] Martin Buber, A Land of Two Peoples: Martin Buber on Jews and Arabs, Paul Mendes-Flohr, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), p. 14.
[29] Sami Hadawi, Bitter Harvest, Palestine between 1914 and 1967 (New York: New World Press, 1967), p. 10; Izzat Tannous, The "Activities" of the Hagana, Irgun, and Stern Gang: As Recorded in British Command Paper No. 6873 (New York: Palestine Liberation Organization, 1968), p. 3.
[30] Walter Laquer and Barry Rubin, eds., The Israel-Arab Reader: A Documentary History of the Middle East Conflict (New York: Penguin, 2001), pp. 174-5.
[31] "Palestinian National Council Declaration of Independence," Algiers, Nov. 14, 1988.
[32] The Sydney Morning Herald, Nov. 6, 2003.
[33] Matt Horton, "The Atlas of Palestine 1948," The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Aug. 2005, p. 58.
[34] Said, The Question of Palestine, p. 9.
[35] For example, Saree Makdisi, "Israel's Fantasy Stands in Way of Peace," The Arab American News (Dearborn), Feb. 5-Feb. 11, 2005; Nur Masalha, Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of "Transfer" in Zionist Political Thought (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992), p. 6.
[36] Khalidi, Palestinian Identity, p. 101.
[37] Khalidi relies on Anita Shapira, Land and Power: The Zionist Recourse to Force, 1881-1948 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 41.
[38] Theodore Herzl, The Jewish State, Sylvie d'Avigdor, trans. (London: Nutt, 1896); idem, The Jewish State, Sylvie d'Avigdor, trans. (New York: Dover, 1988), p. 95.
[39] Garfinkle, "On the Origin, Meaning, Use and Abuse of a Phrase," p. 539.
[40] Rashid Khalidi, "Observations on the Right of Return," Journal of Palestine Studies, Winter 1992, p. 30.
[41] Rashid Khalidi, jacket blurb for Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S. Migdal, The Palestinian People: A History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003).
[42] Rashid Khalidi, "To End the Bloodshed," Christian Century, Nov. 22-29, 2000, p. 1206.
[43] Khalidi, Palestinian Identity, p. 101.
[44] Ronald Bleier, review of "Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict," Middle East Policy, Oct. 1999, p. 195.
[45] Norman Finkelstein, Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict (London: Verso Books, 1995), p. 95.
[46] Lawrence Davidson, "Christian Zionism as a Representation of American Manifest Destiny," Critique: Critical Middle East Studies, Summer 2005, p. 161.
[47] Jacqueline Rose, The Question of Zion (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), p. 44.
[48] Tom Segev, One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs under the British Mandate (New York: Owl Books, 2001), p. 493; Joel Beinin, "Political Economy and Public Culture in a State of Constant Conflict: Fifty Years of Jewish Statehood," Jewish Social Studies, July 31, 1998, p. 96.
[49] Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist Arab Conflict, 1881-2001 (New York: Vintage, 2001), p. 42.
[50] Hillel Halkin, "The First Hebrew City," Commentary, Feb. 2007, p. 57.
[51] ProQuest Historical Newspapers database, accessed Nov. 27, 2007.
[52] The New York Times, Nov. 23, 1901, May 20, 1903; The Chicago Daily Tribune, Dec. 22, 1901; The Washington Post, Aug. 27, 1905.
[53] The New York Times, Sept. 30, 1947.
[54] See Israel Herbert Levinthal, Judaism, An Analysis and An Interpretation (New York and London: Funk and Wagnalls, 1935), p. 254; Morris Silverman, ed., Sabbath and Festival Prayerbook with a New Translation, Supplementary Readings, and Notes (New York: Rabbinical Assembly of America and the United Synagogue of America, 1946), p. 324; Max Raisin, A History of the Jews in Modern Times (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1919), p. 356; The Zionist Review, Apr. 1918, p. 231; Leonard Mars, "The Ministry of the Reverend Simon Fyne in Swansea: 1899-1906," Jewish Social Studies, Winter/Spring 1988, p. 92.
[55] Alan Dowty, The Jewish State, A Century Later (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), p. 267.
[56] The Washington Post, Aug. 27, 1905.
[57] See "The Restoration of Judea," New York Globe editorial, May 1, 1917, reprinted in Zionism Conquers Public Opinion (New York: Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs, 1917), p. 16; Richard James Horation Gottheil, Zionism (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1914), p. 139.
[58] Walter M. Chandler statement, The American War Congress and Zionism: Statements by Members of the American War Congress on the Jewish National Movement (New York: Zionist Organization of America, 1919), p 154.
[59] Paul Goodman, Chaim Weizmann: A Tribute on His Seventieth Birthday (London: V. Gollancz, 1945), p. 153.
[60] Amos Elon, The Israelis: Founders and Sons (New York: Holt, Reinhart, Winston, 1971), p. 149.
[61] Raphael Medoff, American Zionist Leaders and the Palestinian Arabs, 1898-1948 (Ph.D. diss., Yeshiva University, 1991), p. 17.
[62] McCrackan, The New Palestine, p. 250.
[63] Khalidi, Palestinian Identity, p. 101.
[64] Ibid.
[65] Said, The Question of Palestine, p. 9.
[66] Ariel, On Behalf of Israel, p. 74.
[67] Alan Dowty, "Much Ado about Little: Ahad Ha'am's 'Truth from Eretz Yisrael,' Zionism, and the Arabs," Israel Studies, Fall 2000, pp. 154-81.
[68] Medoff, American Zionist Leaders and the Palestinian Arabs, p. 19.
[69] Shapira, Land and Power, p. 51.
[70] Israel Zangwill, The Voice of Jerusalem (New York, Macmillan and Company, 1921) p. 110.

