A provocative headline? It’s more than that. It’s the truth.
Truth does not change. Truth is truth. If something was true 50 years ago, 40 years ago, 30 years ago, it is still true today.
And the truth is that only 30 years ago, there was very little confusion on this issue of Palestine.
You might remember the late Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir making the bold political statement: “There is no such thing as a Palestinian people.”
The statement has been a source of ridicule and derision by Arab propagandists ever since. They love to talk about Golda Meir’s “racism.” They love to suggest she was in historical denial. They love to say her statement is patently false – an intentional lie, a strategic deception.
What they don’t like to talk about, however, are the very similar statements made by Yasser Arafat and his inner circle of political leadership years after Meir had told the truth – that there is no distinct Palestinian cultural or national identity.
So, despite the fact that conventional wisdom has now proclaimed that there is such a thing as the Palestinian people, I’m going to raise those uncomfortable quotations made by Arafat and his henchmen when their public-relations guard was down.
Way back on March 31, 1977, the Dutch newspaper Trouw published an interview with Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Zahir Muhsein. Here’s what he said:
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, Beer-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.
That’s pretty clear, isn’t it? It’s even more specific than Golda Meir’s statement. It reaffirms what I have written on this subject. And it is hardly the only such statement of its kind. Arafat himself made a very definitive and unequivocal statement along these lines as late as 1993. It demonstrates conclusively that the Palestinian nationhood argument is the real strategic deception – one geared to set up the destruction of Israel.
In fact, on the same day Arafat signed the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn in 1993, he explained his actions on Jordan TV. Here’s what he said: “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”
No matter how many people convince themselves that the aspirations for Palestinian statehood are genuine and the key to peace in the Middle East, they are still deceiving themselves.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, in the history of the world, Palestine has never existed as a nation. The region known as Palestine was ruled alternately by Rome, by Islamic and Christian crusaders, by the Ottoman Empire and, briefly, by the British after World War I. The British agreed to restore at least part of the land to the Jewish people as their ancestral homeland. It was never ruled by Arabs as a separate nation.
Why now has it become such a critical priority?
The answer is because of a massive deception campaign and relentless terrorism over 40 years.
Golda Meir was right. Her statement is validated by the truth of history and by the candid, but not widely circulated, pronouncements of Arafat and his lieutenants.
Israel and the West must not surrender to terrorism by granting the killers just what they want – a public relations triumph and a strategic victory. It’s not too late to say no to terrorism. It’s not too late to say no to another Arab terror state. It’s not too late to tell the truth about Palestine.