Wednesday, May 12, 2010


In an article he wrote wrote for Midstream in 2000, The Land of Israel and Jerusalem in 1900, Elliot A. Green corrects some misconceptions:
Standing out among the truths commonly disregarded concerning the Land of Israel and Jerusalem one hundred years ago, and of special importance at this time of Arab-Israeli negotiations, are:

1-- at the end of the nineteenth century, there was no "Palestine" on the ground, only in Western historical memory and in occasional usage by Western diplomats, scholars and travelers;

2--The population was religiously, ethnically, and linguistically diverse, although Muslim Arabs were a majority in the country at the time, albeit the country was not then a defined territory;

3--Jews were a majority of the population of Jerusalem and had been so at least since 1870 -- or earlier according to some estimates;

4--Jews were a majority of the inhabitants of the Old City in 1900;

5--Jews lived both inside and outside the Old City walls, inhabiting quarters which were to be occupied by Transjordan (later Jordan) in 1948, and were thus to form part of what could be called "Arab East Jerusalem" between 1948 and 1967.

Muslim Arabs traditionally saw the country as simply an undifferentiated part of Bilad ash-Sham, usually translated as Syria or Greater Syria. This vast expanse included not only Israel, but the Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan of today, roughly speaking. The country that Jews have traditionally called the Land of Israel, and that Christians called the Holy Land -- was not ordinarily or traditionally seen as a separate or distinct land by Muslim Arabs or the Ottoman state.
Read the whole thing.

Unfortunately, some misconceptions do not die easily.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Palestinian Arabs Descended From Philistines? Canaanites? Few Of Them Are Even Related To The Original Arab Invaders!

One of the issues surrounding the topic of Israeli settlements is the persistent impression that there was a stable, strong community of Palestinian Arabs that awaited Jews who were fleeing the Holocaust.

Actually, there have been Jewish communities there from the time of the Roman conquest, and Jews have been immigrating to Israel for centuries.

Likewise, there has been no solid, thriving Palestinian Arab community--just waiting to be displaced by Zionist Jews--In a post a few days ago, Zionists Kicked Palestinian Arabs Out Of Palestine? Why Do You Think Arabs Came In The First Place?, I wrote about how the Arab Palestinian population is not a permanent fixture in Israel--rather in 1948 many of the Arabs were recent immigrants who came to then-Palestine to take advantage of the improvements made by Jewish immigrants.

Another accusation made against the Israeli settlements is an offshoot of the previous idea that Palestinian Arabs in fact have strong ties to the land--strong, in fact, than Jews--by virtue of the fact that they are descendants of the Biblical Philistines and Canaanites, and at the very least their roots go back to the Arab invaders of then-Palestine in the 7th century.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Zionists Kicked Palestinian Arabs Out Of Palestine? Why Do You Think Arabs Came In The First Place? (Updated)

Originally posted April 20, 2010

Claims by Palestinian Arabs that they were an indigenous people, on the land for many generations, is also a misrepresentation. There is solid documentation for the fact that a substantial part of this group, identified only as part of the Arab nation, migrated into Palestine in the years shortly before the founding of Israel.

Below is an excerpt from pages 116-117 in the section A Different Kind Of Refugee. The key point Klein makes is that the unusual definition of refugee applied solely to Palestinian Arabs discards the requirement of "habitual residence" to a mere 2 years. This is in recognition of the large influx of Arabs into then-Palestine because of the improved conditions created by Jewish immigrants.

Gilo--History And International Law Back Israel

Originally posted on November 23, 2009

In an article in the Jerusalem Post, Maurice Ostroff writes about the status of Gilo--where plans to build 900 houses have caused a new uproar and claims that Israel is once again expanding settlements.
However, as Ostroff points out, the emotional reaction ignores the facts--both historical and legal.

THE REALITY is that Gilo is very different than the outposts in the West Bank. It is not in east Jerusalem as widely reported. It is a Jerusalem neighborhood with a population of around 40,000. The ground was bought by Jews before WWII and settled in 1971 in south west Jerusalem opposite Mount Gilo within the municipal borders. There is no inference whatsoever that it rests on Arab land.

Monday, April 19, 2010

In 2005, Daniel Kurtzer Admitted There Was An Agreement On Settlements

Originally posted June 29, 2009

In an op-ed in The Washington Post on June 14th, Daniel Kurtzer, former US ambassador to Israel wrote in The Settlement Facts
Today, Israel maintains that three events -- namely, draft understandings discussed in 2003 between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and U.S. deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley; President George W. Bush's April 14, 2004, letter to Sharon; and an April 14 letter from Sharon adviser Dov Weissglas to national security adviser Condoleezza Rice -- constitute a formal understanding in which the United States accepted continuing Israeli building within the "construction line" of settlements. The problem is that there was no such understanding. [emphasis added]
In regards to President Bush's letter, Kurtzer explains:
President Bush's 2004 letter conveyed U.S. support of an agreed outcome of negotiations in which Israel would retain "existing major Israeli population centers" in the West Bank "on the basis of mutually agreed changes . . . ." One of the key provisions of this letter was that U.S. support for Israel's retaining some settlements was predicated on there being an "agreed outcome" of negotiations. Despite Israel's contention that this letter allowed it to continue building in the large settlement blocs of Ariel, Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion, the letter did not convey any U.S. support for or understanding of Israeli settlement activities in these or other areas in the run-up to a peace agreement. [emphasis added]
That is now. But back on March 25, 2005--in an interview with Israel Television Channel Ten while he was ambassador--Kurtzer said something different:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

When Palestinian Jews Were Under Muslim Rule

Originally posted May 15, 2007

In a post from December, 2005, Chardal writes about Life Under Muslim Rule in general, and has a section focusing on what life was like in then-Palestine for Jews.

Since the Arabian invasion of Palestine in the seventh century, Jews and Christians were allowed to remain alive, between attacks, to be a source of funds obtained by special taxes and extortions, and to serve as helpless scapegoats for the Muslim masses. This policy continued under successive waves of other Muslim non-Arab conquerors of the Holy Land, as well.

The lawful humiliation of the non-Muslim was a fact of life. The degree of harshness of the persecution depended on the whim of the particular ruler.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Who Is In Breach Of International Law: Israel--Or The US?

Originally posted June 28, 2009
Caroline Glick makes a compelling case that not only is Israel not in breach of signed agreements--or international law--on the issue of settlements, the US is breach of both international and domestic law.

On the issue of Israeli settlements and international law, Glick makes a number of points: