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September 17, 1982 - Image 125

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-09-17

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Friday, September 17, 1982 125

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Where Is Palestine?

By CARL ALPERT

Chapter One

Where should the Pales-
tinians go? By all means, to
Palestine!
Chapter Two
A little boy had three
apples and one orange. If we
call an orange an apple, how
many apples did he have?
Four?
No, three. Calling an
orange an apple does not
make it an apple.

Chapter Three

The so-called Holy Land,
for many centuries, in good
times and bad, was home to
the Jewish people, was
known by various names in
its early history. When the
Romans put an end to
Jewish independence, it
was not Palestine that they
conquered. On their victory
coins they inscribed: "Judea
Capta." Eventually, the
name Palestine (derived
from the Philistines, who
occupied part of it) became
popular.
As a result of wars and
conquests the area was
sometimes expanded or di-
minished, but for almost
2,000 years the name Pales-
tine has been identified
with some 45,000 square
miles of land, less than one-
fourth of it along the
Mediterranean coast, west
of the. Jordan River, and
over three-fourths inland,
east of the Jordan. During
all this period the Jews al-
ways called itEretz Yisrael,
the Land of Israel.
When the British gov-
ernment in 1917 issued its
Balfour Declaration pledg-
ing the establishment of a
Jewish National Home in
Palestine, this was the area
understood to be Palestine.
In April 1920, the
League of Nations at San
Remo ratified the British
Mandate over Palestine,
to implement the estab-
lishment of the Jewish
National Homeland, and
it was this historic Pales-
tine that was meant. Arti-
cle 25 of the Mandate
made it very clear that
Palestine comprised the
area both west and east
of the Jordan River.
Later that year, in the
Treaty of Sevres, Turkey
ceded Palestine to the Al-
lies, and it was this historic
Palestine which was re-
ferred to.
When in 1921 Great Brit-
ain calmly partitioned
Palestine (first partition),
and placed Emir Abdullah
at the head of the larger
part, some 75 percent of his-
toric Palestine, it knew
exactly what it was doing.
Indeed, in the following
year, by way of explanation,
the British government of-
fered a reinterpretation of
the terms of the Balfour
Declaration to the effect
that the terms "do not con-
template that Palestine as a
whole should be converted
into a Jewish National
Home . . ." But it was quite
clear what "Palestine as a
whole" was.
Logic should have dic-
tated that the larger part of
the country should have re-
tained the name Palestine,

CARL LtLPERT

and the small coastal strip
given some other name. In
this case Abdullah's new
kingdom was provided with
a new and artificial name
derived from its geographic
location: Transjordan,
meaning, Palestine across
the Jordan. The name was
later shortened to Jordan.
The remaining one-
fourth of the country was by
the geographers correctly
referred to as Cis-Jordan
(on this side of the Jordan).
It has been pointed out
that so-called Palestinian
nationalism is a very re-
cent invention. There had
never in history been a
Palestinian Arab state, a
Palestinian Arab gov7
ernment, or even a Pales-
tinian (as distinct from
Arabic) culture.
Unlike the Jewish histor-
ical connection with the
country, based on long tra-
dition carefully preserved
through the centuries and
confirmed even in Christian
lore, there had never been
any tradition of Arab Pales-
tine nationhood — not be-
fore and not during all the
many centuries of conquest
and rule by the Romans, the
Byzantines, the Persians,
the Ummayads, the Ab-
basids, the Fatimids, the
Christian Crusaders, the
Seljuks, the Mamluks, the
Ottomans and the British.
There was indeed an Arab
nationalism in the Middle
East, and this more than
found its fulfillment in the
close to a score of separate
Arab states which were
eventually created in the af-
termath of the World Wars,
most of them carved up from
the former Turkish Empire.
The fulfillment of Jewish
nationalism in a small
corner, less than 25 percent
of Palestine, an area only
about one-fifth of one per-
cent of the size of the exist-
ing Arab national world,
served as an example to
local Arabs, however, and
they too demanded a state of
their own.
Despite the absence of
any precedent for such a
state, they can have it. It
is the close to 35,000
square miles of largely
unpopulated territory,
more than three times
larger than Israel, lying
across the Jordan River.
It is governed by a king,
the majority of whose
subjects proclaim them-
selves to be Palestinians.
The entire land area of
the monarchy is indeed
Palestine, historically
and geographically. It is

