Arabs in the Holy Land - Natives or Aliens?
by Dr. Harry Mandelbaum
March 10, 2003
Unknown to most of the world population, the origin of the "Palestinian" Arabs' claim to the Holy Land spans a period of a meager 30 years - a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands of years of the region's rich history.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were practically no Arabs in the
By contrast, the Jews, despite 2000 years of persecution and forced conversions by various conquerors, have always been the majority population there. When General Allenby, the commander of the British military forces, conquered Palestine in 1917/1918, only about 5000 Arabs resided there.
Other Muslims in the area either came from Turkey under the Ottoman Empire, or were the descendents of Jews and Christians who were forcefully converted to Islam by the Muslim conquerors. None of these other Muslims were of Arab origin.
The local inhabitants did not call themselves "Palestinians". The concept of
a "Palestinian" to describe the local residents had not yet been invented;
neither was there ever in history a "Palestinian Arab" nation.
None of today's Arabs have any ancestral relationship to the original Biblical Philistines who are now extinct. Even Arab historians have admitted Palestine never existed.
In 1937, the Arab leader Auni Bey Abdul Hadi told the Peel Commission: "There is no such country as Palestine. Palestine is a term the Zionists invented. Palestine is alien to us."
In 1946, Princeton's Arab professor of Middle East history, Philip Hitti, told the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry: "It's common knowledge, there is no such thing as Palestine in history."
In March 1977, Zahir Muhsein, an executive member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), said in an interview to the Dutch newspaper Trouw: "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."
Mark Twain - Samuel Clemens, the famous author of "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer", took a tour of the Holy Land in 1867. This is how he described that land: "A desolate country whose soil is rich enough but is given over wholly to weeds. A silent, mournful expanse. We never saw a human being on the whole route. There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country."
In 1874, Reverend Samuel Manning wrote: "But where were the inhabitants? This fertile plain, which might support an immense population, is almost a solitude.... Day by day we were to learn afresh the lesson now forced upon us, that the denunciations of ancient prophecy have been fulfilled to the very letter -- `the land is left void and desolate and without inhabitants.'"
Here is a report that the Palestinian Royal Commission, created by the
It quotes an account of the conditions on the coastal plain along the Mediterranean Sea in 1913: "The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track, suitable for transport by camels or carts. No orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached the [Jewish] Yabna village. Houses were mud. Schools did not exist.
The western part toward the sea was almost a desert. The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many villages were deserted by their inhabitants."
The Arabs who now claim to be natives of the Holy Land have migrated to
Palestine after 1918, from neighboring Arab countries, predominantly from areas
now known as Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. None of
these countries existed as nations prior to 1913.
They were nothing but a disorganized collection of tribes, constantly terrorizing each other, trying to seize land from their neighbors. Unfortunately, those Arab immigrants, imported into the Holy Land their age-old culture of terrorizing neighbors to seize land. Many of them were social outcasts and criminals who could not find jobs in their own countries so they searched for their luck elsewhere.
Some of them were accepted by the British regime as a source of cheap labor and were allowed to settle on unoccupied Jewish land in Palestine. Even Yassir Arafat, the leader of the PLO, is not a native of the Holy Land. He was born in 1929 in Cairo, Egypt.
He served in the Egyptian army, studied in the University of Cairo, and lived in Cairo until 1956. He then moved to Saudi-Arabia and founded the Al-Fatah terror organization, the precursor to the PLO, in Kuwait in 1958, together with his Saudi-Arabian friends.
Lewis French, the British Director of Development wrote about the Arabs in
Palestine: "We found it inhabited by fellahin (Arab farmers) who lived in mud
hovels and suffered severely from the prevalent malaria... Large areas were
The fellahin, if not themselves cattle thieves, were always ready to harbor these and other criminals. The individual plots changed hands annually. There was little public security, and the fellahin's lot was an alternation of pillage and blackmail by their neighbors, the bedouin (Arab nomads)."
The governor of the Syrian district of Hauran, Tewfik Bey El Hurani, admitted in 1934 that in a single period of only a few months over 30,000 Syrians from Hauran had moved to Palestine. Even British Prime Minister Winston Churchill noted the Arab influx. Churchill, a veteran of the early years of the British mandate in the Holy Land, noted in 1939 that "far from being persecuted, the Arabs have crowded into the country and multiplied."
The grandparents of the author's wife were born in the Holy Land in the 19th century. They saw with their own eyes how empty the land was at the time. They also lived through and experienced first-hand the British conquest and the Arab immigration that followed. This immigration ended in 1948 with the evacuation of the British from the land and the declaration of the state of Israel.