Diana Muir is the author of Reflections in Bullough's Pond: Economy and Ecosystem in New England (University Press of New England, 2000).

This article was published in Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2008.

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




by Moshe Feiglin

Is there a solution for the military crisis plaguing Israel's south? Can Israel successfully deal with the Kassam rockets? Or is Olmert right when he tells us that we just have to get used to it?

You don't need to be a military expert to come up with a plan to solve the Gaza problem. Israel already has a successful model that works perfectly –– at least since the Yom Kippur War. It is the real peace model that has been implemented for years in the Golan Heights.

Have you ever asked yourself where the safest place in Israel is? Where do you not have to worry about Arabs throwing rocks at your car? Where can you walk around at night without fear of arms or drugs smugglers crossing the border? Where don't missiles fly and where don't bombs explode? In short, where is the place that you are safest from both external enemies and from internal Arab terror and crime?

That place is the Golan Heights. Without even trying, possibly even by mistake, Israel enjoys real peace there. Any new peace plan must follow the principles that have brought us true peace in the Golan.

There are just five easy steps:

1. Encourage Arab emigration
2. Conquest
Israeli sovereignty
No peace accords!

Sixty thousand Syrian Arabs who had been scattered throughout villages in the Golan Heights disappeared even before the Golan was liberated. The only ones who stayed were the Druze in the north of the Golan. These villages are the exception that proves the necessity of implementing the first principle.

The second principle, conquest, was fully implemented by Israel in the Golan. No foreign forces remained there. The area is entirely controlled by Israel.

Israel declared sovereignty over the entire Golan, settled it and most important of all –– never signed a peace treaty with Syria. This is how we have prevented the war under the guise of peace that we suffer on our border with Egypt from repeating itself on our border with Syria.

These five steps will bring peace and security to Gaza, Judea and Samaria.

How do we encourage the Arabs in these places to emigrate without the necessity of a major war? University Al-Najach in Shechem answered that question with the results of a poll that it had taken. It turns out that over 60% of the Arabs in Yesha do not need any encouragement to leave. They are disgusted with the rule of the armed thugs that the Oslo Peace Club forced upon them. Their preferred destinations are the Gulf States and Canada.

Many Western states currently suffer from negative demographics –– less than two children per family. They are anxious to absorb skilled immigrants such as the Arabs of Yesha who have learned quite a lot from Israel over the past sixty years. The huge current of Moslem immigrants that has engulfed the Western world in the past decades points to the fact that this solution is entirely possible. Israel must make available to the Arabs all the resources necessary to encourage this trend.

Approximately 10% of Israel's entire budget is wasted annually on impossible solutions based on the Oslo eagerness to partition the Land of Israel. This sum constantly grows as mega-costly solutions like the Separation Fence are proven absurd. They are then exchanged for even more grandiose defensive schemes –– cutting edge space technology to protect Israel's citizens from flying pipes. The colossal sums of money spent on these unrealistic programs could be spent more effectively. Instead of paying for more white elephants, Israel can give $250,000 to every Arab family that will stake its future far from Israel's borders.

Israel can implement a political plan based on the Golan Heights model. It depends on nothing more than our mentality. All that we have to understand is that this is our land –– not theirs. The question is if Israel really wants peace or if the "Peace Process" is just a euphemism for getting rid of the settlements that force Jewish identity on Israel's tiny "elite".

