"The West Bank is occupied Palestinian land." This phrase is frequently repeated, as a given, by all the governments of the world and by the entire news media.
This idea that the West Bank is occupied Palestinian land has been accepted by almost everyone. Yet it is, in fact, the greatest lie ever perpetrated on the whole of humanity.
If you think this is an outlandish statement, please read on and decide for yourself.
Palestinians claim that Palestine is their land, and that Jerusalem is their capital, and that Israel is occupying their land. To resist occupation, they assert the right to send suicide bombers into crowded bus stations, pizza parlors, etc., and kill innocent men, women and children. And all Arab and Muslim countries support them in their claims and actions against Israel.
Because of this alleged occupation of Palestinian land by Israel, because of this alleged crime committed against their Palestinian brothers, all Arabs hate Israel and want to destroy it.
To anyone who is familiar with the facts, and has an objective eye, all this must be fascinating. Because never before has a complete lie, on such a large scale, been so successful.
First, if Arab animosity toward Israel is based on their love and support for their Palestinian brothers – and in wanting their Palestinian brothers to have their own state – where was that love and support before the Jewish state existed? Where were they when the kingdom of Jordan ruled Palestine? Why were they not accusing Jordan of occupying Palestinian land? Why did not the Arab world and the United Nations call on Jordan to stop occupying Palestinian land? Second, where were the Palestinians themselves, with all their grievances and claims, when Jordan occupied the whole West Bank, including Jerusalem?
Did you know that? Did you know that for 19 years, Jordan occupied and ruled the whole West Bank, including Jerusalem? Why didn't they clamor for a Palestinian state then?
All this time, did we hear a word about Palestine being occupied by the kingdom of Jordan? Did we hear anything about a Palestinian state? Or about Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine?
No, we did not.
Because there never existed a Palestinian state.
And in the entire history of nations, Jerusalem was never the capital of any country other than that of ancient Israel and modern Israel. So how can there be a claim on Jerusalem as the capital of a state that never existed?
One of the problems here is that so few people know the history of the world. Hence, lies and more lies, repeated often enough, are assumed to be facts.
I have heard many scholars, including an Arab journalist, question the very notion of a Palestinian people. What, they ask, makes a people? Well, there are four elements that define a people: language, religion, culture and cuisine. For example, the Chinese and Japanese are both Oriental. Still, they are two different peoples, because they each have a different language, a different religion, a different culture and a different cuisine.
The Palestinians speak the same language, follow the same religion, manifest the same culture and eat the same cuisine as all other Arabs. They are really Arabs who happen to live in a region called Palestine.
Palestine is not – and never was – the name of a country, or the name of a people.
It is the name of a region – just like Siberia is a region, not a country. There is no Siberian country, nor is there a Siberian people. It is a region. Just like the Sahara is a region, not a country. There is no Saharan country, nor is there a Saharan people. The Arabs living in that region are Libyans, Moroccans, etc. It is a region.
Because Palestine is a region, not a country, England was able to carve out half of it and give it to the Arabs living on the other side of the Jordan River and call it the kingdom of Jordan. Because Palestine is a region, the United Nations was able to divide the rest of it between the Jews and the Arabs living there. Had the Arabs accepted the United Nations resolution, there would have been a newly created Arab state called Palestine. Instead, they rejected the United Nations compromise and went to war to destroy Israel. They lost the war. Hence, no Palestinian state.
Here are some cold facts.
King David built the city of Jerusalem, and King Solomon, David's son, built the holy temple. This commonwealth of Israel lasted for a thousand years. There was only one break, when, 400 years after King David, the Babylonian invaders occupied the land for 70 years. Then, with the help of Cyrus the Great of Persia – yes, Persia – Israel came back to the land, rebuilt the temple and ruled for another 600 years.
Then, the Romans came and ruled the land, then the Crusaders ruled the land, then the Ottoman Empire ruled the land, then the British Empire ruled the land, then Israel returned to its homeland and built a modern Jewish state. It was never – repeat, never – a Palestinian state.
So what is all this talk about occupied Palestinian land?
They certainly have a right to live there freely and happily. Nobody wants to move them away from their land. But from where comes the right for a Palestinian state? Is it because they live there?
Imagine if the Mexican-American community in California, whose numbers are greater than the number of Palestinians in the West Bank, decides tomorrow to claim that the United States is occupying their land, because they live there and they want their own Mexican state. Imagine if, when the U.S. government says, "No, you can live here, but you cannot have sovereignty, you cannot have your own state," they start sending suicide bombers, shooters, mortars, etc. into the rest of the country. What do you think would happen?
This is precisely why there was never any suggestion of a Palestinian state – not under the Romans, not under the Crusaders, not under the Turks, not under the English and not under the Arab kingdom of Jordan – until after Israel was again established in its homeland.
I believe it is the big lie of our generation, and we are all buying into it.
Whatever you believe, don't you think these facts deserve to be raised when discussing Middle East policies?Sharon Nader Sloan, Esq., is a Lebanese-American.
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