a Problem and Solution in 5 Chapters

significant that in its
tourist promotional liter-
ature Jordan refers to it-
self as "the Holy Land."
Calling Palestine Jordan
does not make it Jordan. A
change in name can not
alter recorded history or
geography. Hussein's king-
dom is still Palestine, the
major part of it, and the
natural homeland for all
who want to call themselves
Palestinians, or are today
Palestinian refugees.
The west bank of the Jor-
dan, it will be recalled, was
offered to the Arabs in 1947
and they refused it, where-
upon it was seized by King
Hussein. The residents of
that area, under. the Israel
flag since 1967, have been
offered autonomy by Israel.

historical Palestine mis-
named Jordan. They should
be welcome there and
should have their govern-
ment there — be it a monar-
chy or any other form of rule
which they desire.
Following both World
Wars millions of people
who had become refu-
gees were successfully
resettled in new homes,
thus easing international
tensions. Only the Arabs
have insisted on keeping
the refugee problem alive
as a means of exacerbat-
ing the situation and pos-
ing a constant threat to

their place in a Middle East
at peace with itself.

Chapter Five

The Israelis have proven
beyond any doubt that they
are good scientists, good
philosophers, good artists,
musicians and writers.
They have shown that they
can be good farmers. It is
now clear that they are also
good soldiers.
But considering that they
have not been able to tell
the world the story narrated
briefly in the previous chap-
ters, it is also clear beyond
any doubt that they are a
failure at public relations.

The Jewish News is . . .

Chapter Four

Alas for a people which is
misled. The leadership of
the Palestinians and of the
Arab states preferred to fly
in the face of history.
The United Nations deci-
sion in 1947 for establish-
ment of the state of Israel in
a part of Cis-Jordan (second
partition) also called for
creation of another Arab
state in the remaining part.
The Palestinian leadership
refused.
For them it was all or
nothing, and they declared
war on Israel. They lost, but
Israel paid a bloody price to
secure its independence.
For the next 35 years the
Arabs tried again and again
and again to put an end to
Israel. When full-scale wars
waged by the armies of
neighboring states, liber-
ally equipped with Soviet
weapons, failed to smash Is-
rael they concentrated on
terrorism, both in the Mid-
dle East and elsewhere.
The people who first
gave the world the word
"assassin" taught the
world a new lesson in
stark, brutal terror di-
rected solely against
women, children,
sportsmen and other civi-
lian targets. They showed
what could be done in the
hijacking of buses, the
hijacking of planes, and
eventually the hijacking
of a modern capital city.
Defeated on every front,
and leaving behind them a
bloody trail of devastation
which they brought upon
the pleasant little country
of Lebanon, the PLO now
seeks to turn the clock back
to 1947. Without giving up
terrorism, they now hope
that Arab oil and influence
and manipulation of public
opinion will yet enable
them to establish a Palesti-
nian state in place of Israel.
It is too late. A people
which time and again
chooses the military option,
and is time and again de-
feated, can not come into
court with clean hands and
ask that their grevious er-
rors and sins be forgotten,
and that they now be re-
warded. What they might
have had peacefully in 1947
is no longer available. Too
much blood has been spil-
led.
But what is available are
those 35,000 square miles of

Israel. The victims of this
policy have been the
Arabs themselves.
If there can be justice and
humanitarianism in inter-
national affairs, then the
Arab refugees should be re-
settled in their own country,
Palestine, to the east of the
Jordan River. Imbued with
patriotic determination, as-
sisted by the wealthy Arab
states as well as by the in-
ternational community,
encouraged by their
neighbors, the Israelis, who
indeed wish them well, may
they prosper and find sur-
cease from wars and take

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