If there is anyone who still believes that the "Palestinian" nation ever existed before 1948, would they please be kind enough to answer when was it founded and by whom? What was its form of government? What were its borders? Name at least one top "Palestinian" leader before Arafat? Which country ever recognized its existence and when? In which library or museum can we find any of its literature, coins, or historical artifacts?
The real problem facing those Arabs today is not the lack of a homeland. The
historical root-cause of their problem and frustration is the fact that the
countries they came from have not agreed to accept them back in. This is why so
many of them live, up until today, in refugee camps, in neighboring Arab
countries, lacking fundamental civil rights.
In their frustration they feel that the only hope and choice they have is to try and steal a country. Many of the vehicles and the agricultural equipment in the Palestinian Authority have been stolen from their Israeli neighbors. For a while, Israel suffered the highest rate of automobile thefts in the world!
Most of these stolen vehicles were later found in towns and villages of the Palestinian Authority. If stealing vehicles is so easy, why not try and steal the country too?
In their propaganda, the Arabs who now call themselves "Palestinians"
consistently demand that Israel and the world recognize their pre-1948 rights.
That's about 54 years ago. Mysteriously, they are never willing to add another
54 years to their "historical" claims on the Holy Land.
They know very well that doing so will send them back to where they came from - Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Years ago, during negotiations with the, so-called, Palestinians, someone in Israel proposed to revise a mention of their claim to pre-1948 rights and replace it with pre-1917. The "Palestinians" vehemently opposed. Now we know why.
The Muslim religion was invented by Muhammad in the 7th century AD, in Saudi Arabia. He never visited Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and did not consider it important enough to be mentioned in the Koran even once. By comparison, the land of the Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem was purchased by King David, for the Jewish people, approximately 850 years BCE, and the deed, the name of the previous owner, and the purchase price were recorded in the Bible (See Samuel II Ch. 24 and Chronicles I Ch. 21).
The best reference for understanding the Muslim-Arab mentality and politicaly-motivated distortion of history is Muhammad's own words in the Koran: "War is deception".
Some Arabs consider themselves the descendants of Abraham, the forefather of
the Jewish nation. Ironically, if not for Muhammad's thorough study of the
Bible, the Arabs would not have known of the existence of Abraham. Muhammad
studied the Bible in order to be better equipped in his attempts to persuade the
Jews to follow his newly invented religion.
When the Jews refused, he wrote the Koran - the Muslim bible, and filled it with his own imaginary accounts of Biblical events. He even took the liberty to change the God-given day of rest, Saturday - the Sabbath. Since Sunday was already taken by the Christians, he picked Friday as the next-best Muslim day of rest.
Today the Muslim "Palestinians" claim to own Temple Mount, the site of the
Jewish Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They claim it is "their" holy site. Does anyone
in the rest of the world know which way the Muslims in Jerusalem face when they
When the Muslims in Jerusalem pray in their mosques, even in the "Al Aktza" mosque built on the edge of Temple Mount, they actually stand with their back turned to Temple Mount. And, when they bow down in their prayers they show their behind to Temple Mount.
How consistent is that with considering it a holy site? Visit any mosque in Jerusalem to see it for yourself. The fact is that Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran, while Mecca and Medina, the only two Muslim holy cities, are mentioned hundreds of times.
The Jewish Holy Temple stood on Temple Mount long before the Muslim religion, or any other current world religion was conceived. Even when the founders of the Christian religion walked around in the streets of ancient Jerusalem there were no mosques nor churches there - only the Jewish Holy Temple and nothing else.
Can any Muslim in the world produce any credible evidence for their connection to this holy site, other than in Muhammad's dream? Believe it or not, the one and only source for the Muslim's claim to Jerusalem and the site of the Holy Temple, is a mention in the Koran of a dream that Muhammad had about an unknown "place far away". Perhaps this "place far away" is the site of the White House in Washington DC?
There is only one possible solution to the "Palestinians" desire for a homeland. If helping them go back to where they lived 54 years ago is their own definition of justice, then helping them go back to where they lived 108 years ago is, by the same definition, a better justice - double the justice. Let's all help them get the better justice they deserve - let them go back to where they came from.
The author permits copying, publication, and distribution of this article without restrictions. For additional information and references about the Israeli-Arab conflict see: http://www.eretzyisroel.org/.
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- Who did what for Israel in 1948? America Did Nothing
- Jewish Refugees of 1948
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- United Nations Documents Palestine 1921
- Testimony on 1937 Palestine
- Who is an Arab Jew? by Albert Memmi
- Arabs in the Holy Land - Natives or Aliens?
- Middle East Christians not all Arabs
- Arabs or Not Arabs Factual Overview
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