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March 15, 2012 11:24 am

The Impolite Truth About the Palestinians

avatar by David Schimel

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In the mountains east of the Jordan River, members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in 1969. Photo: wiki commons.

“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community.”

Newt Gingrich

“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the State of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.

“For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Be’er-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”

Zuheir Mohsen, a leader in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in an interview, March 1977, with the Dutch newspaper Trouw.

Newt Gingrich did something extraordinary for someone who is a serious contender for a major political party’s nomination for President.  He made a statement that was factually true about the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict but was unacceptable in polite political society.  In the process he created quite a stir.  (“Egad, the man committed an act of truth in public!”)

Many of his critics have, in one way or another, suggested that when it comes to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict his statement was, at best, irrelevant and, at worst, counterproductive. Often the criticism would begin “Gingrich may be right on the facts but …” and then go on to ignore the underlying import of his so-called gaffe.

They point out that regardless of the belated development of Palestinian national consciousness, it is nonetheless a current reality that must be accepted, recognized and accommodated if there is any hope for peace.

Others add that it was “unpresidential” for Gingrich to make his remarks, thereby questioning his qualifications to serve as the leader of the United States.  After all, if such a truth were said by the President of the United States it would, in the words of one critic, “set off a diplomatic firestorm.”

Think about that.

For years, the Arab world has been engaged in a systematic effort at fabrication, distortion and, ultimately, revision of the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict so that the Arabs/Palestinians are seen as the hapless victims of aggression by the Western “colonial” implantation of a Zionist (i.e., Jewish) state that can only be remedied by appropriate countermeasures.  By this telling, the multiple attempts to destroy Israel over the past 60 years were not acts of aggression but self-defense. And no lie in furtherance of this objective, no matter how brazen, is out of bounds.

Led by the nations of the Arab and Muslim world, this fiction has been created and used to justify wanton mass murder of innocents (terrorism sanitized as “resistance”). With it has come the systematic spread of anti-Semitic poison that permeates Arab children’s textbooks, its popular media, and religious institutions and has steadily seeped into the veins of the international community through the body of a compliant United Nations and its varied organs.

In an effort to achieve a peaceful resolution of this conflict, many in the West have found it convenient to downplay, if not be willfully blind to this reality, not understanding that such historical revisionism actually makes the realization of any peace unattainable.

As long as the Muslim (and particularly the Arab) world sees that its false narrative goes unchallenged by the rest of the international community and hence appears to be becoming accepted, they will only be encouraged to pursue their ultimate objective (i.e., the destruction of the Jewish state) and never make any serious compromises that will lead to a peaceful resolution that leaves Israel securely intact.

Sad to say, the United States has implicitly acceded to this false Arab/Palestinian narrative in order to pursue a “peace process” that is being built on a mendacious foundation that will inevitably bring down any edifice like a collapsing house of cards.  By not making the historical record clear, in effect, the United States conveys the impression that it is neutral when it comes to the merits of the conflict.

Such neutral thinking explains why the United States can seemingly ignore Israel’s dilemma when it comes to defensible borders, let alone pay attention to the international legal principle that recognizes the right of territorial acquisition in a war of self-defense.  Instead, each apartment building that goes up inside any part of the existing footprint of long established Israeli communities in disputed territories (especially Jerusalem) is deemed by President Obama as an “illegitimate” settlement and an obstacle to peace.

It is one thing to oppose anti-Israel UN resolutions because they”are not helpful” to the peace process (as the U.S. typically argues).  It is another thing to do so by challenging the morally and factually flawed premises of these resolutions. (The last time there was such a clear-cut American position was when Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan condemned the notorious 1975 U.N. resolution equating Zionism to racism.) Ironically, in the name of diplomatic pragmatism, the U.S. has allowed itself to become unwittingly complicit in the ongoing campaign to delegitimize Israel.

Whether or not he succeeds in his presidential quest, Gingrich has performed a public service much akin to the little boy who cried out “the emperor has no clothes.”  Let his example be replicated many times over.

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