Thursday, December 9th | 5 Tevet 5782

May 23, 2019 6:10 am

Palestinians Have No Historical Connection to Tel Aviv

avatar by Simon Plosker


People visit the Eurovision Village, an area dedicated to fans of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, ahead of the contest final in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 17, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad.

Unsurprisingly last week, there were a rash of media articles focusing on the 71st anniversary — not of Israel’s independence, but what Palestinians call the “Nakba,” or “catastrophe.”

Reuters’ contribution was “Gaza fisherman clings to dream of return to Jaffa home,” which reads like the typical, emotion-ridden Palestinian plea for a “right of return” to villages, towns, and cities left behind in 1948.

Looking out across the Mediterranean, the elderly Gaza fisherman sits on a bench adorned with just one word — Jaffa.

Mahmoud Al-Assi comes often to this blue bench. It is one of more than 120 such brightly-coloured concrete seats that line the Gaza seafront, each marked with the name of a town or village in Palestine, before Israel’s creation in 1948.

They bear the Arabic names for Beersheba (Bir as-Saba’), Acre (Akka), and Tel Aviv (Tal ar-Rabeea’) — all towns that now lie in Israel.

Like many of Gaza’s 1.3 million refugees, Assi, 73, visits the coastal benches regularly, as an emotional link to the towns their families left behind or were forced to leave.

Tel Aviv, however, was founded in 1909 as the first all-Jewish city in modern times. Since when did Palestinians have any connection to Tel Aviv?

The Arabic name for Tel Aviv used in the Reuters story is misleading. There was never an Arab town or village of Tal ar-Rabeea prior to 1948. That name is a literal translation of the Hebrew Tel Aviv, which itself means “hill of spring.” How did Arabic speaking Reuters journalist Nidal-al-Mughrabi not notice this discrepancy?

In addition, Tel Aviv was not built on any Palestinian village — it was founded on sand dunes outside of Jaffa.

So either Palestinians themselves are ignorant of the facts, or they are interested in not only taking places that have some historical significance to them, but also “returning” to places that were never theirs.

Either way, Reuters allows its readers to falsely believe that Palestinians have some sort of historical claim on Israel’s second largest city, which is patently not the case.

Or has Reuters unwittingly uncovered a more sinister explanation for the beachfront benches — a Palestinian desire to take all of Israel.

Readers deserve a clarification from Reuters.

Simon Plosker is Managing Editor of HonestReporting, the world’s largest grassroots organization monitoring anti-Israel media bias. A version of this article was originally published by HonestReporting.

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