As simple and effective as this plan may be, it will most likely not be adopted. Instead, Israel's current leaders will stubbornly continue down the Oslo path of blood and terror. The sensible, Jewish solutions will all be pushed to the sidelines –– because the minority ruling our country today is simply not interested.

 Moshe Feiglin


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


Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Republic of Lebanon.

Lebanon  officially the Republic of Lebanon or Lebanese Republic is a small, predominantly mountainous country in Western Asia, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east, and Israel to the south. Due to its sectarian diversity, Lebanon evolved a peculiar political system, known as confessionalism, based on a community-based power-sharing mechanism. It was created when the ruling French mandatory powers expanded the borders of the former Maronite Christian autonomous Ottoman Mount Lebanon district.


The flag of Lebanon features a cedar in green against a white backdrop, bounded by two horizontal red stripes along the top and bottom. This is a reference to the famous cedars of Lebanon, that were mentioned in the verses of the Tanakh/Old Testament, mostly in Psalms and the Song of Songs.


Lebanon was part of the Ottoman Empire for over 400 years, in a region known as Greater Syria until 1918 when the area became a part of the French Mandate of Syria following World War I. On September 1, 1920, France formed the State of Greater Lebanon as one of several ethnic enclaves within Syria. Lebanon was a largely Christian (mainly Maronite) enclave but also included areas containing many Muslims and Druzes. On September 1, 1926, France formed the Lebanese Republic. The Republic was afterward a separate entity from Syria but still administered under the French Mandate of Syria. Lebanon gained independence in 1943, while France was occupied by Germany. General Henri Dentz, the Vichy High Commissioner for Syria and Lebanon, played a major role in the independence of the nation. The Vichy authorities in 1941 allowed Germany to move aircraft and supplies through Syria to Iraq where they were used against British forces. The United Kingdom, fearing that Nazi Germany would gain full control of Lebanon and Syria by pressure on the weak Vichy government, sent its army into Syria and Lebanon.


After the fighting ended in Lebanon, General Charles de Gaulle visited the area. Under various political pressures from both inside and outside Lebanon, de Gaulle decided to recognize the independence of Lebanon. On November 26, 1941 General Georges Catroux announced that Lebanon would become independent under the authority of the Free French government. Elections were held in 1943 and on November 8, 1943 the new Lebanese government unilaterally abolished the mandate. The French reacted by throwing the new government into prison. In the face of international pressure, the French released the government officials on November 22, 1943 and accepted the independence of Lebanon.


The allies kept the region under control until the end of World War II. The last French troops withdrew in 1946. Lebanon's unwritten National Pact of 1943 required that its president be Christian and its prime minister be Muslim.


Lebanon's history since independence has been marked by alternating periods of political stability and turmoil (including a civil conflict in 1958) interspersed with prosperity built on Beirut's position as a regional center for finance and trade.

Five years after gaining independence, Lebanon reluctantly joined the Arab League but never invaded Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. It took over logistical support of the Arab Liberation Army after it found itself cut off from its bases in Syria while going on an attack on the newly-proclaimed Jewish State.[20] After the defeat of the Arab Liberation Army in Operation Hiram,[21] Lebanon accepted an armistice with Israel on March 23, 1949. Approximately 100,000 Palestinian refugees were living in Lebanon in 1949. The Lebanese-Israeli border remained closed, but quiet, until after the Six Day War in 1967.


In 1975, civil war broke out in Lebanon. The Lebanese Civil War lasted fifteen years, devastating the country's economy, and resulting in the massive loss of human life and property. It is estimated that 150,000 people were killed and another 200,000 maimed.[23] The war ended in 1990 with the signing of the Taif Agreement and parts of Lebanon were left in ruins.[24]


During the civil war, the Palestine Liberation Organization used Lebanon to launch attacks against Israel. Lebanon was twice invaded and occupied by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in 1978 and 1982, the PLO expelled in the second invasion. Israel remained in control of Southern Lebanon until 2000, when there was a general decision, led by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, to withdraw due to continuous guerrilla attacks executed by Hezbollah militants and a belief that Hezbollah activity would diminish and dissolve without the Israeli presence. The UN determined that the withdrawal of Israeli troops beyond the blue line was in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425, although a border region called the Shebaa Farms is still disputed. Hezbollah declared that it would not stop its operations against Israel until this area was liberated.


On July 12, 2006, Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers leading to a conflict, known in Lebanon as July War, that lasted until a United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into effect on 14 August 2006.


In October 2007, the last Lebanese president finished his second term and handed authority to the prime minister. Since then, there is no president as all parties are unable to agree on a suitable solution.