Friday, February 20, 2015

How strong is the support for Jewish settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory?

– written by Hany Abed

There are essentially two core components of this apparent unilateral support as shown in the graphical:
  1. Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East
  2. There is a divine Right of Return to the Land of Israel (including Judea and Samaria as known by the Zionist movement), as the first step to bring about redemption of the world. 

The first is straight forward to address. Apartheid is in-congruent and incompatible with the concept of democracy.

For the second, let us put forward an argument that shows this Right of Return to be principally flawed.

The Jews (like several other tribes) originated in that area. Origins have nothing to do with title to land. That logic is absurd and nonsensical. Indian Muslims originated from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan - they cannot claim land in those countries. Parts of Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand have Hindu origins - Indians cannot claim land in those countries. Large parts of Scotland have Nordic origins - Denmark and Sweden have not claimed any land there. The north of Pakistan is Bactrian Greek in origin - the Greeks have claimed no land there.

Jews have indeed been living continuously in the Holy Land, but between AD 70 and the end of the 19th century in very small numbers. Even as late as 1872, the Jews probably less than 4 percent of the population of the land. There has always been a Sephardic community in Palestine, but until recently it was numerically insignificant – in 1257 Nahman Gerondi found only two Jewish families in Jerusalem – and it is hard to see how its existence can be used to assert that ‘the only continuous claim [to Palestine] that exists’ is the Jewish. What the Arabs do claim, however, is that the land has been inhabited for ‘millennia’ by the ancestors of the Palestinian refugees. The modern Palestinians are a people of various ethnic origins, descended from the conquerors of Palestine since early Biblical times. Their ancestors are the Canaanites and Philistines who, unlike the Jews, were never deported. They remained in Palestine (which took its name from the Philistines) and their descendants formed, and still form, the core of the indigenous population. In the seventh century, the Muhammadan Arabs brought with them their government, their language and their religion, and a majority of the inhabitants accepted all three. Palestine and its people became "Arabised". Yet they remained the same people.

The famous British author (H.G. Wells) wrote:
"If it is proper to “reconstitute” a Jewish state which has not existed for two thousand years,, why not go back another thousand years and reconstitute the Canaanite state? The Canaanites, unlike the Jews, are still there."
Prof. Israel Finkelstein wrote:
"The basis for Zionist land claims are absurd. The same basis can be used to create a Hutsul state in Ukraine, a Cossack state in Russia, a Macedonian state in Greece, a Kashubian state in Poland, an Alsatian state in France, a Gurkha state in Nepal, a Rajput state in India, etc. Political Zionism is ethnic madness, and is based on a racist view of demographic history."